Day 2 (afternoon) in South Korea: Hongdae

Finally took our first subway ride from Ewha Womans University station to Hongik University station, because while the distance is walkable, you really don’t want to try. Took us a while to locate Thanks Nature Cafe, which is a sheep cafe! We had never really heard of a sheep cafe before, so this was the place to go!

When we finally found the cafe, we realised it was located in the basement of a building, probably to keep the little sheep safe from the sun and rain. The indoor section was the cafe itself, while an outdoor enclosure was where the sheep were free to roam. We headed inside first to have our lunch and rest our tired legs (and enjoy the cooling air-conditioned air).

The owner of the cafe was an old man with greying hair and full beard. While being the main caretaker of the sheep, he occasionally helps out with the mundane tasks in the cafe too, sometimes serving the food, sometimes doing cashiering duty, sometimes clearing the plates – which we find quite remarkable. He seemed very passionate about his business, and for this reason we hope Thanks Nature will continue running for a long time (and also so that we can come back and play with the sheep again!).

We ordered an espresso waffle and pomegranate ade (‘ade’ as in lemonade) and, famished, waited eagerly for our food to come. The pomegranate ade came almost immediately, followed by the waffle after about 10 minutes.

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The waffle came with two scoops of ice cream and two mountains of whipped cream, all espresso flavoured but to varying degrees. Both the waffle and the pomegranate ade were nothing to shout about, but that’s not exactly the selling point here. Wolfing our food down, we went outside to have a look at the main stars – the sheep! Maenggu and Jjanggu they were called, we just didn’t know which was which!

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One of them was asleep when we first came, so we went to interact with the other one. We even managed to snap a selfie with it! Later on, that sheep woke up and both of them began pooping and peeing all over the place! The cafe owner and a woman (perhaps his wife) had to come and clean it up.

The doggies took the chance to take some photos with the sheep! No, they didn’t try to be shepherd dogs haha.

As we left, the cafe owner handed out hay to the guests to feed to the sheep. Sadly, we just missed it by a bit!

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Since it was the weekend, we read that the Hongdae Free Market would be open, so we went over to Hongdae park, where it was held at. On a normal day, Hongdae park is interesting enough, with a playground, graffiti on walls and some roadside stalls selling souvenirs. On a weekend, it gives off even more of a hipster vibe with talented artists putting their creations up for sale at the Free Market (despite the misleading name, they weren’t free).

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We walked past all the stalls, and every single one of them amazed us. From customised wood carvings, to handmade dolls, pouches, trinkets, bookmarks, to handpainted caps and shoes, to portrait artists working with all kinds of medium, to live musical performances, we were constantly amazed by the amount of talent concentrated at Hongdae park that day.

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We came across an incredibly talented artist (above; I found out his name was Light Kim) drawing portraits of people using real espresso diluted with water, which he termed espresso drawing, and were very intrigued. We decided to have him do an espresso drawing of us for 20,000 won! It turned out quite amazing; it was basically us but with a touch of kawaii to it! We also bought bookmarks with preserved flowers on them (4,000 won each) for our moms. The prices were a bit steep, but I definitely think the souvenirs we got were one-of-a-kind, and very unlike the usual ordinary souvenirs found elsewhere!

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We wandered the shopping streets of Hongdae (we didn’t get anything because the stores there sold the same things as in Ewha), watching buskers and soaking in the youthful atmosphere, before taking the subway back to Sinchon to claim our luggage from 24guesthouse. We were going to stay in Dongdaemun for the next two nights! But before going to Dongdaemun, we needed to obtain our Korail Pass and EG SIM Card from Seoul station!

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