• Day31

    Baekje Historic Areas

    September 27, 2019 in South Korea ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Today's site relates to the Baekje kingdom, which ruled parts of Korea from around 800-1100 AD. It was located in central Korea and was a long-distance bus away, so off we went. Subway to the bus station then a long-distance bus out to the city of Gwangju. Very comfortable, as the bus was a "Comfort" class which essentially meant armchairs and three abreast rather than four. Nice!

    Arrived in Gwangju at around 10am and grabbed some lunch supplies from the Paris Baguette chain nearby, then walked across the river to the site. The main area here is a large fortress, though aside from the walls most of it has been destroyed. We checked out a couple of gates and guard towers, then walked around sections of the walls. There was a large flattened section that was apparently where the palace was originally located, though later on we came across more recent excavations down near the river where they now believe the palace was probably located.

    We spent a few hours walking up and down around the walls in the hot sun, pausing only for 20 minutes to eat our lunch. It was pretty warm going and we were both drenched in sweat.

    Of course, every visit to a former royal palace and fortress usually requires a visit to the royal tombs, and this was no exception. We caught a local bus about 10 minutes up the road to where the kings from this dynasty were buried under a series of large mounds. There was a large and interesting museum attached too, showing off what they'd found in some of the tombs, and even full-scale replicas of a few chambers. Obviously you can't visit the originals.

    There was one quite significant tomb that had been opened in 1974, mainly because it was completely undisturbed with all the relics and treasures intact. But most importantly, one of the relics was a tablet inscribed with all of the king's great accomplishments - a fantastic historical resource.

    We had a look around the mounds outside, and bumped into a Korean man from Waitara on holidays with his family! Small world. But there was a lot of screaming schoolkids around too, so we beat a hasty retreat to the bus station before grabbing a long-distance bus back to Seoul.

    Not much to report in the evening, we decided to have Korean fried chicken and beer since that's a hugely popular thing here. Communal eating (particularly after work with colleagues) is a massive thing, and people love to go to chicken restaurants, eat fried chicken and drink beers. We had initially been shocked at the prices, but eventually worked out that it was for the whole chicken and would be enough for both of us. After ordering we realised that the chicken was just that - the whole chicken. Breast, leg, wing, thigh ... neck. We left the neck, we've fed too many to Schnitzel.
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