Monday, 30 August 2010

Days 1-5: Goulash, dumplings and so many wurst!


Arrival in Eastern Europe was pretty smooth. Eurostar to Brussels, connection to Cologne (with 3 hour wait there...first wurst of the trip) and sleeper to Prague. Sleeper was fine except I drew the short straw with the middle bunk. Note to self: make sure you get either the top (more room) or the bottom (easy access) on sleepers in future. Almost missed my stop in Prague but for one of my carriage-mates spotting that we'd arrived there. Thanks to the Slovak lass who will soon be working in Hard Rock Cafe in Prague, but whose name I didn't catch.

Pretty easy transfer to Liberec and a wonderful weekend with Renata and Alex. Thanks guys. Much beer, quite a few more sausages, a lot of spectacular scenery and a couple of incredibly picturesque castles thrown in for good measure. And a lot of rain! It was still August when I last looked. Hopefully the weather will improve. Pictures below of trips to Hruba Skala (Rough Rock) and Kost (and outside A+R's apartment).

Got the bus from Liberec into Prague yesterday evening. Managed to stomach a limited amount of the brainless banter from the 18-21 year old inhabitants of Hostel Elf. Perhaps I'm too old for this. Not the travelling you understand, but talking to students. Hostel actually v nice. Threw myself in at the deep end with a room in an 11-bed dorm. When I arrived at about 8pm it looked like I was going to be the only one in there. Turned out not to be the case. Spent today visiting Prague castle and walking the streets of the city, including going to all the fine establishments recommended by R+A.

Night train again (bottom bunk booked) to Krakow tomorrow for sightseeing around the old city and a trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau (could be rather sobering) and then I'll be heading for the High Tatras mountains in Slovakia for a bit of hiking.

Will probably post again once I'm back from there.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Probably the last post before I go

I've spent the last couple of days packing and storing. (Un)interesting fact of the day: the round trip journey between my flat and the storage unit in Wandsworth takes exactly as long as the Manic Street Preachers album Journal For Plague Lovers (if I skip the last track which Nicky sings, which I suspect most will - sorry Nick).

Down to Devon on Wednesday to drop off the car, then heading back up on the train to London on Thursday, straight to St Pancras and then Prague (via Brussels and Cologne). Have already trial-packed my bag and not too heavy right now. I'm assuming I've forgotten a lot of stuff!

See you in 2011. I'll post whenever I can. Cheerio.

Friday, 20 August 2010

All set

Just back from the Pakistan High Commission with visa. Hurrah! So my route is clear all the way to India, at least from a bureaucratic point of view. I did wonder whether there might be problems given the floods etc and I'll still have to keep an eye on the situation to see whether it'll be OK to travel.

Train booked through to Prague for Thursday, arriving Friday morning. Now all I have to do is stick all my worldly possessions into storage. Should be a fun couple of days.

I've managed to get round and see as many friends and family as humanly possible. Should see a whole heap more folks at the gig tonight to bid everyone a fond farewell. Final practice was last night. I could have done with getting to bed before 2am. Tonight should be fun and certainly not over-rehearsed. If anyone's reading this who doesn't know about it, shame on you. It's 7pm at the Blue Anchor (, just off Chancery Lane. Hope to see you there.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Getting there

Picked up my Iran visa yesterday. Plus prescription for A LOT of anti-malarials (Doxycycline, which apparently was developed as an anti-acne drug, so I should if nothing else have wonderful skin). Off to the Pakistan High Commission now. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 6 August 2010

To kick things off...

So the blog was looking a little sad with no posts, so I thought I ought to put in a holding one pre-departure. I'm currently armed with Indian visa (the easy one to get) and my passport is at the Iranian Embassy now. Fingers crossed with that one. Next up Pakistan, which should take 5 days, but who knows how friendly the visa section are being at the moment, what with one thing and another.

Estimated departure date is 24th August, but I'm anticipating a little slippage.