So yesterday I went on a business trip with my coteacher to visit other English Centres in the not so nearby towns of Yeongju and Punggi. It was a busy day full of getting lost, eating donuts, and asking a million questions. It was also an interesting day of meeting tons of foreign teachers: one doctor on a gap year, a drama graduate who has been in Korea for 9 years, a Californian who has been in the country for 4 years and refuses to learn Korean, and a bucket load of friendly South Africans.
The most unexpected part of the day, however, was our post-meeting tourist stop at Buseok temple, built in 676 CE, arguably Korea’s most beautiful temple. What makes this place so unbelievably beautiful is the fact that, unlike other temples that are situated in the middle of bustling cities, Buseoksa is nestled halfway up a mountain and surrounded by forest. The story goes that the monk who would eventually build the temple had to leave his home suddenly. The woman that loved him could not say goodbye, and instead settled on throwing herself into the sea. But, fear not, she then turned into a dragon and protected his ship all the way to their destination. On arrival, she levitated a giant rock to impress locals into letting the monk build the temple. The massive floating rock is what gives the temple its name, and can be seen behind the main building. I’m not sure if it is indeed floating as is claimed, but it is certainly gorgeous and the entire place is just so peaceful. When we arrived it was rainy and windy and freezing, but after we emerged from the main building, the sun peaked through the clouds. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
There is also a Confucian College nearby, one of the earliest in the country, and although I think we may have technically been trespassing after hours, it is worth a visit too:) On a less ethereal note, you should also try Andong chicken. It’s wonderful! -M