Seoul Survivor-WCS Final Edition

Sunday daytime was a free day while the Symposium Board conducted its official business, so I made my way to the English language service at the Seoul Anglican Cathedral, located behind the British Embassy. In the main nave, the Korea language mass was celebrated; for we visitors and ex-pats our church was held in the lower level crypt, small but big enough for the 40 or so in attendance. IMG_5161   Sightseeing downtown after church provided some glimpses into both the old and new faces of Seoul.

Seoul City Hall

Seoul City Hall

 

Sungnyemun Gate, called Seoul's greatest treasure

Sungnyemun Gate, called Seoul's greatest treasure

Sunday lunch...can't get enough of these hot pot extravaganzas!

Sunday lunch…can't get enough of these hot pot extravaganzas!

That evening, we attended a gala concert in the Seoul Art Center. This complex of concert and performance halls, stages and museums is located in the southern part of the city, on the edge of the Gangam region made famous in last year's viral music video. Following, a group of us shared a tasty Japanese late night dinner of sushi, noodles, and Soju (think Korean sake).

Karen Cooksey and her mother, Frank Albinder, Eric Banks and Lisa Graham...fun group!

Karen Cooksey and her mother, Frank Albinder, Eric Banks and Lisa Graham…fun group!

Monday was a work day for me, catching up on some prep for the new ISC season and upcoming school year. But I did find time for a great run up the hill in Namsan Park to the Seoul Tower, a yummy kimchi quesadilla lunch, and some sightseeing in Bukchon Village, a picturesque neighborhood preserving the 19th architecture of Seoul. IMG_5182 IMG_5184 IMG_5199 IMG_5200 Tuesday, my last full day in Korea, was one of the best! First half of the day was spent on a day trip to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), that very real dividing line that separates South from North Korea. Seoul is pretty close to it, and in less than an hour on the highway we arrived at the military area just south of the DMZ. Though capitalism abounds (souvenir shops and pay telescopes at EVERY stop), one can't escape the grim truth, in reading the many signs that speak of the millions of lives lost in the Korean war and the hoped-for reunification.

The Freedom Bridge, across which thousands of South Korean soldiers were returned to their homes in the early stages of the conflict

The Freedom Bridge, across which thousands of South Korean soldiers were returned to their homes in the early stages of the conflict

Though we weren't permitted to take any pictures of the actual tunnel, we did hike through about a third of a mile of the Third Infiltration Tunnel, dug in the 50s but not discovered by the South Koreans until the 1970s. Four tunnels have been discovered (there are thought to be many more) through which it is presumed an invasion of South Korea was to have been conducted.

Schematic of Infiltration Tunnel No. 3

Schematic of Infiltration Tunnel No. 3

We were able to peer into North Korea from a high hillside though, again, photos were not permitted. It was bracing to learn that the numerous small red triangular signs along the roadside up the hill were warning of land mines. Back in the city, Wellesley College choral conductor Lisa Graham and I took an evening stroll through the arts and crafts neighborhood of Insadong, with frequent stops for sips and snacks, of course!   IMG_5232 IMG_5231 IMG_5230 IMG_5227

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