This was our most relaxed day yet. Instead of hopping out of bed before 7, we slept in a little bit and had a leisurely breakfast. After going nonstop for over a week, we needed a little time to slow down and recharge. Dumplings and mochi rolls…best breakfast.
It’s a good thing though we took it easy in the morning because Dr. Henry had another big day in store for us.We took the metro down to Suwon which took about an hour. Our first stop after getting to Suwon was to go get lunch. We went to a Taiwanese place and had some delicious fried dumplings and sweet and sour pork. Dr. Henry said as a kid it was his favorite meal, but he only got to have it once a year, so now as an adult he has it as much as he can. I also practiced my Korean reading. I’ve learned about half the letters and now can read the words for “fried dumpling” in Korean. Woo!
After lunch we drove over to Yungneung which is the royal tomb of Crown Prince Sado and his wife, Princess Hyegyeong. Their son was King Jeongjo of the Josean dynasty and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most dynamic rulers of the Josean dynasty.
The Crown Prince Sado was killed by his father and was never a king. However, his son, Jeongjo respected him greatly and when he assumed power, he moved his father’s body moved to its current location so he could visit it regularly.
The tomb itself is located in a large park and is a clearing surrounded by trees. It’s a very peaceful and beautiful location and while we were there we saw many people going for walks, having picnics, and just enjoying being outside.
From there we went to the Yongjusa Temple which is quite close to Yungneung and was built by King Jeongjo protect his father’s tomb.
As with many buddhist temples, guards stand watch. They are vibrant and fun to look at and cast a pretty overwhelming shadow as you enter the temple.
We got a great impromptu tour of the temple from a Korean speaking tour guide. She would explain something and Dr. Henry would translate for us. It worked out quite well. The best fun fact she told us what about the murals behind the alter in one of the buildings. They were created after a popular international Korean soccer player donated money for them to be painted. In his honor, soccer balls were painted into the murals. It was fun to try to find them.
After touring the temple we headed to the hospital where Dr. Henry works. It’s a Catholic hospital and there are several nuns who work there. The nuns live in a convent that is adjacent to the hospital building and he got one of the nurses to give us a tour. I’d never been in a convent before. They had a few rooms with displays outlining the history of the hospital. Most of the explanations were in Korean, but luckily Andrew went to Catholic high school so he was able to explain the significance of a lot of the things. I think the nun was impressed.
We went to the hospital, because we were meeting up with a few of Dr. Henry’s interns. Apparently once a month or so, he invites his interns to hike with him around Hwaesang Fortress and act as a sort of a tour guide.
Have a I mentioned Dr. Henry walks fast? I felt like we were in a chase scene just getting to the Fortress.
However, he did by us these sweet pancakes for a snack.
The fortress is approximately 5.7 km around as we traversed the whole thing. I felt some sort of satisfaction seeing that I wasn’t the only one struggling to keep up. Even the interns couldn’t keep up with his pace.
Periodically, we would stop and Dr. Henry would explain some of the features of the fortress to us. There are four gates (north, south, east, west) and each quadrant of the fortress is marked with flags – red, blue, black, and white. It was an extremely pleasant evening for a walk. The air had cooled down and as we made our way around, the sun was setting.
By the time we made it around, it was dark and time for dinner.
We stopped at a Korean (duh) place right next to the fortress and had another feast.
After dinner Dr. Henry drove us back to our hotel and we quickly fell asleep. Our relaxing morning seemed so long ago and soon it would be our last day full day in Korea!