A couple weekends ago, I went to Gyeongju with one of my new friends. We just did a day trip, so we left about 7:45 in the morning, so we could catch the train. Of course, the night before I went to bed about 2 AM as usual, so I was a tad tired in the morning. Oops. Hye Jin did as well, so I was not alone in being slightly tired. Luckily, we still had a wonderful time.
We arrived at the train station, then took a taxi to our first destination. We discovered when we got there that there was a marathon in Gyeongju, so there was a bit of traffic. Aka we didn't move for a very long time. Luckily, our taxi driver knew a back road through some winding hills, which he drove on while also watching tv on his GPS.
Our first stop was Bulguksa, which is a huge Buddhist temple. The original part of the temple was built in 774, then reconstructed and expanded in the 1600's.
It was quite beautiful. It's about halfway up a mountain overlooking a cool view.
Here I am at the entrance of Bulguksa Temple.
Bulguksa Temple is a World Heritage Sight.
Here is a lantern.
Even though it was the last week in March, Spring hadn't quite arrived yet.
And a pond.
Here's the temple. It was pretty enormous and beautiful.
This is called the Dabotap, which was built in 751 and is considered a national treasure.
Here is a dragon.
I couldn't take a picture inside, but you can kind of see.
There is a story behind these rocks. It is tradition that if you place a rock on top of another rock, it is good luck. But, if the pile falls over, then you will have bad luck. Of course I tried. I'm sure you're thinking, "Lauren, what were you thinking? You'd knock over all of them at once at the same time and be the unluckiest person who has ever walked the planet."
If you said that, you would be correct....
Actually, no that didn't happen. I managed to place my rock right there, quite stealthily, without knocking over piles and piles of rocks.
We continued walking around then headed to lunch.
Our next stop was lunch at this cool, traditional place. Hye Jin said it was one of the more famous restaurants in Gyeongju. Here are some pictures:
Some huge fish
A giant mill.
Then, we headed to the next location, passing this weird arch on the way.
Our next stop was Seokguram.
This temple was also built in 751, and is actually part of Bulguksa. we couldn't take pictures inside, but you can see it in the link that I posted.
It was around here that Hye Jin noticed the joys of travelling with a foreigner. Aka, people stopped to talk to me, would run by yelling "hello" and stared as we walked by. She said, "wow, people really do stare at you don't they?" You really do get used to it...except when I'm walking up stairs next to an escalator and people on the escalator are staring at me with a constant gaze the entire way up the stairs. That does still get mildly creepy. Because they won't stop looking. No matter how many times you look at them with a horrified look on your face. Or startled.
There was a pretty cool view, too. We saw a Korean chipmunk on the walk back.
I am going to end the blog here, but there is more to come from Gyeongju, but it's late and I'm getting annoyed with my attempts to format the blog how I want it being thwarted.