Cheongdo Wine Tunnel, A Fascinating Spot.
Ed - When you hear the word ‘tunnel’, you might think of a dark road. But in Cheong-do there is a special tunnel, ‘Wine Tunnel’.
I like to travel by train. Trains are always fresh and allow me to expect. (I think the last sentence is not finished. Suggestion: positive things in the future.) The charming points of traveling by train are the sights and sounds. The sights and sounds one can take in from outside are monotonous. Despite this monotonous feeling, I still feel excited.
Cheong-do station was leisurely compared with Busan station. The station was very small and full of interest like a toy train station. The front of the station is a busy street but not like that of a metropolis. I walk to the urban bus station. The Bus wasn’t special, but the way it went was unique. There were no cars and no buildings, which was pleasant to see.
After walking several minutes from the bus stop, I discovered the ‘Wine Tunnel.’ The Wine Tunnel was completed in 1896 at the end of the Korean Empire. The early days of this tunnel saw it connected to the Gyeongbu Railroad line. This tunnel was lost in the mists of time, because of another railroad line that was opened. In 2006, wine tunnel took notice of the company (Cheong-do persimmon wine) by 2 reasons. First, Cheong-do’s representative product is flat persimmon. Second, its temperature remains constant at 15 degrees Celsius even when it is humid. This climatic condition makes it ideal for the wine to ripen.
You can easily see that the wine tunnel was a part of the Gyeongbu Railroad line while walking throughout the tunnel. In front, there is a notice board about the history of the ‘Wine Tunnel.’ I walked along the railroad and entered to the tunnel. The temperature and humidity were higher inside than outside, so I was very surprised.
Inside the tunnel wasn’t very dark. There were neon lights on both sides of the walls, so inside it was pretty bright. I was impressed by the tunnel’s walls. Usually, tunnels are made of concrete, but this ‘Wine Tunnel’ is made of bricks. I could feel time, because the tunnel is a hundred years old. Walk around more inside and you’ll find a cafe. This caf? sells something special, ‘Flat persimmon wine’. Also, you can store your wine there. The caf? will also send your wine to your memorial day after you pass away.
I could hear a lot of information about the wine tunnel from a clerk. While listening about the tunnel, I could try out persimmon wine. Drinking wine in a tunnel was a unique experience. When we drank wine, most people could feel they were in a caf? or restaurant. However, drinking wine in a tunnel gives one an unexpected and surprised feeling. Persimmon wine made me feel stronger. I passed through the caf? and went into the tunnel deeper. It was then that I saw the real character of the tunnel. It was pretty dark. I could hear the sound of dropping water. All of a sudden it started feeling like a cave, not a tunnel. In the middle of the tunnel, I was exposed to a drop of water and it made me feel surprised. There were steel bars that blocked the tunnel, so I couldn’t go any further. Beyond the steel bars, many bottles were stored. That place was being used to ripen the persimmon wine. It was so dark, that some creatures were rushing about. I went out of the tunnel and looked around the village. In the village, there were many persimmon trees and many residents were climbing the trees to gather persimmons. After looking around the village, I left Cheong-do.
On my way home, I thought about my day at Cheong-do in two ways. ‘Freedom’ and ‘Freshness’ are what I thought about. First, while waiting for a bus and walking around in calmness made me feel free from my tired urban life in Seoul. Finally, walking and drinking wine in a tunnel, viewing landscape from a train window made me feel re-freshed.
By Lee Seoung-youp, Reporter