Strange feeling

This Sunday I was out for a walk towards one of the hills or mountains that is close to the city center.

On my way there I reached the city wall that had been built several hundred years ago to protect the city from the any invader. I skipped the original plan with the mountain and decided to discover the so called Fortress Wall.


Before being allowed to climb the first steps of the wall I had to fill in a form and register with my local ID. I was given a badge with a number that needed to be worn.

After the first few meters I understood the reason: every fifty meters there was an employee with a walk talkie observing every visitor. Taking pictures was not allowed from every spot and that was one of his tasks to take care of. In addition, they made sure that people follow the paths and do not go beyond any barrier.

In addition, small watch towers with two soldiers marked the way along the wall. To my surprise they were all heavily armed ready to react on the smallest threat. Later on I found out the reason why this section of the wall was heavily guarded:


A pine tree with several colored dots as surrounded by a group of people. Signs told the story behind the markings: during an assassination attempt of the North Koreans several bullets hit that tree.

It was a strange feeling seeing a tree carrying several bullets that were supposed to kill South Korean officials. Furthermore it made me understand the whole scenery better. Both parts of the Korean peninsula are still at war even though there are no daily gunfights.


Fortunately that feeling vanished when I reached one of the eight gates that can be found along the wall. From there I had a great view over a part of the city center with some of the landmarks like Namsan Tower or the 63 Building.


Climbing up and down hundreds of stairs that changed their height every meter made me tired and after three hours I was back at home. All in all, it was a nice and very relaxed afternoon but also an interesting one. For the first time I realized that I am living in a country which is at war officially.

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