Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend in Daegu - Part 2 - Palgan-san Park

We woke up around 9 or so Sunday morning, got dressed, checked out and walked to get breakfast at a little place called Sunshine Toast and Coffee. I had a latte and strawberry jam on toast. Jeff had coffee and Sunshine toast (or toast with cabbage, pickles and some kind of sauce in the middle. He wanted a waffle but they were out. He was not expecting pickles). Then we walkd over to the bus station to see what time the last bus for Jinju left.

On our way to the correct terminal we witnessed a cabbie fight. One cab driver honked at another and made him move. So the second cab driver pulled out, got out of his car and walked to the first one. Then he girl slapped him on the face a couple of times and wouldn't let him out of the cab. Then he got back in his cab. They were yelling at each other the whole time. This apparently happens often because Jeff and I were the only ones paying them any attention. Nobody else even looked at them, but we stopped walking to watch.

After figuring out the correct terminal and bus times, we got back in the car and drove to Palgong-san provincial park. This is one of the bigger parks in Daegu and has a big Buddha statue. It look about 30 minutes to get to the park. Once we got it, we found a tourist information center that had a map of the park in English.

Mini Shelby at tourist building

Park Map (we were not on the map during the initial hike)
The map wasn't laid out very well and Jeff and I went the wrong direction and ended up hiking to the monks living quarters and various hermitages. It wasn't off limits, it just wasn't the touristy park (not to mention it was very uphill).

Graves with ancient writing

Living quarters
Jeff was a trooper and put up with my slow walking. By that I mean when I stopped to rest he threw mini pine cones at me. 
Crossing a bridge to a hermitage

Figures at the base of a grave marker
View from the top hermitage
We also saw these 3 cats, which made me think of mom. Partly because it was cats, mainly because we watched this one cat stalk the other for about 5 minutes and I could picture her yelling at us for watching cats instead of looking at the buildings etc. (a la Venice pidgeons). We then took the "senic" route back and climbed up on top of the hill instead of on the paved path. I was proud of myself because I don't like narrow paths where you can fall off the side of things and I actually made it up without having a total panic attack (although it took some coaxing and repeated you're not going to fall offs from Jeff). I mentioned before that Koreans are into hiking. Well this place was full of people with fancy walking sticks and hiking gear.

We finally figured out we were in the wrong place and walked over (easy walk) to the main buildings. People were drinking from this fountain from those plastic bowl things.
Center fountain with drinking cups
They were also touching this rock, which according to the pamphlet is the tail of a phoenix and the little rocks are eggs (the pavilion is supposed to be shaped like a phoenix).
Phoenix tail rock and "eggs"
Dragon stairs
I wasn't sure what I could take pictures of, so I didn't get the 3 really cool gold Buddhas inside the main temple (national treasure 1563). These are pictures on the doors of Daeungjeon main worshipping hall.
Roof of main hall

Door painting on main hall

Door painting on main hall

There is a large circle with a bunch of buildings in it. There was a gong, an individual bell tower and a large beller tower coupled with a drum. There was also a room with 4 large bright colored painted guys. People would walk in the room and bow to the guys.
Gong tower
Bell and drum tower
Door of back hermitage
Two of the big guys
Then we walked around to the lower section with the big statue. We passed the flag poles which were built at the end of the Silla dynasty and the Priest Inak monument.
Flag poles
Priest Inak Monument
Frozen waterfall near flag poles
The main area was roped off, which sucked, but you could still see the Tongil-daebul Buddha. It's 30m high and was finished in 1992. It the world's largest Buddha. Supposedly 2 of Buddha's bones are in the body of the statute. 

They also have a little museum and told me I could take pictures with no flash. You had to take your shoes off and wear slippers to go into the musuem. After seeing the big Buddha we decided to skip the 108 steps and some of the smaller temples and instead started on our way to Muju (next post)
Claymation of monks in musueam with gods looking down on them

Piece in museum

Fountain outside of Buddha statue. People were offering water in the silver cups and drinking from the plastic ones

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