Archive for February, 2008

Still Alive

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Well, I’m still alive, in case anyone was wondering.

I’ve been from Paris to Luxembourg (too small, and closed), then via brief changeovers in Cologne and Prague to spend the last two nights in Bratislava in Slovakia. I’ll post more details of each city when I get back (no, really I will!).

My feet are killing me from old boots and too many ‘walking cities’, my brain is fried from changing currencies and language every two days, the changing food has done nothing good for my body and the strong beer has done nothing good for my head.

I’ve done all I can think of in Bratislava, I’m out of season so things have been quiet everywhere I’ve been so far. I’ve got a few hours to kill before I take the overnight train to Krakow. My final train ride of the trip, the trains are very good, but my last overnight journey was a bit cramped until half-way through. This one is worse as it arrives at half six in the morning with lots of stops in between. At least Krakow is the last stop so I can ignore everything until we get there.

The next two days will be interesting, I had nothing planned for Bratislava before arriving and managed to find things. But for Krakow I have more than enough things I’d like to do to fill the time. Hopefully I can shoehorn it all in, otherwise we’ll just see how it goes. It’s easy enough to fly to anyway, so I can come back.

Off for a few drinks before the train, more when I get back to Edinburgh next week.


Sunday, February 17th, 2008

What’s that you say?


At ten to four in the afternoon?

With my reputation?

World of wrong!

Posted at quarter to five, from an apartment in the midst of Paris, after an excellent day — I just hope I remember tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

It’s been a few weeks since I declared my 2008 Resolution , so it’s probably time to revisit it.

First, I wanted to address a couple of questions people have asked.

Isn’t this whole idea a bit shallow?
Oh yes, it’s incredibly shallow. But then aren’t most holidays unless you’re trekking for charity or building mud huts in the Congo? At least doing this will force me to travel to places I would never have visited, and probably travel via methods and routes I would normally have ignored. Is it any better or worse than returning to the same sun-drenched beach for two weeks every year?

It’s still a fair comment, so I’m going to try and not just go to places to tick the box, but we’ll see how possible that is.

Isn’t all going to be a bit rushed?
Aye, some countries are going to get shortchanged. But I’m going to make an effort to spend a decent chunk of time in each country, or at least the ones I’ve not been to before. I don’t want to do a ‘stand on the border, foot over, tick the box, move on’ thing, but on the other hand if I do want to get to all the countries then some places will get more time than others.

And I don’t think it’s a bad idea to visit places quickly to get a feel for them, I’d rather spend a day in three different cities and want to return to them all than spend three days somewhere I’m bored of after two hours. Plus I know that given more time I just get too laid back, but under a deadline I’ll make the effort to get out and see things. I’ll have time to relax when I’m travelling between places.

Can’t I just visit less places?
Of course, but it wouldn’t have the same ring, would it?

Plus I’d just pick ‘easy places’, by aiming for a set of countries that’s defined by something else I’m forced to stretch a bit.

So with all that said, how’s the progress looking? I’m going to resist scoring off the UK, because of my comments above about not just ‘ticking the box’, so the list looks like:

With 125 non-working days left I still need to visit 20 countries (27 to do then in all ’08.)
Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Countries I’ve visited pre-2008 are in grey, countries visited in 2008 are scored out.

Eeek, that’s not looking good. I’d better do something to improve matters.


Monday, February 11th, 2008

A so another week begins, and I stagger my groggy, slightly hungover, self into work.

But what’s this? There’s something on everyone’s desk.

A present from the gods of corporate? What a fabulous way to start the week!

I contemplate the gift for a bit, what can it be? It’s a small grey package in some sort of plastic sleeve, about the size of a pack of cards but half the thickness. The company logo is prominently displayed across the front.

Maybe it’s set of business cards, a crisp twenty pound note, a name badge, a little metal ingot or a voucher for something-or-other.

Perhaps it’s just a little card from the high heid yins saying “thanks for the hard work.”

No, it’s none of the above.

It’s a lens cleaning cloth.


Now we can all have our own personal cloth to polish our lens to our hearts content.

And it’s branded, just so we know who’s paid for that gleaming shine.

The little plastic sleeve it came in is arguably more useful than the cloth itself.

Fabulous use of the companies money there guys!

Corporate Wankers.

I’m tempted to blow my nose with it.