Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Day in Tangeumdae

Recently, I spent the day in Tangeumdae Park--one of the biggest parks in Chungju. 

Biking to the park took only five minutes, but I had to defeat the steepest drive in the city to enter the park.  The first feature of the park, is an array of modern art sculptures.  My favorite of these was a lovely figure of a woman set back in the trees.  The statue honors a group of women who threw themselves in the path of their enemy in order to save their village.  I can't tell you which enemy or battle, since the country has too many to keep track of, but I gathered that the women "allowed" themselves to be raped by their enemy thereby giving the villagers extra time to escape.  Where the men were, I can't say, but I hope they were not cowardly enough to run for their lives while the women suffered.  However, knowing the degree of respect women have historically received from Korean men, I wouldn't rule out this scenario. 

Many of the additional (and much larger and more conspicuous) statues commemorated war heros. 

An interesting sign along the trail mapped the foot's reflexology points. 

The top of park's tallest hill afforded a nice view of Chungju.  You can just make out the buildings past the trees.

A tiny valley at the foot of this hill contained a Buddist temple--one of the nicest I've seen.  So, of course, I took tons of pictures of it.

Past the temple, at the top of another hill, is the Chungju Archery Range.  This was an exciting place for me because I'd like to learn archery while in Korea.  Korean archery is thousands of years old, and Korean archers still win many Olympic archery contests.  The bows have such a lovely curvature because they are made of water buffalo horn.  Most of the archers were older middle-aged men.  I hung out long enough for one of the old guys to invite me to try his bow.  Most women in this country don't exercise and are excessively thin.  I've even heard complaints that women think muscles make them look fat so they avoid forming them at all costs!  Because of this, I'm sorry to inform you, they are quite weak.  So, when I pulled back the string with ease, the entire company of 30-40 archers let out a surprised, "AAAHHHHH!!!" and started flexing their muscles and pointing at my arms.  It was a gratifying moment.  As it turns out, the guy who let me try his bow lives only two buildings away from me.  I'm hoping for lessons once I find a bow of my own. 

Other interesting features of Tangeumdae include a two-story gazebo, a small outdoor amphitheatre, and bathrooms with Turkish toilets.  Sorry, no pics of these!


  1. Artemis!
    You look damn fine with a bow in your hands, Lady!

  2. What is a Turkish toilet? and why no pics??

    I am really enjoying your adventures, thanks for sharing!!

  3. Karen, Imagine a hole in the ground and squat! (: Trust me, you don't want pictures!

  4. yeah, thnx for not posting those ones, but luv the temple. u go tough girl - archery - so cool!!