We were briefed on the gruesome and unnerving history of this place before beginning our journey north down the old highway.
The Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, is 241 kilometers long (roughly 150 miles) and just 4 kilometers wide (about 2.5 miles), which is still wide enough to hide the 2 million land mines buried there.
We reached the freedom house, where no photography was permitted, exited to the north, and entered the JSA, or Joint Security Area. The South Korean military stands half hidden behind still-neutral buildings here, a precaution in case the north opens fire. This is the only portion of the DMZ where North and South Koreans stare face to face.
We crossed a yellow line in the road and entered the Military Armistice Commission, or MAC building. The North and South still hold talks in this rudimentary shack. The table is actually the line between the two sides.
We continued down that old highway, arriving at Command Post 3, often called the loneliest outpost in the world. It’s an elevated position looking down upon the bridge of “No Return,” where North and South exchanged prisoners at the end of the Korean War.
We were under 360-degree surveillance by North Korea with machine guns pointed right at us.
In the distance you could see the “Propaganda Village.” From a flagpole 160 meters tall, they broadcast propaganda between 8 and 24 hours per day, trying to lure defectors into North Korea. But the village itself is mostly uninhabited; the windows and doors are painted on.
We exited the way we came, past the bridge, still littered with land mines, returning to Camp Bonifas a relative safe haven in a region ravaged by the horrors of war.
Paul will be answering questions about his trip to the DMZ on Facebook live Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Follow him on Facebook to be notified when he's live.