Gimhae, South Korea

These photos were from a couple years ago, but I never had a chance to post them. Daehwan was the first Korean friend Markus and I made in Korea and because of that he will always be special. Through him, we made so many other great friends and we experienced the "real" Korea. One weekend in November, he invited Markus and I to go to his hometown, Gimhae. He wanted us to see where he grew up and experience something very special to him.


Gimhae is about an hour outside of Busan by subway. When we arrived, Daehwan picked us up and took us toward the center of Gimhae. We walked toward the more historical area. Of course we saw a temple and even a hanok, which is a Korean traditional home. I've always wanted to stay in one. They're so beautiful and quintessentially Korean. We basically wandered around the city and Daehwan showed us his school and the places he used to play. I really enjoyed seeing where he grew up.

Toward the end of the day, we found a line of brass soldiers. Apparently, there was a fierce battle that was fought there. So we come across this lonely horse without a warrior. Daehwan said it would be awesome if I climbed it. I didn’t want to because I imagined myself falling over and cracking my skull open. It doesn’t look like it in the photos, but this thing was massive, like six feet high. Markus had to come over and push me up, from my bottom. That wasn’t embarrassing in front of Daehwan, or anything. I was quite frantic as I was up there and didn’t know what to do.

After, I was finished Markus hopped on as well and he really owned it. That horse was HIS horse. He was like an ancient warrior. We told Daehwan to jump on, but he refused. He said, “You’re foreigner. I know people here.” As we walked down the rest of the way, there was a sign in Korean that said, “Don’t Climb Statues” and a baby horse with a stand that you could climb on for pictures. We couldn’t stop laughing and we were glad there were no people around. I’m happy that I conquered the big horse and not the lame baby horse.

Most people don't like Gimhae because it's doesn't have any special attractions and it's a small town. For me, it's one of my favorite cities in Korea. I think it's because of the memories that we made there, but Gimhae will always be special to me because it's the home of my first Korean friend Daehwan.