KOREA - From Top to Bottom - 2012

We spent almost 3 weeks (May 23-June 9, 2012) traveling around South Korea, exploring palaces, gardens, lava tubes, cave systems, museums, fortresses, tombs, a Neolithic village, a Paleolithic cave, an Eco-Park, as well as many of the ancient capitals of the various nation-kingdoms/city-states on the peninsula.

                                                        en route to the Demilitarized Zone

The Han River is broad and wide all the way from Seoul up to North Korea. On the South Korean side, there is a barbed wire fence along with guard towers every 50 meters or so. The banks of the river are swept every night, then checked in the morning for footprints.

At the border, a park with observatory has been established.

Surprisingly, a trip to the DMZ is quite popular.  Most people walk down a tunnel that was discovered through which the North Koreans intended to invade South Korea. This 3rd tunnel was discovered in 1979, and has been blocked off with 3 walls of concrete.  Before you can visit the DMZ, South Korean military personnel check your passport numbers and passport photos. You also need to give them a record of your passport. The South Koreans take security in this area very seriously.

Plaque honoring the soldiers who fought in the Korean War.

Near the tunnel through which North Korea planned to invade South Korea, is a small place to relax. It is ringed by a fence warning people to beware of land mines. Somehow, I don't think this
is a joke.

Note the barbed wire

This division of Korea split families and has created hardships for both the North and South Koreans. I cannot imagine living in the very real shadow of the threat of missile strikes or bombs every day. Nor can I imagine not being able to see, visit or communicate with family members.