Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Mona Piedra

MIKI, Spain (Albir)

Coffee Cup Monaterio Piedra

So, here it is, “Mona Piedra”, my first Coffee Cup!

I know, I promised to present you Cochonette, who deserves to be the first Dame in this place, as she is the Muse of this Club, but well… I cannot find her! The thing is that she has some love story going on, and she disappears, sometimes for days… you know, like a bitch in heat!

The Story of Mona Piedra

About 12 years ago, quite by accident, I read a book from a Brazilian author, who was not well-known at that time (at least not by me!) but who has reached world fame in the meanwhile. You might know who I´m referring to: Paolo Coelho. And the book was “By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept”. I loved that book, read it twice in succession, and promised myself, that I would go one day to the River Piedra and sit down there. Easy for me as it is in the North of Spain.

8 years later, on the way from Albir (Spain) to my parents in Tarbes ( French Pyrenees) for Christmas, I finally went to the River Piedra,

I saw the River.

I sat down there.

I didn´t weep. Too many people, I guess. I had imagined a lonely, enchanted place, but in fact it is a famous tourist spot. To be fair, it has good reason to be, as it looks really fantastic there, the river, the water falls, the monastery and, a must in such a place, the souvenir shop in the monastery! This is where I fell in love with this lovely cup, and the reason why I called her “Mona Piedra”.

But the story goes further. Paolo Coelho, at that time, spent half the year in an hotel in Tarbes, in the same street as my parents, 100 m away from their flat. I tried to see him, spied and lurked around the hotel, but I had no luck. My mother told me though that Paolo used to go every year to the midnight mass on New years Eve in Lourdes. I thought this would be my chance. I convinced my parents to attend the mass along with me. I had expected many people to be there and in fact my chance to see Paolo Coelho to be almost nil. But there were only about 50 people attending the mass, outside, in front of the miraculous cave. The reason being that it was…. – 10°C outside, freezing as hell! Needless to say, everybody was wrapped in big coats, mufflers, hats, etc…. and they all looked the same. Of course I didn´t see Paolo Coelho. He was supposed to be there, and I am sure he was, perhaps, on the chair next to me, but I had no chance to recognize him!!!

The point of the story being, that we all, my parents and me, got a big cold in Lourdes that night… what an irony, when Lourdes is supposed to heal!!!!

A big story for a coffee cup, isn´t it? Let´s hope, that Mona Piedra will become as famous as Mona Lisa… There is a chance, as I will be so brave and communicate the address of our Coffee Cup Club to Paolo Coelho. Who knows, he might have a coffee cup with a story too!



October 16, 2007 - Posted by | Cafe L'Arte, Cafe Literati, coffee, drawing, life, Miki's Paintings, Miki's Short Stories, painting


  1. Excellent story and I think you have coined a first, “freezing as hell”. Though not a trained psychiatrist, I slept at a Holiday Inn once; I believe this particular phrasing means you prefer a warm climate.

    Is that a snowman or a French painter on that cup?

    Comment by wrjones | October 16, 2007

  2. And excellent comment too, very good humour , I love it! Thanks!
    I would say: you do very well as tuesday´s psychiatrist… I´m not a trained theologist, but “hell” just sounds ice cold and withering… the French hell, “enfer”, doesn´t sound hotter. The Spanish one though, “infierno” is already reaching much higher temperatures…
    However The Eagles reformed and they said they wouldn´t do it, until hell freezes over. So I guess hell in frozen now!
    And I guess it won´t be my only coin here!

    As for the creature on the cup: it is a French painter with frozen wings…

    Comment by cafecrem | October 16, 2007

  3. Hello!
    I’m also a big Paulo Coelho fan and I don’t know if you’ve heard about his blog
    I started as a fan and now I’m collaborating with him and thought that you would like to enter his universe.
    Check out the blog, if you want, or subscribe to his newsletter

    You’ll see a community of warriors of light sharing ideas, dreams and most importantly following their personal legend.

    “God, in his infinite wisdom,
    hid Hell in the middle of Paradise, to keep us on our toes.”

    See you there and have a great day!

    Comment by aarthilal | October 17, 2007

  4. As I promised, I wrote a mail to Paolo Coelho yesterday. I was wondering if he would have the time and desire to have a look at our club…
    Just now I received the following mail from a certain F.C, on behalf of Paolo Coelho:
    “Dear Miki,

    One of the great sources of happiness for Mr. Coelho is reading the messages sent to him by faithful readers, such as yourself. Rest assured that he will receive and read your message as soon as time permits.
    Always follow your dreams, and fight for them with faith.”

    Then let us follow my dream!

    By the way: I always fight for my dreams… the problem is, that, instead of following them, I´m sometimes ahead of them!!!!

    Comment by cafecrem | October 17, 2007

  5. Thanks for pointing this out to me today Miki and sharing this story. Somehow it feels as if it were meant to be read today by me. I have been slowly gaining an inner momentum and confidence that is something akin to a dormant volcano erupting inside.
    My only dear friend John has been encouraging me to publish. He read the first draft of One More Day and said he was so damned surprised that I have been doing everything but trying to publish. And I had another friend who died two years ago today at 41 who lived here in Ste-Adele and he encouraged me as well after he saw all the manuscripts and read One More Day too.
    I feel like this is a Paulo Coelho story in that I really feel like Remi who died led me to where I am now from beyond. He always told me that of all the people he ever knew in his life I had the most impact on his and that he valued our friendship more than others because I was the first to show him how to listen to his own heart and follow his dream. And he did.
    Now I have a new friendship with you and I wanted to let you know that you coming into my life has been the catalyst that I needed to light the fire under my butt and just be and do and I am living passionately these last few weeks.
    The proof is I had this habit to go to the cafe every morning for the last 20 years, but suddenly I had this urge to just stay at home and write and hang out. And the results are amazing. I feel the spirit of everything and everyone around me conspiring to make me happy Miki and what a great place to tell this story where you had written about a life changing event in your life with Paulo Coelho. Imagine that!!!

    Comment by Michael | November 27, 2007

  6. […] you said and then said, You never commented it to me, so I´m not sure you saw it? You sent me the link  and the story I tell here is that the owners of La Chocolaterie went on the El Camino de Santiago […]

    Pingback by a sensory delight and a Christmas story+ « “Café Crem”: The Coffee Cup Club | November 27, 2007

  7. […] you said and then said, You never commented it to me, so I´m not sure you saw it? You sent me the link and the story I tell here is that the owners of La Chocolaterie went on the El Camino de Santiago […]

    Pingback by a sensory delight and a Christmas story+ « cafes of the world+ | November 27, 2007

  8. Having just finished Coelho’s “The Zahir,” I am undecidedly a fan, as I shall most likely read more of his work, but with a certain reserve. There is a beauty in his style, and poetry in his thoughts, but there is also an underlying playfulness that sometimes makes me feel he is toying with his readers rather than truly seeking intimate communion.

    Comment by Mike | April 22, 2008

  9. Bonjour Mike and Bienvenue a Cafe Crem! Nice to see you here…
    Your words quite exactly describe my own feelings about Coelho. You are right, there is beauty and poetry in his books, and this is what attracts me too. But… but there is always a “but” present, a feeling of intellectual or philosophical or religious dishonesty which all along spoils the beauty and poetry. I guess the source of my feeling is where yours, of underlying playfulness, comes from too. For me it sometimes goes so far that I feel “fooled”, and this is extremely unpleasant.
    I really don’t believe that he is seeking intimate communion with his readers. It would be ok as such, but in his case he puts a lot of efforts to let it appear as he would, and this is what I can’t really accept….
    Nevertheless, I had much pleasure reading at some of his books and I would say that this is the most important. Perhaps one should not think too much when one reads his books and simply enjoy. Simply forget the author and enjoy the book…

    Comment by Miki | April 23, 2008

  10. I forgot to mention that I never heard back from Coelho, although I wrote to him. My mother, who is quite an unconditional fan of him, was 100% sure that he would answer, simply because he lived in her street in France and she lived many years in Brazil and anyway “he is the kind of person to answer to you”.
    Here we are. Here is exactly the point. I think Coelho awakes in his readers wrong expectations He kind of make unspoken promises which he cannot hold. And I don’t believe that it is the fault of the reader, reading “too much” in his books. I believe Coelho does it on purpose, making himself appear as in ” intimate communion” with us. He is really great at that, I must say!
    Anyway, he has lost a fan now, my mother… but I guess he will never know!

    Comment by Miki | April 23, 2008

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