France: Bon à Savoir

Saturday, December 19, 2015—Budapest

“Hi, there. Could you tell me where the check-in counter for easyJet is, please?” I said nonchalantly with a smile to the young lady at the information desk.

She looked up at me, then at her watch, and said, “The check-in is over.”

“Oh, that’s odd,” I replied, seemingly unaware of the grave meaning behind her blunt, four-word sentence. “But luggage drop-off ends half an hour before take-off, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, sir, it does.”

Bemused, I gestured to my timepiece—it showed 6:25pm. I reasoned, “And the flight is at 7:55pm, no?” Her reply made my heart sink.

“No, sir…take-off is at 6:55pm.”

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France

A small gallery of my trip to France during Christmas – baguettes, Bordeaux, Sauternes, camembert, but sadly no mimes. Paris and Caen.

A journal of my visit can be found here.

 

Italy: Rosso e Blanco

“He scarcely hesitated. He was afraid to hold back, being fearful that if he waited too long this moment might never come again—or that if it did, his courage might not match his desire for knowledge.”

‘The City and the Stars’ – Arthur C. Clarke

 

I use Arthur C. Clark’s description of Alvin, a resident of the billion-year-old city of Diaspar, as a form of encouragement whenever I am hesitant about embarking on new and unpredictable adventures. Some will come easy; some will bear more strain—such is life. Just as Alvin, who is possibly the very last curious man left on Earth, must venture to Lys, despite the frightening uncertainty of what he might find and in spite of the daunting probability of never returning home, so, too, must I traverse the globe one tiny step at a time. We all must, because we all owe ourselves at least that much.

Saturday, November 14, 2015 – Milan

The more I travel, one thing becomes abundantly clear: There is no dignity in rushing to the airport in the early hours of the morning to catch a 6am flight. You arrive looking terrible; everyone else looks just as bad. The sight almost makes me want to laugh, because you, me, the supermodel—looking like she just ran a marathon—and the businessman—who could pass for a tramp—we are all suffering; there is no exception.

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Italy – Italia

A small gallery from a week in Italy – pizza, coffee, art, and music.

A short journal of my trip to Italy can be found here.

Graz: Episode Two

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The coach ride to Graz, once you enter Styria, is undoubtedly one of my favourites. After leaving the Westbahnhof in Vienna, it was a one-way trip to the south-east, where we began weaving in and out of green hills, inside which are hidden the most beautiful small towns you could imagine—something out of a J.K. Rowling novel, set in the quiet villages of Scotland.

The last time I was in the 300,000-strong capital of Styria, it was in the middle of winter, and it was one of four stops during my first ever trip to Austria. I remember the short journey from the small town of Leoben to Graz, and I remember the same valley-dwelling homes, camouflaged in snow.

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Vienna: Sans Coffee & Cake

My love affair with Austria began in the autumn of 2013 when I arrived in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia to attend language courses. While staying in the university dormitory, I was lucky enough to befriend a group of Austrians, three of whom would later host me in their homes the following winter.

During the 12 days or so in the land of the much loved ‘bonsa’, I was given a unique ‘private tour’ of each of the trio’s hometowns, and thus never set foot in Vienna city centre. Odd, I know, to have visited a country so extensively, yet not even know how tap water tastes in its capital. (For the record, it tastes splendid.)

For a few days, I was in Austria again, in Wien—its luxurious capital—for business and not pleasure, at least not officially.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Having arrived at just past 10 a.m. on Sunday, I did have time to walk around the ringed city centre, and more, after concluding a much anticipated first meeting with ‘the boss’, a nice guy who calls me “dude”.

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