One of my favourite things to do is find a nice little cafe, order coffee and sit and read a good book. For me this is a blissful way to spend a couple of hours, provided the cafe meets my strict requirements.
Obviously it shouldn't be a bustling place and preferably not a chain, like Starbucks or Costas. I have really no big issues with Starbucks like a lot of people do. They are one of the largest supporters of fair trade coffee, they have pretty open policies regarding customer feedback on the coffee and you always know what to expect. That being said, I do try to seek out independent cafe’s when I can.
When I lived in Seoul another friend shared this obsession with me and we would walk to a sweet little street in Jukjeon on Sundays and choose from one of our favourite cafes to spend a couple of hours reading, drinking and occasionally sharing amusing passages from our books.
Berlin was perfect for this little avocation of mine, especially the neighbourhood I lived in. It was brimming with quaint little coffee shops and I made sure I visited all of them. In the end I had a couple of favourites, one was the go to breakfast place, another was perfect for getting together with my writing buddies on Sunday afternoons for our winter writing sessions and another one was just perfect for nestling in with a good book in the winter and watching the rain fall outside, and in the summer it had an excellent set up of tables outside that caught generous amounts of sunshine.
That’s something that I’m really missing here in London. There are nights when I have meetings planned with friends but they finish work a couple of hours later than me. On these occasions I would gladly rock up to a cafe and pass away the time but I really struggle to find somewhere. There are of course franchises everywhere but they’re always teeming with patrons and reading a book in that environment would be a real task.
In a city where pubs are abundant, and sandwich shops prevail the cafes appear to be in short supply.
Even in the little village where I live I haven’t managed to find a place and to add to my frustration I haven’t had a good coffee over here yet either. Tonight I have to kill two hours after work before meeting friends for dinner and I’m a bit worried that my free time may lead me down Oxford street once again.