We start the day with a train ride and bus ride to Golgulsa Temple. Here we dress into “temple clothes” – baggy grey pants with cuffs and orange vests. We have to wear this for our whole stay.

This is a lovely temple complex up a steep hill with 20 buildings in all. We climb up to the top for a Sunmudo demonstration (martial arts), as well as a singer. I climbed up to the small temple carved into the rock

Next is an orientation class to teach us the etiquette of the monks. You are not supposed to talk at all during your stay, walk with your hands clasped in front of your body at waist level, no alcohol or smoking, cause no harm to any living thing, remove shoes off in the rooms, no eating of meat, as well as no eating anywhere but the dining hall.  Males/Females have separate sleeping areas with the exception of senior couples.

We undertake Sunmudo training next involving yoga, breathing, meditation, and martial arts moves. Very strenuous for us old people, but our very flexible teacher has no problems. We finish with 108 prostrations (down to your knees, forehead to mat, arms up, palms by your head and back up 108x) We did not finish!!!

Vegetarian dinner is served at 6pm sharp – no talking!!! You are not allowed to waste food – any food you take must be eaten. We sit at low tables, eating rice, bean sprouts, kimchi, fried zucchini, yam, potatoes, spinach, watermelon and sticky rice cakes for dessert. After doing our own washing up, we wander for a few minutes then head for our room.

We settle in as 9pm is bedtime and we are not allowed out of our rooms. F,or security they release guard dogs to patrol the area and you may be bitten if you are outside.

We sleep on heated floors with thin mats, but at least we have our own bathroom and each other for company.

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