Purple watercolor map of Korea with orange dots marking Daejeon, Buyeo, Gongju, and Gimhae. A house marks Changwon
My June journey!

Well. June was a mixed month. School finally started back for the kids, so I had to go from sitting 8 hours a day to standing for 4. There was a hiring freeze put in place at my job and they want me to stay an extra six months so we’ve been negotiating. I had a big health scare where I apparently nearly died (whoops). And I actually got to do a little travel this month! Most of the cases in Korea are now those who arrive at the airport with COVID and aren’t doing much spreading, and life is feeling pretty normal again.

This month I also changed up a lot on the blog – including the name! Originally this was meant to be a collective blog, but that wound up not working. Since I am the sole writer, the previous Three Tumbleweeds didn’t make sense. So, The Tiny Tumbleweed it is! I’m working to get all of my travel guides up to a standard, and my Tongyeong and Boseong guides are already up! I also wrote about a Day in the Life teaching in Korea

While I was in quarantine in May I took up drawing, so I’ll be adding a lot more of my drawings to this blog now! In particular, I’m using hand-drawn maps 🙂

So, let’s get into the places I visited!

Gimhae

green grass covered mound with a stone fence and traditional Korean stone statues on a cloudy day.
The tomb of King Suro, nestled in a quiet part.

Gimhae is so close to Changwon it might as well be the same city. It literally takes me as long to get to Gimhae as it does to get to downtown Changwon. I was shocked to discover that Gimhae is a waaaaaaaay bigger city that I expected. When you request which city you want to teach in, the cities are given in order of population. I assumed Gimhae had to be a very small city since it was not on the list. Boy was I wrong – it has a half million people!

It also has some interesting historical sites and a fantastic cafe that I’ll discuss in an upcoming post 🙂

I didn’t manage to snag a postcard, though, so I guess I’ll have to go back 😛

Buyeo

green trees in the background reflecting in a large pond with a red low wooded bridge reaching into the middle. A traditional pavilion is built on the small island in the middle of the pond, connected to the bridge. June 2020 travel
Got a new camera! I’m in love!

So technically I stayed in Daejeon in order to visit both Buyeo and Gongju, but I hardly saw Daejeon as Buyeo wore me out completely!

I was in Buyeo to get a taste of Baekje history, one of the three main kingdoms of historical Korea. There are some fairly barebones archaeological sites, but they did a great job of explaining how advanced the city was. They had running drainage systems – considering some modern cities still struggle with drainage, I find this impressive 😛

My real mistake occurred when I headed to the main park – super lovely, the shrine was the best. But I decided to head to the temple supposedly 15 minutes away. 45 minutes later, spiraling downwards (concerning me about the climb back up) I made it. It was ok. People were sharing drinking ladles for the spring that’s supposed to make you three years younger, so that was concerning. The climb back up was definitely not worth it, considering my quarantine body is weak. Ah! How I long for my youth of February, walking 10 miles a day in Italy with no problems.

But I absolutely loved this trip, so don’t get the wrong impression! I just wish I’d been more in shape to appreciate the amazing sights.

Gongju

a long row of rectangular stone markers leading up a curving path june 2020 travel
The fortress entrance – I wish they would have explained the history of all the markers not just a couple!

I nearly didn’t make it here, given I was so tired after Buyeo. But the bus back to Daejeon wouldn’t come for another 4 hours, vs. the bus to Gongju was leaving in 20 minutes. So I headed to Gongju!

And I’m so happy I did. The bus ride gave me time to recuperate, and I think I actually liked Gongju most? I do have that slight obsession with ancient tombs. For a person whose one fear is dead things, I’m not quite sure where this fascination is coming from! The tombs are especially incredible for their location, which overlooks the small city. It was a great place for introspection on the world of the past. The museum was also fascinating!

I then headed to the fortress which I, admittedly, didn’t spend much time at. As soon as I saw the impressive structure and saw the fairly perilous climb it would be to walk along the fortress walls, I decided my time was up. I was so tired I was dizzy, and the lack of railings practically guaranteed a messy death.

Conclusion

So that’s my June Travel! July is going to be my most exciting month in a while, now that I don’t have to worry about COVID too much. I’m still being cautious, of course, but I wear my mask, hand-sanitize, and I’m going to be staying within more of my province for July.

But these are the places I’m heading this month!

Namhae

A misty day, an island with two mountains in the background with clouds hovering over it. The water is a gradient of various shades of blue with a small covered boat floating on the left. The foreground is a small brown rocky beach with pine trees branching into the photo.
A sneak peak of my amazing time in Namhae!

I have wanted to visit Namhae since before I even arrived. In fact, it’s the place I requested placement at. Somehow they gave me the exact opposite with Changwon, but it wound up being for the best considering my love of travel. It’s super hard to get to without a car, but now that tours are just starting up again, it’s time to go!

Suncheon

My friend and I both had not-great times the first time we went (separately) to Suncheon. In my case it was that I went in winter with no flowers with a heavy backpack. In her case she went with someone who kinda ruined it for her. So it’s a redemption arc!

Daegu & Haeinsa

Although Daegu was the true originator of the Covid-19 outbreak in Korea, due to their stringent methods they have 0 cases. And Haeinsa is a temple that I have been wanting to visit since before I came to Korea – it’s the only one of the three “jewel” temples to allow templestays. I somehow still haven’t been to a real templestay, only my three-hour one in Seoul. I am fascinated by Buddhism and am so excited to experience this!

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