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Thursday, October 4, 2012

The End of the Line

"Well, it's all right, riding around in the breeze  Well, it's all right, if you live the life you please  Well, it's all right, even if the sun don't shine  Well, it's all right, we're going to the end of the line."
                     from The Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line

They say Prague is a city designed for walking - a pedestrian heaven. I'll put on my Ecco shoes, grab my day pack, buy some bottled water - I need nothing more, save a map and my insatiable traveler's curiosity.

But this day we took some unusual advice from a local, "Just get on one of the trolley lines, any number actually, and take it to the end of the line. You can't go wrong." Soon after, we were boarding line #1 and taking it through a series of nondescript, urban Czech neighborhoods. Then we came to the terminus, exited the trolley car and stood at the stop pondering our situation. Where the heck were we? Suddenly, my stomach interrupted with a request, "How about some Chinese food?" Chinese food? I didn't have a clue where I was and all I could think about was eating some Chinese food. (Note: I am a sucker for Chinese food wherever I am in the world.) 

We saw a few stores lining the curve in the road across the street. It was quiet. Several stores looked  vacated and the streets were noticeably absent people. We walked a block or two and there, lo and behold, was a Chinese restaurant! Surely the Chinese characters on the sign must have read, Lucky Stars. We found heaven at the end of the line.

Gifted recently with a few days off for the Korean thanksgiving holiday, Chuseok, a friend and I headed to Andong to attend Korea's famed Mask Festival. The festival itself and the city's culinary specialties of spicy chicken, grilled mackerel and rice wine (soju), all lived up to the lofty tourist hype.

Masks symbolizing the Andong Mask Festival
Festival "attendees" with beards and hats in common
When the night grew still, when the voices quieted and the hum of the cars and buses ebbed, it was time to find our way to the Korean inn where I had made reservations. Man Hyu Guest House was 20 minutes out of town, in the foothills northwest of Andong, near the Bong Jung Buddhist Temple. The innkeeper welcomed us warmly in the Korean tradition. We were enveloped by tranquility and comfort. I fell asleep listening to the song of water cascading down a rocky stream just outside my room. 
At our inn: A comforting breakfast of rice porridge
The guest house was literally at the end of the line - in this case, bus #51. I recall the traveler's credo I strive to abide by: Have trust. Ride with the breeze. Live the life you please. No problem exists, even if the sun doesn't shine--when you're going to the end of the line.

1 comment:

  1. I love the picture of the Korean breakfast, calm, cultured, hung with The Traveling Wilburys, yet! That covers the territory.