Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 7, Venice by Sunlight

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Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 6, Venice by Moonlight

 

Got up early, quickly dressed and escaped the snoring, smelly dorm, and skipped breakfast; no time and no money anyway.  I’d arrived in Venice under darkness, and stepping outside and seeing the city in the daylight was a true and rare joy, one of those moments in life where you actually stop and say ‘whoa’ out loud, even though there’s nobody around. I kicked through the hostel doors with a yawn and a stretch, and I was greeted by the bluest lazy waters, easy young skies in a cirrus haze, majestic old buildings and barnacle clinging docks. Oh fuck yes, what a day. Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 6, Venice by Moonlight

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Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 5, Barce-Loner

Awoke alone and lay cosy in the dorm a while. Dragged myself to get ready, checked out and caught the bus across the city to Park Güell, as I wanted to catch the views in the midday sun.  Entrance to the park’s centre is ticketed, and I was given a slot around midday. To kill time, I hiked up the hill behind the park and sat in the sun enjoying magnificent views of the city, it’s soft edge square blocks of rooftops and terraces, viridescent mountaintops beyond, and at the end of it all, sparkling ocean merging with the horizon. Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 1, Paris

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It’s just after 7pm, and it’s been a strange sort of day. I feel like I’ve done a huge amount, and yet due to my exhaustion none of it feels real. I’ve been dreaming.

After waking in Berlin at 4am, I landed in France at 8.30 this morning and got the train into Paris. I got very confused and lost in the station, and finally arrived at my hostel around 10.45, and tried to check in. The girl looked at me like I was a half wit. Check in isn’t until 2, of course. I took my backpack and slunk off into the city. I decided the Louvre would be first. Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: The Trip

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” 

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

So, I’ve been on a trip of Europe, and kept a diary all the while. If travelling is anything at all, it is unpredictable, and the trip I expected to have was, as is usually the case, radically different to the reality. Modern life is a series of spinning plates, and the more you age, the better you become at keeping them spinning. I am young, and youth is wonderful, but the trade off of so much freedom is that fairly regularly, largely due to my own gross incompetence at being alive, my plates come crashing down around me all at once, and I am left lying bruised and stupid beneath a heap of porcelain. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – The Wizard’s Lair

 

Thursday I braved the snow and lashing winds and headed down to the Bürgeramt in Wedding. ‘What is the Bürgeramt, Dan?’ I hear you plead. The Bürgeramt, my friend, is a frightfully dull bureaucratic building, an official government site where you have to sort out all your throat-slittingly boring paperwork, registrations, documentation, whatever. After three months living in the city, I have finally moved into a flat where I am able to register – which is a crucial part of moving here, as it allows me to get a bank account, get health insurance, get paid, you name it. The German word for this kind of registration is Anmeldung, a term which now boils my blood every time I hear it. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – Homecoming

I’m in a wonderful mood this morning. I fly home to England tomorrow for the Christmas holidays. I’m finally returning home, and I never expected I’d be doing it on my own terms. I didn’t fail, I didn’t crash and burn like so many others I’ve met along the way here; the French guys I met back at the hostel who spunked all their money in one month; the homesick kids who come in their droves and fly back after a couple of weeks when they miss sleep and sense; the poor buggers who are overwhelmed and turfed out by the ever unspooling red tape. Moving to Berlin is an upstream salmon odyssey,  battling against the current with hungry bears pawing the shallows. It’s a mad dash for safety under sniper fire, friends being picked off seemingly at random. You’re only ever one U Bahn fine or job interview rejection away from complete failure and a disgraced Ryanair home. But despite everything, somehow, I made it, and it feels so good. Continue reading