Ice, rabbits, tanks, what else do you need?

Trip Start Dec 02, 2011
Trip End Dec 02, 2012

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Flag of Korea Rep.  , Gyeonggi,
Sunday, January 6, 2013

A few of the group tours I've been on or read about have seemed to drag what could have been a day trip--although perhaps a long one--into a weekend trip. I suspect they stay the extra night out in order to increase the money they can get away with charging. Today really felt like one of those days where they had us stay over for no good reason, and so they scrambled around to find something for us to do. Sort of like last weekend's ski trip. In theory that trip had hiking on Sunday, but that didn't happen.

Today's tour threw in a visit to Pocheon's (포천) "Jack Frost" Festival (동장군축제). It was a small festival taking place in the allegedly renowned Baegun Valley (백운계곡) to celebrate winter. A relatively young festival, only in the 9th year, it was also very small. There were one or two food vendors, a place to cook your own food, some trees with ice sprayed on them, and a handful of activities.

Admission to the festival was free, but the activities required tickets. We wandered for a bit and ended-up at an ice wall with a small gate. A booth was setup selling tickets next to the gate. The ticket was for something that translated literally as "rabbit house". We peaked over the wall, but didn't see any rabbits. Even though there didn't look to be much going on on the other side of the wall either, I decided to buy a ticket. Since the festival entry was free, it seemed like a good way to give them a bit of money.

The other side of the wall was mildly entertaining. There were a few slides and some sleds. I'm not sure the slides were intended for adults, but I saw a parent or two go down them so we took a trip as well. There was also a large igloo and a couple of ice sculptures. Because I was wearing snow pants for warmth, I decided to sit upon an ice horse. Apparently, I didn't manage to learn anything from my experience trying to sit on the ice chair yesterday because I almost slid right off. Luckily there was ample ice mane to grab.

As we were leaving the area, we found out why it was called the "rabbit house". Tucked away behind a wall next to the exit was a rabbit pen. The rabbits had nice warm houses built out of pine boughs, but apart from that, they had it pretty rough. Small children were chasing the rabbits and trying to grab them. I told a few kids to be gentle, in Korean even, but I don't think that worked.

The worst we saw was one girl who had two rabbits waving around by the ears. Instead of telling her to put them down, her parents had her hold them up so they could take a picture. Ugh. I wish I spoke good enough Korean to yell at people, but it probably wouldn't have gotten through. I'm not sure if I felt more sorry for the rabbits in Korea or the guinea pigs in Hungary. Probably the rabbits since the guinea pigs didn't have convenient ears to grab, although the guinea pigs seemed far more terrified.

So apart from the rabbits, the festival was cute but not worth a special trip. We had a bit of fun, but we were finished with our visit in about two hours, so we spent quite a bit of time in the morning/early afternoon just hanging out around the hotel. At least the tour guide had gotten us extended check-out so we didn't have to wait in the cold.

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