Well the weather has warmed up a lot this week, but it has remained overcast here in Songtan. So, Zoe and I hit the road. We drove down to a town called Gongju about and hour and 45 minutes south. On the way we visited a temple called Magoksa. It was really neat; very large and in a provincial forest. There were lots of trails up and around the forest that had neat mini temples, shrines, or pagodas. Zoe enjoyed the main temple and the 30 minute walk up to it from the car. It was along a creek the whole way so she threw lots of rocks and kept whacking things with a big stick. In the main temple we took off our shoes and followed the example of some lady temple-goers and did some bows. Zoe even copied and did a few bows, too! It was great…she wanted to stay and check out all the statues, but she was getting a bit exited and loud. Not temple behaviour. After Magoksa we drove into Gongju proper to check out a big fortress called the Gongsanseong; it was impressive! It’s a very old fortress from the Baekje period in the 600’s and has been added to over time. Unlike most Korean fortresses the city has not overtaken it and it remains it’s own little park up on an amazing hill. We walked around the whole thing on the wall (about 2.5 km) stopping to see the interesting pavillions, temples, and the palace grounds. It was just neato. Zoe enjoyed the walk, but I did carry her for some of the super-steap portions. After that we ate dinner across the street from the entrance and had a local favorite – bean stone rice bowl. All the side dishes totalled 26 before my actual stone pot came out! Zoe loves eating the dried fish, rice, tofu, scallions, onion pancakes, and seaweed.

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