i finally went to donghak-sa today. the temple is located in gyeryong-san national park, which is basically a huge mountain with 15 peaks and 2 dozen temples inside. gyeryong-san translates into "chicken dragon mountain" because the peaks look like the top of a chicken's head and the twisting of the ridges looks like a dragon's spine. great place to go for a day trip, like i did, or even for the weekend. the park is absolutely GORGEOUS. the weather was perfect, also- it's getting nice and cool and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. perfect day for being in the mountains.
the history of donghak-sa is actually kind of interesting- according to my copy of moon handbooks south korea, it was founded in 724 by sangwon josa, originally built for monks but is now one of korea's few temples that function as study centers and teaching institutions for buddhist nuns. i don't have much experience with seeing monks, so it was even more interesting to see buddhist nuns with shaved heads. i also got to hear some chants, which was very cool.
after i had my fill of the temple, i went for a hike, because the mountain has quite a few trails. i chose the one leading to the peak of gwaneum-bong, which was a few kilometers, but it ended up being some heavy-duty hiking compared to last week! last week we were basically walking on trails with wooden steps. here the trails are a bunch of rocks kind of laid into steps with some really steep/narrow sections- felt like real hiking to me. i didn't actually make it up to the peak because i started getting tired and thinking "it would suck if i got overheated and fell or something because i'm alone, and if i fell i'd probably go tumbling right over the side" (and there were some steep parts.) next time i'll have to make sure i eat more than carbs and sugars before i leave (lunch was dunkin' donuts- a bagel and donut with coffee) and that i get plenty of water, because there were definitely some awesome hiking trails and i'd like to take some pictures from the peaks.
the park also has PLENTY of restaurants and gift shops/stands. i went to one gift shop and got some incense and a holder, because my sink has been making my apartment smell kind of funky. i think i might need to get some bleach or draino or something for it. i don't think it's clogged, at least the drain is clear, but it may help with the smell and anything that may be hiding in the pipe.
the bus ride back was a little long because there was quite a bit of traffic/construction, and i didn't get back till after 7 i think (i didn't leave for the park until 1 or 2 i think.) so i was thinking of taking a korean class today that is offered at that church, but it started at 7 so i guess that's out of the question. and next week is another 3-day weekend and i'm hoping to do some real traveling so i probably won't be around for the next class either.
in other news, i'm trying to lay low this weekend. i think i've got the beginning of a cold, which sucks because i hate getting sick and i pride myself in the fact that i'm generally a healthy person. but i can feel my sinuses acting up and i'm feeling a little sluggish. so i opted to stay in last night and i'll probably do the same tonight. that way it won't hurt that much getting up tomorrow morning. i'm thinking of going for a run, checking out that church service at noon, and then maybe a trip to the jjimjilbang later on- i could go for some of those healthy drinks they make there. yum. and one of those massaging chairs.
anyway, here are some pictures i took today:
one of the buildings of the temple, a buddhist nun praying at the altar, part of the hiking trail up gwaneum-bong. and unseun waterfall. anyway, it was beautiful day, and i think it's settled that i'm going to move to the mountains.