So Spring has arrived, and so have all the beautiful flowers. From cherry blossoms, to tulips, to magnolias. Along with these flowers also come very many festivals. Koreans and their festivals, hey. But it is an absolutely breath-taking sight! Here are also many, many bees now. My irrational fear of bees comes from that time when I had to go hang up laundry in our backyard in Knysna, and I unknowingly walked past a beehive, and was stung in the neck and on the shoulder – at the same time. And that other time at school in Grade 10, I think, when I went to sit down during break and a bee stung me behind my leg. Ek het al twee kere moord geskree.
It also takes me about 3 minutes to walk to and from home/school. There are trees on the way, trees with flowers. And bees. Needless to say, I am terrified of bees. But seeing that I’m in a new environment and I have to “explore Korea”, I obviously had to go see the flowers. Don’t get excited, here is no story here about a bee that stung me in Korea. Just stop your nonsense. Behave yourself on my blog. Ek sien hoe jy jou wil verlekker in my smart.
Spring is a very exciting time for Koreans, I have noticed. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about it because it means that summer is well on its way and I just do not do well in heat. Just… no. I will admit, as I am getting older I am starting to prefer warmer weather, but that does not mean that I will ever be a true fan of summer. I get hot, sticky, very moody and miserable, and I am generally just not a very nice person when I get hot. And I have heard Korea is quite the scorcher. Yay me.
So the flowers. The magnolia was the first flower in Korea to catch my attention. It is this beautiful creamy-white flower that blossoms so beautifully. I imagine someday when I get married for this to be part of my bouquet – it’s gorgeous! They are also pretty common; you can see them almost everywhere. The most I saw at once I think was probably in Miryang. I couldn’t get enough!
About 10 minutes from where I live in Yeongsan, is a town called Namji. Namji is very famous in Changnyeong County for its flower festivals. There really is not much that I can say about it, other than you need to look at the pictures or see it for yourself to understand. It’s as if Holland pooped there. The Nakdong River, which is the longest river in Korea, also runs through Namji, and every year during Spring, along that river, thousands of visitors flock to get a piece of this heavenly field of flowers. I, of course, just dodged the bees.
Then, Korea’s greatest highlight and what probably gathers the most people at festivals, are the cherry blossoms. These delicate little white-light-pink flowers blossom every year during Spring for a couple of weeks and then literally lies like this thick blanket over the trees in Korea. It is exquisite. Even this year at the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival (which is probably Korea’s most famous cherry blossom festival), thunder and rain did not stand in the way of thousands of Koreans (and foreigners) from attending the festivities. The festival celebrates the beginning of Spring and every year guests can prepare themselves for a lot of entertainment, fun, and a rich cultural atmosphere.
If you don’t feel much for the crowded space outside, there is an array of coffee shops and restaurants for you to relax at with the picturesque view of cherry blossoms on the outside. All the festivals usually cater for young and old. I just speak about Jinhae because that happens to be the one where I was. A whole street gets cordoned off for the food markets. Here I had my first ever corndog. You can also look forward to entertainment for young and old, and music, often traditional in its kind. But if you haven’t noticed, everywhere I travel to is actually more about the food, really…
Now unlike me, if you are a person who prefers the warmer weather on any day and you appreciate the city with a touch of nature, I would say the flower festivals are for you. And even if you are not, it doesn’t change the fact that it is still beautiful, and when touring South Korea, definitely should not be missed. Think of all the photos!
Now, let’s see what Summer brings to the table. Urgh.