Finally, an overnight trip with my girls! <3 I’ve been suggesting a trip for ages but on the first weekend of December we finally made it. Aoife, Alice, Camille and I went to Gyeongju, also called the open air museum of South Korea. You can find loads of historic buildings from the Silla Dynasty everywhere in the city. Other than that, Gyeongju is pretty quiet. Very relaxing for a change.

Waking up way too early to catch the bus, we spent all the way sleeping in very comfortable seats. In Gyeongju, we stayed in a beautiful female guest house located in center of Gyeongju and the ancient tombs.

First step is always FOOD! We found a Korean noodle place that served hot and cold noodles as well as dumplings. From there we took the bus to the Namsan Mountains: we wanted to hike the Seven Buddha path. But unfortunately, time went by so quickly, the sun started to set ._. We asked the tourist information lady (in very poor Korean) if there was any other path we could try in the amount of time that was left until it went dark: she laughed and said „You can walk around in the village!“ 🙂  Well, fair enough!

We took a stroll in the small neighbourhood, played with two cute dogs and looked and at all the cabbage and spring onions, people are growing here. At the entrance of Namsan Mountain you can also find the Tongiljeon Unification Hall (통일전). Tongiljeon is a memorial hall commemorating the unification of the three kingdoms of Silla, Baekje and Goguryeo. Since it’s not very touristic we were the only visitors, though it’s really worth a visit. We had a great view from here!

As soon as it was dark we went to the historic center: The Cheomseongdae is the oldest astronomical observatory  in South East Asia.  Wolji, the artificial pond that used to be part of the palast complex is nearby, too. The lightnings at nights made the stroll spectacular. Unfortunately, it was so cold that we were in desperate need for some lemon tea and red bean bread. Hwangnam Bread [황남빵] was first made in 1939. It’s pretty popular in South Korea and the perfect snack when you get there. Also, try the read bean pancakes. It has less red bean filling. Some people like that more, because they’re not used to red bean being served as a dessert.

Frozen to the bones, we then decided to buy some dinner at the Convenience Store and have a comfy movie night.

The next day started with a visit at the buddhist Bulguksa Temple located on the sloped of Mount Toham. This temple is just amazing! The paintings and statues are very well preserved. And different from other Buddhist Temples I’ve visited, you’ll find more small pagodas on the sides and behind the main buildings than usual. There will always be a path and some stairs on the right or left that will lead you to even more pagodas. And the decorations are just lovely.
Also, the alleys that lead you to the main entry looked beautiful with the autumn leaves. Even though it was raining we could have stayed there all day.

After a tea break, the bus took as further into the mountain to the Seokguram Grotto, which is also part of the Bulguka Temple complex. There you will find a 3.5 m big Buddha Stone Statue in a small round shaped grotto. Different than expected, there’s no long walk through the grotto. Anyway, there is an old bell you can ring right when you enter the complex in order to have some luck! (:  I always wanted to do that!

Right outside you can find some roof tiles with wishes and prayers. We decided to write one as well! Having spend almost everyday of the last months together, we wanted something to remind us:

We are grateful for what brought us together, our experiences so far and to come.

The rain didn’t stop at all. So we took a taxi downtown and escaped the bad weather. She showed us some of his favorite places and talked through his Papago App with us (: In the city we ran into a Japanese Udon Place and brought some postcards at the cutest stationary shop ever (배리삼 릉 공 원 next to Café Awesome, 278-1, Hwangnam-dong). This is a very cute area, full of restaurants, coffeeshops and stationaries. It’a a very young and hip area, which I didn’t expect from a small city like Gyeongju. And because I LOVE good coffeeshops we made it into one of those Hanok House Coffeeshops (Dessert Atelier) in Poseok-ro 1092 beon-gil: It looks like a traditional house, but well with a hipster touch 🙂 We had some great matcha and carrot cake! (Uh, I want some now.) and then headed back to the bus stop. It was time to say goodbye to Gyeongju! It was a great trip! I’m looking forward to more like these in Europe <3