Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gyeongju and the Korean countryside in the fall

Last weekend I took advantage of a 4-day weekend and visited Gyeongju with my girlfriend.  I'm actually quite lucky that my school has a short break in between terms every two months.  It allows me to enjoy trips like this somewhat regularly.

Ever since I got to Korea, my students and Korean friends have suggested Gyeongju as a place to visit because of its significant role in the history of Korea.  Basically, it was the capital of the Silla Dynasty from 57BC-935AD which was one of the longest dynasties this world has ever seen.  You can read more about it here if you're interested.  A lot of the history of that dynasty has been preserved by the generations since, and even a lot of it has been rebuilt.  All of this combined with the fact that the fall season is in full-swing in the southern part of the country made for a wonderful trip.

Definitely one of the more amazing sites that we visited was Anapji, which is a pond in Gyeongju National Park.  It was rebuilt about 40 years ago and it is stunning, especially at night.  Everything is lit up and the reflections off the water are amazing.  If you're in Gyeongju, I definitely recommend visiting this area at night.

We also visited Bulguksa Temple which was beautiful and amazing as well.  As I said, there is a lot of history in this city.  Bulguksa is well known in Korea for having been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.  There are only 981 places in the world recognized on this list, so it's quite significant.  

Overall, it was an amazing trip and it is well worth visiting Gyeongju if you have the opportunity.  It was relaxing and that was needed as I prepared to start my 5th term teaching in South Korea.  Yes, I said 5th term.  Where is the time going?  In just a few short days I will have been here for 9 months.  What an experience it's been so far.