Have we mentioned that Kim is a great guy?!
And we're glad that he stopped by because otherwise we weren't going to be able to say a proper goodbye. He made our visit to Busan very special, and we're so glad we had the opportunity to spend time with him and his parents.
Ruth, Kim, and Kevin
Thank you for everything Kim!
We headed out at about 10:00am this morning, a little later than we planned. No big deal, we were in no rush. However, if today's travel plan were an edition of "The Amazing Race", we would have lost today's leg!
We had to take the train from Haeundae Beach in Busan, to the city of Gyeongju. I had done the research, and we needed to take the subway a few stops to Haeundae Beach and then walk to the train station.
We got off the subway, and came up from the underground expecting to see the train station to our right. Instead, I saw what looked like it used to be a train station and was now some kind of art gallery!
We went inside and spoke to the girls in the gallery. One of them spoke enough English to tell us that a new station had been recently built and that we would have to take the bus or a taxi to get there.
I guess I missed that part during my research!
Because we had our bags with us and there are two of us, it made sense to take a taxi. Plus, we were already a bit behind schedule anyhow. Besides, taxis are cheap here. It turned out it cost 4,300 won ($4.75) for the taxi, versus 1,500 ($1.65) each for the bus.
The "new" Haeundae Station!
And it was in fact, a beautiful new station. I think they should have given it a different name from the old station located a couple of km's away though!
We bought our tickets for 5,300 won ($5.83) each for the hour and a half journey, but the next train wasn't until 12:10pm, so we had to sit around the station for an hour.
The train was right on time, and we were off! Finally had a train with clean windows, so here's a couple of pics from the journey...
I had already researched places to stay, but when the train arrived there was a tourist info place right outside the station. It's very common in Korea to have a tourist info place located at every train and bus station in the country...the only problem is you may not find an attendant who speaks English. We got lucky today, and the girl was almost fluent. She wrote a sticky note in Korean for the cab driver who would take us to our chosen motel, and again...off we went!
Only 3,600 won ($4.00) for the cab ride, and we were dropped off at the Sono Business Hotel. Given that many smaller hotels and motels are "love" style, we're not sure what kind of business the Sono Hotel caters to. But it doesn't matter to us because the rooms are clean and the price is right!
Ruth at the registration desk.
The guy didn't speak any English, so he used the Korean Tourism free 24 hour hotline...a free telephone service that connects you to a bilingual agent that will try and help you any way they can. In this instance, they provide free translation service between ourselves and the hotel desk clerk. What a great system.
We signed up for two nights...40,000 won ($44) for the first night, and 50,000 won ($55) for the second night which is a Friday. "Love" motels are busier on the weekends!
Love motels are common in Korea, just as they are common in Mexico. The tightly knit Korean family doesn't always allow for close connections of any other kind...hence there are easily available hotels and motels that are reasonably priced in order for couples to have some private time.
But let's remember, we're staying at a "business" hotel!
The hallway to our room.
Our room is great!
Nice and modern, with a 42" television and a computer terminal.
Then, we went out for a walk to visit the burial mounds!
View from the city of Gyeongju
These are located pretty much right in the city!
The Royal burial mounds are much better than I expected. These huge mounds date back to the 5th and 6th century, and a lot of ancient artifacts have been uncovered here. These are all actually tombs, and they're huge mounds of rock and earth. They're also Unesco World Heritage sites. Neat stuff.
They're doing some archaeological work here.
View from the top of one of the tombs. You can see other tombs off to the left of center.
This is the one we had climbed up to take the picture.
The fall colors are coming out.
The menu where we had dinner. Can you guess which items we did not choose?!
Okay, it's been a while since we came across a worthwhile Amazon deal for our American readers, but here's something that you should all be interested in. It's not easy to carry along a good workout system in an RV...so this should be of use to every one of you. And if you're not getting as much exercise as you know that you should, check this out... Perfect exercise setup for RV'ers!