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The Hangdong Railroad: Walking Through the Course of Our Lives
Lee Sun-Joo  |
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승인 2017.03.12  00:17:54
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PEOPLE OFTEN seek to escape from their busy lives. They wish to leave to a place where they do not have to worry about anything, but to relax and think. The Hangdong Railroad is the perfect place for these people to visit, with a peaceful yet vibrant atmosphere. Previously named the Oh-ryu-dong Line or the Gyeonggi Chemical Line, the railroad was used for transporting raw materials and finished products of a fertilizer company. However, the area has now transformed into a tourist attraction for those who want to stroll quietly, while listening to music and taking beautiful photos of nature. This place is definitely worth a visit.
A place of contemplation and sympathy
   A sky blue-colored sign engraved “A place of contemplation and sympathy” welcomes the visitors to a seemingly endless road that leads to a whole new world. A vintage-colored robot made of tin greets the visitors at the entrance. Despite the cold weather and the rusty tracks of the railroad, the landscape around the area provides the visitors with a cozy atmosphere. Walking further inside, the long and solitary railroad creates an illusion that the visitors are drawn into an unknown and mysterious world. It is a world of mysteries and secrets, as visitors cannot grasp what lies at the end of the road. Towards the end of the railroad, a bench, placed under the structure with a sign for Hangdong Railroad station, appears. The long, brown bushes and the tranquil mood surrounding the bench provide a feeling of solitude. There, the visitors can sit, relax, and wait for the train that will never arrive.
There are encouraging and reflective phrases engraved on the surfaces of the railroad tracks. As visitors walk along the pathway, they will feel as if they are time-traveling through the different steps of their lives. The journey starts with the phrase, “Meet the 00-year-old me,” and it goes on with “8 years old, first day of school,” “25 years old, my youth was brave,” and ends with “60 years old, a new life.” These phrases suggest that life flows just like a train traveling through the railroad and that every step of their lives is meaningful. The phrases allow visitors to reminisce about their past: going to school, falling in love for the first time, enjoying their youth, becoming a parent, and feeling the weight of life. Looking back at their memories will allow them to reflect on the lives they have lived through. It will maybe even encourage them to start anew based on the lessons learned from their past experiences.
The Pureun Arboretum, another place to relax
   The Pureun Arboretum is another tourist attraction located right next to the Hangdong railroad, which greets visitors with the fragrances and the aesthetic views of the trees and flowers. At the entrance, there are several artistic structures, such as an arch-formed construction that looks like a tunnel, flower pots with colorful flowers and windmill-like architecture. In addition, there is also an aquatic botanical garden named Ga-ram-ja-ri where visitors can take a look around the pure water of the reservoir and observe the landscape that surrounds the garden. People can also visit different themed gardens like the French Garden and the English Garden, both of which resemble typical gardens in those countries. Although not all the flowers have bloomed during winter, visitors can still anticipate the beautiful scenery that is unique to this season, with the frosted leaves and flower buds ready to wake from their long hibernation.
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   People go through many difficulties throughout their lives. In those times, visiting Hangdong railroad will certainly offer consolation with its serene scenery, encouraging messages and its unique and beautiful arboretum.  The Hangdong railroad will surely purify people’s minds and provide hope for a fresh start.
Box 1: How to get to the Hangdong Railroad
The easiest way to get to the destination is to take bus 153 in front of the main gate of Yonsei University. Then, transfer to bus 10 at the National Assembly Station and get off at Seoul Garden Villa Station. Walk approximately 10 minutes towards the Oh-ryu-geum-gang Arboretum Apartment, and then you will encounter the railroad.
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