The Banks - Half a World Away travel blog




Now in mainland South Korea, on the south-east corner.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

108 is a significant number for Buddhists – ask when we get back.

So a good idea for your Temple built on rocky promontary is to build several steep twisting narrow flights totalling 108 uneven steps as the only entrance and exit to the Temple complex for all visitors, most of whom decide randomly to stop and take a selfie of themselves with the view/a picture of the statues etc on the way down, causing huge congestion and dangerous pushing impatience from those further back who cannot see the reason for the stop. What this site needs is an escalator….

Excellent statuary and great coastal views when we did finally make it down; slightly marred by excessive amounts of scaffolding structure, which are waiting to be decorated for the summer in awnings/coloured paper globes, but just now make it look like a building site.

APEC House – they are very proud of this – it was built to host an APEC conference and is architecturally quite interesting. The surrounding park/coastal views/walks would have merited further time spent there.

Lunch. Oh dear me.

Me : (catching eye of lady opposite returning after 3 heaped platefuls + ice cream and now bearing a cake, and hoping my eyes had not said too clearly good grief you aren’t still going surely….) “One more small morsel ?” (meaning: “waffer-thin mint?” )?

Fortunately, this missed her by a country mile (senses presumably dulled by calories)

Her : Well, you have to try everything, don’t you ?

The general idea seemed to be to do just that, all on the same plate and all at the same time, and then go round again carrying on where you left off; there must have been 500+ plates of food hot, cold, veg, salads, fish, sweet, fruit, ice cream and some people clearly did not want to miss out..….

I obviously missed both the “you must eat your own bodyweight” sign, and also the “if you eat so much you don’t need dinner later the cruise company gives a refund” sign. If I had eaten as much as some of such mixed dishes, I would not have needed (or wanted) to eat till about Wednesday. We were very grateful we were sat on the coach BEHIND some of the people at our table.

Particularly as the afternoon’s entertainment started in the largest fish market in Korea – tanks and tanks of live things – if it lives in the sea, they had a tank of it, over an area the size of a football pitch. Yuk. But very busy with locals buying and browsing as well as tourists.

Opposite this was a market area for general goods; lots of mazy lanes, and hundreds of small stalls of food, clothes, toys, hardware…. very easy to get lost. We found one knitting wool stall, with a group of knitters gathered round inside having a “knit and natter” afternoon….

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