Day Sixteen-Seventeen

I had a relaxing morning, my bus wouldn't leave till 1 in the afternoon, so I headed to a nearby coffee shop to relax and get some breakfast.

Then it was onwards to the bus station, where I took a bus to Gyeongju, a city about an hour away.

Gyeongju-siSouth Korea35.85/129.21667


Gyeongju is sometimes called the biggest open-air museum in the world. It used to be the capital city of a civilization called the Silla. Spread throughout the city are many burial mounds from nobles and other people.

Since the bus ride was only an hour long, I had plenty of time left in the day to explore the city, but first, lunch!

Gimbap (rice rolls) and fried dumplings with complementary soup and other side dishes.

The higher the mound, the nobler the person. This was mainly done to protect the precious accessories buried with the person.

They excavated one such mound and made it into a museum where you can look at what's underneath. There is gold and other trinkets from as far away as Greece and Italy.

Besides tourists, there were also many people paying their respects.

Apparently, this is the spot to take a photo; I didn't queue up, though.

My hotel room was available for check-in, so I returned to the hotel for a nice shower and some rest. On my way there, I did get this cheese-filled waffle because there was a queue for a shop, and if there's a queue for food, it's always a good idea to join it.

After a nice shower (it was warmer than expected, with 25 degrees, sunny weather), it was time for dinner, BiBimGuksu. Cold noodles with vegetables and egg, and of course, the mandatory red pepper paste.

After dinner, I headed to a place called Donggung Palace. This palace included a pond that contained a ton of Silla relics, which are now housed at the museum next door.

The entire place is lit up, creating beautiful reflections in the water.

The whole place is just gorgeous.

Across the street from the palace is a huge park that's also lit up at night.

This weird-looking tower above is actually one of the first astronomical observatories called Cheomseongdae. The tower is built out of 365 pieces of cut granite, symbolizing the number of days.

I had actually planned to do all the things I did yesterday.. today, which means I have a whole day to fill with other things. I started with a small local snack, pastry filled with red bean paste, and delicious coffee.

A fortress gate was nearby.

I then visited a local market to get some Gimbab rice rolls as a snack and headed towards a nearby mountain.

The idea was to climb said mountain, enjoy the views, and then head back.

But there wasn't much of a view at the top; it was all blocked by trees. There were these nice buildings, though!

Dinner time was coming up, and while buying the Gimbap for lunch, I spotted a BiBimBap place, something I had been craving for a few days.

I wanted some potato-jeon (pancakes) as a side dish, but they were out. Instead, the owner offered me these fried things on the top right. I have no idea what it was, maybe fish(?); it tasted great.

In the evening, I made one last walk to a nearby bridge that's beautifully lit up at night.

On the way back, I just caught the tail-end of a tv-show recording; I'm guessing he's famous since everyone sang along.