The mountains in Songnisan were as beautiful as advertised.

The drive there takes you through many rice fields and ginseng operations which were interesting to see. I think the peak leaf season is still perhaps a week away, but they were still beautiful. The highest peak in Korea is there, which we were intending to climb on Sunday morning. On the drive to the conference I was informed that the conference was over Saturday evening and we were returning to Seoul (!). It turns out this was a surprise to many other people too. So, I am going to have to return to climb it.

This weekend might not be the day to climb the mountain in any case. There was an absolute torrent of people that grew more sustained as the morning went on. We walked back to the hotel about 11:30 am and could barely come down the path because of the solid wall of people walking up. I have never seen anything like it on a mountain path, though I have seen similar scenes on the Seoul subway.

I managed to forget to take a picture of the peak, but here is a shot of a valley near the peak. Note the swastika bridge. This carries you to the Beopjusa Buddhist temple there and then to the mountain path.

The temple is astounding and stunning. It was built in 553, there are many temple buildings on the complex, including one that is as almost as about half the size of Jogyesa (but still impressive) with three large Buddhas.

The main Buddha statue is a rare standing one and it is enormous. It is nestled up against a little hill and on this brilliant fall day it was quite a sight:

(That is me dressed like a waiter in front of it.)

Here is a side shot of the Buddha.

Lark was looking especially cute that morning.

As usual, almost 100% of the people passing her said "agi ba" which means "look at the baby." A great many of them, to Skye's chagrin, also pinched her cheek or gave her a hearty pat. When hundreds of people are streaming past you this gets to be a bit much over time. The path down, when we were going against the flow, was kind of a nightmare fending off people.

Here three women surround Skye and Lark at the temple. They literally ran over when they realized that the lil Buddha was there. Skye just called out "take a picture!"

In the little cricks running around the temple and through the woods, people have built these cairns, which are neat to see. There are some at places along the walk too, I don't know the significance of them.


Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
I'm sure your daughter will get comments like 'eepuda!'or'giyeobda!'which means cute in Korean.

You look like James Hatfield in your sunglasses.

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