Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Roadtrip to Gyeongju! (DAY 2)

We got a late start on Sunday!  We both woke up after 10:00am and didn't head out until 10:45am!  We headed to the nearby market for some fresh fruit for my breakfast and then on to Paris Baguette for some yummy pastries for Aaron!

Then we rode scoot over to the area with all of the Royal Tombs, where we found some ancient stones (Yes, I realize all rocks are ancient, but these are different) to sit and have our breakfast under the shade trees!

The park (or graveyard) is truly stunning... I love the look of the royal tombs in Korea!  They're like giant grassy noles (sp?)!  I put the camera on a tripod and set the timer (which takes 5 simultaneous shots)...  This one was by far my favorite!

A beautiful, lonesome tree in the graveyard...
You would never know there were hundreds of people all around us at this point in time!  Korea is outrageously crowded, and we're stepping all over each other most of the time!  It just happens to be that Aaron and I are getting good at taking pictures where it looks like we have the whole place to ourselves! :) 

Another lonesome tree in a field, near a royal tomb.

After walking through the royal graveyard, we hopped on bus #11, headed for Bulguksa Temple, one of Koreas most famous temples!  We got there and walked across the street to grab some lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant with a patio - a TRUE luxury!

I had drunk a fare share of water and needed to use the little girls room, so I asked the lady working at the restaurant where the bathroom was... she pointed outside, but didn't say right or left, so I was on my own!  Inside the first door I opened was this BIG DOG!  I'm not afraid of big dogs, but when you open the door to a big dogs territory, you better be ready to run!

Lucky for me, he turned out to be a very docile and sweet dog!  He was thrilled that I opened his door, and slowly came walking towards me, with a waggy tail, and tired eyes, looking for a little love, which I was more than happy to give!

Ater lunch, we walked across the street and headed up the beatiful path to Bulguksa Temple, located on the slopes of Tohamsan, in Jinheon-dong, Gyeongju.  There were rolling fields with beautiful white flowers on either side of the pathway with families spread out, all around, enjoying little picnics of kimbap and makoli!  I thought it was the perfect spot to stop and take some pics!  This is me, behind the secenes:

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them." --Henri Matisse

Aaron and I at Bulguksa Temple...

We eventually left the beautiful fields and meandered the paths toward the gate of the temple complex.  Bulguksa Temple is a humongous working temple and quite possibly the most impressive temple in Korea. It's regarded as a masterpiece of Buddhist art, and was built in the 8th century during the Silla Kingdom period.  It's sad to hear stories about the Japanese coming and destroying all of the Korean temple complexes, but pretty cool to think a temple has occupied this exact land since 550 AD.  You just don't get that kind of history in the USA.

No temple would be complete without gigantic freaky looking guard statues to scare off the evil spirits!

Bulguksa Temple was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995.

This lotus pond greets you as you walk through the main gate of the temple complex.  Unfortunately we weren't here in the right season to see the lotus flowers in bloom!

This was a small prayer hall in the back of the temple complex... 

which had this huge bronze buddha sitting inside...

Outside the small prayer hall is a rock garden where visitors can attempt to make their own rock stack.  Rock stacking was a concentrated discipline of reclusive Buddhist, Yi Gapyong.  Koreans now practice it for the art of devotion.

I practiced it for the art of balance and having a steady hand! 
Turns out I have both balance and stead hands! Win, win!

Aaron is much taller than your average Korean... especially your average Korean from 1200 years ago!

Beautifully and intricately carved door handles in the temple complex.

In front of the main prayer hall there are two famous stone pagodas, which are both National Treasures in Korea. This is Dabotap, which means "the pagoda of many treasures."  It was so delicately carved that they say ‘Silla masons managed stones like clay’ to create it. 

This is Daeungjeon (대웅전), the Hall of Great Enlightenment, also know as the main prayer hall at Bulguksa Temple.

No humungous buddhist temple is without a gazillion souvenier shops, filled with budhist bookmarks, prayer beads, and in this case, ugly hats!

While waiting 45 minutes for the next bus to come to Bulguksa to take us back to Gyeongju, we decided that we would leave and head back ot Busan that night, to beat the holiday traffic on Monday!  So, we headed back to the hotel, cancelled our rooms and jumped on scoot!  We took back roads all the way back to Busan this time to avoid the busy highway!  The scenery was beautiful... including this enormous wheat field that Aaron asked me to walk through for a photo opp!   

After an hour or so of driving, we stopped at this rice field to let Scoot cool his engine!  The Korean countryside is truly stunning in certain areas! :)

We ended up stopping for dinner in Ulsan and then stopping again, once the sun went down, in Onyang.  We stayed the night there and continued the journey in the morning!
Scoot (and Aaron) did such a great job of getting us all the way back home to Busan! Thanks you two!

On our way back to Busan, we took the coastal road, which ultimately lead us to the famous Haeundae Beach!  Lucky for us, Haeundae has our favorite Mexican spot and it happened to be the weekend of the Sand Festival, so sand art was being hand crafter all along the beach!

Pretty increidble, huh?!

There was even an area where the artist had sculpted the sand AND spray painted it!  The talent in this world is simply amazing!

We finally made it back to Yeongdo around 4:30pm and were both exhausted from the long drive and fun trip!   Not sure when we'll get out of Busan again next, but I do know we just bought ticket for 16 days in Vietnam in August, so we're definitely looking forward to that! 
Until next time!!
Thanks for reading about our Gyeongju Adventure!
<3 Jill and Aaron

1 comment:

  1. beautiful! the pictures of the green hills in the back look like they are edited in...they are so perfect. enjoyed seeing the stacking of rocks, what a interesting discipline...i love your adventures!!