Ibike Korea People-to-People Program

 

   

Photo essay: Gyeongju to Cheongdo

   

(80km, 50mi)  We ride out of the city into farm and valletys.
Points of interest: Tombs, temples, graves, pavilions, heritage houses, shines, lakes, rivers, farm valleys, mountains

  Tomb of General Kim Yu-sin Tomb of General Kim Yu-sin (595~673): Gen Kim was the great grandson of Guhyeongwang, the last king of Geumgwangaya.  He was a member of hwarang, the elite youth military corps, at age fifteen. Gen. Kim is considered the greatest Silla military leader and was the man who unified the three ancient Korean kingdoms.
  Tomb of General Kim Yu-sin Zodiac figure Tomb of General Kim Yu-sin Zodiac figure: The bottom of the tomb is encircled by 1.2m high stone panels on which the twelve zodiac animals are carved.  The serve to protect the area.  The tomb is 18m in diameter and 5.3m high.
  Sungmujeon Shrine: the mortuary tablet of Heungmu Daewang  (a.k.a. Gen. Kim Yu-sin) Sungmujeon Shrine: the mortuary tablet of Heungmu Daewang  (a.k.a. Gen. Kim Yu-sin) is enshrined here.  In 660, Gen Kim helped Taejong Muyeolwang annex Baekje to Silla, and in 668, he helped Munmuwang annex Goguryeo.  After that he drove Chinese Tang forces from the Korean peninsula.
  monument for Kim In-mun This tortoise-shaped stone base (Gwibu) is for a monument for Kim In-mun (629~694).  The tablet and the capstone are missing.  Kim In-Mun was the 2nd son of King Taejong Muyeol, the 29th king of Silla, and made a great contribution to the unification of the Three Kingdoms.  In the 7th century tortoise-shaped stone bases made a transformation to dragon head shapes. Near by is the royal tomb of Taejong Muyeolwang (r 654~661), the king who laid the foundation for the unification of the Three Kingdoms.
  Towns and villages are compact and end abruptly in farm land.  Autumn is a particularly pretty time because the rice is ripening and various shades from green to golden.
  Construction of Expressway #1 Construction of Expressway #1.  On one side of the valley it pops out of the hillside.  To the left of the picture it dives back into the hillside on the other side of this narrow valley.
  rice farms on the valley floor and trees on the hillsides Cloudy sky just added more richness to the landscape.  Though this was at the tail end of what could be a rainy season, we never got more than a light mist on a couple of occasion.  It is great cycling weather.
  Lake and hills The hills add to the texture of the landscape, and fortunately the road mostly followed the valley floor here so there were many pleasant miles of travel.
  Lake and hills In Buddhist tradition, an auspicious location for meditation has a mountain to your back and water to your front.  There were miles and miles of the route well suited for "motion meditation" and general good inspiration.  Along the way there were small tranquil fixed temples (right) as well, for those who prefer more traditional settings for  meditation.
  Heritage houses of Sinji-ri Folk Village Heritage houses of Sinji-ri Folk VillageHeritage houses of Sinji-ri.  This house was built in 1809 and repaired on a large scale in 1824 and 1905.  Because the house are within the Busan Perimeter, they escaped damage during the Korean Civil War.  Thee Seung-man, the first president of the Republic of Korea, stayed here during the civil war.
  Doilgotaek Heritage house of Sinji-ri Folk Village This heritage house, "Doilgotaek", was built in 1899.  The men's living quarters with octagonal windows stands near the main gate.  On the left and right of the inner courtyard are a barn and a separate house.  This layout is typical in the Yeongnam area.
  Small temple and river There is a small temple on the hillside to the right and men pass the afternoon fishing from the river bank.
  Weeping red pine Weeping red pine:  This tree is also called willow-like pine tree, because its branches droop like the weeping willow.  Legend has it that this tree, when a minister passed by it suddenly drooped as if bowing down to him.  The tree is presumed to be about 200 years old.
  Agriculture on the valley floor and forest on the hillside Like retail, most of the agriculture is small size family farms.  This makes agricultural areas very broken up and gives them lost of texture, color, rhythm and diversity.  A definite sign of low traffic volumes is rice drying on the side of the road.
  Christian church, South Korea Christian church, South KoreaIt seems to be generally accepted that 40% of South Koreans are Christians, 40% are Buddhist and the other 20% are unaffiliated.  Overlaying all of this is a Confucius philosophy.
  Persimmon orchard, South Korea Persimmon orchard.  We were getting into persimmon country at near the peak of production.  At one farm I was given a persimmon. This was also the pattern for the rest of the trip where roasted corn, apples, pears, sweets, coffee, cookies, pine nuts, and various other treats were offered, without accepting anything in return.
  Persimmon, South Korea Packaging persimmon, South KoreaA bumper crop of persimmons seemed to be everyplace.  From teams of two to crews of a dozen persimmons were being sorted and boxed.
  New Expressway Cycling may get even better on rural roads:  Throughout the country there is a huge amount of construction on express ways.  These roads tunnel in onside of a hill and pop out the other and then float above the valleys in between the mountains.  As they get completed they pull long distance traffic off the old highways leaving more spaces for cyclists.
  roadside break Stopping for a snack and check the maps for where we have been, where we are going, and what we won't be able to see on this trip and need to come back to checkout.
  express train, South Korea An express train zips between cities -- another element in Koreas "transportation choices" infrastructure.
  new expressway (under construction) harvesting rice, South KoreaA new expressway (under construction) hovers over a family rice farm as the family works to cut and layout the rice to dry.
  Fountain in Cheongdo fighting bulls sculpture in CheongdoWater fountain and fighting bulls sculpture in Cheongdo.  Cheongdo is a small town with a civic square with a couple of notable pieces of public art.
 
 

Gyeongju Goryeong

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