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

A temple in the foothills of Bukhansan National Park

Fortress walls in Bukhansan

Some of the peaks in the south of the National Park, visible...

Late Autumn trees and peaks

Doseonsa Temple, Bukhansan National Park

Doseonsa Temple, much rubbed Budha belly...

Doseonsa eaves

Doseonsa lanterns

Doseonsa roof and lanterns

Doseonsa big bell and drum

Part of Seoul's northern boundary is the Bukhansan National Park, which is a pretty nice park in its own right, and even more so as about twelve of the Seoul subway stations access it (with a bit of walking involved). You can see some of the bare limestone peaks from the City, even from my bedroom for that matter. The downside is that 21 million people can get there very easily, and it is apparently the busiest National Park in the world. However, today at least it was fine in people terms. What wasn't so good was that I had assumed I would be able to pick up a map at one of the entrances, but the one I went in at had no such facility, and I didn't get a map till I left the park five hours later by another entrance. There were a lot of signs, and in English as well as Korean, but I had no idea what they were signs too, and which ones meant going up steep hills or not. (Some Korean maps not only say the distance betwen key points, they say the time to walk each way (the difference in the two times giving a good sense of how steep it is), and even sometimes how many calories you burn hiking each way).

Anyway, the long and the short of it was that I didn't roam the gentle foothills looking at temples as planned, but ended up hiking up and down steep paths to yet more mountain tops! However, it was nice, quiet, the peaks loked great, the trees looked great though many of the leaves have already fallen, and the only disappoinment was that it was too foggy to see Seoul itself properly from the tops. And I did manage to end up at Doseonsa Temple (where I was trying to start from), and that looked great, and there were ruins of the old mountain-top fortress scattered throughout the forest. That was all in the Southern part of the Park, I will head back (with my new Korean map) and explore the Northern part tomorrow on my last day before I go to Taiwan. And I saw some very flashy Tae Kwon Do on TV tonight too.

The youngest has gone feral again by all accounts, which is a concern, not least as aparently my house stinks now. Lets hope this is no longer the case by the time I return in about two weeks, or there may not be the loving reunion I at least would wish for.

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