Yongmunsa: Pt. 1 The Way Up

For three years now I have heard how you have to get out into the countryside and up in the mountains to see the best Fall foliage. Year after year passed and I never fully experienced this seasonal phenomena as it should be taken in.

Finally, this weekend I picked myself up and got on the Jungang train heading to the last stop, Yongmunsan station.

Although my body was tired from a stressful week preparing for the drama festival, I knew I needed to get out there and see the colors.

I arrived 30 minutes before the bus to the temple departs, and so took in the small town of Yongmu. It was a quiet little place with all the usual stores and entertainment spots. The quietness and lack of street signals reminded me of Jeju.

The bus ride up to the temple was filled with a scenic view of rice farms, traditional houses and of course colorful trees.
Below the temple is an area with a vast market and restaurants. Here there were lots of people getting their fill of yellow gingko leaves and fresh treats.

Getting off the bus the wind was a tidbit chilly, but things started to warm up. I made my way  up towards the temple, but first mingled around an area near a museum.

Already I knew I was fulfilling a Korean right of passage, I guess. As I made my way pass an old amusement park that was out of order, I admired the reds and yellows.

The picture above certainly is one of my favorites from this trip. If you have never experienced Fall colors than you might not know the feeling. But to me when I am under a tree full of bursting color it sometimes feels like nature is glowing. It helps, of course, if the sun is coursing through the tree.

The above is a picture of the gate where one enters to see the temple, which is situated in a small "V" of a valley. This path was, of course, full of people but it still managed to feel peaceful and helped me get that "back-to-nature" feeling.

Stone stupas, hand made, along the path.

 The following structure, in the next photo, was a bathroom and trinket shop.

Temple and more red and yellow explosiveness to come...