I wasn’t really sure where we were going on Saturday and to my surprise our bus headed North through military gates to the DMZ. The DMZ is the demilitarized zone. There are a couple different spots along the boarder between North Korea and South Korea. The one we went to was the one on the East sea. We went to the Goseong Unification Observatory.
Our bus took us through and after parking we hiked up to the Observatory. Past little kiosks selling souvenirs (from North Korea). The lower level of the observatory sells snacks and souvenirs and is where you show your tickets. We bought our tickets at a rest stop nearby. It’s 3,000 won for adults and an additional 3,000 won for parking. At the observation my head teacher explained what we were looking at. On two separate mountain peaks facing one another were forts, the one closest to us from South Korea the one further, North Korea’s. We looked at Mount Kumgang and the empty highway that use to take people on tours of Mount Kumgang. It was a strange mixture of tourism and solemnity. One of my coworkers was from the area and spoke with a deep gravity while we looked around, spending 500 won coins for two minutes on binoculars that gave us a closer view of North Korea in the distance.
Afterwards we hiked back down the steep slope and my coworkers sat around a small street food vendor drinking makgeolli and eating odeng (fish cakes). I spent the time making friends with the street vendors cat before we left.
The Unification Observatory in Goseong also has the Tongil Security Park and a Korean War Exhibition Hall which we didn’t spend time at.