Naminara Republic has two different entry procedures after immigration: the first is by ferry and the other is by zip line. While not actually a separate country, this island in the Han River is marketed as such. It contains a bizarre variety of elements that make tourist destinations so uniquely Korean- like wild ostriches fleeing crowds of helmeted paparazzo on Segways.
As we ventured further into the island we found an enormous statue of a naked woman breastfeeding two children. The only thing that made sense about the inclusion of this statuary was a young woman performing the “ddong shim” (poop needle). Children here are enthralled at the idea of poking their fingers up their teacher’s butts and perhaps that is an opportunity adults also joyously seize.
Looking for an activity to get the most out of our visit, Barret and I decided to rent a tandem bicycle for a romantic stroll.
With Barret at the helm, I took the back seat and tried to fold my legs into a comfortable position. We were off in a flash and barreling down a hill on a collision course with ambling pedestrians. “Barret! Slow down! Barret SLOW DOWN!”
My knees were slapping the handle bar when I finally decided to dig my toes into the soil. “Don’t put your feet down, the brakes are up here!” Barret shouted as he furiously peddled onward. His Naminara Race Circuit found us dashing around strollers and grazing toddlers too busy discovering their own fingers to realize their very existence was in danger. Every unbroken twig was traversed while any change in topography was a launch pad for our rickety rocket.
“Barret. This is not fun. I am not having fun.”
Tandem bikes are not fun; they are exercises in trust and communication skills. If one is looking for romance, they would be advised to visit tried and true spots, like this metasequoia-lined path made famous by the show Winter Sonata.
How to get to Nami Island: From Sangbong Station (line 7, Jungang Line and Gyeongchun Line) head to Gapyeong on the Gyeongchun Line. From Gapyeong it is a 20 minute walk or 10 minute taxi/bus ride to the ferry terminal.