I have a confession to make: I have a very expensive hobby. I know what you are thinking; a good camera and buying new lenses all the time costs a lot of money, but I am not talking about photography. I am talking about visiting coffee shops (the Korean ones, not the Dutch kind).
Apparently there is a girl trapped somewhere inside me that gets excited about coffee shops and interior decoration. My first couple of weeks in Korea I used to go to a different coffee shop several times a day, but with a price between ₩3500 and ₩5000 ($3,50 - $5) for a simple Americano, my spending got out of hand very fast. Since then I have been more careful not to spend my whole salary on coffee.
When coffee shop hopping, I try to avoid going to franchises. Small, privately owned coffee shops are each unique in their own way and interest me much more than the big Chaebol owned, impersonal coffee factories that seem to be on every corner of every street. They are usually cheaper, quieter, and more pleasant to enjoy a good cup of coffee. As a bonus, by going there I support hard working people fulfilling their dream instead of putting money in the pockets of big capital.
Dreamy Camera cafe is no exception; run by a very nice couple with an interest in coffee and photography; it is the materialization of their dream of owning something more than a simple coffee shop. At first glance you might think it's a gimmick, but make no mistake! Not only is the coffee they serve very good, the thing that did it for me was the extra espresso shot (which I didn't order) that came with my Americano. Most of the coffee that is served in Korea is very weak compared to Dutch (European) standards, so you can imagine how happy I was with this simple piece of service. The food we ordered was delicious as well. The toast was good, but my favorite was the bowl of warm churros.
Like the exterior of the cafe, the interior has a photography theme as well. It is filled with old cameras on display; from LOMO Fisheye to Leica and even the Rolleiflex, where the exterior of the cafe is based on. The napkin dispenser is a big roll of film and the toilet roll holder a polaroid camera, though they managed to give the cafe a photography theme without making it too gimmicky. The cafe has more of a cozy international travel like atmosphere, where you just want to sit back and relax for as long as you can. There are bookshelves full of books (mostly in Korean though) you can read and great photography on the wall you can admire. Passing time in the cafe is easy. Just snap pictures of the inside and outside of the cafe, talk with the friendly owners, or look outside at the great view. The owner will even take a picture of you with the cafe on the background, which he prints twice so you can take one home, and leave one with a message in the cafe.
Most of all it is a place of inspiration. I mean, look what you can accomplish when you follow your dreams! It surely ensured me that I'm making the right decision to keep going with my photography and blogging. So next time when you are planning to go to the chain in your neighborhood, hop on the subway or in your car instead, and go on an adventure. Sit down with your coffee, relax, and think about your own dreams. You might just be inspired to start that thing you always wanted.
Dreamy Camera cafe has a Facebook page where you can find out how to get there and see more pictures of their gorgeous cafe.