DMZ tour

Dan smo začeli zgodaj in se z vso prtljago odpravili v Lotte hotel, kjer imajo pisarne turistične agencije. Najprej smo si na hitro ogledali muzej korejske vojne (1950-1953),  nato pa se odpeljali 40 kilometrov severno proti demilitarizirani coni (DMZ) in meji s Severno Korejo.

Ko smo z avtobusa opazovali pokrajino, smo opazili, da nas večino poti na sever spremlja ograja z bodečo žico na vrhu, ki jo na vsake nekaj metrov dopolnjuje stražni stolp. Vse to je verjetno posledica vojne, saj je Severnim Korejcem uspelo v le treh dneh zasesti Seul.

Najprej smo si ogledali most svobode, ki ga je ob koncu vojne prečkalo 13.000 vojnih ujetnikov.

Nato smo se odpeljali proti bazi Bonifas, ki pripada Združenim narodom. Do tja so nam dvakrat preverili potne liste, prečkati pa smo morali tudi most poln ovir, zato je bila vožnja do tja počasna in vijugasta.

Tam smo se prestavili v vojaški avtobus in dobili vojaško spremstvo. Odpeljali so nas do hiše svobode, ki je bila zgrajena leta 1965 z namenom, da se tu srečajo družine, ki jih je meja ločila. Žal so Severni Korejci preprečili ljudem prečkanje meje, zato zgradba v ta namen ni bila nikoli uporabljena. Danes se uporablja za nadzor celotnega varovanega območja.

Sledila je kratka predstavitev korejske zgodovine in celotne demilitarizirane cone na platnu. Podpisati smo morali tudi turistično konvencijo, da se na ogled odpravljamo na lastno odgovornost in se lahko tudi zgodi, da se ob morebitnem sovražnem napadu poškodujemo ali umremo. Poleg tega z rokami ne smemo kazati na vojake in se moramo držati skupine.

Mejo določa betonska linija, na severnokorejski strani je mivka, na južnokorejski strani pa so kamenčki. Severnokorejskih vojakov ni bilo na spregled, na meji se pojavijo le takrat, ko imajo turistične oglede (torej redko). Pri tem se z južnokorejskimi vojaki ne gledajo, ne pogovarjajo, skratka nimajo nobenega stika.

Južnokorejski vojaki so obrnjeni proti Severni Koreji, eno nogo imajo skrito za zidom, kamor se v primeru napada lahko skrijejo tudi sami.

Obiskali smo konferenčno sobo, ki je pod nadzorom Združenih narodov. Na tem območju je sicer osem konferenčnih hišk, štiri nadzorujejo enote Združenih narodov, štiri pa severnokorejske enote. Večino časa med obiskom nismo smeli fotografirati, ta konferenčna oseba je bila ena izmed izjem.

Z vojaškim avtobusom smo se odpeljali naprej proti mostu »Ni vrnitve«. Na tem mostu je potekala izmenjava ujetnikov, vendar se po prečkanju mostu niso več smeli vrniti od koder so prišli.

Od daleč smo videli tudi vas Tae Sung Dong, «vas svobode«, ki je edina vas na območju DMZ na južnokorejski strani. Vas je poseljena (imajo tudi šolo), na sredini vasi pa je 100 metrov visok drog z južnokorejsko zastavo.

Ker morajo biti Severni Korejci v vsem najboljši, so tudi oni na svoji strani demilitarizirane cone postavili vas, ki sicer ni poseljena in vse hiše niti nimajo oken, vendar pa sredi nje stoji najvišji drog z zastavo na svetu – velik je kar 160 metrov.

Od tod smo se vrnili nazaj v bazo Bonifas, se vrkcali na avtobus in se odpeljali nazaj v Seul, od koder smo se s podzemno železnico pripeljali na letališče Incheon, kjer nas bo pričakal avtobus, ki nas bo odpeljal v Cheonan na IGE konferenco.


We started the day by packing all our bags and heading off to Lotte Hotel, to the tourist agency that organizes tours to DeMilitarized Zone – DMZ. First stop was the Korean history museum where we quickly went through the Korean war rooms. Traditional Korean lunch (included in price) and then 40 km to the north, to the DMZ itself.

While driving out of Seoul we quickly noticed barbed wire fence with guard posts every here and there, a clear sign of always present threat of the unfinished war.

Our second stop (excluding lunch) was the freedom bridge, a bridge that over 13.000 POWs crossed after the armstrice.

After that (constantly reminded of the tight schedule by our tour guide) and the ID checkpoint,  we slowly, dodging the anti-tank obstacles, drove on to UN camp Bonifas. After a short briefing (consisting mostly of »you are entering an active war zone, you could die, we take no responsability«, »no unauthorised photo«, »no offensive clothing« and »no hand gestures«) we boarded the military bus and went off towards the border.

The bus droped us off in front of the freedom house (once intended to be the meeting place for the seperated families but never actually used for that purpouse) and from there we could take some photos of the border and the stone-like guards. Observed through binoculars form the other side we entered the famous blue conference room.

The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes (there were groups after us already waiting) and after that we returned back to the camp Bonifas, stoping at the bridge of no return on the way back (»Only one photo!«). POWs were released here but after crossing they could not return anymore.

From afar we have also seen the Tae Sung Dong, so called Freedom village which represents the only inhabited village in the DMZ (there is also a propaganda vilage on the north side but that one is uninhabited). The village is mostly under it’s own rule, having it’s own school and being tax-exempt.

The flagpoles: 100m high on south side and 160m high on north side. The last one holds the current Guiness record.

After an opportunity for souvenir shopping in camp Bonifas we returned to Seoul and rushed back to the airport to start the second and main part of our visit here: the IGE.

Fish market in Busan & Songnisan national park

Čeprav se sliši čudno in skoraj neverjetno, se očitno tudi v Koreji lahko zgodi, da ni ne v tvojem hotelu ne v bližnji okolici wifija. Zato včerajšnjo objavo združujem z današnjo.

Včeraj dopoldne smo si v Busanu ogledali ribjo tržnico Jagalchi (beri: Džagalči) in kitajsko četrt, nato pa jo 300 na uro s hitrim vlakom (KTX) mahnili v Daejon (Dedžon), od koder smo se danes zgodaj zjutraj odpravili v nacionalni park Songnisan.

Za pohod po nacionalnem parku smo si izbrali najslabši možni dan v tednu, saj je cel dan deževalo. Kupili smo pelerine in se vseeno sprehodili do enega največjih budističnih templjev v Južni Koreji, ki se ponaša z največjim kipom Bude na svetu.

Ob koncu dneva sva imeli z Amy čisto premočene čevlje, zato sva si omislili nove :)


 

Even though it sounds weird and almost impossible it can also happen that your hotel doesn’t have wifi. That’s why this post describes our last two days.

We spent yesterday morning in Busan visiting fish market Jagalchi and China town. In the afternoon we drove with the speed of 300km/h since we took the fast train (KTX) from Busan to Daejon. From Daejon we started today’s tour to the Songnisan national park.

We picked the worst day in the whole week for hiking. It was raining cats and dogs the whole day. We bought some rain coats and took a walk to the one of the biggest buddhist temples in South Korea that can boast with the biggest Buddha statue in the world.

At the end of the day our shoes were so wet that we had to buy new ones :)

Busan

Že zjutraj nas je presenetila prijaznost korejske stare mame, ki nas je na metroju obdarila z grozdjem (ki ima tu precej večje grozde kot doma).

Na železniški postaji smo se srečali z Nizozemko Amy, ki se bo prav tako udeležila IGE-ja.

Z avtobusom smo se nato odpravili v vas Gamcheon, ki je že sama po sebi umetniška znamenitost. Vsaka hiša je drugačne barve, z vrha vasi pa se odpira razgled proti morju.

Preden smo uspeli priti na drugo stran Busana, se je že zvečerilo. Sprehodili smo se na otok Dongbaek (beri: Dongbek), ki je preko mostu povezan s kopnim. Od tod lahko z ene strani opazuješ most Gwangan, ki ga imenujejo tudi diamantni most, saj je na njem kar 16.000 led diod, z druge strani pa najbolj znano plažo v Busanu – Haeundae (beri: Heunde).

Pred zaključkom dneva smo si utrujeni privoščili večerjo na tržnici Gukje (beri: Gukdže).


It all started in the morning while driving in metro. We were amazed by the kindness of an old Korean lady that shared some of her grapes with us (and grapes here is much bigger than one at home).

At the train station we met our Dutch friend Amy, who is also going to IGE with us.

We paid a visit to Gamcheon culture village. The entire village is ana art and tourist site. Every house has a different colour and from the top of the village you can see the sea.

Before getting to the other side of Busan it was already dark. We took a walk to the Dongbaek island that is connected to the land by the bridge. From here you can see the Gwangan bridge (also called diamond bridge) with 16.000 LED lights and the most famous beach in Busan – Haeundae beach.

Before going back to hostel we had some dinner at the Gukje market.

Gyeongju

Zjutraj smo se z vlakom odpravili z Andonga do Gyeongjuja (beri: Gjongdžuja). Na železniški postaji smo ugotovili, da znamo tudi v korejščini kupiti karte na avtomatu.

Gyeongjuju z drugimi besedami pravijo muzej na prostem, saj naj bi obsegal več grobnic, templjev, pagod in budističnih skulptur kot katero koli drugo mesto v Južni Koreji.

Gyeongju je znan predvsem po grobnicah kraljeve družine in bogatašev. Te grobnice imajo leseno ogrodje, navzven pa izgledajo kot travnati griči (ali telebajskova hiša). Grobnice si lahko ogledaš v dveh parkih, ki ju ločita cesta in vstopnina.

Z avtobusom smo se nato odpeljali na obrobje mesta do templja Bulguksa. Tudi ta je pod UNESCOVO zaščito. Za Korejce so nekateri deli templja nacionalni zaklad: dvoje stopnic, pagod in pozlačenih Budovih kipov. Tempelj so v 16. stoletju sicer požgali Japonci, ki so ga med invazijo spremenili v vojaško bazo, ironično pa je pred tem služil prošnjam Budi, naj jih ščiti pred invazijo tujih ljudstev. V 70. letih so tempelj začeli restavrirati.

Dan smo namenili tudi opazovanju korejske kulture in ugotovili, kako močno držijo zahodnjaški stereotipi o Korejcih. Vsak Korejec ima poleg zelo dragega fotoaparata, katerega nastavitev verjetno niti ne zna uporabljati, še mobitel v velikosti tablice, ki je pritrjen na bluetooth palico, s katero lahko dela »selfieje«. Ker se želiva z Gašperjem čimbolj prilagoditi tukajšnji družbi, tudi sama že razmišljava o nakupu »selfie« palic…


In the morning we found out how awesome we are because we managed to successfully buy train tickets from Andong to Gyeongju on a ticket mashine that was only in Korean.

Gyeongju is known as the museum without walls because it holds more tombs, temples, pagodas and buddhist statuaries than any other place in South Korea.

Gyeongju is well known for royal tombs. These tombs have wooden frames and from the outside they look as grassy hills (or Teletubbies’ house). You can see these tombs in two parks that are separated by the street and differ in admission price.

We took the bus to the outskirts to Bulguksa temple. This one also counts as UNESCO heritage. Some parts of the temple are a national treasure to the Koreans: pair of stairs, pagodas and gold-plated Buddha statues. The temple was burned down by Japanese invaders in 16th century. They used it as a military base, which is quite ironic if you know that the temple was used for prayer for the protection of the country from foreign invasion. They started to restore the temple in 70s.

We also used this day to see how true are the western stereotypes about Koreans. Every Korean owns a very expensive camera, that he probably doesn’t know how to use, and a phone which is as big as a tablet. Instead of using his badass camera, he uses a bluetooth stick to make selfies with his phone. Gašper and I are really trying to adapt to the culture here, so we also started to think about buying the bluetooth sticks…

Andong

Že ob 7. uri zjutraj smo se s Seula odpravili v Andong. Nekaj težav smo imeli z iskanjem pravega perona. Običajno so vsi napisi dvojezični – korejski in angleški, obstajajo pa tudi izjeme – kot je bila naša. Z nekaj pomoči smo se vkrcali na vlak, ki naj bi imel razprodane vse sedeže. Po francosko smo se vseeno usedli in opazovali mimo bežeča rumena riževa polja.

V Andongu smo se v turistično-informacijskem centru najprej pozanimali za avtobus do tradicionalne vasi Hahoe (beri: Hawe), poceni hotel in dobro hrano.

Vas s tradicionalnimi hišami ima še vedno nekaj več kot 200 prebivalcev. Vas, ki je pod zaščito UNESCA, je znana po lesenih maskah, ki izvirajo iz obredov preganjanja zlih duhov.
Z Gašperjem sva se povzpela še na bližnje klife, od koder sva imela odličen razgled na celotno vasico.

Ob vrnitvi v Andong smo poiskali poceni motel in se odpravili na andonško specialiteto – jjimdak (beri: čimdak). Gre za precejšnjo porcijo piščanca z rezanci, zelenjavo (krompir, korenje, čebula) in gobami v sojini omaki. Probleme nas še vedno povzroča uporaba palčk. Jjimdak smo poplaknili s pijačo soju (beri: sodžu), ki je sicer z vodo razredčen etanol.


We left for Andong at 7 o’clock in the morning. We had some problems finding the right train track. Usually all the captions are bilingual – Korean and English – but there are some exceptions and this was ours. With some help we finally managed to board the train that had all seats reserved. We made ouservels French, occupied some seats and watched yellow rice field passing by.

In tourist-information center in Andong we asked for a bus to traditional village Hahoe (read: Hawe), cheap hotel and good food.

The traditional folk village still has more than 200 residents. It is protected by UNESCO. It is known for wooden masks that were used for shamanistic rituals for getting rid of evil spirits. Gašper and I also climbed on the top of the cliffs to capture the beautiful view of Hahoe village.

When coming back to Andong we searched for a cheap hotel and then went out for dinner. We tried Andond’s specialty – jjimdak (read: chimdak). It is a big portion of chicken with noodles, vegetables (potato, carrots, onion) and mushroom in soy sauce. We still have some problems using the sticks. We also tried soju, a distilled beverage containing ethanol and water.