Travel diaries

2016 travel diary 6: Gongju’s royal tombs

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 2:15pm. The Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri Our first stop in Gongju is the set of seven or more tombs in Songsan-ri. The experts think there may be as many as ten tombs in the area. It seems odd, in an age when so much in the way of sophisticated electronics […]

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2016 travel diary 5: An introduction to the Baekje Historic Areas

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016 The kingdom of Baekje had its beginnings as a small state founded on the south banks of the Han River in 18 BCE by King Onjo. The people were largely of Buyeo origins – an early kingdom absorbed into Goguryeo. The kingdom gradually grew, absorbing the small Mahan states to […]

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2016 travel diary 4: National Folk Museum, Kim Soonam’s shaman portraits and the journey to Chungnam

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, Monday 16 May 2016, 9am A visit to the National Folk Museum The good thing about having a local companion sense-check your travel plans is that they can point out weaknesses that only a local is likely to know about. So when Chris saw that I was planning a day trip from Seoul […]

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2016 travel diary 3: Seoul’s Fortress Walls, and genre painting at the DDP

by Philip Gowman 15 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, Sunday 15 May 2016. The time lag has caught up with me. My intention this morning had been to go along to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza to visit the exhibition of Joseon dynasty genre paintings from the Kansong museum before joining the RASKB for a walk along the eastern sections of Seoul’s fortress […]

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2016 travel diary 2: Buddha’s Birthday

by Philip Gowman 14 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, 14 May 2016, 9am. Coffee with the Drawing Hand My first appointment of the day is at 9:30am with Kim Jieun, aka The Drawing Hand: I am due to pick up the original of her 2015 Christmas Card design for LKL – and also I am due to pay her the balance of […]

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2016 travel diary 1: Arrival

by Philip Gowman 13 May 2016
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Canary Wharf, London, 12 May 2016. In previous years I had always felt stressed in the run up to my departure for my annual Korea trip. Had I packed everything? Would I get everything done before I left? This time I was straining at the leash. I couldn’t wait. I had planned most of my trip […]

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2016 travel diary: the index

by Philip Gowman 11 May 2016
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Thu 12 – Fri 13 Arrival Sat 14 Coffee with the Drawing Hand Buddha’s Birthday 1: morning at Jogyesa. Exhibition of restored Hwaeomsa painting Wedding at Unhyeongung Buddha’s Birthday 2: lunch and afternoon concert at Giweonjeongsa Stroll through Ehwa Womans University Buddha’s Birthday 3: evening at Bongwonsa. Makgeolli  and 2차 in Insadong Sun 15 Walking […]

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2011 Korea Trip: The Stories of the Stones – an introduction

by Philip Gowman 2 May 2016
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When I started writing up my 2011 Korea trip a few days after returning to London in May that year, I said “the write-ups are going to take a while to put together and will involve rather more legwork than last year, but I’ll get them done over the next few weeks.” Five years later, […]

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Exhibition visit: Korean artists at APT8

by Philip Gowman 28 December 2015
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The Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) has been hosting the Asia Pacific Triennial since 1993. The exhibition features artists from all over the region, and Korea has been represented from the start. The triennial is spread over two buildings (the QAG itself and the nearby Gallery of Modern Art which opened in 2006) which collectively are […]

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Echoes and connections – an introduction to LKL’s 2015 Korea Trip

by Philip Gowman 20 July 2015
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A few days into this year’s Korea trip, my brain was threatening to explode. Coming to Seoul is always a pretty full-on experience: so many things to pack in, so many people to see; and inevitably the first few days you are also pretty sleep-deprived as you adjust to the time zone. But this year […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 11: a visit to Studio MWP

by Philip Gowman 8 June 2015
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Daehakro, Seoul, Monday 8 June. This year’s trip to Korea had been full of pleasant surprises: people I had not expected to meet, things I had not been expecting to see. But the most pleasant surprise of all had been an invitation to visit Studio Meditation with a Pencil, creators of my favourite Korean animated […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 10: Namhansanseong and the Gangnam Tombs

by Philip Gowman 7 June 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, Sunday 7 June The Mountain Fortress I am scheduled to meet a friend at 9:30 at Sanseong Station on Line 8. From there we take the bus (number 9) via a circuitous route through a residential area and up the steep hill to the main car park of one of Korea’s latest UNESCO […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 9: Yeongsanjae and Seodaemun

by Philip Gowman 6 June 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, Saturday 6 June Bongwonsa temple and the Yeongsanjae rituals Today is the second UNESCO-listed item of intangible cultural heritage of my brief stay. I am tagging along with a small group of American summer students who are getting course credits by having a whale of a time in Seoul. How this works from an […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 8: Back to school, back to Seoul

by Philip Gowman 5 June 2015
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Sancheong-gun, Friday 5 June Today I am due to say farewell to Sancheong again, but before I leave there is a treat in store: a school visit. Mr Yoon’s wife happens to teach in a primary school in Dangye Village, and she thought it might be nice for her pupils to meet a foreigner. And […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 7: A King, two generals and a gisaeng

by Philip Gowman 4 June 2015
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Sancheong-gun, Thursday 4 June Having over-indulged the previous evening, I didn’t sleep well. Although I had set the alarm to wake me up for my early morning hike, I didn’t really need it. I get up at 6am, and Kyung-sook emerges from the other room soon afterwards. We are shortly on our way along the […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 6: return to Sancheong

by Philip Gowman 3 June 2015
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Seomyeon, Busan, Wednesday 3 June Min arrives at the hotel as agreed at 9:30 and we drive to the Centum City area for a late breakfast. The venue is Yangsan Gukbap, and as with many Korean restaurants the clue to the menu is in the name of the establishment, which is open 24 hours a […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 5: The UN Memorial Cemetery and the start of the MERS scare

by Philip Gowman 2 June 2015
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Gangneung, Tuesday 2 June. Today promises to be a relatively low-key affair. As promised, Eun-jin arrives at the hotel at 8:50 to take me to the bus station, and I buy my ticket for the 9:30 to Busan, boarding a coach with maybe a dozen people on it, including a sailor in a smart white […]

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