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Namisum (Nami Island)

Posted November. 04, 2004 23:19,   


The wind of autumn tickles my ears, telling me to leave for a brand-new place to travel. Under the clear blue sky, reddened leaves twinkling by the light wave their hands at me. The autumn is almost near its end. If you want to make an autumn memory walking down the roads bedded with crispy fallen leaves, how about Namisum, where the scents of culture and arts fill the air.

Namisum Awakens from Its Sleep—

A park where the entire island is floating on a lake: that is Namisum. With the construction of the Cheongpyong Dam, the place changed its face to an island with a diameter of six kilometers and an area of 140,000 pyong. The place has always been loved as a place for college students’ group trips. But until three years ago, it was just left as a place of eating and playing, without any entertainment sources.

However, Namisum has totally changed these days. Kang Woo-hyun, CEO of Namisum.com and a lover of Namisum, is putting his tough plans into effect to change the island into one of fairy tale and fantasy.

Stumps of trees rolling around the island were reborn into road idol statues of different expressions. Electric poles are gone, and electric lines are all buried underground.

To make the island more natural, caged animals were freed. If you get around in Namisum, you meet rabbits, deer, ducks, ostriches, and other animals running around freely.

Korean squirrels, “problems of the ecosystem” elsewhere, are loved here.

Here, you never see fallen leaves or even a petal being cleared away. They instead become naturally drawn pictures. Because of that, when you go to Namisum around this time of the year, you can see the colors of the season as beautifully as they are.

Roads into the Woods Full of Autumn Scents—

The roads in Namisum have their own beauties and nuances. When you arrive at Namisum, the first thing that greets you is a road lined with fir trees. The fir trees standing tall towards the sky line a road that goes for about 400 meters with beauty and pride. On the right side of the fir tree road are maple trees with their blushing faces. Gingko trees of sheer yellowness extend about 100 meters after the fir tree road ends. On the right side of the gingko tree road is Metasequoia Woods Road. These high-rising trees come with exotic looks.

There is a “Relive the Old Times” exhibit hall with life scenes from the 1950s to 1980s. Children will have a chance to peek at childhood scenes of their parents, and grown-ups will have moments of returning to their childhood.

In an old classroom, students sat in old desks and sang to a pedal organ. The names of children who made noise in the classroom were written on the blackboard, as well as the names of children who were responsible for cleaning the bathrooms that day. A huge coal-fueled furnace has piles of lunch boxes made of tin warming up on top. A child is sitting on a washing board and having a haircut. Isn’t that an amusing sight?

Young Artists’ DIY Studio—

Bungalows by the river house small studios of young artists. They offer different art experiences: china making, dying, traditional papermaking, and others. In an hour, you will have your own masterpiece. It costs 3,000-5,000 won, and you have to make a reservation at the DIY Studio at 031-581-2020.

The traditional papermaking studio (031-582-5949), besides papermaking, has Gayageum performances everyday at 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m., and they offer free lessons. Taffy-breaking games with betting sometimes take place, and you can also have your family mottos written on traditional paper and have them framed. (5,000-7,000 won.)

Witty signs here tickle people hard. A lake as big as a hand contains maybe a cupful of water. In there lies a sign saying, “No fishing,” and “no swimming.” A little tree planted in a pot bears a sign saying, “Do not climb up the tree.” A small field with pepper plants displays signs saying, “Single women shouldn’t pick peppers here.” (The word pepper also means penis in Korean.) “Married women shouldn’t pick others’ peppers,” and “Old ladies can pick any pepper they want” are some others.

Another fun activity in Namisum is biking. Couples can get on a two-person bike and bike on the riverside. A precious memory of your youth days will be born on that day. A small train runs on the old train tracks on the island and takes you to a small children’s world.

For questions, please call 82-31-582-5118.

Written by travel planner Choi Mi-sun, tigerlion007@hanmail.net

Photos by freelancer photographer Shin Suk-kyo, rainstorm4953@hanmail.net