Paris: Muggings and Riots and Notre Dame Engulfed in Flame

After Chiang Mai came two sweaty nights in Bangkok. After Bangkok came Paris.

Jeanne and Justine got an earlier flight out of Thailand, and I arrived in the city fourteen hours after them, in the evening. By the time I arrived Justine had already left the city for Orleans, an hour or two south. Won’t be seeing her for a long time now. After a year of perpetual company and a merry-go-round of familiar faces, suddenly Jeanne and I were all that remained. Weird. Continue reading

The Berlin Dairies – Time’s Almost Up

minimalism-1519045758340-3448It’s the 19th of February, and these dairies have been running on for 18 months now. They’ve become less frequent, sure, partly because I’ve got used to life in the city and therefore am less inspired to write a 3000 word dirge fresh off the heels of yet another evening’s ketamine and kebab consumption, and also partly because I have, through no fault of my own (honest) been drunk a LOT. We’re not talking Oliver Reed or Shane MacGowan levels of astoundingly ever-twatted, there’s no need to worry, but certainly enough booze quaffed over a 6 month period to reopen Bärenquell Brauerei for a long weekend. Continue reading

Prague Day 3: I Did Something Terrible

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MEGA QUICK RECAP: On Day 1, Alfie, Dave and I were forced to sleep rough. On Day 2 we irritated some Australians.

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It was our last full day in Prague, and so far our breezy trio had seen not one jot of the city – save for the various doorways and alleyways that we shivered in trying to snap up a wink of sleep in the midst of the bellows of Storm Herfna or Heroshi or whatever it was called. Crap storm anyway. I’ve had more ferocious bouts of wind. Goodness, aren’t I rather forthcoming and jubilant today? That’s what happens when I have my first coffee in a week. Better than crack. Not that I’ve ever smoked crack. As far as I know.

ANYWAY. Continue reading

Prague Day 2: Pissing Off Australians

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After our sleepless storm-hammered odyssey the previous evening, Dave, Alfie and I were finally allowed to crumble into our bunks at 3pm. I awoke three hours later; I was overtired and couldn’t sleep for nauseating nightmare flashes. It was dark and we’d missed the whole day, and we didn’t have the will or the strength to venture out again that evening in search of a party. Being homeless in a foreign city during a storm tends to quench your thirst for adventure a little. Continue reading

Prague Day 1: Sleeping Rough (or, What Happens When You Rely On Dave To Book Your Hostel)

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Dave had been prodding me in the ribs and asking about Prague for a couple of weeks. Petra and Leslie were driving down there for one night over the bank holiday weekend, and he wanted to road trip down with them. I wasn’t super keen – seemed like a long way to go for one night. However, a week or so ago I went for a beer with Hannah, and she mentioned she was heading down as well on the same weekend. Well, this was starting to sound more like a party. I told Dave next day and we booked a coach to Prague on the Saturday. We would dick about for a couple of nights, and Leslie and Petra would meet us on the Monday.

I was originally going to end that introduction with the tired old hook, ‘what could go wrong?’, however if you know me or have read anything at all on this site, you’ll know that really, that question is redundant. Of course everything went wrong. Of fucking course it did. Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 7.5, Venice After Dark

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

It’s 11pm and my last night in Venice has been spent in the hostel bar, after a lonesome meal by the canal on a candlelit terrace, where the waiter felt sorry for me and gave me free wine, with a wink. I was extremely humbled and grateful until the bill came and I found I’d been given free wine but charged 4 euros for a glass of tap water. Bastardo.

I was hoping to meet the Toronto girls from yesterday and chill, but they’ve gone to the opera. I had a look at tickets and they were around 40 each, so no. Instead, I sat myself at a central table in the hostel bar and nursed a beer, my eyes roving around the bar for a friendly face. A group of Spaniards in animated chatter, no; a rabble of droopy eyed Englishmen all attempting to charm the same one American girl, no; a middle aged Chinese couple knotted up in each other on the sofa, no. So that’s the kind of evening it was to be, then. I began to unpack my bag with a sigh, reaching for Kafka, my most loyal friend of late; a twisted, morbid companion, but a companion nonetheless.

‘How’s it going, mate?’ Continue reading

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