Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
22Trip End Nov 07, 2011
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The first stop of our tour was the area surrounding The Freedom Bridge. This bridge was used to free thousands of war prisoners following the Korean War. There is a giant bell at the site which was made using weapons which were used in the war. It is a symbol of peace. The remains of a steam train are also displayed. The train was badly damaged in the conflict and many bullet holes are clearly visible. The site is a memorial and a symbol of hope for the Korean people; it was quite moving to visit.
The next stop on the tour was the 3rd infiltration tunnel
To make it harder for the South Korean army to find the tunnels the area was littered with land mines. As you drive along you can see the military personnel still looking for these mines at the side of the road. They believe they have only found a very small percentage so far. In response the Southern army have built giant concrete buildings which are filled with dynamite in order to protect the country should it be invaded. It was quite scary driving through this area!
The tour then took us to the Dora Observatory. From here you have a fantastic view of the border and can see North Korea. There is a village that you can see just across the border in North Korea, this is home to the world's largest flagpole. Apparently no one lives in this village and it is there just for show. Photographing is very restricted at the observatory you can only take pictures in one area behind a yellow line
The final sight on the tour was Dorasan Station. This train station could connect the South with the North. The station was restored back in 2002 when relations between the two countries were improving and they were hoping for unification. Unfortunately this was not to be and the it now lies dormant. The station acts a symbol of hope to the Korean people, hope that unification and peace can be found in the future.
This tour was such a unique experience for us. It is interesting to see how the DMZ portrays the past, the present and the future of Korea. It was a "highlight" of our trip, but in a completely different way and for very different reasons than the other tourist attractions we have visited.