Today is the day you realise IKEA is the LEAST cool thing to come out of Sweden.
When we think of festivals, we often picture trampled city streets shot through with bright streamers. We hear the rumble of drums and the hooting crowd.
“Allo Oma, allo Opa. Wie geht’s?” Those were the first words I attempted when I met my girlfriend’s grandparents for the first time. I learned the next day that I apparently sounded more Russian than German.
Johnny Depp gets it. When his character Jack Sparrow stood at the helm of the Black Pearl and said ‘Bring me that horizon’, he was talking about the sailor’s endless quest for new waters and unchartered shores (or at least shores unchartered by most major cruise liners).
Warning: may include dangerous levels of natural beauty. Consume at own risk.
I have a ritual whenever I land in a new city. I pick the most famous local dishes, Google the best places to find each one, and then plot them on a map. I note down the walking times between each dish and chart the most efficient route between the dots.
The number of official countries in the world currently sits at 206, with the latest to join the party being Kosovo in 2008 and South Sudan in 2011. That doesn’t include the strange, tiny countries (Population: 1) that some people set up in their backyards, complete with Monopoly money currency and a flag knitted from their mother’s old quilt.
For the misanthropes among us, Asinara Island sounds like a dream destination: a remote island just off the coast of Sardinia, crystal clear water, and, according to a quick Google search of the Italian census, a population of one solitary person.
Menhir, wild boar, magic potion, Unhygenix, Dogmatix. Sound familiar? Probably because you speak the language of the Gauls and of those mustachioed Roman fighters, Asterix and Obelix.
A couple of years ago, my girlfriend and I were hostelling our way through central Europe. We’d made it to Berlin, which is a little like those crossroads in movies, the ones with a dozen signs pointing in every possible direction.