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Full Circle

Day 47: Kyongju

Kyongju, South Korea 
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Joining the school outing, Pulguska.
Michael Palin - Full CircleThe centrepiece of this great cultural complex is Pulguksa temple - Historic Site and Scenic Beauty No.1. It was begun in ad 528 and its scale and superb decoration is another example of the sophistication of Shilla craftsmanship, aided, of course, by a readily-available slave-labour force. It survived intact for a thousand years before being destroyed by Japanese invaders, and its intricate restoration is very recent, highly expensive and evidence of the growing pride in all things Korean.

We drive up higher into the hills to take some shots of the distinctive saggy-tiled roofs from above. By now I'm beginning to suffer temple fatigue, a sort of cultural cramp which causes my brain to lock against any further intake of information, however enlightening. There are low tables by the roadside where snacks can be procured from old Korean men with ochre complexions and deeply-lined faces. It is here that I clock up another gastronomic first - crispy grasshopper, sautéed with soy sauce and sugar, and by no means as unpleasant as it might sound. Basil sticks to dried cuttlefish.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 47
  • Country/sea: South Korea
  • Place: Kyongju
  • Book page no: 73

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