Suncheon & Songgwangsa
 April 2000
     Suncheon is a small city to the southeast of Kwangju. We spent a lazy Saturday in April there checking out one of the springtime features that Koreans treasure most--the cherry blossoms.

Upon arrival, we headed to the top of a hill overlooking town, but lunch was on the agenda before sightseeing. A friendly passerby offered to take our picture and we obliged.
Cheris then began the cherry-blossing peeping-and-posing festivites.
Closeup: the flowers can be either off-white or a brilliant pink; it seems Suncheon has primarily the first variety.
Cityscape in springtime.
As above, looking out over another part of the city.
We hiked on the hill a little, and came across some graves. Here is a typical Korean-style tomb.
A quick pose together before heading down the hill.
Check out the very happy face in this tree stump.
With time to kill and beautiful weather, we tried out the ridiculous swan-shaped paddle boats on the river running through town.

     That night, we caught a bus into Chogyesan Provincial Park. In the morning, we were set to visit Songgwangsa, a huge temple used for the training of monks in the Chogye order, Korea's largest Buddhist sect. The complex was so big that it proved impossible to get a photo showing the full scope, so here are a few shots of the finer details that caught our eyes.

Cheris next to a rock face carved with intricate Chinese characters.
The drum pavillion, framed by more cherry blossoms.
A side view of the entrance to the compound, over a small creek. All the postcards for sale had this shot, so we figured we should too.

the Kwangju Chronicles