Japan – Cruise Part 5 – Busan, Korea

The two days at sea were spent lounging by the solarium therapy pool, working out at the fitness center, researching what to see in Nagasaki, eating at the specialty restaurant Tuscan Grill followed by Espresso and Aroma🍸 nightcaps at the Martini bar. 

Since nothing about Busan really interested us we booked a tour which ended up being really good. Our first visit was to the Headong Yonggungsa temple on the sea.The streets to access the temple were lined with local food stands. Reminded us very much of our days in the 80s with street food in Hong Kong. It was lovely to look at but not to eat. The one photo with what looked like brown cockroaches on the left and grey ones on the right with the little round things was a real stumper for us, so I asked our Asian foodie friend to tell us what they were. She said she asked her Korean co-worker and here’s what she said: “the Brown ones are silk worm, and the other one is some sort of crustacean/shell, according to the Korean.” 🤢

The pagoda stone structure marks the entrance before walking down the steps to the temples with the three Buddha’s… representing the Present, the Future and the Past. The 108 steps down to the temples were very symbolic in the Buddhist religion. 

The Temple of the Present… The lotus flower lanterns on the ceiling and the interiors were breathtaking. 

In between the Temple of the Present and the Temple of the Future was this Buddha. Our tour guide said he was the Santa Claus Buddha that if you touch him all your wishes will come true. Let’s hope that’s the case!

We climbed up to the Buddha of the future’s temple area. It was a female. Yay! Of course us women are always given the primo location with the best views of the sea. Surrounding her statue were what I called the cutest Asian version of my gnomes. The base of the statue was surrounded by these darling figurines. If I had found these in a gift shop I would have bought them all and brought them home for our garden. But sadly all there was for sale was seaweed and silkworms. 😩

The last Temple was for the Buddha of the Past. Obviously I’m referring to the one in gold in the photo. 🤭 

From the temple we visited the APEC house. We weren’t quite sure what it was but it’s the Asian Pacific Trade Alliance much like the European Union. It’s a circular very modern glass building built in 2005 with stunning views on the bay. There are many bridges that connect the city of Pusan. The bridge in the photos below is one of the longest at 8km. The bridge was beautifully lit at night with changing colors (our favorite was the red). It was absolutely stunning as we passed under it on our departure. There was a beautiful lacquerwork at the entrance of the building. A beautiful park surrounded the APEC House with multiple lookouts to the sea. 

We enjoyed our day in Pusan immensely. It’s a very modern city with massive high rises that reminded us of Dubai. Never imagined it would be like this. 

Tonight we had reservations at the specialty restaurant onboard called Qsine. It’s a very different experience. Kind of like trendy tapas. You select anything and everything you want with an iPad at your table. The presentation was very, um, bizarre trying to be trendy. We were presented with an amuse bûche that was shrimp in a bowl with blue flashing cubes at the bottom. Kinda weird though understand trying to get in to the swing of things. Then we had escargot and lobster balls. Followed by sushi lollipops with condiments of soy sauce and wasabi. We really liked this course though Joe was a bit dubious when they presented it. He enjoyed the salmon, shrimp and crab ones. The black ones with sesame seeds were squid ink colored rice. Next up was our favorite. The spring rolls were out of this world. They were wrapped in bamboo paper and newspaper. We would have ordered more if we had room but alas… We weren’t even half way done.
Next was the crab ball. It was a ginormous crab and lobster ball wrapped in fine angel hair pasta that was then roasted so the exterior was crunch and soaked in the bay seasoning sauce. Very interesting. The waiter that presented it did a great job. By now we were only 1/2 way though and starting to fill up. 

Next was another one of our big favorites and the finale before desert. “Mignon Painters Palette” The platter was shaped like a painters palette 🎨 and lined with sauces and condiments… mushroom sauces, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese and a red wine reduction. The meat was cooked to perfection. Really delish. 

The desert menu was a rubicons cube. It opened up kind of like a coodie catcher that revealed all the options. We pretty much chose them all… a veritable trifecta of fresh beignets (one was apple) 😋 served with caramel, lemon curd and chocolate Nutella sauces, (The beignets were fresh and smelled to die for), a tiny cheese cake (served in a parfait-like glass), and the Bomb 💣 (served with dental spoons for the gelatos and crunchy chocolate in the cylinder) filled out the table with our decafe lattes. 

It was an interesting experience with some delicious items but we wouldn’t bust the doors down to eat there again. Tuscan Grill the other specialty restaurant we more to our liking. 

Next stop Nagasaki…