Korea 2008 Day Sixteen: Bongeunsa Temple

by Kara on October 23, 2008

I am finished packing, so I have a little time to write. Once again, Stephen’s Dad asked us if we wanted him to take us around, but Stephen saved us by saying, “We should be fine.” Maybe we hurt his feelings, but we didn’t want to run around like maniacs. Stephen’s Dad wanted us to go to two more museums, which I wouldn’t have minded seeing, but Stephen REALLY didn’t want to. So we set off with half a plan in mind. Stephen’s Dad was worried that we wouldn’t have enough money for the day, so he gave us an envelope of money just in case. Our intention was to try to just use the money his uncle gave us and not touch the envelope unless we really needed it. We managed just fine. We have about 20,000 won left over and we gave the envelope back to Stephen’s Dad intact. Because we had the money from Stephen’s uncle, our own personal costs for the trip were limited to airfare, Chiqui care and car service to and from SFO. I am sure we spent less traveling all the way to Korea than we did on our Southwest US driving trip last year. But we don’t have relatives in all the countries we want to visit. All right, we don’t have relatives in MOST of the countries we want to visit.

Bupwangroo was built in 1997 as an additional space for praying at Bongeunsa Temple.

Bupwangroo was built in 1997 as an additional space for praying at Bongeunsa Temple.

We ended up heading to the Amsa Prehistoric Settlement Site, which is the one we tried to visit on Monday, but it was closed. It was a whopping 500 won each to enter, so we spent less than a buck for both of us. Unfortunately, it was raining quite a bit in the morning off and on, so visiting the pit houses at the site was not so enjoyable. But Stephen did manage to get some good pictures. Next we went to the Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam. This is an active temple, so although guests are free to wander all over the temple grounds, there were lots of worshippers there as well. The temple buildings and statuary were really beautiful. Luckily, it wasn’t raining at all while we were at the temple, so we were able to see all of it and Stephen took lots of pictures.

After lunch, we went to the Janganpyeong Antiques Market. It was a bit of a disappointment because it was mostly furniture and the little shops were so crowed with stuff, we were afraid to go in and bump things with our backpacks. So we didn’t stay too long. We decided to try and find the Gyeongdong herb market, figuring it would be great for pictures. It did not disappoint. It rained a bit off and on while we were there, but it wasn’t bad. The volume and selection of herbs was astounding. This is not a food market – these were medicinal herbs. Then we crossed the street and found a huge market, mostly with food. It was great for photos and Stephen took lots of pictures. For the first time in Seoul, we actually got lost. We totally lost our bearings and were unable to get back to the train station. We ended up going to a different train station than the one we arrived at, which was fine.

Dried herbs such as licorice, sickleod plant seed, yellow flag, angelica plant root, arrowroof, and Chinese Bellflower for sale at the Gyeongdong Herbal Medicine market

Dried herbs such as licorice, sickleod plant seed, yellow flag, angelica plant root, arrowroof, and Chinese Bellflower for sale at the Gyeongdong Herbal Medicine market

Our last stop was the Youngsan Electronics Market. It was basically like a huge mall, except that each store had its own kiosk – it looked like one big department store, except that each counter area was owned by a different person. We just looked around for a bit, then headed off in search of food. We found a restaurant whose menu looked pretty good – we always choose places that have pictures of the food. But when we sat down, they didn’t give us a menu and all the menu items were written on the wall, WITH NO PICTURES. We couldn’t remember what we wanted to order at first. But we figured it out and had a nice dinner.

Alright, that is it for me for now. Gotta get some sleep before the excruciatingly long plane flight tomorrow. I am so glad we finally made it to Korea and I can’t wait to return and see more of the country.

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of South Korea.

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