I’ve put pen to paper in a few unusual places over the years – in an ice cave, on a camel, by the crater of an active volcano… But there’s something about the Café San Marco in Trieste that finds me going back there time and time again.
From the front the café doesn’t look like much. Its entrance is pretty unremarkable.
By Tiesse (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
But that door is a way in to another world.
Maybe it's to do with the dark mahogany of the intricately carved walls, the smooth marble of the table tops. The lovingly polished copper of the hot water urn... Once living things, elemental forces at work. This is a place with stories to tell.
You can feel them around you, the stories, in the faces of the portraits on the walls: the masked highwaywoman, the lady with closed eyes, the woman without a face...
It’s a place where you can really feel you’re part of something.
History is a living thing after all, isn’t it? A continuum. We’re adding to it all the time.
In every future moment our present becomes history.
You might wonder about who’s been sat at the very table you’re sitting at now.
And might they have been creating a story?!
You might wonder where James Joyce sat when he came by.
1914 - 2014
And that grinning San Marco lion certainly looks like he could tell a story or two!
So if you ever find yourself in a certain Trieste café one day in the future, sipping your espresso, or munching thoughtfully on your Sacher chocolate cake, look around you...
Let the stories whisper in your ear.
Let their past become your present.