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

Jeju Stone Park in the mist
Jeju Stone Park in the mist

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, the task is complete.

Part of the challenge has been, as I suggested at the time, that because I didn’t have an interpreter with me (I was spoiled on my 2010 trip) I was going to have to do a lot of research about what I was seeing before I could write about it properly. I’m not sure why this particular year took so long to research when subsequent years have been quicker; probably it’s simply that there has been other more urgent stuff to write about and so the travelogue has had to go on the back burner.

The other factor delaying completion was the amount of photo editing I had to do (a lot of the shots were horribly over-exposed because of the camera’s fiddly settings).

Anyway, with a bank holiday weekend and the prospect of the upcoming 2016 trip, I cleared the backlog. 15,000 words were uploaded last night.

In retrospect, the theme of the visit was stones and rocks:

  • The interesting-shaped rocks that Joseon dynasty scholars liked to keep in their gardens for contemplation;
Stone outside the Yeongyeongdang
Stone outside the Yeongyeongdang in the Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden
  • The stones on Wangsan in Sancheong-gun which channel the energy of the Baekdu-daegan;
Topping up my gi levels at the Turtle Rock in 2011
Topping up my gi levels at the Turtle Rock – a photo which is now sometimes used in Sancheong publicity materials
  • The homely and sometimes comical dongaseok: stone statues that stand guard over tombs in Jeju-do;
A dongjaseok at an exiled yangban's tomb in Jeju-do
A dongjaseok at an exiled yangban’s tomb in Jeju-do
  • And of course the stones of rocky Jeju-do itself, collected together by the devotion of one man at Jeju Stone Park – stones that tell the story of a legend and of the island’s own history.
Jeju Stone Park in the mist
Jeju Stone Park in the mist
Date Contents
Seoul, Saturday 30 April
Seoul, Sunday 1 May
Busan, Monday 2 May
Tuesday 3 May
Wednesday 4 May
Thursday 5 May
Jeju-do, Friday 6 May
Jeju-do, Saturday 7 May
Seoul, Sunday 8 May

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