No Gun Ri Peace Memorial & Wine Tasting (South Korea)

I have not written about any trips I have taken while living in Korea, mostly because I don’t feel like a tourist here. It brings me back to when I lived in Seattle twice and never went up the Space Needle until I played tour guide, years later, for my parents when we went out to Washington to visit my sister. So, I’m going to try and change that and incorporate more of my Korean travel experiences into my blog. So, here we go!!

A couple weeks ago, a friend and co-worker of mine was informed about a wine tasting trip from a travel agent he works with sometimes. He was able to round up about 24 of us “foreigners” for the trip. Now, I typically steer away from these huge trips full of other expats (mainly because I feel like cattle being rounded up and shipped from place to place), but I really needed to get out of my place and do something, interact with some people, and give a new camera and some gear I had bought for an upcoming Eastern Europe backpacking trip a test run. I’d have to say I am glad I did go!

The trip started with a 9:50 AM meet-up time at Daejeon Station, the larger of the two train stations in the city I live in. From here, we got on the slow train to Hwanggan Station. This trip took about an hour. I sat with a fellow co-worker, Erin, and we pretty much chatted about me being in a cult while I lived in Seattle and other topics related to the “Power of Attraction”. I don’t get to chat about body, mind, spirit sort of things very often, so it’s always great to connect with someone on the topic!

When we got to Hwanggan Station, we were greeted with tons of cameras and bikes. I knew Korail, the train company, had something planned for us, but none of us really knew the details. After a little presentation about the station and it’s history (I guess it’s the smallest train station in Korea), we all jumped on bikes for a little bike ride.

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The bike ride was really fun and all along the way we were followed by people taking photos of us. Now I know what it’s like to be famous. It sounds like we may be in videos or promotional media for Korail. It will be interesting to see if I come across a picture or video of me the next time I take a train ride!! Despite being followed around the whole time and having my picture taken, the scenery was very beautiful and it was a lovely day for a bike ride.

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After our bike ride, we then all got on a bus and were taken to the No Gun Ri Peace Memorial. I had read that there was a major battle here during the Korean War and that the North Koreans won and pushed the American troops back. I thought that is what the memorial was for. We were shuffled into a small theater to watch a movie that described what happened here, and it shocked all of us. The memorial is actually here to remember the 250-300 innocent civilians gunned down and slaughtered by the American soldiers. Obviously, this incident has been covered up and the U.S. hasn’t ever offered a full apology.  I felt pretty crappy, especially being an American, after watching the video. Then again, I felt that way after visiting Hiroshima, Laos, and Vietnam. At least I go to these places, pay my respect for the sins of my fathers and others, to learn first hand about the destruction human-beings create and do to each other.

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After our visit to the Peace Memorial, we got back on the bus and headed to a winery to indulge in a number of Korean wines with lunch.

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We drank a lot, ate lunch, and had a really good time chatting among ourselves.

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We even had an opportunity to take a wine foot bath. Hey, for 5 bucks, why not!?!

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From here, we got our drunken selves back on the bus, to the train, and to Daejeon for a Korean BBQ. I definitely am glad I decided to get out and go on this trip. I met some new people and was able to take some great photos while learning some new things. I really need to do more of these sort of day trips!!

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