New Year 2017 started for me in North Korea. In Pyongyang – the capital, to be exact. I went to North Korea by train from China. And traveled with a Chinese tour group of mostly students. There were 15 of us, me the only foreigner. I had a North Korean guide/minder assigned to me within this otherwise Chinese-speaking group. While Pyongyang is mostly stark concrete blocks, the city also shows off some serious bling. Top: Great Parade ground – empty after New Year; Middle L to R: famous pyramid tower hotel that remains an unfinished shell since Soviet-collapse days; Massive palatial mausoleum of the last two Kim leaders; prestigious apartment tower block in “Science” street; Below: Old city wall gate near the riverfront in the morning. FACT: Most of the tour is a guided rush, where a lot of sights – and authentic city views – are glimpsed only from windows in a flash. Such is the nature of traveling North Korea. Traveling the subway in Pyongyang – North- Korea Like it? Pin it!