Friday, May 2, 2014

Koreadventures: Part I

FM and I had an amazing time in South Korea sightseeing, exploring, and taking in absolutely everything we could on our first international vacation together.  I know I promised to share it all with you guys, but we did so much that it’s going to be hard to wrap the trip up into one blog post… so I’ve decided not to!  For the next few Fridays I’ll be revealing all of the awesome stuff we got to see and do with Koreadventures!  So stick around through May.

Now on with the show!

FM and I stayed at the amazing Dragon Hill Lodge, on the Yongsan base, which was running a great package deal including hotel fare and tickets to popular Korean tourist destinations.  I would totally recommend staying there if you have the chance to visit!  Anyway…

One of those sets of tickets sent us up to visit the rather infamous and feared Demilitarized Zone. 
And I promise, the DMZ has everything it needs to put you in awe and a debilitating state of fear all at the same time!  The tour guides have the day down to a science, and I don’t know that I would have wanted to head up there on my own without having the benefit of background information on the do’s and don’ts of being in such a unstable area, because, honestly, who wants to end up in a Korean prison, especially in the North?? Not me!

There ‘s a ton to see and do up there though, including an overlook with a clear view of North Korea and the fences which unmistakably determine who’s side is whose…

A peace bell installed in 2000 meant to inspire Korean unification…

 A rusted out and battered train engine obviously more than used during the Korean War…

And, of course, one of the scariest tunnels you could ever imagine, created under the cities and suburbs of South Korea, meant for the eventual invasion of Seoul by the North.

Seriously, once you’ve been forced to leave all of your belongings (and, thereby, means to call for help) in a locker above the ground, put on an ill fitting hardhat, and make an almost 90 degree descent down into a tunnel leading straight to the DMZ line and one of the most terrifying countries on all of Planet Earth, you truly haven’t lived!!

Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take any evidence of your harrowing, crouched over due to very low ceilings, journey to document the bore holes in the walls where dynamite was meant to be placed for blasting (and may still remain), so I cannot share any of these super awesome pictures with you.  However, I will say, being that confined, underground, with nowhere to run, and the possibility of danger erupting at any time, is enough to make you thankful for US soil! Not to mention the mountain climbing required to make your way back to the surface!

But visiting the DMZ was, and probably will remain, one of our greatest historical adventures ever!  And it truly made me feel the concern many people on the Korean peninsula face regularly.

If you ever get the chance to visit South Korea, by all means, do not skip making it to the DMZ.  It’s an amazing experience, and one FM and I are not soon to forget! 

And come on back next Friday for more Koreadventures on cherry blossom festivals, and Buddhist temples, and very tall buildings, and royal palaces, and so much more! 

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