Friday, 6 Oct, 2017
The day dawned fine, so we stuck with our original plan of visiting the Hwaseong fortress. As some rain had been forecast, plan B was to visit one of the palaces in Seoul.
It was a long metro trip to Suwon, taking close to 90 minutes, and requiring two changes. We picked up a taxi at Suwon station as we weren't quite sure where we were going. The taxi dropped us off at a big plaza, filled with people riding bikes and flying kites. Armed with a map, we set off to walk at least part of the fortification wall.
Kite flying in the plaza
The fortifications were built by Joseon ruler, King Jeongjo who had planned to move the capital from Seoul to Suwon in 1794, but died before he could do so. We had learned much about the fortresses during our visit to the War Memorial, so it was good to experience such a well-preserved one.
We climbed the hill to the first observation tower, with amazing views over the city. We continued around the wall passing two majestic gates, as well as command posts, more observation towers and other platforms all of which had been well maintained or restored.
The observation tower
View down to the city of Suwon
Under the distance/direction post
Jonno was keen for a reasonably early lunch as he wanted to ensure he was hungry for our planned, all you can eat BBQ dinner. Near our lunch spot was a model showing how the fortifications were made, including models of the rudimentary machinery used the build the wall.
Models of the wall building process
We walked as far as the second gate and then returned along a stream which snaked its way back to the plaza where we could pick up a bus back to the station.
View along the wall
The second gate
We followed the creek back to the plaza
We had spotted a big Lotte mart next to the station which we thought would be a good place to pick up some final groceries for our last few days. We ended up in two upmarket food courts before we finally found a supermarket to buy our basics. The place was massive.
Back at the station we looked at options for a faster return train. The next munghawha was standing room only, and the faster KTX was about 8 times the price of the metro, with a 30 minute wait. We opted to return the way we came, on the all stops metro, and returned to the house for a well earned rest and cup of tea before heading out to our BBQ dinner.
All you can eat Korean BBQ
Gelato for desert