Friday, June 29, 2012

Sights of Seoul Day 3

Well, Friday promised to be as hot as Thursday, if not hotter.  Elli and I decided we were going to take it a little easier that day and do less walking.

Our plan for the day was:
1. Get a good breakfast.
2. Go to the Hobbit Hole Brunch Cafe in Hongdae.
3. Go to a cat cafe in Hongdae.
4. Meet with MY at Jamsil Station and go get dinner.

Now, Hongdae is one of the more popular areas of Seoul that I hadn't been to yet.  It's centered around Hongik University and is known for having lots of artsy places and cafes to visit during the day and lots of clubs and such to go at night.

But I'll get back to Hongdae, for now let me do things in order.

For breakfast I decided we'd try this brunch place MY took me to on my first visit to Seoul.  It was about 1030 when we reached it, so I figured it would be open.

It didn't open for another thirty minutes and Elli and I were hot and starving.  So we ended up walking up the street and eating at Paris Baguette again.  It was a different one though.

We sat there and ate while I planned out our travels for the day.  When we finished we walked back to the center of Itaewon and the subway station.  I decided to be adventurous and we walked through the largest hill in Itaewon instead of around it...
And we weren't quite at the top yet.
Elli was ready to kill me.

Actually, I was ready to kill myself.

Those were some pretty nasty hills.

After this we took the subway.

Now, for what happens next to make sense I need to give some history.  Hongdae is not an actual district.  In fact, it's a slang term for Hongik University in Korean.  It merges Hongik and the Korean word for University together.

We (really I) decided to do the Hobbit Hole Brunch Cafe first.

I had the following directions:

Okok I will TRY to explain it. If you know where the cafe boutique street in hongdae is, it will make things easier. Ok…I’ll just do this properly.
From hongdae station 9: turn left. Walk till road forks in 3 directions and the way forward, while possible, curves slightly to the right. Turn left and walk along the one way road with metal gates that arch over the cars and cement wall art installations. Turn right at the 7-11(also a nail Salon at the corner). This is the street I first mentioned. Walk up the hill an take a left at the side road BEFORE the next 7-11 you see. The road before, not right at the 7-11, since it is at a corner. Quite confusing. Anyways, it’s on the street. Good luck!

Now, I couldn't find Hongdae Station on a map, so I decided that they just must mean the biggest station in the Hongdae area.  Since I saw three stations and two only had four exits according to my not-loading phone, while the third had ten.

We went to Hapjeong Station and used exit 9.  We couldn't turn left - there was a road there.  There was no road that forked in three directions anywhere nearby.

I was seriously confused and it was hot and hard to think clearly.  We wandered around for a while, Elli was a trooper, but she was getting annoyed.

I started to think I had the wrong subway station, so we started walking to the Hongik University Station while I tried looking up other directions on my phone, but could find nothing in English.  Finally we ended up at Hongik Station, where I learned that it had now merged with an express subway to Incheon Airport and that it now had nine exits, not five.  Though the significance of this was lost on my tired and hot brain.

See where this is going?

Once I had the correct exit the directions actually got us to the cafe, after a wrong turn or two because of the location of the next 7-11.

Once there we relaxed in the AC he turned on for us and just enjoyed ourselves immensely.  We were the only customers there and I rather enjoyed it.

Finally!  After an hour or so of searching!
Green Tea Latte in an AWESOME mug.
We stayed there for about an hour just enjoying ourselves.  I learned while sitting there what Hongdae actually meant and I found quite a few sights giving directions to Gio Cat, the largest cat cafe in Hongdae.

I got my directions from the Official Site of Tourism in Korea, so I was sure they were good.

They weren't.

Hongik Univ. Station, Seoul Subway Line 2, Exit #6 >> Follow the street with the Smoothie King in front of the Hongik Univ. entrance

Every site I could find about Gio Cat on my phone that gave directions told us to go to exit 5 or exit 6 at Hongdae/Hongik University Station.

There was nothing over there!

No Smoothie King, no Gio Cat, it was terribly frustrating.



I found myself speaking in a very unladylike manner to myself and wishing someone would just put up a MAP, since then I could figure out my own directions.

I eventually found a police station and we went in to ask where Hongik University was.  He showed us on the big map on the wall and we went there.

Then we had another problem.

The Smoothie King isn't easily visible from the street when you come from the University entrance.

After a little more wandering and seeing this gem:

It's between Hongik University entrance and Gio Cat, you can't miss it.
We finally found it.

Its the red sign.
Before I talk about what we found there let me give you a little map, in case anyone else is frustrated by directions and just wants to see where these places are.  The third star is the cafe we ended up at on Saturday, which will be in the next post.

Email me if you want a larger copy of the map.  The new exits 5 and 6 are north of the Hobbit Cafe.  Actually, I goofed, switch Hobbit Cafe and Cafe on Saturday.
There, now that crazy directions are out of the way...

Cats!

Elli made a friend!
So did I....Achoo!
Haha!  Scared it away!
I like this friend much better!
His skin felt like velvet, totally awesome.
My friend!

We could take pictures while there, but no flash, so I'm sorry if some pictures are a little blurry.  

I'm allergic to cats, though not as badly as I used to be.  We stayed there for about an hour and I had watery eyes for most of the time, but it wasn't too bad as long as I stayed away from the furry cats.  Luckily the only one that truly grew attached to me was the hairless one.  Actually, the fact that they had hairless cats is what led me to pick this cat cafe, because there are several more in Hongdae.

I think it could tell I was allergic to the others.

When we got to Gio Cat we went in a little room, trade our shoes for slippers, and used hand sanatizer.  Then we bought a ticket from a machine.  The ticket was what let us in and also got us a coffee or soda.  

It was a very relaxing atmosphere and we both enjoyed it.  Elli had a great time with the cats while I petted my little friend and read on my phone.

Though I wish there hadn't been forty cats, even if two of them were hairless.

When we left we wandered back to the subway station (Hongik University #9) and took Line 2 to Jamsil Station.  

We were on the subway for about 45 minutes and only got to sit down for about half of that.  

When we arrived at Jamsil we were about forty minutes early and it was beginning to rain, so we made a dash to an Angel-in-us (coffee shop, like Starbucks) and chilled there while we waited for MY. 

My throat was starting to hurt again and I was afraid of a relapse so I got some hot tea.

When MY showed up we walked to a restaurant he recommended.  It was a mix of Chinese food and Korean seafood.  

It was awesome, though Elli said her dish was too spicy.  I split Black Noodles and some sort of clam soup with MY, as we're wont to do.
Elli's food and our side dishes.
There were so many clams!!!!  It was insane!
Min Young - My 자기야
Elli - My 동생
After this we went back to our guesthouse in Itaewon and relaxed for a bit.  Then MY headed back to his place and Elli and I slept the sleep of the exhausted.

And so ended our third day in Seoul and our last night in our guesthouse.  

We had other plans for Saturday night...

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