I’m in Ireland now.
I’ll keep writing about The Portuguese Camino as things present themselves to me. But I just wanted to share with you an extraordinary example of how my PGS works.
This happened today.
Okay, first the backstory: Jennifer and I had gone two full days without coffee. Unbelievable, right? But true.
The coffee at one place we’d stayed at was totally undrinkable, so we had tea. The next morning we left early, skipped breakfast, and later couldn’t find a decent coffee place.
The last coffee we’d had was at the Cafe Agriamo in Santiago.
I’m a three-double-espresso-a-morning-before-I-can-function guy. So you can imagine the withdrawal I was going through. This morning, the need for coffee had become nothing less than hand-trembling desperate. I was slurring my speech and my vision was becoming impaired.
We were in Cork, a beautiful Irish town on the south coast of Ireland.
One of the reasons I’d come to Cork was because it has a very famous food and produce market – the English Market. The Lonely Planet Guide calls it a National Treasure. Rick Stein featured it in one of his tv shows. I really wanted to go to this market, and there was a cafe there called the Farmgate Cafe, reputed to be fantastic for breakfasts.
My plan was to have breakfast in this cafe and have a decent cup of coffee.
We were staying in a guest house about 2.5kms from the market, so we set off early to walk in. After about a kilometre, I saw a cafe.
Should we stop and have a quick coffee? I asked myself. My need for a coffee fix was verging on the pathetic.
No. There’s not that much further to walk, I said to myself. And you can have a great coffee at the Farmgate Cafe at the English Markets. It’ll be worth waiting for.
We got to a lane which would lead us to the markets. There was another coffee shop on the corner of this lane. I had the same internal conversation. No, I said to myself. Wait. Have patience. The English Market is just up the lane and around the corner. You’ll get far better coffee there.
I’d actually walked down this lane the previous night. Jennifer had decided to stay in and have an early night. I’d gone out alone looking for a meal, and discovered a terrific little restaurant. I very much wanted to show it to her.
But for some reason I walked right past – even though there was a sign up pointing towards the English Market.
I knew there was another lane running parallel, and for some reason this lane “called to me.”
I don’t know how I can describe my usage of PGS other than to say things “call to me.” Ways to go, paths to follow, things to do, people to talk to – sometimes they call to me, other times they don’t.
This parallel lane called to me. The two cafes we’d already passed hadn’t called to me. The English Markets were calling to me.
We walked up this lane. It was nondescript, and uninteresting. it seemed like it was a delivery lane for stores that had their shopfronts on the other lane I’d walked down last night. The more interesting lane, where the restaurant was.
But this lane called to me.
About 100m from the end of the lane, I saw a little cafe on the corner.
It called to me.
On impulse, I said to Jennifer: Let’s have coffee here.
She looked at me oddly. Why? she said. The English Markets are just around the corner.
And they were. We were probably no more than 250m from the English Markets, and from the Farmgate Cafe. The fabulous place to have breakfast.
Still this little coffee shop called to me.
Jennifer knows now not to argue with my PGS, so we walked inside.
The cafe was a tidy little place – not very crowded, with baskets of scones and cakes on the counters.
We ordered coffees – she a latte, and me a cappuccino. Double strength.
From the first sip I knew this was good coffee.
From the second sip I knew this was great coffee.
We had scones, and they were still warm. Freshly baked. With local butter and home-made jam, they were delicious.
We paid the bill, and we walked out. And then Jennnifer asked if I’d known.
Known what? I said.
Look – and she pointed to all these plaques outside the cafe attesting to it being an award winning coffee shop.
Curious, I went back inside. The owner was a bloke named Richard. I told him the coffee was great, and asked about the awards.
He told me they’d been winning awards since they first opened thirteen years ago, and just this year the Restauranteurs Association had voted the cafe the best coffee shop in all of Ireland.
Not Cork – Ireland.
I was stunned.
My PGS had led me to the best coffee shop in all of Ireland.
We walked into the English Markets, and the Farmgate Cafe was shut.
My PGS rocks!!