Papa Francisco met with the Asian Youth here at the Solmoe Shrine. This is also where they restored St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon's birthplace.
We headed to the memorial hall to learn more about this Korean historical figure.
The French missionaries brought Christianity here and it spread through the Naepo 내포 region. Chungnam (short for Chungcheongnam-do) is near the ocean so it's easy for them to come here from China.
Father Kim Dae-gun was one of the three selected local students by the French for training. They embarked on a journey and walked to Beijing, Shanghai and Macau for 6 months! They have his letters here (17 are kept in Vatican) and they said he can speak at least 5 languages - Latin, French, Korean, Cantonese and Italian. He was ordained in Shanghai becoming the first ever Korean priest and stayed there for a few years before heading home. Right at that time, over 8000 Koreans were persecuted including him at age 26. He was beheaded and his body dismembered into 209 parts...
Yeah, so I probably got too much info and my head was not at ease. Good thing we already went outside.
We were told the feng shui in this place was very good and I did feel a difference while I was here. Solmoe translates to "pine tree hill". With those in the background and sitting there in the bench, we had a breathing moment from all that negativity. Sometimes, the simplest things can make us happy. Father Kim came from a noble family background, gave that up and chose to live simply as a clergyman with the people. Too bad his line was wiped out when he was killed at such a young age...
I became even happier during dinner when I had the opportunity to sit beside our cheerful driver Mr. Lee.
It started out like this haha.
Some of the appetizers were salad with strawberry sauce and kimchi. The yangnyeom sauce with onions was a perfect pair to the beef.
We were graced by the presence of the Chungnam Provincial Government Tourism Division and KTO Daejeon Chungcheongnam-do Promotion Office. :)
This restaurant's specialty is beef in a stone grill. Yum!
We were very satisfied. Me particularly because I was practising my Korean (and being happily corrected) and talking more about travel with the representatives :)
Korean happy drinks were served next. There's Chilsung cider that tastes a bit like Sprite.
He mixed Cass beer and soju "as locals do" and gave it to my seatmate haha. For Koreans, you don't pour your own drinks.
We were looking for rice and was served a dolsot full of mixed grain rice. I've had this once before and it's closest to the sizzling rice soup I've had in San Francisco. This is more rice flavored though.
First, you get all the soft rice in your bowl and eat it - leaving the toasted tutong (crispies left on the bowl) part in the pot. :)
Next you put water and let it sit for a while.
We busied ourselves laughing, talking and eating until the duenjangjigae came out.
This is so far from that in terms of flavor haha. This pop rice, maybe, something to cleanse the palate with.
A great thing they had to cap the night was my all-time fav sikhye - which is also made of rice :)
Great food, company and conversations are great pick-me-ups for somber moods. :)
This trip was made possible by Asiana Airlines Philippines, Korea Tourism Organization Manila, USTravel, Korea Tourism Organization Daejeon Chungcheongnam-do Promotion Office, the Chungnam Tourism Industry and the Chungcheongnam-do Provincial Government. Korea is now MERS-free according to KTO and I just went there this August 2015.
Asiana Airlines flies once daily from Manila to Busan or Seoul and vice versa. You can book through your favorite local travel agencies about this tour.