Gyeongju – far away from the glitz of Seoul

Japan feels so far away now, even if we left only 3 days ago. I was expecting a gentle amalgamation of China and Japan, but Korea is so far a different mixture altogether. Definitely different from Japan, although really, I doubt there is any other country that is similar to it at all.

Busan was a rough around the edges city, busy with trade, beach culture and maybe a bit lost in its standing as the second biggest place in Korea. Fun never the less.

Today we arrived in Gyeongju, an old capital of the kingdom of Silla and it is probably one of the best historic places we have been to so far. Why? It’s not the mound tombs that remind you of how important the area was all those years ago. It’s not the temples and ponds and the rest of the sights. It’s the fact that its old crumbling buildings and crooked alleys make you feel the breath of history with every step. The city is delving into modernity through a few streets with classy shops adorned with flashy signs, but barely like a toddler learning to walk. Its awkward, unpolished and maybe even a cute attempt to change.

We are staying in a 120 year old house and loving it.

 

Notice the mound tombs in the background to the right. They are everywhere.

Unfortunately, we can’t stay a few more days, as we all wish we could. We have to push on and make it to Seoul to start the visa process for our India visit. As usual, we are pushing the deadline to its limit. Visas should take a week to organize. We arrive on the 28th of September and the tickets we have already bought have us on a flight to Delhi on the morning of the 6th of October. Triple yikes.

But before we enter the super glamour and hight of modernity that is most likely awaiting us in Seoul, we are taking a breath of peaceful air here.