First trip to Chuncheon

by - July 24, 2017

One random Saturday, we decided to go to Boryeong where the Mud Festival was happening. However, we found out the tickets were sold out and since we had come all the way to the bus station, we took the earliest bus we could find and headed to Chuncheon.

Just an hour and half by bus is Chuncheon, an area full of natural beauty and plenty of activities to do. We arrived at the Bus station and walked over to the Sculpture Park. Originally named Gongji Park, the park is located near Gongjicheon Lake and has been decorated with sculptures since 1997. The sculptures are really strange, with men and fish. The legend says that when the scholar Toegye Lee Hwang in Joseon Dynasty retired in his mother's parents' house in Chuncheon, he cut and threw rice straws and it turned into fish so that people started to call the fish Gongjieo and call the river the fish lived Gongjicheon itself. Because of this story, a part of north area from Gongjicheon is called Toegyedong and Gongjieo became fish representing Chuncheon so that its sculptures were built in different places but I say legend is just a legend. In fact, there's no Gongjieo in Gongjicheon and it's not even sure that Toegye Lee Hwang stayed here.

From there, we walked over to the Ethiopian War Memorial for Ethiopian veterans of the Korean War. Near the memorial hall, there is an Ethiopian cultural center called Ethiopia Bet. It is very interesting to see the connection between Chuncheon and Ethiopia.  The relationship between Chuncheon and Ethiopia goes back to 1950, when the Korean War broke out.

During the war, Haile Selassie I, the emperor of Ethiopia sent troops composed of his guardsmen to Chuncheon. He wanted to help a powerless country because Ethiopia had a similar experience. In 1935, when Italy invaded Ethiopia, Ethiopia quickly requested the global community for help but there was no response. Ethiopia, therefore, had to fight Italy by itself. To commemorate Ethiopia’s great contribution, the Korean government set the memorial hall for Ethiopian veterans. We ended up getting some coffee from the main cafe there, which was historical itself.

From there, we walked to Chuncheon Station and took the subway to the Gimyujeong Station so that we could enjoy the Rail Park. We immediately headed to the ticket box to purchase tickets for the 3 pm ride. Rides leave every hour and we got the 4-seater bike for $40! We lined up to board the bike when the time came. The staff took a long time to share some safety features before we could board the bike. After that, off we went!

The sights along the way are beautiful and if you are lucky, you can get to speed along the tracks to get the thrill of a roller coaster. There is little pedaling as the cart almost goes on its own.

You also go through themed tunnels, which are amazing. We passed by four tunnels ~ one of which is a disco tunnel where PSY’s songs were played. Super fun! There was also a bubble one, and then a fire and fog one, and of course a romantic one with the lights lit up like the Milky Way Galaxy (as the tunnel is called.)

After riding this course, you will arrive at the transfer station take a break for 15-20 minutes (there are small cafeteria and toilets). That area is also really cool. At the rest area, we feasted on some ice cream and drinks. There are restrooms, a food store and lots of tables at the rest area so you can relax there.

After break, you will take a Romantic Train for 20 minutes (2.5 km). It is train that you don’t need to paddle, just enjoy the wind! When you arrive the Gangchon Station (abolished station), you can go back to Gimyujeong Station by free shuttle bus. The shuttle bus also shows you some cool sights and bridges.

We went back to the station and metro'ed to the Chuncheon Station where a festival awaited us. We went to a food truck to try some Dak Galbi which is the famous local dish! Its one of my favorites now.

From there the G-200 Pyeongchang Olympics Festival was going on with lots of activities. There were some flag dances of participating nations of Pyeongchang Olympics and Children’s Choir performances, but we didn't stay long because the rain became intense.

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