As I continue my exchange in Korea I was given the opportunity by my host university, Kyungpook National University (경북 대학교), to take on a part-time internship. They provided us with many companies to choose from that specialised in many different fields. I searched for a company that would allow me to put some of my business knowledge to good use and so I was chosen as one of the two interns for the travel agency “Fly 2gether”. As part of my internship it was required that we get familiar with the area, this was because my employer wished for us to construct a tour route of the many places hidden in Daegu (대구).
Gems of Daegu’s “Old Downtown”
In the city of Daegu, the hustle and bustle of downtown is enough to keep any traveller occupied, along with the occasional visits to the various temples around the city. However, there are many forgotten gems in the city which are a part of what is considered the “old downtown”.
An Art Studio
One of those hidden gems is the art studio Min Hwa (민화), which focuses on art that blends modern and traditional Mandarin painting styles. Along with simple yet elegant colours, each painting possessed its own deep meaning which constantly intensified my interest in every painting. Most paintings possessed a paired painting style, where by each painting contained two of each object, animal or thing in it. This was a major aspect of these paintings because it could represent parents, and the being of two parts making a whole. Also another range of paintings featured Mandarin writing hidden within the art with their own special meanings. I found the art at Min Hwa very inspiring and I look forward to returning and taking a class, to further my knowledge in this amazing art style.
A Wholesale Herbal Market
Another fascinating place is Yangnyeongsi (약령시), which is an area having to do with oriental medicine involving the use of a variety of herbs. I was personally able to get a look at a wholesale herbal market; and although the smell was not that great, it was an amazing opportunity to see the wide range of medical herbs available. There was also a display showing the difference between similar herbs of different origins. In which one could visibly compare herbs that were grown in China and the exact same herb grown in Korea. However, what I saw was merely one aspect of the oriental medicine industry so I look forward to seeing more of it in my next visit.
A Guest House
Our last stop of the day was at an up and coming guest house, whose concept focused entirely on cats. This place was called Bomgoro (봄고로). Although it was not fully ready to open, just the prospect of the place was amazing. With multiple pictures of cats with figures or places throughout history, the pictures can only bring a smile to any guest wanting to stay there. The rooms provide maximum security and will provide any future guest an amazing stay. The guest house also has an amazing rooftop area to relax and enjoy ones time, along with an inspirational poem written on one of the walls on the roof, there is also a remarkable view of the area. Although I have not actually lived there yet, it would be my first choice when looking for a place to stay in Daegu as it is not far from the Dongdaegu Station (동대구 역). I truly recommend this to anyone wishing to travel to Daegu.
Two other stops were at coffee shops that operated in buildings with a strong tie to Korean history during its Japanese colonialism period. The first cafe was Mix Café, a coffee shop with an interesting design. This is because the building in which the café resides in is made up of three buildings that in the end became one building existing from the 1910’s to the 1960’s which were used for different purposes. The café also possessed a bunker which has now been converted into a wine cellar, but a lot of the upper floor is still intact as to give one a look back into the past. The next stop was the Story Museum, a café breathing of coziness and artistic individuality. Along with a building possessing a place in Korean history, the current owner is an advent painter who’s beautifully decorates the café with her mesmerizing art. There was also a room on the second floor that displayed a mini museum of traditional Korean artifacts, which was a nice touch to tie the place together. Both places had a pleasant atmosphere about them, and I think history lovers or people interested in Korean culture will truly enjoy their time there.
Now that is just a few places that the city of Daegu has to offer, and the city provides a great place to rest too. Though it was only my first trip in old downtown, I am looking forward to my next visit and seeing what else this amazing city has hidden.
Till next time Anna Falls.