Seoul Magic! Part 2

We had a host of activities lined up and Day 2 had us going up to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone. This is the buffer zone between North and South Korea and it was created by agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations back in 1953.

 Pit-stop! Toilet break and photo opportunities! This was also where we bought the tickets.

As we got closer to the area, the scenery changed drastically and all we saw was vast lands. There were hardly any buildings and the number of cars on the roads also were significantly fewer. We were reminded to have our passports with us as they would be checked. As we approached, there was just dead silence. 

 barbed wire fences were a common sight and it was a solemn sight. Beyond these fences would be North Korea. Upon closer inspection, we saw that these were well wishes and hopes of the Korean people, written on strips of fabric - their dream of meeting and reuniting with their families one day.

 We had a short briefing on how the DMZ came about and the history between South and North Korea. All these while, there was great emphasis on the tension between the two governments and the real threat of being invaded by the North.

We went down the the tunnels - one of the 4 tunnels discovered, that was dug by the North Koreans and we saw how the walls had holes meant for explosives. Throughout the tour, we were told that war could break out any moment and it didn't help that the guide stressed that there were several instances in recent years that got both sides on the edge. Sigh... no cameras allowed hence I didn't manage to take any pictures.

 C peering out to the mysterious North.

 Fortunately, the weather was good and we could see this, a showcase village Kijongdong, was constructed to give the illusion of a prosperous North but the village is very much for show and no one lives there.

Irony... The smiling faces... Honestly, we didn't really feel that way about the entire tour.

 Dorasan Station - this famous station would be the link to the North but for now, it lays dominant. The station has been built with the state-of-the-art technology and given a modern facade because it represents the future of the good things to come. South Korean people harbour the thoughts that both sides would unite one day (don't know when though) but when that day comes, they want the station to still be able to welcome visitors from the North, with open arms and into their world. 

For now, the station remains closed. They even have a stamp for immigration clearance. This was the closest we got to travelling into North Korea. We pray that we will really get to put this stamp on our passports too. 

Activity 3: Insa-dong 
It is located in the heart of the city and we like how this is a place where the old meets the new. Traditional goods on display while galleries, traditional restaurants and tea houses line up the alleys.

 Look at their version of Five Stones! 

Pit-stop for caffeine refuel at Osulloc Cafe. Their green tea latte are to die-for.

One of the many stone foot bridges along the stream of Cheonggye. 
We were walking back to our hotel.

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