Tag Archive: Nami island



Nami Island is a relatively “new” tourist attraction just outside of Seoul, Korea. Many tourists “drop by” this half-moon shaped island which can be reached via an hour’s drive from the capital and a short 5 minute ferry ride across the Han River. A day or half a day spent here may be enough soaking in the beauty of this island which showcases nature in all its splendor. I hear they turn off all lights in the evening to allow guests to “commune with nature” while in this tiny island spanning only 4 kilometers in diameter. Must be quite an experience especially during Autumn when one hears fallen leaves “crunch” while squirrels run over them in the dead of night.

 

 

20131124-014644.jpg

One of the ferries crossing Han River towards Nami Island.

20131124-014825.jpg

“Winter Sonata” made this island even more famous!

 

A Republic Within A Republic

 

I sensed the question coming as soon as we lined up for the ferry ride. The arch bearing the name NAMINARA REPUBLIC caught the eye of one of my elves. Confused that there’s a republic within the Republic of Korea, I was caught off-guard. I didn’t know! So I shoo-shooed my little man to ask our Tour Guide. Naturally, I was all ears listening to the guide’s spiel as it was obviously not the first time the question was raised.

 

20131124-020608.jpg

Choose your Season. Winter or Spring? We came in Autumn and look what we found!

20131124-021046.jpg

Vibrant hues of Autumn.

 

 

Once a desolate piece of land, one man’s love for art, nature and music and his dream to share such partnership of Nature and Culture with the world gave birth to the Nami Island we enjoy today. The former Governor of the Bank of Korea bought the island back in 1965 as he prepared for a life of leisure with Nature in his retirement. Not just a banker, Mr. Minn also founded the very first symphony orchestra in Korea. The highly-cultivated island (recreated under the helm of a very cultured visionary) hosted many cultural events nearly every weekend and attracted moviedom’s producers as location for some popular movie and television series drama. NAMINARA Republic declared its CULTURAL independence in 2006 and adopted, rather “invented”, its own anthem, flag, currency, passport and “certificate of citizenship.” Truly, one can’t help admire Mr. Minn’s vision and determination.

 

 

20131124-065219.jpg

The island is teeming with flowers and trees. Nature at its best!

20131124-065425.jpg

Thrilling to walk between two rows of these lovely trees. Very romantic!


One Family Photo!

One Family Photo!

 

 

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

 

That is a line from one of the most read and most translated books “The Little Prince” written by Antoine de St. Exupéry. Not your ordinary children’s book, this one. It is both imaginative and philosophical, hitting mainly on the “strangeness” of human nature. Petit Prince’s very simple plot of a golden-haired Prince from some asteroid meeting a pilot whose plane crashed in the Sahara Desert sucks your attention by its very simplicity. Their conversations let you imagine the brilliance and depth of the characters such that you can almost imagine the prince’s affable laughter as the scarf around his French neck tightens with every laugh. I’ve read this book as a child, a teen, an adult in mid-life crisis and as an adult in the beginning of her autumn years.

 

 

20131114-105354.jpg

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

20131114-105510.jpg

Petite France — official residence of The Little Prince in Korea?

 

 

Coming to this slice of France in Korea brings with it some degree of excitement. Made more famous now among Filipinos as a location venue for a popular Korea-novella we never watched, we got off our van one cold morning, bug-eyed and nearly wasted after a midnight flight and early morning arrival in Seoul. An hour’s drive from Incheon International Airport provided the chance to recoup all lost energy. By the time we walked through its gate, we were all prepped up for Petite France to meet the Le Petit Prince.

 

“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

 

20131114-111626.jpg

Many k-dramas were filmed here — Secret Garden, Running Man and Beethoven’s Virus to name a few.

20131114-111803.jpg

Now used as youth training facility, this “French cultural village” is on the same train line going to Nami Island.

 

“I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings.” -from the Fox-”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

 

Our guide took us for K-Drama fans and kept harping on such and such spots used in “Beethoven’s Virus”, “Secret Garden” or “Running man” — and almost “lost” us. We were here for the Little Prince, his asteroid, the characters in the book like the fox, the King, the pilot, his “tamed” rose that he kept missing. The kids with us and “in us” made us remember. We certainly enjoyed the ride coming here. The lake which looked like it’s “steaming” from sheer coldness ……. The 17 or so French structures inspired by Provence, the arts gallery and the closetful of puppets. There was no puppet show in the amphitheater when we visited. I suppose they have it on weekends. But we’re only too happy to have visited on a weekday sans the crowds. For 8,000 Krw (adults) and 5,000 Krw (kids), this French cultural village now functioning as a youth training facility is worth the trip and the admission price.

 

20131114-115738.jpg

Some 17 Provence-inspired structures including Aunt Stella’s coffee kiosk, an arts gallery and a mini museum of puppets can be found here.

20131114-115851.jpg

Spot Pinnochio!

 

“You see, one loves the sunset when one is so sad.” —— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

 

If you have kids with you, or if you happen to be K-Drama fans, an avid reader of “Little Prince”, or if you simply wish to be awed by a “French Village” nestled amidst lovely mountains and an enchanting lake, visit Petite France. Heck, if you’re out of Seoul to visit the famous Nami Island, drop by here on your way or after the island tour. It’s not very far and it’s along the same (train) way. A taxi ride won’t cost you any more than 20,000 Krw. C’est magnifique , Oui?

 

20131114-122018.jpg

It’s a small place — really just a slice of France — but packed with many photo opps. Think “selfie”?

20131114-122256.jpg

No shows on weekdays?

20131114-122421.jpg

The Land of “Cute-Ness” indeed!

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” —- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince<

/em>

 

 


http://youtu.be/tkQeboZozSY

 

 

 

Here’s a quickie post.  More like a vid-blog or whatever it’s called 🙂

 

 

http://instagram.com/p/gpAwYiA5UD/

20131113-131923.jpg