Hwaseong Fortress

This past Saturday MH and I took the train over to Suwon, a large city roughly 30 minutes away from Cheonan. Our intentions were to visit King Jeongjo’s palace (Haenggung) and then hike the 5.7 km Hwaseong fortress wall (화성). I had already visited the fortress with Ric a while back, but I had never gotten around to walking the entire length of the wall, which was something that I had wanted to do before leaving Korea. Luckily, I was able to drag MH along!

Pagoda at the start of the fortress wall hike

Pagoda at the start of the fortress wall hike

The fortress had been severely damaged during the Japanese Occupation and Korean war but most of it has since been rebuilt and repainted. Hwaseong Fortress was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 and is definitely worth a visit.

MH posing on a gun __

MH posing on a crossbow platform

At the start of the hike... too bad I didn't take an "after" photo

At the start of the hike… too bad I didn’t take a proper “after” photo

Fortress Wall

Looking down on the fortress wall near the start of the hike

Half-way point for us on our Suwon fortress hike

Hwaseomun, The West Gate

About half-way through the walk we stopped to buy tickets to view Hwaseomun, the West Gate of the fortress, as well as some cool refreshments. MH chowed down on an ice cream sandwich that was literally vanilla ice cream sandwiched between white bread. He quite enjoyed it– probably because it reminded him of Thailand’s street vendor ice cream (minus the toppings): vanilla ice cream with sticky rice, gingko nut, and pumpkin toppings cradled within a hot dog bun. After our ice cream and Pocari (Japanese Gatorade), we continued on our hike along the fortress wall.

View of Suwon from the wall

Views of Suwon and the fortress

And finally, sweaty and sunburned and stiff, we finished the hike along the fortress. While looking for dinner, we happened upon a mural that seemed to be a great, one-photo-way to sum up our hike:

An interpretation of the fortress hike

An interpretation of our fortress hike (just look at that face!)

Say "Kimchi!"

I don’t think that this is what they meant by “photo zone.”  Eh, whatever, …say “Kimchi!”

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