A famous quote from H. C. Andersen goes “To travel, is to live”, but let’s be honest – 2020 has not been the year of extensive travel. We were all hoping that somewhere in between December 31st 2020 and January 1st 2021, things would magically change, so we once again could travel and live.
For me, travelling, is all about the atmosphere. I could spend a whole day on a street side café, taking in the atmosphere of the place – sounds, smells, views… Everything. Just as the many following anecdotes of my travels mostly revolve around the atmospheres, and this also (often) being the reason for me to return to said place.
Despite 2020’s restrictions however, I still feel that I have travelled many places around the world. We have been able to travel from our living room, as people has recreated and shared the stories and atmosphere from their favorite destinations from around the world; be it a negroni in Florence, a Martini at Dukes in London, Singapore Sling at the esteemed Raffles Hotel in Singapore, or even following in Hemingsway’s footsteps, savoring a beer at the Lipp in Paris.
Espresso was my first liquid Italian obsession, starting some time earlier than my age allowed me to enjoy the sweet bitterness of an Americano. Espresso is to Italy, what champagne is to France, and for a coffee devotee, knowing that even the smallest corner-bar serves you the coffee of your dreams – well that just enhanced my pursuit for recreating the same perfect cup at home. In a corner of the kitchen, my own little Italian Bar has its place (not to my wife’s immediate liking though), filled with mementos.
When travelling, I yearn to collect items for my “bar”: espresso cups, little bags of sugar, the occasional teaspoon, napkins etc. Artifacts that I can savor and recreate the atmosphere, dreaming my way to Antigua Tazza D’oro di Pantheon or Bar Rossana – maybe accompanied by a glass of Dic’Otto Lune, Fernet Branca or a simple glass of ice-cold water.
“Un caffé, per favore”, “one coffee please”, “Eine Tasse Kaffee, bitte”, “Un café s’il vous plait”… Let’s hope we get to use all of them in 2021.
Originally posted as part of the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail. Join now!