[Yeosu] Have you been to the Beautiful Island?

The article was created by 11th and 12th graders at High School in Yeosu with an aim to tell our dear friends at home and abroad about EXPO 2012 YEOSU KOREA. 

News written by the group of ‘ILOVEYEOSU’, Kim Huigon, Ji Hyeonu , Kim Gyeonghun : Guidance teacher : Park Yongseong

“Is Yeosu the Napoli of Korea?”

“No, Napoli is the Yeosu of Italy.”

(While interviewing sister Maeng Geulrara in Seogyodong cathedral, we discovered beautiful Yeosu is.)

Is there any place that has as a beautiful name as Yeosu, which means “beautiful water”? Yeosu was originally named Yeosuhyeon during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) in 940, during the reign of Emperor Taejo.

Did our ancestors know that Yeosu Expo, the beautiful water festival, would be held here one thousand years later? Thoughts like these came to us during our meeting with the gray-haired sister Maeng Geulrara.

She studied in Italy for five years, and toured many famous cities like Napoli and Venice. She told me that both Napoli and Venice are very beautiful. But above all, there is no place more beautiful than Yeosu. She said that Yeosu is more beautiful than Napoli, Because of its cultural landmarks, its clean waters and charming islands, and the sinuous roads that curve alongside the seashore. Yeosu is a wonderful place. So we wanted to visit an island.

“Wanting to see the island, we boarded a boat at Odongdo.”

(On the day MBC was covering our club activities, we boarded a boat to see ‘the island’, but it was veiled by fog: Photo by Ji Hyeonu)

Do you wonder why I say ‘the island’? The island is Dolsan, which can be seen from Odongdo. Dolsan consists of Dolsando (island), Songdo, and Geumjukdo, which are inhabited, and Seogeundo, Hangdaedo, and seventeen other islands uninhabited. We boarded a boat to take a look at Dolsan. Unfortunately, it was so foggy that Dolsan never appeared on that particular day. It seemed that Dolsan was telling us that we should return to the mainland.

So we went there by taking Dolsan Bridge.

(This is Dolsan Bridge which connects Yeosu Namsan-dong with Dolsan Udu-ri. Its width is 11.7m and its length is 450m. It was completed in 1984, but it is still beautiful: Photo by Kim Gyeonghun.)

From the moment we crossed Dolsan Bridge, Dolsan started to show itself. Although the bridge has been open for 30 years, the A-type bridge 62m high still vaults over the beautiful scenery. On the left, we can see JangGun island which is known as a dating place for lovers. We can also see Dolsan park, where you can get a panoramic view of Yeosu. On the right, the blue sea unfolds beneath the cool sea breeze.

Why is the sea beautiful?

(It is an oyster farm in Pyeongsa village. Is it not only the scenery but the hard life that makes the sea beautiful? : Photo by Kim Gyeonghun)

Musulmok lies along the coastal road. It’s where Admiral Yi Sunsin defeated the enemy. During the Imjin war, Mongdol beach, surrounded by pine forests, is renowned for its sunrises. At the Musulmok intersection, you pass the habitat for migratory birds. And if you keep walking to the Dosil three-way intersection, Pyeongsa Village is on your right.

There is a road across the field along the coast from Pyeongsa village to Hangdae village. Wait a minute! You will have to look to the sea where the oyster farm spreads like a picture. It suddenly occurred to me that the reason the sea is beautiful is because of the lived by those near it tough life.

Superb views made by hard labor unfold everywhere on Dolsan.

(Look at the fields on each hill. Leaf mustard is growing. It is a typical vegetable which is grown without pesticides: Photo by Kim Gyeonghun)

Look around! Oh! There is a village, field grows and growing crops for the people. Please slow your pace. That Dolsan Leaf mustard.

Dolsan has a good climate for growing leaf mustard because of its oceanic climate and alkaline soil. But that’s not enough. Without sweat of Dolsan’s people, who made a field by picking stones and changing the soil, how could we taste Dolsan leaf mustard? There is no hiding the hard work that goes into making the piquant Dolsan leaf mustard kimchi.

There are living the beautiful people on Dolsan.

Where is it? Is it one of the Pacific island? Or a famous resort on the Mediterranean coast? No. You can always see scenery like this the coastal road at Dolsan of Yeosu. Expo will be held in May and June, which is when barley grows, You will be able to see this great spectacle when you come to Expo.

You might think of beer when you think of barley. But in korea, we drink Sikhye, created by malt made with barley. Its sweet and cool flavor can’t compare with any other drinks. They can be bought in cans at local stores. Or you can get it from a vending machine.

“Dolsan still breathes our national history.”

(The temples are covered with camellias and silver magnolia, hiding the temple completely: Photo by Kim Huigon.)

After passing Pyeongsa on the sunset road, there is Gunnaeri, which belongs to Dolsan. There is Bangdabjin Seonso Gulgang, where General Yi made the Turtle Ship, and Hyanggyo, where classical scholars studied and commemorated Confucius. Dongheon and the government office have been preserved in their original forms.

After passing Dolsan Hyanggyo there is Dolsan elementary school, which was built a century ago. Fifty meters on, you can see the narrow road leading to Eunjeokam on your left. In Dolsan, you can feel its long history.

“The road to Eunjeokam is the same that existed 1000 years ago.”

(The pine trees that are seen on the way to Eunjeokam tell the history of the temple: Photo by Kim Huigon)

Eunjeokam is the temple founded by Jinul in the Goryeo Dynasty, King Myeongjong 25 year(1195). Walking along the path will calm your mind.

Climbing a small ditch along the road we hear the sound of water flowing. A birds whose name you do not know is singing. There is a wind in the trees, which are thousands of years old. Then it’s time for your body and mind to be purified by the cool wind.

“All Korean temples look like Eunjeokam.”

(Eunjeokam is a small hermitage. But looking at Eunjeokam is the same as looking all the temples in Korea: Photo by Kim Huigon)

Eunjeokam is a beautiful and quiet temple. It is surrounded by rocks, and it is cool in summer because of the shade of the pine trees. You can hear the sound of water flowing along the valley.

But the beauty of Eunjeokam is another thing. Buddhism has deeply affected our spirit and culture for thousands years. It teaches us that a visible thing is not all things. The name of the temple contains the Buddhist spirit. All Korean temples are like Eunjeokam. Only their sizes are different.

“There is Sungdu village before Hyangilam.”

(There is Seongdu village, with its fine view of the horizon. The cliff beside the village is magnificent: Photo by Kim Huigon)

We have now arrived at the southern part of Dolsan, meaning we have seen the entire island. While following the road you can see the rocks at the end of the road. Sitting on the rocks and watching the sea, you can feel free.

Do you feel hungry? Then how about eating some abalone soup with rice? It will give you lots of stamina. It is made with abalones and vegetables. So it tastes fantastic and is so colorful.

“Buddha in the Hyangilam still smiles”

(Hyangilam Kwaneum bodhisattva is still smiling. I think it resembles sister Geulrara’s smile. Doesn’t it? : Photp by Ji Hyeonu)

For a last stop in Dolsan, Hyangilam is the perfect place. Hyangilam is famous for its beautiful sunrise. It feels mysterious because of being located on a steep cliff. Not long ago, some of it disappeared, but Buddha’s warm smile doesn’t disappear.

The stones near Hyangilam are amazingly cracked, and shaped like a tortoise-back shell. In appearance, Mt. Geumo looks like a giant tortoise swimming into the wide sea. It is said that Mt. Geumo holds Hyangilam in its arms. In some way, it feels like it is holding Mt. Geumo.

“We arrived in the morning, we now leave at night.”

(There is a wonderful night view of Dolsan Brigde. It tells us that life is consist of returning where we came.)

The sun is setting. I’m afraid I must say goodbye. Entering Dolsan, we crossed this Bridge. Leaving Dolsan, we cross it again. So, do we say beginnings and endings are always the same?

Now EXPO preparation is almost done. But at the end of the preparation, we are dreaming help us of another beginning. I hope that many people all around the world will visit and open a new 21st century and a new unified world. The ocean comes alive, the seashore share starts to breathe with miracles again.

source: korea.kr