Korea – Visiting the Gurye Sansuyu
It’s very hard to piece memories together sometimes and reliving them through writing is always a fun and exciting adventure for me. A trip down memory lane got me thinking about Koreans and their love for clubs and being a part of something bigger. Clubs and groups fill just about every need here and I’d be doing a disservice if only mentioning that they include sports (indoor and outdoor), cooking, and languages. Honestly, there’s a class or meeting place for just about anything.
Meeting Friends in Korea
My wife previously ran a book club in Jinju and I also joined after graduate school bogged her down with papers and assignments galore. Expat attendees hailed from North America, England, South Africa, while a few Koreans also join on occasion. Thankfully, the locals provide some much-needed perspectives whenever our book partially covered South Korea.
Following Friends to Gurye
Two such attendees (YJ and KM) are a welcome addition to our weekly meetings. Even after the book club runs its course, we keep in touch. YJ leaves to attend school in Hawaii but KM continued corresponding with us. She eventually invites Christina and me to spend a Saturday at a festival in April with her in the nearby town of Gurye (Goo-Reh).
The celebration centers around the locally-famous Cornelian Cherry dogwoods or Sansuyu to Koreans. For the trip, we tag along with KM’s art class intended to give students a chance to actively sketch natural scenes in person. Christina and I are somewhat nervous before the big day arrived but as long as we act as fellow “art enthusiasts,” everything will be fine. We arrive at the meeting spot early in the morning, pay about $10 for our trip and get on the bus.
Arriving in Gurye
After a brief stop to fill up on coffee and get back on the road, Gurye quickly approaches and the anticipatory vibes make me feel very upbeat about this day. KM’s friends are nice and seem like great people to spend time with in class. The tour organizer sets us free to roam around the festival grounds for a few hours and everyone splits off to sketch, paint, or take pictures in our case.
Capturing the Scene
It’s an interesting moment. KM’s fellow students pack bags full of art supplies and break off in search of a nice spot to “capture the scene.” Gurye is a nice little town and the festival site offers nice picturesque views of the surrounding mountains with the peaks of Jiri San National Park nearby. The Gurye Sansuyu are the story of the day, though, as they’re in full bloom and coloring most of the landscape with a lovely shade of yellow.
Directions to the Gurye Sansuyu Festival
Courtesy of Korea Tourism
From the Gurye Bus Terminal, take any local bus heading in the direction of Jirisan Hot Springs Tourism Complex (지리산온천관광단지).
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