Getting me to think the Past, Present and the Future ...Abai Village, Sokcho city(속초시) travel in South Korea

The temperature was dropping sharply day by day just like to rush into the winter. The Sokcho city, located in the far northeast of Korea, was a small town at first but  it became a big city according to migration of lots of refugees population from North Korean after the Korean war(1950-1953).  This city is a gateway to nearby Seoraksan national park(설악산 국립공원)  and is one of the biggest harbor city in the amount of fishery products. And thus many people used to visit not only for their summer holidays but also good reputation of sea products all year round.
 At this time, I skipped over Seoraksan mountai (설악산)because we already went there last summer and I planned to go to the ‘Abai Village’(아바이마을; fathers’ village; dialect of Hamgyeongdo region in North Korea). This is a small village located in Cheongho-dong street in Sokcho(속초) city.  It has the shape of a stripe land area between Cheongcho Lake and the East sea. This village was originally set up as an area to house North Korea refugees those who await to return their hometown in North Korea. Despite of ending Korean war, the country divided into two bodies( South Korea and North Korea) and they could not go back to their hometown never again. So they had to settle down somewhere in south area. After all, large percentage of the refugees lived further in here and named it as Abai village after the deriving of  being of elderly age, “uncle” or “aged male person”. It looked as just small village to the eye but it had sad story about our country.
Here was the ordinary village until that had been famous as filmed sites for K-drama ‘Autumn in My Heart’(Gaeul Donghwa;가을동화) in November,2000 which is romantic television drama reaching a peak viewership of 46.1% in Korea and also was aired on  television in many Asian countries after that.
Drama KBS ' Autumn in My Heart'

The Gat bae(갯배)
The Gaetbae(갯배)  Boat, a floating raft of tires and wood, being operated by people pulling on rope moving the boat across a waterway, served for a long time as the main way, to get from the little island to downtown, just 50 meters distance, instead of going by a round-about way up to 5 kilometer until the recent completion of a bridge made for driving. Especially, the scene that the hero of drama was searching for heroine was so aching in ones heart to viewer that many people want to ride on this boat as being like hero. Yes, this has been known as famous place by drama. But I would like to add some more stories being forgotten as times go by.
‘Abai village’(아바이마을), This is the village having heart broken story. This is the just place where people from North Korea has lived since the date of ceasefire the war(1950-1953) during over 60 years, is still waiting to go back to their hometown with hoping to see their family being left in. In 1952, the code name was ‘Christmas Cargo’. During the Korean War, UN coalition forces (especially US army) and Korean militaries were isolated in Heungnam area of North Korea due to massive influx of Chinese military force supporting the North Korea. The weather was so cold about -30 to -40 centigrade and the status was very urgent. So militaries took a decision of withdrawal troops by the route of the sea. Under way of preparing the evacuation, it happened that refugees who had lived in those areas and nearby areas gathered into Heungnam port to take the boat going to South Korea. Did you ever see these photos?
capture by 두산백과  Meredith Victory called as 'Ship of Miracle'
capture by 두산백과  refugees from North Korea in above ship up to 14000 peron
capture by 두산백과 burning Heungnam port
Captain Leonard Larue, was 35 years old only at that time, said “God’s own hand was at the helm of my little ship.” They safely arrived at Geojedo island near by Busan city on the morning of Christmas day in 1952 after long hard voyage in over 13 hours. After ceasefire, refugees could not go to the hometown, so they settled down in the empty sandy plain by the sea in Sokcho city as the nearest town to approach to go their hometown, had been waiting for the unification of both Korea, The South and The North.

Sokcho city was a small city before. As the inflow of these refugees, the population was increased, the city had become a big city in Gangwondo province, these displaced person gained commercial supremacy of Jungang-market by making market in this zone filled with reeds when they arrived here at first. In this respect, it is not too much to say that Sokcho is the city made by the displaced person. As the years rolled by, the first generation of internally displaced person passed away about in the 50 percentage and the second generation has taken over their business.
abai sundae
Abai Sundae(
아바이순대) that is steamed squid stuffed with a mixture of noodles, tofu, vegetables and squids is the famous unique food in this village, being created by old refugees generation from North Korea. Original one was made of the gut of a big animal, tripe, but they replaced it by using squid because it was not easy to get the tripe under lacking of everything after war. Hamheung Naengmyeon(함흥냉면) is also famous food (cold buckwheat noodle).
Another recommendable cuisine in here is as follow.The most favorite food is maybe Manseok dak gangjeong(만석닭강정), the stir-fried chicken formed into small balls and coated in a sweet and spicy source. This is so famous and well known to the people, they can enjoy even other area using quick delivery system. Don’t miss to taste this fried chicken. I could easily see the persons who are holding these boxes. It is very famous and delicious. Not so far from downtown, there is a natural spa area; Cheoksan hot spring district(척산온천지구), there are available for proper accommodations to the tourists also. This is an extraordinary alkaline thermal spring, looks like slightly blue radiance, is good for skin diseases, eye diseases, stomach disorders, neuralgia, blood circulation and relaxing ones’ fatigue, they say.  Next time, wish to visit this hot spring. It was raining when I awoke on the next day. There was Seoraksan mountain in the rain at a long distance.
The Seoraksan mt. in the rain
Sokcho city is one of the most tourist attractions being loved by Koreans and foreigner with its spectacular sceneries of mountain and sea all the year round. This is not disappointed with you. *** How to get there**

Take the inter-city bus from Dong-Seoul bus terminal in Seoul to Sokcho. It takes 2 hrs 50 mins only.  
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