Seongyojang lotus pond (2)With most of Korea’s autumn festivals cancelled due to swine flu, we took a trip out to the east coast to catch the very last of the summer warmth on the beaches of Gangneung (강릉) at Gyeongpo (경포). One of our first visits was the Chamsori Gramophone and Edison Museum, which turned out to be around 33 % gramophones, 33 % household appliances from the 1950s and 34 % photographs of the museum’s owner with various dignitaries. The whole thing was captivating only in its ability to appal, and we left as soon as we reasonably could.

Gyeongpo bunkerKeen to wash away the feeling of tastelessness, we walked the couple of miles over to Seongyojang (선교장), the Korean equivalent of a stately home, and Ojukheon (오죽헌), the local folk museum. Both were quite quiet, the beaches being largely abandoned until next summer, and we were able to spend a pleasant couple of hours investigating roof end tiles, ancient plum trees, a traditional mask dance and the birthplace of both Shin Saimdang (신사임당) and her son Yi I (이이), currently depicted on the W50,000 and W5000 banknotes respectively.

On our way back to our hotel on afternoon, we happened to walk past a large boarded-up building that looked like it was once a beachfront apartment complex. Urban exploration sense tingling, we backtracked a little later on for further investigation. From the look of the place, it had been abandoned for quite a while as the inside was bare apart from the usual broken furniture and fittings that tend to accumulate with neglect. The upper floor didn’t look quite safe (we could see holes in the concrete) and the cellars were under six feet of water, so we confined ourselves to the ground-floor apartments which unfortunately turned out to be mere shells and not all that interesting.

Gwanno Gamyeongeuk (2)Gwanno Gamyeongeuk (1)

Seongyojang lotus pond (1)Abandoned Gyeongpo