Page contents

Cafe Chat: Travel Serendipity

If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Happy 13 months to Across the Cafe Table! In honor of lucky number 13 we’re talking about travel “serendipity.” Join in our discussion by jumping in below or linking up to a post on your own blog!

Briana’s answer can be read below and Margo’s answer can be found over on the Editor’s Blog


As I was digging around my brain for a time when I experienced “serendipity” or a bit of good luck while traveling, I stumbled across a lot of experiences that were just the opposite. There was the time I broke a brand new camera at a fiesta in Spain (note to self: a camera in a plastic Ziploc bag will get wet if you spend hours dancing in a plaza under a deluge of water). Then at a B&B in Florence, a friend and I overheard – ahem – intimate moments in the room next to ours. And on a girls’ getaway to Paris in 2007, fraudulent activity on my bank account left me without access to money on the last day of the trip.

Somehow, all the mishaps seem to stand out in my mind, but every trip comes with its fair share of wonderful moments, too. That weekend  in Paris, for example, was filled with laughter, good food and wine, and yes, some serendipity.

On our third day in Paris, the rain subsided, leaving us to take in the sights of the city against the backdrop of a deep blue sky. My friends and I headed out to explore Montmarte and Sacré Coeur. On our way up to the famous basilica, we stumbled upon a little nondescript café where we stuffed ourselves with delicately made omelettes and crepes. And when we finally made our way to Sacré Coeur – after stopping in a few shops, of course – we found a crowd of people all fixated on a duo of musicians, one playing the guitar and the other with a drum.

We sat down on the steps of the basilica and spent who knows how long taking in the sunshine, the music and the gorgeous panorama of Paris under the clear sky. I remember the guys playing Bob Marley’s “This is Love” and whenever I hear the song, it transports me right back to that moment, sitting on those steps with my friends next to me, our arms wrapped around each other’s backs as we savored the day.

*Photo by and property of Briana Palma.

We can’t wait to read everyone’s responses!

This linky list is now closed.

About the author

I’m a writer, editor and educator who is now based in the Boston area after spending several years living abroad in Ireland, Spain and Italy. While I spend most of my time writing and editing for the web (these days you’ll find on, I still love the feeling of holding a newspaper or magazine in my hands. If you’d like to know what I’m up to right now, you can find me at and on Twitter @brianapalma.

5 thoughts on “Cafe Chat: Travel Serendipity”

  1. I love serendipity. One of my favorite memories began as a horrible moment. My husband and I were on our way back from a three-month volunteer work assignment helping a micro-enterprise in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. We were exhausted and just wanted to get home. Our flight into Paris got in late, and we raced to catch our connecting flight, only to arrive just as the doors were closing. Our heated arguments about why they should re-open them for us fell on deaf ears. “Madame,” said the airline staff member. “You must resign yourself. You have no option but to spend the next 24 hours in Paris.” I was just drawing a breath to explain why that was impossible when I realized that this was wonderful news. An hour later my husband and I had checked into our favorite Paris hotel and were sitting in a sidewalk cafe sipping wine and congratulating ourselves on NOT being in an airplane over the Atlantic. A free day in Paris: That’s what I call serendipity.
    Karen McCann

  2. what a cool memory, Briana – I love it when a song can take us back to a moment – and oh my, sorry about that fraudulent bank activity and the camera! EEk- I’ve got a few stories along those lines too – but you are wise to have known to deal with it and shake it off and move on!

  3. What a beautiful moment, Briana. 🙂 There’s something magical about music at a time like this that makes it even more special.

  4. Flying back to the UK from Italy at Christmas 2 years ago I had a 6-hour stopover in Rome. I’m not sure what madness had possessed me when I booked the flights – for the sake of saving a few euros that kind of thing just isn’t worth it! Anyway, I checked in for the onward flight and settled myself down with my book to read. Somehow, I was so engrossed that I missed the call for people booked onto the second flight to go catch an earlier one. So when it came to getting on the flight that I was booked onto, there were only 4 passengers. I may have got into the UK very late on Christmas Eve, but I arrived stretched out over the full width of 3 British Airways seats, with unlimited food as the cabin crew passed all the excess over. There are worse ways to fly!

Leave a Comment