(Nami-seom written in Korean)
Named after General Nami, a 27-year old general who died in 1468 and who's supposed to have been buried in the island, this tourist mecca has Winter Sonata to thank for!
(General Nami's grave)
That Korean drama brought the fans, tourists and of course, cash into the island! And with all my years living in Seoul, I've known friends who crossed the lake to set foot on the island and have told me to do the same. But I just didn't have the interest nor the reason why I should visit the place...until BBB!
Thanks to the BBB who sponsored the trip to Nami Island on summer Sunday. The travel group of more than 200 Koreans and foreigners huddled on a train, on the bus and finally, on the ferry to visit this super-hyped island, which I hope someday won't sink due to global warming or due to too much starstruck Bae Young-Joon fans. Ha-ha-ha!
(Nami Republic's first couple with young tourists)
Lots of trees, tall and leafy, lined up the trail leading to the center of the half-moon shaped island.
(the shape of the island)
And for easy navigation around, tourists are able to rent family bikes and battery-operated strollers, or just walk around on foot like we did. But make sure you're wearing rubber shoes in case you need to run after Bae Yong-Joon when he shows up for state visit, or if you're chased by an ostrich (we were warned but never saw one!).
The place was picturesque, and some sculptures and structures were interesting. I didn't exactly hear myself saying 'ooh' or 'aah' at the drama spots, but I was able to tell if the tourist is a fan by the look and the excitement in her eyes. Not mention the ready camera! Ha-ha-ha!
Although walking around was fun for me as a photographer, the highlight of my Nami Island tour was....ta-dah...the packed lunch from Outback Steakhouse! Ha-ha-ha!
(Outback Steakhouse lunchee!)
I was so impressed with the planning of the BBB tour! The organizers ordered our lunch days before, had them prepared by an Outback Steakhouse branch in the nearby city of Chuncheon, put them on a delivery van, which then traveled to the harbor and was ferried into the island! And the yummy lunch arrived on time! The strips of pork barbecue, slices of fried potatoes, rice, pickles and veggies, a lump of pasta, brown wheat bread, butter and a lot more made the lunch in the wilderness memorable and fun! Burp!
And with our tummies full, my friend Young-Cheol, whom I met at the tour, and I just strolled for the remaining minutes until it was time to assemble at the harbor for the ferry ride back to the mainland.
(Thanks for the iced cafe mocha, Young-Cheol!)
I was expecting myself to be converted into a Winter Sonata fan after the visit. But it seems I didn't catch the drama fever. I must have been immune to these over-rated dramas full of silly plots and actors who still have full makeup while they are in bed ready to sleep. Or funnier still, she still manages to put on a red lipstick and perfectly coiffe her hair while she's on her death bed! Ha-ha-ha!
But the island was interesting. Its history, its re-invention and the business, which created livelihood for the locals brought about by the Korean drama phenomenon, have all brought life into an ordinary Korean island.
(A tourist posing with the remembrance for Park Yong-Ha)
(Walking through the most familiar path)
It was the drama that gave it fame. But it was the fans that made it special.
And while a 27-year old general gave it a name, a 30-year old actor gave it life.
Here are some of the photos I took while at General Nami's island.
(Bae Yong-Joon smiling all the way to...the cashier!)
(reshaped soju bottles)
(Whose bike was this?)
(a pyramid of magazines)
(Won Bin at the UNICEF shop)
(The UNICEF train)
(Mirror, mirror on the wall...)
(The republic's central bank)
(the electric car)
(messages from fans written on wood)
In case you want to visit the island, click on these sites: