November 16, 2012

Cat Café And Free Market

After leaving you last time, I had discussed the first half of my Saturday, during which I enjoyed a trick art museum in the area of Seoul known as Hongdae. This is an artsy area of Seoul, where many people come on Saturday to share their talents and sell their wares at the Free Market. The Free Market is not a flea market, but a place where people come and sell custom products. At this small park near Hongik University home to many studying design. Students and other people to try and sell things they have made with their own hands. Even though I really respect what a lot of these people are doing with their talents, I can’t afford some of their asking prices. Still, seeing some of the things they had for sale, I was sorely tempted to splurge and buy myself a really nice, but early, Christmas present.

The items that were for sale were just as varied as the people selling them. They even had free music shows and people practicing their instruments. This park has been painted up and taken over by these artistic individuals and it was just a great experience to be immersed in something so different from everyday Korea.

There was such a variety of products available to buy. There were tables with wood working, brass work and jewelry, owl art, and giraffe stuffed animals. One of the stuffed giraffes was two and a half feet tall. Two of my favorite vendors were the couple of ladies who were knitting stuffed animals there at the park. My other personal favorite was the person who had made leather wallets and bags. The one leather bag was plain but very beautiful in its simplicity.

The one thing of note to me was that this was taking part in early November and the place was still packed with people. I struggled to get around and see many of the vendors. Someone who does not like being surrounded by people or being in tight corners will not like it at the park.

While many people and artists are selling crafted items in the park, along the outside perimeter there are vendors who are trying to sell products that have been massed produced. Some of these products are very nice, but you don’t go to the Free Market to buy standard tourist items. I have no contention towards these people they are just trying to sell different goods to people and make a living as well.

After walking around the Free Market we headed to a cat café known as the Cat’s Attic. This place is not just designed to look cute with cat stuff; they have cats walking around so you can play with them. They had around 15 cats in this café if not more. Regrettably, I did not manage to get a head count.

The coffee was just as good as any other coffee shop I have been in, but being able to play with animals was fun and I really enjoyed being around them.

Some people believe that the cat café’s stink with so many cats loose, and that was my concern as well initially. However, that concern was quickly laid to rest. The place smelled very clean, and I can only surmise that is because the owners of the café are very meticulous in their daily cleaning.

This was a fun day for me. Even though I am not a big cat person, I enjoyed being there with my friends.

The Good: people selling things they made with their own hands.

The Good: getting to play with cats.

Image Credit: John Van Uytven

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