// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.
BUSAN I had originally intended to take a ferry from Japan to Korea, but my plans fell through and I had to fly instead. I landed in Busan, Korea's second largest city, complete with beaches and cool hillside alleys. Located on the coast facing Japan, it's the fifth-largest port in the world and a major commercial and industrial hub.
GYEONGJU From Busan I traveled by train across the country, stopping in two ancient temple cities along the way, the first being Gyeongju. Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which ruled most of the Korean peninsula from 57 BC to 935 AD. Today the city is filled many ancient temples, Buddhist stone carvings, and gardens. The first temple you see below is Bulguska Temple, which is 1240 years old.
ANDONG Andong was my second stop on my way to Seoul. The city was founded by the Jinhan people in around 1 BC and later became part of the Silla Kingdom. Today it is famous for maintaining a lot of local folk traditions. On the forested mountain slopes near the city (as many Korean Buddhist temples are located) is Bongjeongsa Temple, which was constructed in the 1300s. The yellow building on the right in the first photo is the Geukrakjeon (Nirvana Hall) which is the oldest wooden building in Korea, remaining an original construction.
SEOUL Finally I reached Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The city was founded in 18 BC as the capital of Baekje, one of the three kingdoms of ancient Korea. There are still a lot of old palaces and temples here. The city was historically encircled by a great stone wall, but all that reminds today is the massive gate house which you can see under the three photos of flowers. You'll also noticed the detailed statues and monuments at the Korea War Memorial and Museum. You'll see the apartment I rented while recovering from laser-eye surgery, of which Korea has the most advanced technology and lowest prices (I had the surgery the same day as my consultation, a robot performed the surgery in about eight minutes... I was in and out in less than an hour or two). The last thing to note (for any urban planning buffs) is the river-way in the downtown photo. Seoul ripped out it's elevated downtown highway just a few years ago and replaced it with a miles long urban park. Urban highways have long been considered a major scourge of city quality of life and recently several US cities have been successful at removing them too, including Portland, San Francisco, and Boston.