Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
July 14, 2004
A trail of restaurants leads to the south gate, from where directions get a little tricky. After half an hour’s aimless wandering, we finally stumbled across a section of the fortress walls and stuck blindly to them for the rest of the afternoon. Seventeen kilometres long and up to three metres high, a journey round the entire fortress would take up the best part of a day. The near nine-kilometre hike from Nammun to Beomeosa Temple, which took me just over three and a half hours, is the best alternative option, leaving the fortress by a trail that starts at the North Gate (Bukmun) and cuts straight down through the valley.
The scenery at the top is almost Alpine in places, expanses of green sloping down to huge slabs of granite splitting endless pine trees, and far below the snaking overground metro line intersecting upright rectangles of grey and white, merging into the indistinguishable as they approach the invisible sea.
At the foot of the mountain, Beomeosa is by far the best known of the city’s temples, and the one thing in Busan that you really shouldn’t miss. Founded in 678 most of the buildings now date from 18th century reconstructions. The route down from the fortress enters the temple from the side between the upper and lower levels. The temple’s main hall is at the very top, screened by a shield of bamboo trees.
There are three gates at the main entrance to the temple, the final one balanced on four circular stone pedestals leading down to a stop for the bus to Beomeosa Station.
From journal A Path Through Busan