Afterwards we headed for Namsan tower. This is a communications tower that was built in the mid 1970's, on top of a mountain. It was opened to the public several years later and is a true landmark of Seoul.
We took a hiking trail to get to the base of the tower. It was about a 4k hike and was full of steps. Today was the best weather we have seen since we got here, and while it was still hot and humid, we enjoyed the hike.
Some of us hiked back down the shorter side of the mountain, while others took the cable car down, then we took a cab to Yonsei University. It had been 10 years since I last saw this part of town and it had changed so much. Gigantic building have gone up, and there is still tons of construction going on. For anyone that doesn't know, I lived at the International House dorm at Yonsei for a year from 1991 - 1992, I went back for a visit in 1997, but had not seen it since.
After spending some time checking out the area surrounding the dorm, I wanted to take everyone to Bongwansa, a working Buddhist Temple that was (as I remembered it) a short walk from the dormitory. Unfortunately things have changed so much we got a little lost and took quite a "tour" of the area before finding Bongwansa. The Temple was under heavy construction when I left in 1992, and (Like everything around it) has really change.
Not to be confused with the Palaces we visited, this is a modern Buddhist Temple, the building are not ancient, or are meant to portray history in the way the Palace gardens are. This temple is more liken to a modern day church, with history that runs back to 889. About 50 monks live at the Temple.
Here are some photos of the Bangwansa Temple.
Once we were done here, we headed back to the hotel, showered up and changed. We headed over to War Memorial Museum for a little while, and looked over old war planes, tanks and helicopters. We met Grandmaster Lee and his Grandson here and headed over to Steven (Buck) Rogers house who lives on YongSam Army base with his wife and children. Buck is a Blue Wave black belt, he is a Doctor for the Special Forces and the only Eye Surgeon on the base. It was nice to spend some time with him catching up, and of course the pizza and beer didn't hurt!
Another amazing day! We register for the Kukkiwon course tomorrow. I have really enjoyed doing all the tourist type stuff, but am ready to begin the course.
Catch up again tomorrow!