Sorry for the delay, (and lack of posting in general) I’ve been grumpy and homesick.
Anyway, on to Part Dos. We had two stops left on our tour.
Tongilchon - Otherwise known as “Unification Village” is one of only two villages within the DMZ. It has a population of only 200, and is known for rice, soybeans and ginseng. All Korean men are expected to serve two years in the military, however the men within this village are exempt. For obvious reason, I believe. This is where we stopped to have lunch (as mentioned in the the first blog) and I was able to get a few good pictures of the town from the bus so you could see what it was like.
I liked the church in the background. I also liked that the South Korean flag was everywhere.
We stopped at Dora Observatory which is where you are able to see into North Korea. Unfortunately you aren’t able to take any pictures overlooking the North, but this is where I had my biggest take your breath away moment. With the help of binoculars we were able to see Kesung city, the second largest city in the North, and also what they call Propaganda Village. This is a small city that has been set up just past the border to make it appear as though North Korea is a prosperous nation. This put everything I had studied prior to coming here, and everything you read regularly in the news, into real life. It was no longer just words on paper. It’s very real, and it’s frightening. The tears in your eyes, chills down your spine kind of fear.
Then we took a picture with some of the soldiers.
I’ve been wanting a picture like this since I got here. Every time I see a soldier I very inappropriately want to ask them for a picture, but I don’t. That would be tacky. I’m glad I got one here. It’s a good picture memory.
Our final stop was Dorasan Station. It’s the last train station directly outside the DMZ. While it’s more of a tourist attraction at this point, a few years ago trains did actually make semi-weekly trips to deliver supplies to North Korea.
And then we got to play on the tracks because, well, there aren’t any trains.
Oh, and the most cool part… I got a North Korea stamp in my passport.
It’s not the stamp saying that I actually entered, but it says that I’m getting on a train headed to Pyeongyang. Even though there is no actual train in existence. Cool enough for me though.
Side note: The stamp is on the page in my passport that (unintentionally) contains the following quote:
The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class - it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity. Ann Julia Cooper
All information contained within this blog came from the AdventureKorea website.
And here’s the rest of my pictures from the tour…you may view at your leisure.