Thursday, December 15, 2005

Seoul pt 2: Wednesday - The DMZ

....Continued from previous post. If you want to know more about the DMZ, you can read the Wiki article about it. I found it pretty interesting.

We took a minivan to the first point of the tour: Imjingak Park.

The top photos do not show anything in particular; just showing what it's like with the fences and everything.
The bottom pics show looking out over the 'Freedom Bridge' and the railroad that links Nth and Sth Korea. The one of Sera and I is at the end of the Freedom Bridge. People attach messages of peace and hope to the fence at the end of the bridge.

There is too much to say about this place. Let's just say it was really interesting.

Next, we went to the Third Infiltration Tunnel. This was a tunnel dug by Nth Koreans during the Korean War with the purpose of invasion. Sth Korea found it by accident. Now it's a major tourist site. From Imjingak Park, we took a special bus to the tunnel. We crossed through three check points and had to show our passports. We were also not allowed to take any photos while on the bus. Don't ask me why, but it's a pity. There were some pretty amazing barbed-wire-and-guards pics I could have gotten.

This is the entrance to the tunnel. we had to wear hard-hats (and they came in useful, let me tell you), and we were not allowed to take any photos in the tunnel itself :(

These pics are of a model of the DMZ. The first one shows the actual border b/t the countries (in red). 1km to the south is the Sth Korean DMZ border. 1km to the north is the Nth Korean border of the DMZ.
The second photo shows the location of the Third Tunnel (at the bottom).

The tunnel goes under the DMZ, and the part we were allowed in stopped just over 100 metres from the border to Nth Korea. Almost noone has stepped foot on the DMZ land in more than 50 years, and the ecosystem has reverted back to an almost virgin ecosystem. I think it is now on the natural heritage list.

After visiting the tunnel, we went to the Dora Observatory. From this point, you could look out over the DMZ and see Nth Korean territory. They had incredibly strict rules here about taking photos, but here are a few.

The yellow line in the first photo is what we had to stand behind to take photos.

After that we went to a place called Dorasan Station. This was just a building that (I think) will be used as a customs point for people travelling between Nth and Sth Korea. I got a stamp in my passport for it :)


We got back to Seoul a little after 1pm.
Sera and I walked to Seoul Station where we had dinner, and a coffee (I fell asleep in the coffee shop) while we waited for our train.
We boarded at 4:05 and fell asleep soon after we departed. We awoke at dusk, took some photos and went back to sleep for an hour or so, and talked for the rest of the way home.

We got back to the dorms at about 10:30. I had a shower and did laundry (both of which were so desperately needed!!!!).

Went to bed.

Walab. Annyeong.

Captain Chopsticks, recounter of travels afar.

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