Sometimes, it makes me wonder, How could the landscape be so gorgeous?, when I watch a drama. When I first tried to find out about it, the place was not overseas but in our own country. To go on a trip abroad requires a lot of time and money. Furthermore, especially as a university student, it is really difficult to go overseas because it’s regarded as a luxury. In this 129th issue, I want to introduce the places in Korea where we can experience exotic and beautiful landscapes and cultures. People who can't spare time due to their busy work, why don't you try to soothe your disappointment in domestic travel by sightseeing exotic landscapes and experience special culture?
▶ To the place where Little Prince lives, 'Gapyeong Petit France’
“In my childhood, my dream was to be an artist. But since nobody understood the picture of a Boa eating an elephant, I gave up my dream. I became a pilot. One day, I made an emergency landing at the Sahara and there, I met the little prince.” It's one of the lines from The little prince, which is Antoine de Saint-Exupery's everlasting bestseller loved by everyone in the world. We, in our childhood, dreamed through reading The little prince. France is not only romantic by its name but as a place where the fantasy of The little prince exists. Surprisingly, in Gapyeong, which is located near Seoul, there is a place called 'Petit France'. I'll introduce 'Gapyeong Petit France', where the little prince lives and always sings about dreams.
We can easily go to 'Petit France' if we take the 'Gapyeong tourism bus on a circular route' at either Gapyeong or Cheongpyeong train station. 'Petit France' is gaining popularity steadily because of its scenery and for being an exact replica of the little France village with the name of 'petit'. 'Petit France', which is famous for its famous drama filming site for 'Secret garden' and 'Beethoven virus', gives the feeling of strolling the streets of France as we experience flea markets that sell European antiques, see a plaza where marionette's perform, and listen to Orgel melodies which were made hundreds of years ago. The charming little village that offers French culture and the exotic landscapes is often admired. 'Petit France' is a little village but it's not only a little village because each one of them is an independent exhibition. The first and second floor are decorated in the theme of Santa, Cheese, Coffee, and Chocolate, respectively. A photo zone divided by theme creates even more fun opportunities. Among lots of buildings, the Gachon herald reporters looked around Antoine de Saint-Exupery's memorial hall, the Orgel exhibition, and a flea market. In Antoine de Saint-Exupery's memorial hall, where The little prince was born, there are copies of the first edition in English, French subscriptions, pictures that Antoine de Saint-Exupery drew personally at the time of his work conception, and a manuscript written by his own hand.
There are character sculptures which appeared in The little prince and 'Petit France' are made using the theme of The little prince. It is a nice place to take pictures and make some memories with friends or families. In the Orgel exhibition, you can get a special introduction to it and if you get in at the right time, you can experience it by yourself. I highly recommend taking a trip to Europe opposing the period by performing an Orgel.
The last place we looked around was a flea market where European antiques are gathered together for people who enjoy sightseeing unique pieces. The displays are divided into three rooms in a gallery room. There are over 500 of pieces on display including miniatures such as a France's national bird the Cockerel, china dolls, mechanic watches, and oil painting products.
※Tip! If you want to feel more of France's special panorama, I highly recommend you to stay in the French traditional house. It is available when you reserve online in advance. Also, performances and experiences are done in many buildings according to a regular schedule, so it is desirable to check the schedule on the 'Petit France' homepage and have fun.
▶ Journey to the food in little China, ‘Incheon China Town’
China Town, which is located in Incheon, is called ‘Little China’ in Korea. From the entrance, you feel like you are actually in China. ‘Incheon China Town’ has naturally formed a special Chinese culture since they gathered and lived together right after the Incheon harbor opened. Red colored signs and lanterns hang on many restaurants and displayed commodities are natural enough to make you feel like you're standing in China. In the early days, on the streets, there were stores that mostly sold commodities but now it is filled with many big and small sized restaurants selling stove dumplings, hong doo beong, and pancakes. Not only food, there are lots of attractions to see including: Yishantang, Chinese temple, 'Wall paintings of History of Three States', story based on 'History of Three States', 'Black noodle museum' introducing the history of black noodles, and the Korean-Chinese Cultural Center where we can feel the Chinese culture. Let's take a trip to ‘Incheon China Town’ where we can experience various Chinese foods and culture.
We can face ‘Incheon China Town’ as we get out of Incheon station line number1. The first thing that came to mind when I thought of China was black noodles! As soon as The Gachon Herald reporters arrived in China Town, we ate black noodles. After dining, we looked around the history of black noodles museum and learned how it came into the world. I recommend you come here and look around so you can be aware of how the black noodle was born and how to make it. It is an experience of a lifetime. The Korean-Chinese Cultural Center was made for the exchange of culture between Korea and China, and so we can compare the different histories, cultures, and lifestyles between these two countries. The most important point is that we can experience Chinese culture by putting on 'qipao', also known as Chinese traditional dress, at no charge. The Gachon Herald reporters posed for a picture dressed in qipao that we had picked out. Experiencing qipao is a good chance to understand Chinese textile culture by wearing it.
※Tip! Before sightseeing China Town, visit a Community Service Center! You can get a free guide book composed of a map of Korean China Town.
▶ ‘Itaewon Islam temple’, where we can experience the unique and arcane culture downtown
We can find lots of religious facilities but it’s hard to find Islamic religious facilities. Islam is one of the 'Four major religions of the world'. Itaewon is the only place you can go to visit an Islamic temple in Seoul. Itaewon is the global town, since various people of different nationalities gather and live together. But, unlike the center of Itaewon, where many people co-exist together in excited moods, Islam street is centered by the Islamic temple and is relatively relaxed. The Islamic culture must be respected as a religion even if it's unfamiliar to us. Let's find out what's up with 'The world they live in'.
The Itaewon Islamic temple is located at Itaewon station, line number 6 nearby Usadan-gil. If you get off at Itaewon station exit 3 and ascend along the alley, you will see Arabic restaurants and a tourism center, where we call the 'Islam street'. If you walk more, you will encounter a big arch-shaped gate designed with blue patterned tiles, and after the gate, there is the Islamic temple above the stairs. The first thing that caught my sight was the words painted in the middle of the front gate. In the front gate, there is a sign that says, ‘Allahu Akbar’, which means 'God is great', painted in green Arabic language. Just for this one little single phrase, we felt like we were already in an Arab country. Many people visit here for the exotic landscapes, even if they’re not Muslim. Islam-culture-lab, beside the mosque (chapel), we can freely see books and watch videos related to Islam. In the Arabic training institute, we can experience Islamic culture by taking an Arabic language course and various culture lessons for free.
※Tip! If you are outside of the mosque, you can look around freely but you have to be cautious if you are looking around inside the mosque! Women are not allowed to enter the mosque through the middle stairs and also are not allowed to wear shorts.
For college students who live busy lives, a trip to another country may be an overwhelming event, but when traveling to domestic destinations you can not only experience exotic landscapes but also manage your heart. If you need to do some healing after your tight schedules, I recommend these places for you. These destinations are also very accessible for those wanting to make a one-day trip. If you have a busy mind, why don't you take a cup of coffee to keep your composure and head out to the places introduced above, where you can feel happiness with a simple dish in a restaurant!< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >