We took the new KTX line directly from Seoul to Gyeongju--the line opened just three days after we left Korea in 2010, so we didn't get to take advantage of it last time. The express line cut our commute time in half at two hours.
Yesterday we hiked the trails of Bulguksa and Seokguram. Many of the lotus lanterns were still up from Buddha's birthday on Monday, which was really neat to see. Last night we went to a restaurant that Amul had found on a blog that serves traditional Korean meals. Lots of diferent banchan and stews. We ordered dongdongju, a freshly-made rice wine similar to makgoli, which was really good! It was cloudy like makgoli, but sweet and sparkling in flavor. Drew especially enjoyed the Korean alcohol. :)
Today, my immune system finally called it quits. I usually end up getting sick at the end of each semester, with all the stress of finals. However, this semester, I didn't have the luxury of down time after classes since we went to Korea right after classes. I woke up with a pounding headache and a sore throat--hiking four miles in the mountains yesterday probably didn't help. Anyway, I took it easy this morning and went back to sleep while Amul showed Drew around the various burial mound sites. After a nap and a nice hot shower, I'm feeling a bit better. I'll be meeting up with them in a little bit at the Gyeongju National Museum.
We leave Gyeongju tomorrow around lunchtime to head back up to Seoul. We'll have a little under a week back in Seoul before we head home. It seems that the things I need to stock up on in Korea are always so heavy! I always try to get new books on adoption that are published here in Korea and hard to get in the U.S. I also usually try to bring back a few bottles of my favorite shampoo which is really the only product that seems to keep my chronic scalp issues manageable. Anyway, while these things are fairly compact and easy to pack, they're very heavy to lug around and call for strategic weight displacement when packing.
Hopefully photos in the next post, when I can transfer images from the SD cards to my laptop!