A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Stone lantern on the way to Hwa-eomsa



Side gate at Hwa-eomsa



Temple Guardians


The blissfully peaceful Gu-Am Hermitage

Gu-Am's 1000 Buddha Hall

Some of the 1000 Buddha's

Yi Sun Sin's battleship, contemporary to the Spanish Armada

My 'lurve hotel'

I've been on four buses and in four taxis today, had a great time and been all over the place. I got a taxi to the bus station this morning, getting there early as its the only place I know where I can get a proper coffee before about midday. And then a bus direct to Hwa-eomsa Temple, which was fabulous. There was hardly anyone at this fantastic old temple in the mountains near Kurye, and even nicer was this blissfully peaceful hermitage (Gu-am) further up the mountain behind it. This is definitely the kind of thing I came here for.

Two Korean hikers and I shared a taxi back to Kurye and I then got a bus to Suncheon. On arrival I headed for hotels near the bus station. I opened the door of the first one to find lots of couples dancing, shut the door straight away and moved on. At the time I presumed it was some kind of sex thing, but in retrospect they were ballroom dancing, so it was unlikely. The hotel I am in is rather strange though, I went for it purely because I could see it from the bus station and it was called the BMW hotel (I own a BMW car). At first I thought we were talking an hourly rates sort of hotel (and it does indeed have hourly rates, as do many Korean and Asian hotels), but for twenty quid (per normal day) I've got a big room with my own PC, a huge flat screen TV and even my own water cooler! The decor is very dodgy though, mostly black and pink with huge mirrors everywhere. (Later research established that this was indeed a 'love hotel', mostly used by Koreans wanting some privacy, e.g. young people).

It was still only mid-afternoon, so I got a bus down to the south coast at Yeosu to do Tae-kwon Do homage, specifically to chase up stuff to do with Admiral Yi Sung Sin, who we have to study for TKD, a Korean hero like Nelson and Drake combined except more inspiring. Luckily I got taxis, as what I though was going to be a small seaside village like St. Ives was more like a mountainous version of Liverpool and it would have been hard to get round all the places on foot. Then a bus back to Suncheon, another (average) Bibimbap, only 4 little side dishes too. And I didn't go wrong once today on my travelling! One thing I will say though, there are motorways being built everywhere here, which is a real shame as where ever you look there are loads of them already. On the other hand there are still those traditional hanok houses all over the countryside, even if they were disappearing in the cities.

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