Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gyeongju Road Trip 2012: Mountain Views and Shady Villages

Waking on Sunday morning was similar to the previous morning in that the main objectives were 1) get out of bed and 2) find breakfast and coffee. If you're new to Korea or don't live here you may be surprised to know that coffee shops aren't always open at the early morning hour of 9am and they rarely have their pastries fresh and ready at that god-awful early morning hour, but this crew wanted another bun with coffee and we're pleased to find the Papa Roti was able to provide just that.


With sugar and caffeine flowing in their veins the crew loaded the car and set out in search of a mountain location famous for some Buddhist stone carvings in an open air-cave. Much to the Harrington's delight, this destination is not number one for most in the Gyeongju area so after wandering down some narrow little streets in "redneck" Korea the Matiz was parked next to two other vehicles and a steep ascent began before they reached an impressive enclave of carved stones and group of snacking Koreans taking part in a lecture of sorts, possibly on the sacredness of the place where they all sat in their brightly colored North Face jackets, trekking poles leaning on the rock walls behind them. Regardless of being surprised by the presence of this rather large group for such a small place, the location once again reverberated with that feeling of importance and sacredness that the Harrington's and friends had enjoyed throughout the weekends sight-seeing.


Coming off the mountain, the group desired to pull into a town which claimed to have a street devoted to the sweetly marinated bul-go-gi beef for which Korea is famous for, however this delicacy was not to be found. Rather, the Matiz took the foursome down the two main streets and down the narrow roads criss-crossing the rice-paddies before dreams of bul-go-gi slowly faded as the crew left a town which a) did not provide what they claimed and b) had a creepiness vibe unlike other small villages according to Jon.

Fortunately, the Korean expressways are sure to provide a fine dining experience for the weary and hungry traveler so upon sighting such a location, the Harrington's and friends pulled in, ordered some Korean fare, played some arcade basketball and waited for their number to be called before getting their fill and finally returning home to Daejeon.

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