You probably know someone don’t you? Or maybe you are that person.
There are quite a few people who like to visit a McDonald’s in every place that they go to.
I get it. There’s the familiarity of knowing what to expect when everything around you is different. There’s also the excitement of seeing what is different about them – what different food do they sell? The genius that is McDelivery in Thailand. The Double Big Mac. The novelty of being able to buy alcohol in one. Or just being able to say that you’ve been to a McDonald’s in 20 different countries. Yeah, I get it.
But I don’t do it. In fact, I didn’t think I did anything similar to that at all until I realised this summer, that quite by accident, I’ve been collecting Via Via cafes.
There are 16 Via Via cafes across the world. They describe themselves as traveller cafes and meeting places. If I remember correctly from reading many backs of menus over the last three years, they were started off in Belgium and have spread their way around the world. I’ve now been to four of them – Yogyakarta Indonesia, Ayacucho Peru, Copan Honduras and Leon Nicaragua.
This photo of Via Via cafe/restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Each one is different. They serve different menus, normally with a large focus on local and traditional food but with a few home comforts thrown in for good measure. They’re full of local information and run tours and courses for tourists. As far as I can remember, each one I’ve visited has focused on sustainability and supports local projects. There’s also always been a nice mix of tourists and local people in there eating and drinking.
The most important thing? The food has always been great.
I say I’ve been collecting them by accident because I don’t head to these locations with a view to visiting a Via Via, but when you ask for a suggestion for dinner or recommendation for a great bar, they’ve always been a top choice. Quirky in their own way, (like the bar in Leon which only seemed to stock rum or Toña) I haven’t gotten bored of visiting them yet.
I reckon visiting all 16 might be quite a good bucket list goal, what do you think?
Have you every collected anything by accident?