Sunday, May 28, 2006

Weekend in Gyeongju

It started off bad. We left Suji after work on Friday and arrived at the bus station in Gangnam at about 8 or 8:30. We could have gone to Suwon to catch an 11 o'clock train but that would be too late. Instead we caught the ten o'clock bus - not much better. Oh, at the bus was going to Daegu, Korea's third largest city that sits about an hour away from Gyeongju.

We got to Daegu after 2am, I believe, and found a nearby love hotel where we settled for the night. At 8am the next morning I was woken by pouring rain. It's okay, I thought. We've been so lucky with great trips all this time so if this one is rained out and we're forced to DVD and norae bang all weekend in Daegu so be it. At ten the rain had turned to a mist and we head off for Gyeongju.

An hour later we arrived, worked out our return tickets back to Suji for the next day, and were soon sitting pretty on bicycles rented for the day at a cheap five bucks each.

Riding a bicycle around a wet, lush, and small Korean city is exhilerating. We felt the wind and mist in our hair and we easily went from tomb to tomb. Nothing like a day of tomb hopping. Everything was so green, with fog wrapped mountains the backdrop no matter where we went. It was beautiful and I don't think the rain took away from things at all.
Here we are in Timouli park where there are lots of large tombs including an excavated one that you can enter. From what I got, Gyeongju was once the capital of Korea during the Silla dynasty. During this time, important men and their wives were buried (much like the Egyptian pyramids) in these tombs. They are dug out pieces of land with a wooden casket inside a stone lined area. The body and the body's possessions (swords, jewels, etc.) are entombed. Then the stone area is covered with dirt and planted with grass. If intruders try to enter from the side the whole thing will collapse on them. Suckers.

We also biked to this recreated place... uhh... I didn't pay attention but it was pretty. There was a frog amidst lilypads.
There was also a lot of bamboo growing naturally. Imagine that, bamboo growing, not bamboo as furniture. I once watched a program on Arirang about bamboo and now I like it a lot. Growing, not as furniture.

We ate a very delicious lunch at a foreign restaurant called Terrace that was recommended by trusty Lonely Planet. Have I mentioned that I'm damn sick and tired of Korean food. I am. I hate to admit it but I am.

Then we went on a love hotel hunt that shouldn't have been too hard but we were looking for 30,000 won or less and a lot of people shunned us. Why? It was mid afternoon. Love hotels are so creepy. You walk into the dimly or flourescently lit lobby and the reception desk is only a tiny little glass hole for speaking through. We bend down and peer in to see some old ajumma or ajoshi sleeping on the floor or watching soap operas. They reluctantly pull themselves up to tell us there are no rooms for us. We found one and it was fine. Then we napped.

Later in the evening we took a bus to the ritzy part o' town to pay our second visit to a sauna/spa. It was lovely. I was hoping for another full body skin scrub but I think there was some kind of miscommunication and the naked scrubber woman told us it was 20 bones each. Too rich for my blood. Later we realized it was ten each, twenty all together. Damn, I wanted that scrub.

All fresh and clean we jumped in a cab to Dongguk university area where we hoped to head to a bar recommended by LP. Turn out it's no longer in excistence so we went into the nearest one. We were just stumbling over a menu with no recognizable food items when a guy sat down with us to chat. The night soon turned into a hilarious time of drinking, eating chicken stomach (I don't recommend this!!) and trying to talk to this guy and his girlfriend who both spoke only a little more English than we speak Korean.



Today we went to Bulguska temple. Ever hear of AFC syndrome that is common with travelers in Europe? Another Fucking Church, for those of you who haven't. I think I'm suffering from AFT syndrome. That's alright. The sun was shining and there was a tour group of senior, fat white people from America to gawk at. What a sight to be seen. What were they doing in Korea, I wonder. I'm as surprised as you are that I didn't get them on film.


We hung out in the sun with the grass and mountains surrounding us, walked through town from the train station to the bus station, and made it home in time for me to do all this blogging with out it being too late. The bus ride through Korea was quite beautiful. Half of my pictures are being refused by flickr uploader right now which is a shame and a pity.

I'd recommend visiting Gyeongju to one and all. It's nice.

2 Comments:

At May 29, 2006 1:08 AM , Blogger Randi said...

Trip looks great Jess! Really beautiful scenery :) Just the name Love Hotel kind of freaks me out. What's the weather like in S.K. now? Here, it's hot, humid and sunny, everyday. I haven't seen rain in...3 or 4 months, really strange.

Can't wait to hear about your next trip!

 
At May 29, 2006 4:46 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

It was such beautiful scenery! Why does love freak you out?? :)

The weather here is very mild and even warm I guess. I haven't been paying attention but it's t-shirt weather all the time, even in the morning and evening. At least in Suji. In the places I've gone on the weekends it's been slightly cool. It's probably very similar to Toronto's weather actually.

No rain in three or four months! There has been little rain here.. five days in May have been rainy. But the monsoon season is set to arrive in a month. Luckily I'll be gone!

 

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