The Granite Tower
ARTS & CULTURETRAVEL
Winter Sonata, Spring Symphony: A Trip to Chuncheon
Kim Sun Oh  |  sunoh93@hotmail.com
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승인 2013.06.16  00:53:51
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 Photographed by Kang Hyun Ji

 
   
▲ Soyang Dam

Chuncheon, located in Gangwon Province, offers a broad range of attractions. The city provides beautiful cultural heritage, natural sceneries, diverse festivals, and delicious foods. Along with countless attractions, convenient transportation has made Chuncheon one of the most attractive cities for people of all ages. The Granite Tower (GT) headed to Chuncheon to deeply explore the various aspects of the city and to discover its beauty.

Two GT reporters took a subway train on the Gyeongchun line from Sangbong Station to Gimyujeong Station. There were many people on the train, including families who were heading to Chuncheon for family trips and university students thrilled to go to Membership Training (MT) and to gain memorable experiences with friends. Amid such an energetic atmosphere, we were also excited to explore the city of Chuncheon.After an hour and ten minutes, we arrived at Gimyujeong Station, the Chuncheon city train station closest to the hometown of Kim You Jeong, one of the most representative novelists in Korea during the 1930s. Known as the only station in the 100-year history of Korea’s railways to be named after a person, Gimyujeong Station enabled us to feel great pride and consideration of the people at Sille village as soon as we arrived at the station. We walked for about five minutes, enjoying the sunlight and fresh air. Then, we soon encountered the Literary Village of Kim You Jeong.

 

   
▲ Gimyujeong Station

 

The Literary Village of Kim You Jeong was built to promulgate his literary achievements and to maintain his creative spirit. Kim You Jeong, after returning to his hometown to open a small evening school calledGeumbyeongeuisuk, was able to attain his dream as a writer. Kim was able to learn through the beautiful realities of rural life and the vivid dialects of famers and children in the countryside. He soon developed his own unique style of writing, which is guite humorous. In fact, 12 of his 30 novels, including Spring Spring andCamellia Flower, have Sille village as their place setting. Most of the characters in the novels were found to be the actual residents of the village. There, we could see Kim You Jeong's rehabilitated house and an exhibition hall. On top of them, we found a treadmill, a cowshed, and a pond that frequently appeared in his multiple novels. It also holds diverse annual events such as literary seminars and ceremonies. Harmonized with the natural environment, the village provides tourists with an insight into the life of Kim You Jeong and a pleasant respite.

 

   
▲ The statue of a Young Girl at Soyang River

After carefully observing the village, we took another train and headed to Chuncheon Station. As soon as we arrived, we saw groups of tourists, mountain climbers, and students full of excitement and energy. We also became thrilled to think of trying dakgalbi and makguksu, the representative dishes of Chuncheon. After 20 minutes of walking to Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street, we encountered numerous dakgalbi restaurants. We entered one of the restaurants recommended by a friend living in Chuncheon. Although it was a little late for lunch, there were still many people in the restaurant. Dakgalbi, which is stir-fried chicken ribs marinated with chili-pepper sauce, known as gochujang, and assorted vegetables in an iron frying pan, is so famous that it is said that you have not truly visited Chuncheon if you have not tried dakgalbi. In addition, Chuncheon is famous for makguksu, chilled buckwheat noodles. A bowl of makguksu enables us to forget the sweltering heat of the sun. Along with dakgalbi and makguksu, dongdongju, Korean traditional rice wine, is also a great choice to try. Anyone who visits Chuncheon should try the combination of the three—dakgalbi, makguksu, and corn dongdongju.

Content to have enjoyed the taste of Chuncheon, we headed to one of the theaters. The city holds a broad range of festivals and standing performances in May, from puppet shows and play festivals to early music festivals and mime festivals. Chuncheon International Mime Festival, one of the biggest festivals out of all the events, is a festival using only gestures to express and provoke the audience’s imagination and to guide them into a new world on the stage. Chuncheon is called a city of festivals in May; many tourists from other areas and even from other countries also visit the city to enjoy the festivals.

Then, we went up to Soyang Dam, Asia’s largest and the world’s fourth largest rock-fill dam. Soyang Dam holds 29 million of water, which has become Soyangho Lake, Korea’s largest man-made lake. Surrounded with natural attractions such as Cheongpyeongsa Temple and Obong Mountain, Soyang Dam is a must-see site. In order to visit the places and to enjoy time with nature, we must take a ferry and walk for about thirty minutes. Enjoying the cool breeze and the beautiful scenery, we were able to have a relaxing break from our busy lives.

On our way back to Chuncheon Station, we found the Statue of a Young Girl at Soyang River. The statue was built in Chuncheon because a song “A Young Girl at Soyang River”, which gained national popularity in 1970s, originated from this city. Next to the statue, we found a monument with the lyrics of the song carved. We could also listen to the song when we pressed the button next to the monument. Planning to establish the surrounding area of the statue to be a great tourist attraction, Chuncheon provides diverse outdoor activities such as motor boats and duck boats.

After taking a picture with the statue at Soyang River, we returned to Chuncheon Station. On our way back to Seoul, we decided to take an ITX Cheongchun train, instead of the subway. The ITX trains are high-speed trains similar to the Korea Train Express (KTX), and run from Yongsan to Chuncheon. We were excited to take this speedy train, especially because the train is a bi-level rail car. Unfortunately, we were not able to book the second floor of the train. Many people seem to prefer having the unique experience of enjoying the speed on the second floor, so do not forget to book tickets in advance.

Chuncheon is one of the best cities for people from all ages to visit. Parents can take children to various places with historical and cultural significance, friends are able to enjoy festivals together; families can enjoy a serene break with beautiful landscape. Most importantly, the convenient transportation is extremely attractive. How about a trip to Chuncheon this weekend? 

 

 

 

 

 

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