Mt. Umyeonsan, Daeseongsa Temple and the Seoul Arts Center

My first hiking expedition was Mt. Umyeonsan.  It was named for it’s shape, which apparently resembles a sleeping cow.  I don’t see it.  Not super difficult, but it’s been a little bit since I’ve done any hiking so I was winded for sure.  It’s 293 meters, so almost 1,000 feet.  Also, I was excited to visit my first temple, and Daeseongsa Temple was somewhere on the mountain.

Koreans take their hiking seriously.  Everywhere you go, especially on the weekend, you see people in their hiking gear: specialty hats, hiking boots, pants, coats, backpacks, hiking sticks that resemble collapsible ski poles…they mean business.  Then there is me: cargo shorts, breathable t-shirt because I’m sweating profusely, running shoes, my Beavers rain coat tied around my waste and my camelbak which I neglected to put any water in.  Makes perfect sense.

The mountain is right next to the Seoul Arts Center, which includes an opera house, concert hall, art museum, calligraphy museum and other stuff.  The access to the trail is through an overpass containing the impressive Aqua Art Bridge.

It’s rained quite a bit lately but the trail up the mountain is not too sloppy.  I stop every once and a while to catch a breath, look at the birds and try to decipher the signs that are not in English.  There are little rest areas with benches, playgrounds and stationary work out machines.  People are stopped here and there having picnics or just reading.  Some people smile and say hi as you hike past them, most just look ahead.

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At the top there is a pretty good view of the Seoul Arts center, and of the rest of city and on out to the river.  Too bad it’s so smoggy and polluted.

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Disappointed not to run in to the temple, I take the trail down the other side of the mountain hoping to get lucky.  This side is much steeper.  The top portion is a stair case and the bottom section is pretty sloppy and muddy.  The stream was dried up and not running.

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I get to the parking lot at the bottom and… no temple.  But I look right, and decide to follow the pink lanterns strung on a wire up a paved hill…and bam, Daeseongsa Temple.  Open to the public, it is fairly small and very beautiful.  The speaker system on the outside was pumping the music and chanting that was going on inside the temple.  You could see a few people inside doing their Buddhist thing, and some more outside meditating by the fountain.  I grabbed a picture with Buddha and a few of the temple itself.   I wanted a Gatorade pretty bad since my camelbak was empty but the damn machine wasn’t taking my bill.  This nice old man was laughing watching me try to work the machine, so he gets a bill out of his pocket, and of course it works.  And the machine doesn’t spit your change out until you hit the coin return button, so again, he shows me how it’s done.

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All templed out, I rally down the hill to the Seoul Arts Center where there was a lot going on.  People were coming in and out of the music hall and the opera house.  There is a little park in the middle and a lot of people were playing with their children.  Down the steps, there was a little concert, a dude playing acoustic guitar, so I stopped and listened for a short while.  Recognize the song?

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on May 26, 2009.

2 Responses to “Mt. Umyeonsan, Daeseongsa Temple and the Seoul Arts Center”

  1. OMG – “Time after Time”?? The 1980’s done mall-muzak style. Actually, I like this version a lot better; dunno what THAT says about me. Wait; yes I do – means I’m getting older…. (Beats the alternative)

  2. […] Lotte World Cheonggye Stream Sights at Night Seoul Tower Bongeunsa Gyeongbokgung Palace Back to the Fish Market Scooter Rally and Korean Movie Theaters Noryangjin Fish Market Korean Baseball is a Trip Bosingak, Insadong and No Baseball for You Mt. Umyeonsan, Daesongsa Temple and the Seoul Arts Center […]

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