Around Europe – Part 3

Hi everyone!

First I’d like to say hi to those of you I’ve met on my travels; I hope you are well, and for those of you who are or were travelling that your journey has been good and safe. Let me know how you are! And thanks to those of you who helped me out, it meant a lot to me. If I haven’t mailed you individually yet then I certainly will.


Now for the questions I get asked most by my nearest and dearest…

Where are the updates?
I’ve been writing and writing and trying to keep up with what I’ve been doing and I just can’t – otherwise, I’d spent 1 day out of every 6 or 7 writing, and then I would have to ask why I’m out here in the first place. It’s certainly not to write about it. I’m out here to live it. Nonetheless, I’ve kept lots of notes and I have been writing, so you’ll all get the write up after I get back instead, when I’ll have far more time, because I do want to write about it not just for all of you, but for me too.

For those of who who didn’t get the first one because I only got your address after I sent it, apologies – but believe me it was as clever and witty as always ;-)

Where am I now?
This email comes from an Internet cafe in Sarajevo, where some kids are playing violent video games (violent because it seems to involve a lot of shouting and slapping of each other). This is some place, I tell you. I’ve been confronted by a lot of ideas, dilemmas and dichotomies here, which in a way is good way to round off a lot of what I’ve seen and experienced so far on my travels. It’s a rough life here for some, make no mistake, and it’s giving me perspective on a few things, not least my understanding of people and trust.

When am I back?
I’ll be back home late on the 26th of this month, nice and late (girls, if you have space in that bed… ;-) and I’ll catch you all in Nealon’s on Friday 29th – not before, and after that, we’ll see. Certainly not until the first week of September sometime. So if you’re in Dublin, come along and hear the stories, from nightmare train journeys, climbing cliffs, mafia hijinks, Popular Girls, culture shocks to tales of abject poverty… And my new brand of english. Really, I’ve refined my routine, as some of the people I’ve met on the way will tell you so after a few pints of remembering the taste of Guinness I’ll tell all…

And then what?
As most of you know, because I now talk about little else other than travelling (and yes, I know it’s exciting for less than 10 minutes) I’ll be away again on the 12th of September to The Hot Place to spend several months in the wilderness not thinking about my bank balance or computers or anything else. I think I might be home sooner than expected to head off to Eastern Europe AGAIN! Because I liked it that much and I want to see people again, and as I’ve said to some of you, if anyone wants to join me let me know – and yes, I do think it’s the best area in the world.

Am I going to move out there somewhere?

Where’s that card!
Apologies by the way, to some of you who I sent postcards to from Poland. they seem to have disappeared somehow and maybe they’ll turn up again sometime. We can only hope.


In a nutshell

Week 1
Stayed in Camden in London, experienced the bizarreness of London. Explored Berlin, and had some interesting adventures there, ran into some trouble thanks to The Love Parade.

Week 2
Went to Poznan in Poland. Oggled – nay, openly stared in a wanton manner – at the fabulous Polish women. Had a tortuous journey to Krakow, which was a great place, relaxed, sent postcards to the Bermuda Triangle. Went to Ivan in Czech Republic for a weekend with the Soudeks, and misbehaviour in the village disco.

Week 3
Traumatic start in Brno, trauma in Prague, chillout in Prague, overnight train adventure to High Tatras mountains in Slovakia for a weekend of hiking, cliff-hanging adventures and making friends. In an bout of unexpected dynamism managed to end the weekend in Bratislava.

Week 4
Explored Bratislava, was unimpressed by Vienna (but met lots of people there), and had a remarkable set of adventures in what can only be described as Budapest, in Hungary – think friendliness, rudeness, girls, f*cky-f*cky, mafia, handcuffs and Trabants. Escaped to Kecskemet to recover.

Week 5
Escaped back to Budapest to get train to Romania in Indiana Jones-like maneuver. Experienced the latin Romanian spirit in Arad enroute to Timisoara. Met a vast number of people, including large numbers of excitable girls, and learned about the Romanian revolution and poverty. Fell in love about 5 times every day, and had the best time yet. Definitely going back there, whether or not they like it. Agreed to send 4 tonnes of stuff over for no good reason.

Week 6
Could take it no more, my heart knew no greater conflict. Escaped to Belgrade in Serbia and Montenegro to make more friends, oggle at incredible, statuesque, beautiful Serbian women, to argue with one of them in the hostel, and to discover that prejudices are there to be confronted and proved wrong. Also, to fall in love once again, since I was on a roll. Reluctantly left the best city so far to go to Sarajevo, which tormented me. It worked out in the end, but not before messing with my head – learning can hurt the soul.

Week 7
Still in Sarajevo right now. About to tackle Mostar, and then Croatia before heading home. Might stop for a drool at the women in Ljubjana.


Last thoughts

Yes, I’m going to preach to the choir. Travel opens the mind. It’s certainly opened mine. I had many reasons to do this trip, and it’s all worked out very well. I’m not home yet, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that each new week is a new set of adventures and who knows if I’ll get home on time, or fall in love (again) or get savaged by a Greater Wild Hrvatsko or a mosquito or something.

But I’ve made friends and confronted a lot of stuff in my own mind, as well as my body odour, and I feel I have grown as a result. So for those of you who know me well, you’ll just have to bear with me when I get back.

I miss you all, see you all very soon.

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