The most compelling travel images are so often those that provide a glimpse into a half-hidden world previously unknown to the viewer. This image of a Cinque Terre cafe, taken by Flickr user snowjumpr, certainly feels like just this sort of world-revealing stolen glance, in large part due to the framing of the photograph by an external window. The proprietor is looking directly into the camera, aware that he is being watched, and the dance of light across the cafe beckons gently.
But what is most appealing about this cafe is what we don’t know about it. (Would the man at the counter offer a smile or a frown to guests? It’s difficult to tell from his impassive gaze. And what sorts of edible things are sold here? The blackboard is impossible to make out.)