Pilgrimage

The rustic charm of our accommodations needs further mention.  The guidebook said it had “local charm” but it’s better than that. Jon is totally ready to throw out our bed in lieu of sleeping on the floor.  Now all we need is a ramshackle courtyard filled with dusty gravel, tiny chairs, and shaggy dogs.

ramasarang

Let’s talk swastikas for a minute. They’re around.  In Gyeongju, in particular.  They’re traditionally used in Buddhism to mark temples but on this one street near us, they’re on every store front.  Kellie is rightfully nervous.  The bad ones face the other way, you say.  We’re still minding our Ps and Qs.

swastikas

Speaking of minding her Ps and Qs, Kellie drinks coffee from those old machines that drip coffee into small paper cups.  Every day for her is like a 70′s TV show about working in a police precinct.

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On the menu today: a UNESCO temple and Buddha statue from the 8th century.  The temple was lovely.

Jonsbuddha

We did all the right things.  Stack rocks on top of other rocks.

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And bang the big bell.

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The best part, though, was the hike.  The temple and the grotto housing the statue were 3kms apart, all up hill.  Hiking wasn’t really in our repertoire before this trip.  In fact, if you ask Jon’s parents about taking him to mountains for a nice afternoon walk as a child, they will tell you some stories about how much he liked it.  It turns out, in this case, the hike was the best part.  Maybe it’s all this time spent at Buddhist temples or being in shape or growing up, but, today, the means was the end.  The pilgrimage was the shrine.  And the view wasn’t bad, either.

ramamontanas

Plus, you know, foliage.

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We’ll spare you pictures of the chipmunk we saw eating a nut and the purple-headed Korean chicken we spied in favor of this selfie with paper lanterns.

selfielanterns

There’s a restaurant here that specializes in lotus root including lotus root liquor.  We’re gonna find it later.  Kellie will post a picture when we do.  Tomorrow we’re headed back to Seoul for a day of greatest hits before it’s time to fly home on Sunday.

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