A hefty elevation climb, but a short distance from my home is an oreum. Oreums are little volcanic burps under the surface that dot the island. These little hills generally have walking paths and at the top, a Buddhist temple or two.
So, it’s a lovely Sunday morning walk to head up to the top, about a 25 minute walk from my apartment.
Even though this is ‘tourist season’ and it was a Sunday, there were very few people. (Nothing like the crowds I got used to on paths in Busan, or even in Boulder!)
Buddhists generally put their temples in a natural setting to enhance the peace of mind of those who visit. As I walked up, listening to birds singing, seeing butterflies and moths flit in and out of the shade, I felt more peaceful with every step. A monk once explained that temples are positioned so they have a good view, so the temple itself can feel that same good feeling that we do when we enjoy a beautiful view.
On this oreum, there are actually three Buddhist temples. They differ in some ways, but share: lovely setting, and colorfully painted eaves, detailed pictures on walls, and beautiful sculptures.
As I approached, I could hear the bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,bop,bop banging of the little percussion instrument the monks use.
I wandered around the grounds of one temple. Unlike a busload of about 20 tourists that showed up, I didn’t go inside this time. Instead, I took a few turns at the exercise park on the edge of the grounds: lifting weights, stretching my arms by twisting a big wheel back and forth, and another arm flexibility exerciser that involves reaching up with alternative arms, pulling a cable up and down. These outdoor exercise parks are sprinkled about in towns and parks. A really cool idea!