Gyeongju Trip, Part 3

I got up at 9:30 in the morning on Wednesday and drank some of the complementary 3-in-1 instant coffee in the room. Then I went out to look for a new pair of shoes because mine developed leaks in the soles. By the time I found a shoe shop my socks were wet so I gave up.

Strangely, I couldn’t see any tall apartment buildings anywhere. Maybe the main tourist area is a no-development zone? In most cities and even small towns you can see high-rise apartments all over the place. It’s quite nice not to see them, actually.

I headed to the famous royal tomb park and made some photos there, despite the constant and slightly heavy rain. The park is quite nice, and I wish I could have visited in better weather.

 

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Just outside the park is a replica of the Great Bell of Shilla. I don’t know where the original is. Maybe Seoul?

 

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Public parking lot. It’s interesting how modern life and ancient remains exist side by side in the city. I wonder how the ancient Korean royalty would feel about ‘peasants’ parking by their final resting places.

 

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More modern and ancient in the same scene.

 

 

 

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An impressive root.

 

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This might be the obvious way to make a photo of this tree and tomb, but I rather like it. I think the tree on the right and the tomb to the left make the photo.

 

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iPhone panorama of a path and trees. Red leaves in winter! Beautiful.

 

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This display consisted of bits and pieces of ancient building that were dug up around the city. Archaeological ‘spare parts’, I suppose.

 

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Artsy-fartsy tomb photo

 

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Do Not Enter

 

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A couple of the few people I saw in the park.

 

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One of my favourite photos of the trip.

 

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More lovely curves.

 

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Peek-a-boo

I really enjoyed my time in this park and I think with a spot of good weather and a full set of photo equipment I could be happy for a whole week just photographing this one park.

It was getting close to dinnertime when I exited the park but it was hard to see anything except shops selling Gyeongju Bread. But off to the left was this small restaurant that sells traditional Korean meals. The sign says it’s been in business for seventy years.

 

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Country Wrapped-Rice

 

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The restaurant looks very large because this is a wide-angle panorama photograph, but it was fairly small and cosy.

A lot of the menu items had seafood but I was able to order a set menu featuring a kind of hamburger patty. I told the employees I can’t eat fish but they gave me five seafood dishes anyway.

 

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The soup at the bottom is made from fermented soybean paste and was delicious. The beef patty is to the right. On the far right is a number of leafy vegetables. The idea is to wrap up bits of meat, rice, and veg and pop it in your mouth. Yum. I ate as much as I could but there was a lot leftover. 

 

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I think I mentioned this is Part 2, but I wish that more buildings were like this one. Fantastic.

 

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Tombs in another park.

 

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Most visitors to Gyeongju come to see this 7th-century astronomical observatory. I guess it’s interesting, but I prefer the tombs and temples.

 

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A parking attendant’s bicycle. He put an umbrella over the seat to keep it dry, but it kept blowing off.

 

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City trees are often wrapped in rice straw during the winter. Someone once explained that insects make their homes in the straw rather than burrowing into the tree.

 

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I was tired of walking and I wanted to write in my journal so I stopped into this coffee shop.

 

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Its claim to fame(?) is a birch tree with memos attached. I guess people write their wishes on the memos and stick them to the tree. I wished that the owner would stop giving paper and plastic cups to customers who are drinking in the shop.

On the tourist map there was a village made of traditional Korean houses and I wanted to see that. It wasn’t far from the coffee shop so I set off after finishing my jasmine tea. I found the village easily enough and I was hoping to make a lot of photographs, but I was quite disappointed. All the houses had high walls around them and the houses that were open were converted to restaurants and coffee shops. I didn’t stay there long.

 

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village/commercial area

 

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This beautiful building is now a snack shop.

 

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I guess a lot of selfies are done here.

 

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The final disappointment of the village was this car blocking the sidewalk. The writing on the street says, “No Parking or Stopping.” To avoid getting a ticket, this guy just parked up on the sidewalk. Amazing . . . .

I felt knackered after walking so much, so I jumped in a taxi and went back to the hotel, even though it was just 2:30. I bought a convenience store lunch box to have for supper because I didn’t want to go out any more that day. I showered, took a nap, and spent the rest of the day in my hotel room reading, writing, and watching TV and movies until late at night. That was quite relaxing.

The next day I left Gyeongju and went to Daegu to visit a friend. I enjoyed my trip to Gyeongu, but two full days in bad weather was enough. I would really like to go back again some spring or autumn to photograph those tombs and maybe some temples.

I hope you enjoyed my little travel diary, and if you ever come to Korea I highly recommend Gyeongju. Bring an umbrella and some good shoes . . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Gyeongju Trip, Part 3

  1. Again, fascinating – does Gyeongju mean ‘Golden City’?

    It is interesting to see such a mix of very elegant old and incongruous new, but that is the same with anywhere these days. Those tombs are wonderful though – we have a number of known ones in Scotland and you’ll often be out in the country and spot something that doesn’t look quite right covered in trees and think to yourself I’ll bet that is a tomb. But of course a lot of glacial deposits acquire grass and mud and then trees, so maybe they are them.
    I think I am with you in the photos you liked too, though the tombs with the couple is rather good in the way their umbrellas mirror the curves of the land.

    All in all a fascinating trip – thank you – always interesting to see tasters of other countries – think you’ve inspired me to do a similar thing next time we’re through somewhere.

    1. Thanks for the lengthy comments. An old name of Gyeongju was Geumseong, which means ‘Golden Fortress’. I suppose the surrounding city would be known as the golden city, especially if it was a prosperous capital.
      Regarding the mix of modern and ancient being everywhere, remember that I’m from North America. The oldest building I’ve ever seen is from 1790. 🙂
      I’ve been getting good reactions to the Gyeongju trip. Maybe I’ll make some day trips to towns or historical sites around here and make photo reports. That would give me a reason to get out with the camera.

  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts on Gyeongju, Marcus. Very interesting reading about your adventures and of course seeing the photographs as well, from the documentary ones to the artsy ones 🙂

  3. I find it fascinating that there are burial mounds in Korea just as there are Native American burial mounds here and there across the United States. I’m aware of some in eastern Indiana, not far from where I am. They look similar to these.

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