Its the middle of the exam period at the moment, with exams having started on the 8th for me and finishing on the 19th. I'm in the middle of a semi break as my next exam is on the 14th. Given the lack of study I have done during the entire semester, I should probably be using this time to study, but I just seem to be struggling for concentration. The alternative to me writing up this post would be youtube, web surfing and some nonsensical gaming, so I figured I might as well finish off my recount of korea.
Picking up from where I finished in the last post, we spent the second day at Everland, which is Seoul's equivalent of Disneyland. We were in a rush to make the bus to the resort- a friend of ours strategically decided that since me and another guy should theoretically be able to run faster than the rest of them, I would give my bag to her so we could run ahead and tell the bus driver that we were there and could delay their takeoff. Despite the massiveness of the subway station, we all made it on the bus.
I had foolishly left my phone at the hotel, which is why I have no photos of my own of Everland. I shall be using those of my friends! There is not a great deal to say about the theme park, apart from the fact that they had an epic wooden rollercoaster, and the people were all very friendly. The cup down the bottom is Dippin' Dots- flash frozen little pellets of ice cream!
The third day we went on a tour to the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), which extends 2km north and south of the border between (you guessed it) North and South Korea. We wanted to go not because of the scenery or anything like that; it was more the novelty factor of being able to say 'I've seen North Korea!' Sounds pretty childish in hindsight :p Here was my first glimpse:
There was some pretty serious security, with a soldier checking our passports:
We were allowed into an underground infiltration tunnel dug by North Korea towards Seoul, no photos allowed though :(
We were then taken to an observatory where we could see the DMZ. They had a photo line, beyond which no photos are allowed. This was so only the North Korean side of the DMZ could be photographed. The photo below is typical human nature!
We then headed towards the Seoul Tower. Some in the group were tired so took the cable car up Namsan mountain (where the tower is located), while the other half wanted to hike/take the trail up because the trail was apparently very scenic. We decided to split up; I'm sure if you know me and aren't some random stalker/passerby you'd be able to guess which group I was in! xD
It was definitely worth taking the hike up, as the scenery with all its beautiful reds, yellows, oranges and greens was quite breathtaking. It was quite a walk though- the sun was setting quickly, so I ran/jogged/walked up as fast as possible to the point where I went from wearing four layers of clothing to two. Fortunately I made it to the top in time for me to see Seoul during daylight! The view from the top of the mountain was fairly impressive too, despite lacking in eye catching landmarks:
Inside the tower complex there was also a teddy bear museum, where past and present Korean ways of life were enacted with little bears. Some of the bears were very cute :p
We had dinner nearby, then it was back to the warmth of our hotel- it was freezing outside in Seoul!