So, more about Kyoungju. For those interested in a speck of Asian history, I present the following snippet:
HISTORY BIT: A long long time ago, (about 100 BC) on a Continent far far away, (Asia) three l’il ‘ol city-state type areas bickered, fought, and sought alliances with China. The runt of the litter (the Shilla kingdom) was seen to be the least interested in wealth or war. However, as the stories of Clifford the Big Red Dog will tell you, the runt of the litter sometimes turns out to be big stuff. It was the little Shilla kingdom that eventually united the three feuding Kingdoms and created the first unified Korea. Kyoungju was the Capital for 1,000 years during the Shilla period. That’s a lot of history packed into one little city. It is often called “The Museum Without Walls” becuase you can’t take 10 steps without tripping over a piece of history. (Well, in my case, I can’t take 10 steps without tripping over my own two feet…but tripping over history is better).
‘WHAT I DID THERE’ BIT: I’ve been to Kyoungju before, so a few of the things I saw were repeats…but worth it. It was also great this time because it was Chuseok, or Korean Thankgiving. Everyone was at their family homes, so there weren’t many tourists. We went to Sokuram, which is considered to be one of Asia’s finest examples of Buddha. It’s way up on top of a mountain, and he’s got a big jewel in his forhead, so when the sun was rising or setting, you would be able to see it for miles around. The next stop was Bulguksa, a temple, which (like Sokuram) was built around 500 A.D. It’s gorgeous, and has what is considered to be “The most beautiful wall in the world”. It was pretty. It’s contructed with large, smooth rocks and no mortar.
THEN – the bonus of the trip… we were walking around the lake after a rotating Italian dinner. (Rotating because the three of us couldn’t decide what to order, so at 5 minute intervals, we’de pass our plates clockwise and enjoy 3 dishes instead of just one.) Anyway, we were stuffed and needed to walk it off. We came across an outdoor amphitheatre (is that redundant?) and sat down. As we looked around, it looked like the stage was being set up for a show! About 20 minutes later, a show of Korean folk and court dances started. It lasted an hour, was incredibly professional, and was FREE!! I assure you that my mouth was gaping through most of the performance… I looked just like a slack jawed yokel. The best of the best was “The Dance of the Three Drums”. It’s difficult to explain, so when Eva gets her pictures downloaded, I’ll post one here. (Silly me thought “I don’t need my camera, we’re just going for dinner”.)
And that was my weekend.