The North Korean DMZ and other cultural adventures

The two peace villages in the Korean Demilitarised Zone got into a flag-off about a decade ago. Each night, they would raise the height of thier flagpoles, until eventually the South gave up. The flags are still there.

The DMZ is a 4 kilometre wide ribbon of land separating North and South Korea. The landmines make farming difficult, so nature has reclaimed it.

The border
The bus ride to the DMZ was surreal, an eight lane highway was empty for thirty miles. It was constructed to quickly move tanks to the border, and passes within sight of the north side of the river.

I toured some communist infiltration tunnels (I’m glad I wore a helmet), and purchased some of North Korea’s finest wine at the train station.

Sadly North Korea is closed

Looking across the border, North Korea is desolate and devoid of trees. I was told that the communist peasants have chopped and burned everything as firewood to keep warm. The government regularly replants whole forests but they don’t last long.

Not much foliage in North Korea

The older generation of South Korean people have great sympathy for those in the north. They see them as lost family and strive for reunification. About thirty thousand defectors arrive every year, and for five years they will be given a home and education. But the younger South Koreans are more apathetic about the situation.

Hopefully, one day, you will be able to take a train from London to Seoul. But for now I’ll be finding another way home.

Helpful map in the visitors centre

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