This past weekend, we had an amazing chance to visit the Sudeoksa Temple and Apple Orchard in Yesan, Chungcheongnam-do. Putting our experience into one sentence: We need to go there again!
We boarded the bus at Express Bus Terminal Station and Cheongmyeong, but there were also other pick-up locations. Thankfully, everyone arrived on time and the traffic was very pleasant, making our bus journey run smoothly.
After a 2 hours bus journey, we arrived at Sudeoksa Temple, which has been significant in its historical value, given that it is one of the very few temples not destroyed during the Japanese Invasion of Korea. There were many people visiting the temple, as well as locals who were praying and monks who were performing ceremonies.
As soon as you enter the grounds of the temple, you can immediately feel the peacefulness and calmness surrounding the area. We were blessed with an amazing weather on the day of our visit as well, so we were able to experience autumn in full swing. We stayed there for 2 hours, while some of us visited the temple, others who were hungry went to the nearby restaurants to fill up their stomachs.
After this pleasant visit, we boarded the bus to head over the main event of the day: THE APPLE FESTIVAL IN THE APPLE ORCHARD IN YESAN… As we arrived, we followed our tour guides to walk down a path. On the left side of this path is the trees, on the right side is the apple farm. There were many different activities organised at the apple festival, e.g. apple-pie and apple-jam making, visiting the apple winery, apple picking, apple-peeling competition and more.
My group was led to visit the apple winery first. We were introduced about the apple winery and the different drinks they offer by a local guide who expertises in his knowledge of apple and alcohol.
As we reached the end of the path, we were left wondering,” When will we get to try the apple wine and brandy here?” Our wonders immediately came into existence as he handed us cups of apple wine and apple brandy. We were very careful in savouring our cups until he said to us, ”Who wants more?” Everyone gathered.
Afterwards, we were led to the apple-pie making activity. We were taught in a lecture type of presentation as we sat in rows of chairs. It was also very helpful that our tour guide was translating the instructions in a humorous manner.
After the tutorial lesson, we were guided to our workshop to perform the act of making apple pie. Everyone did well in attempting to make the perfect apple-pie, except me, who has absolutely no talent in this craft, which I hate to admit to. Luckily after baking it, my apple pie at least looked edible.
As we were visiting an Apple farm, it would make total sense to do some apple picking activities. With that mindset, we immediately set foot on the apple farm. The apples were bright red and the smallest apples you could find there were still massive, like your everyday apple at the supermarket. That kind of tells you how big the other apples are. Let’s just say that it took me a good 10 minutes to finish one of the big apples I picked from the farm yesterday.
Afterwards, we sat near the main stage where live bands and DJ were performing at. We were entertained by the performance of the live band that made everyone energetic and leading to the audience singing in harmony while holding our glasses of apple wine and blueberry wine. We sang along while we kept refilling our glasses. By the end of the event, as I grew more and more attached to the wine there, I decided to buy some bottles before heading back to Seoul as souvenirs.
Written by Felix Leung