Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Daegu Stamp Trail Fast Track #2

This is the second of four posts dedicated to helping you get the MINIMUM number of stamps required for the Daegu Tour Stamp Trail. Look for the article “Daegu StampTrail Fast Track #1” for more information.
This time we’ll look at three more great locations to visit in Jung-gu, the downtown part of Daegu. They’re within walking distance of one another, and at the end you’ll have some good choices for lunch or dinner, so it’s a fine way to spend a Saturday or Sunday if you want to get out and about for a while.

First, some resources. Use these to get around, get help or just get in touch with Daegu a little better.

“Where is Daegu?”Google MapI’ve made this map to highlight the locations of Daegu Stamp Trail sites current and former, as well as other great places to visit in the city. You can find some of my favorite restaurants, too.

“Where is Daegu?” Facebook group : A Facebook group for people dedicated to comleting the Daegu Stamp Trail each year. Some, like me, are on their sixth year or more. Need some quick, English-friendly Daegu tourism information? This is your group.

So let’s go. Take the subway (line 2) to Sinnam Station. Take exit 5 and go straight along the street. After a few minutes you’ll see an “Alleys of History” sign on the left. Follow it, and it takes you directly to the first stop, the Medical Missionary Works and Cheongna Hill.
Stamp #1:Museum of Medical Missionary Works/Cheongna Hill. Christian missionaries have been coming to Korea for centuries. They really started making their mark in the 19th century as they helped develop modern agriculture, education and medicine. Three houses remain in Daegu as a testament to how these missionaries integrated into the local communities and helped improve the lives of their neighbors. They’re basic little bungalow style places, full of charm and simple living, and utterly alien to everything around them even today. You can take a look inside, but the schedule for the open house tours is inconsistent. Still, have a walk around the serene grounds and maybe even step back in time if your imagination is keen enough!
TIP: On your way to the next stamp location you’ll likely pass Gyesan Cathedral, a squat little pile of red brick at the bottom of a hill. Step inside and admire the Gothic-inspired design; it’s quite impressive. This building has stood here through more than a century of war, upheaval, invasion and hardship, an unassuming monument to the resilience of Daegu’s people.
Stamp #2:Old Residences of Lee Sang-hwa and Seo Sang-don. Here is where two of Daegu’s more notable residents lived – Lee Sang-hwa, a poet whose voice fueled Korea’s resistance to Japanese occupation, and Seo Sang-don, a leader of the National Debt Repayment Movement in the early 20th century. The area is now overrun with large apartment buildings and such, but you can catch a glimpse of history if you squint your eyes just the right way.
Stamp #3:Yangnyeongsi Oriental Medicine Cultural Center. Yangnyeongsi has been a major market for traditional medicinal herbs and treatment for centuries. The streets in this area are lined with vendors selling a boggling variety of plants, though the king of them all is ginseng. The smell of ginseng hangs in the air; you can almost smell the history on the breeze. The cultural center is primarily a museum, and visitors can learn about traditional medicine, how it works and how it has shaped the region. You can buy many kinds of ginseng products – tea, candy, etc. – in the gift shop.

TIP: If you’d like to do some shopping before you eat, you can easily spot Donga Department Store and Hyundai Department Store from Lee Sang-hwa’s house. Stop by and browse the many, many floors of stuff Lee could never have imagined in his time and muse about how completely Daegu and Korea have transformed in just a few short decades.

DINNER: Please refer to the map mentioned above. Giving directions in Daegu can often be quite tricky. But find Jin-golmok on the map and go there for lunch or dinner. This area was once the wealthiest in the city, lined with the best houses. Now most of the houses are gone, but there are several traditional restaurants to choose from, all serving great Korean dishes like bulgogi, naengmyeon (my favorite) and jjigae. It’s a favorite of older folks in Daegu, too, so you might make a few new friends!

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