Solo travelling

17th of July – Hiking in Gyeongju

Namsan mountain

Today I decided to climb up to Namsan mountain with my roommate. We left after breakfast so it was around 9am. We took the bus number 508, but it can be bus number 500, 505, 507. It took around 15 minutes to get to Samneung station. From there we started to take the trail to the summit of Geumobong standing 468 meter. It was lower than Bukhansan in Seoul but I still felt this one was more extreme. The road was full of rocks and steep.

It took around 1,5 hours to arrive to the summit. On the road we could see the landscape of the city but from the summit there was nothing only trees. There were many stone statue of Buddha as well as Buddha carving on the stone. There were Buddhist temples as well, of course small ones. I saw Buddha statues that didn’t have head.

After hardly arriving to the summit we went down to one trail to see the carving of Buddha. The road was so steep and in the end we did see the carving, but it wasn’t impressive. I let the guy chose which way to go. To go down or back to the summit. I wanted to go back and I knew the guy wanted to but inside I still hoped no, because the trail wasn’t a joke. Sometimes it was almost 180 degree steep.

Near the summit there was a postcard box like this. If you send the postcard here they will deliver it to you for free. Me and my roommate each sent a postcard. I wonder whether it would really arrive to the address or not.

Of course he chose to go back. Once you agreed to give others the choice to make you have to bear the consequence. We went back. That was definitely the hardest 400 meter I have ever climbed. Still I made it. We went down on different trail which was smoother but took 3 km. The whole trail took 4 hours for us to go up and down. We ended up in a Yongchang village and had lunch there. We each had a cold noodle (mulnaengmyon). We took the bus 500 to go home.

Bulguksa

Since it was around 1pm there was still a lot of time, I decided to go to Bulguksa and Seokguram grotto. We learned about this many times at school so I was curious at it. However I didn’t know what to expect. Not to mention the entrance fee to each place was 5000 won. So Bulguksa temple 5000 won and Seokguram 5000 won. They both are part of UNESCO world heritage that’s why they are so expensive.

I took the bus number 10 (11 is also possible) to go there. On the way I fell asleep and the moment I woke up I saw I was at Bulguksa station. I thought I had to get off there so I did. Turned out a big NO. I wanted to walk to the temple which covered 7 bus stations. I chose to wait 15 minutes instead. I was glad I waited because the road wasn’t that short.

When I got to Bulguksa the temple was much older than the ones I have ever seen. The colour on the wood starts to fade away. Probably because of the years. In front of the temple there are two stupas, Seokgatap and Dagotap. They are famous for containing the relics of Buddha. However no one can enter the stupas, so no one knew whether it was true.

Seokguram

The next one was Seokguram. There was a bus number 12 going there every hour. Not too often. So I decided to walk. Of course if not me then who? I walked on the road where the cars were running up and down. I literally followed the car route. I heard the road to go up there was only 20-30 minutes. But at 30 minutes I was at 1/3 of the road. Of course I met the bus going up there as well. I started so I couldn’t go back, so I kept walking and walking. Fortunately the road wasn’t steep. On the way I saw the beautiful view of the city plus the field.

Walking on the way I kept praying someone would stop and give me a ride to the Grotto. It happened. An ahjussi (uncle) stopped the car and picked me up. I was so grateful. He told me there was a hiking trail in the forest that would take only 40 minutes to get to the Grotto. No one walked on the car route like this. I could only gave myself a palm as how “smart” I could be.

Whatever I thanked the uncle, bought the ticket and went it. There was a short route to walk in as well. To be honest I was in a mood like I just wanted to finish everything as soon as possible. Then here came the big Buddha statue. It was simply a stone statue, a huge one of Buddha in a sort of temple hall. Taking photos or video wasn’t allowed, which was disappointing as I paid 5000 won for the entrance.

I could feel the calmness as well as the strong energy Buddha had. I felt much calmer after. After 10 minutes I left. There was nothing to do anyway. However later I realized I could have stayed more as I had to wait 40 minutes for the bus. I couldn’t bring myself walking through the forest again, so I waited. The bus came, I went home. There was nothing interesting on the way home.

I arrived back and my roommate invited me to have a dinner with a guy who came that day. After a shower we went out to find some food. We ended up eating bibimbap with a spicy octopus and the other guy ate spicy cold noodles. As I couldn’t eat spicy food I let the new guy eat it all. We also drank soju. The taste was like the mouthwash. I really didn’t like it. Makgeolli is way better.

I went home and after a whole day of walking and some shot of soju I felt asleep well.

The next day I planned myself an easy day but still very useful one. Stay tuned! 🙂

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