Nong Dari

A Picnic by a 1300 Year-Old Bridge

Words and Pictures

My good Korean friend Hyun Dong invited me to go out with his family on a picnic. Without even knowing the details I said yes. It's nice to get out of the city, and neither Anne nor I really know enough about the surrounding area to find good spots to go without a lot of effort.

No Description
Taekwondo fighters made of flowers stand at an intersection.

Hyun Dong picked us up at 12:30. He informed me that we were going to see a stone bridge. I didn't sound particularly exciting until he mentioned that at 1300 years old, it was the oldest bridge in East Asia. You have to understand, in East Asia, there are a lot of old things, but in Korea there aren't so many.

No Description
Nong Dari, or Agriculture Bridge, spans a picturesque river near Jincheon.
No Description

We got our first glimpse of the bridge from the highway, but there was no exit. We had to drive for another 15 minutes before reaching Jincheon, then double back for a further 15 minutes before we reached the bridge.

No Description
The construction technique is crude, piles of stones bridged by slabs of stones.

We spent a pleasant thirty minutes walking over, looking at and discussing the bridge before deciding that it was time to eat. Samgyeopsal, grilled pork wrapped in lettuce leaves, was on the menu, and a good meal was had by all.

No Description
Anne and I sit down for a lunch of Samgyeopsal with Hyun Dong et al.

After eating, we relaxed for a couple of hours. The highlight of this time was the Filipino crowd, who came over and chatted with us while they waited for their taxi. Some of them were factory workers, but some of them were part of a band. The lead singer sang us a Korean song which ended just as their taxi arrived.

No Description
The Filipinos pass the time with us while waiting for their taxi.

We were camped out under the shade of a small tree, and I took a nap while the adults of the group chatted in Korea and the children of the group ran around in a far too energetic manner. Hyun Dong had brought a small fishing rod and tried fishing, but didn't catch anything.

No Description
Foot traffic moves over the bridge.

The day wore on at that wonderfully slow summer-picnic pace. The only other happening of interest was the arrival of a fisherman with his huge net. He cast his net half a dozen times and pulled a handful of small fish out of the river. It didn't seem worth the effort for what he got.

No Description
A fisherman casts his net in the river.

And then it gradually became time to go home. I was happy not to be driving as all that relaxing I'd done all day had exhausted me. We were dropped off at home, where we collapsed in the living room and watched a movie before going to bed.