A few weekends ago I took my second trip with Seoul Hiking Group to Gyeongju. Our first night we stayed in a Yangdong, a lovely hanok village before moving on to the southern city famous for its ancient history and modern beauty. A shoutout to Warren, Diana and Breanne for organizing another great event! Gyeongju is a former capital in South Korea and holds a wonderful heritage. Exploring Yangdong was a great way to get started before heading to Namsan mountain. (yeah its different from the Namsan in Seoul I saw with my students). Gyeongju’s Namsan is a great hike boasting wooded pathways, ancient Buddhas and royal tombs. We started out strolling along a path and quickly came to a series 3 royal tombs. Korean tradition is to build these massive mounds for their ancient rulers and they can be found all over Gwangju. Back on the trail we walked past ancient sculptures as the path became less obvious. Flowers were in bloom throughout the mountain providing a colorful spritz to each scene.
After crossing a stream we found the first fork and followed Warren’s advice taking a left quickly discovering an intricate carving. The Three Buddha carving is famous in the area and hundreds of years old!
The path continued and Spring grew ever more evident. Before long we found our first view of the valley so of course I climbed a boulder and struck a pose!
Passing a gorgeous Buddha, we enjoyed the view and some water before going back to the climb. A few more boulders and turns brought us to a staircase and eventually a temple.
We didn’t stay long at the temple. By now I found myself at the end of the group after stopping for so many pictures! We kept trucking and quickly found another lookout and some gorgeous blossoms. A few more steps and I could see the majority of the group relaxing on a ledge in the distance.
Moments later I joined them. After a quick photoshoot and some deep conversations about life, the universe and everything it was time to turn back down the road.
Enjoying our final moments on the peak (some with makkeoli) we remembered that ahead of us lie an afternoon of biking! Lucky for us the stroll down the mountain was just as beautiful as the hike up.