No place represents the crossroads of life better for me than a cafe. It’s the perfect place in which to take the temperature of a nation and to learn about its local people, which is why when traveling I find it absolutely essential to stop in a cafe wherever I happen to be. Perhaps more rightly, I don’t feel as if I’ve visited a place unless I’ve been to one of its cafes, bars, or diners. Wherever I am, near or far, only starts to take focus from where I sit on the patio, or inside against the window, staring out at the world over the steam of my cappuccino.
This experience, ideally at the end of a trip, adds a sense of closure to the experience. It is only in those few leisurely minutes observing the local life around me (and the quality of the coffee) that I know whether or not I will return. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but always – the cafe is the catalyst.