Leaving Jeju we managed to miss the last bus to Gyeongju, the last capital of the Silla Kingdom when the whole peninsula of Korea was unified for the first time about two thousand years ago.
Gyeongju: Ancient Capital and butt-hills
Surprisingly there was quite a strong and prosperous kingdom back in the days, palaces, gardens, etc. But the most interesting sight is the tombs of the royal family left behind: lush and green butt-shaped mounts of dirt on top of the burial chamber, spread around the town.
Not a strong tsunami: A cruise on the cliff
Jeongdongjin is a small village by the beach 20 minutes away from the Vegas of South Korea, Hongdae, which is worth visiting only if to see the drunk men walking the streets and the affordable accommodations.
According to the Koreans, this is the closest train station to the beach, actually, it is on the beach. And if this is not enough reason to visit this place, you only have to look south to the surrounding cliff to catch a surreal sight: A full-size cruise ship is parked on top of the mountain and next to it yet another one. It was not carried by a huge tsunami-wave but built there as a luxury hotel for the sea-sick.
On board of a North Korean Submarine
Just when things couldn’t get more surreal, in 1996 a submarine packed with 26 North Korean soldiers about to infiltrate the South and create some havoc. Their plans fell short when the ship got stuck at sea. The captain killed the non-officers and burnt all the paperwork, then run to try to return to the North, killing in his path several more civilians. Now the tiny ship is on exposition and you can enter inside. God knows how 26 people fit in here, they must have been tiny.
DMZ: The most dangerous border on earth turned amusement park
The war of the Koreas was one of the most bitter reflections of the cold war, more than 3 million lost their lives and most of the Koreans were left homeless in a country ravaged by war. At the end of the war, a line was drawn between the two halves, the communist-backed north, and the Western-backed south. This area was to serve as a buffer to prevent further penetrations and hostilities. Since then, both sides have land-mined, armed and controlled, becoming the most militarized area in the whole world.
In the 1970’s the South discovered four tunnels dig by the North’s army intended to a full-scale invasion, 30.000 soldiers could pass through the 70 meter deep and 2 kilometers long tunnel just 40 km away from Seoul.
Today more than 1.2 million people come to this place to crouch-walk the tunnel, cross the Unification bridge, peep inside the hermit nation through a periscope and learn about the tragedy of the war. At least someone is making money out of it.
Dick-Park: Haesindang Park
The legend tells the that after a young virgin was lost at sea, the fishermen from the fishing village of Sinnam would return from their expeditions empty handed, not a fish in the ocean. One day one of them was peeing with his dick toward the sea and suddenly the fishing improved. The automatic conclusion was that the virgin was unsatisfied and should see more dicks. So they started building penis shaped sculptures for the virgin to be happy and provide fish for everyone. This is how it looks.
This post wouldn’t be complete without the last trend in the Royal Palaces of Korea to dress up according to the times: