anniversary, beer, bus trip, celadon, ceramics, Cheonan, Garten Bier, handmade, Icheon, kimchi pot, kitten, Korea, mugs, pottery, Sagimacgol Ceramics Village, second anniversary, tea set, wedding anniversary, Yawoori
We were really happy that our second wedding anniversary happened to fall on our weekend this year: July 16, a Tuesday. We had vague plans of how we wanted to celebrate, and so we packed an extra set of clothes (just in case) and headed down to the Cheonan bus station on Monday morning, the 15th. We’d decided to head North/East to Icheon, a town well-known as the center of Korean ceramics. From Cheonan it was pretty easy: there’s a bus that travels directly to Icheon (and part of the bus schedule at the station is even in English) that leaves within every hour. The trip is a beautiful ride through Korean countryside and lots of rice fields and takes a little less than 2 hours.
The Icheon bus station is much smaller and more “country-like” than the one in Cheonan, and the bus schedules are only in Korean, but it was easy enough to get return tickets by just saying “Cheonan” to the woman behind the counter.
There was a map in the bus station with some English on it that directed us vaguely as to how to get to where all the ceramics are. But instead of trying our luck with the local buses we decided to jump in a taxi to hopefully cut out some confusion. Plus, to make things even easier, I took a photo of the sign for where we want to go (Sagimacgol Ceramics Village) and just showed the picture to our taxi driver so we didn’t have to confuse the guy with our terrible pronunciation. (For future reference, any of the bus 24’s will bet you there, just get off when we see the giant mosaic vases on your left.)
After a short trip we were dropped by the side of the highway at what I first assumed was a single ceramics shop. Then we realized that a narrow winding street actually lead up into a small mountain and was lined with dozens of shops, studios, and tiny traditionally roofed homes. I was ecstatic! Hand made ceramics are possibly one of my top five favorite things and I wanted to inspect and hold every single piece. There were everything from the tiniest little planters, to sweet traditional tea sets, to perfectly handled mugs, to hundreds and hundreds of giant kimchi pots going up into the forest.
Soft gorgeous celadon was everywhere, accenting intricate carvings over the faces of vases as big as me. We even took home a bit of the celadon (I knew we had to; I mean, come on, Asia is so famous for it!) by deciding together on a beautiful tea mug with a ceramic infuser and lid.
Seriously though, I so desperately wanted to buy all of the ceramics, and was only put to a stop when we realized we were getting dangerously close to not being able to afford our bus tickets home. Prices at many of the shops were in fact comparable to handmade ceramics in the states, except for one small shop that seemed to sell mostly just their own goods. We found sweet little hand-thrown mugs stamped with the artist’s signature for between $5 and $12!! Still, was slightly disappointed I couldn’t buy all of the ceramics…
We took bus 24 back towards the bus station downtown, and walked around a bit in the rain waiting for our bus back to Cheonan. The bus home seemed to take shorter than the one there, but I didn’t check the time so I can’t be sure. It still wasn’t super late once we arrived back in Cheonan, so we ran across the street in front of the mall and wandered past the shops and street vendors until deciding on drinks at Garten Bier to finish up our day.
Garten Bier was a bar we use to frequent when we lived in Korea three years ago. It’s comfortable and has a funny name and hilariously shaped beer glasses.
A good end to fun 2nd Anniversary festivities. Oh and also, we met this adorably friendly (and bitey) kitten outside our apartment when we got home.