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.
Poland has always occupied a special place in Europe: centrally located, many a bloody battle has been raged on its soil. From an atlas, it’s a country with no defining features. When I first landed in Poland to begin a teaching assignment in 2005, I haphazardly drew a circle as the map of the country for a class. The class chuckled and commented on its remarkable accuracy.
The news that Greek banks could be shut for as long as a week – a last ditch effort by the government to stem the financial haemorrhaging – is worrying stuff for locals and travellers alike. But the good news is that these developments shouldn’t impact your ability to have a great Greek holiday.
Our favourite show that we definitely paid for and obtained legally is back for its fifth season: Game of Thrones (aka The Saga of Peter Dinklage).
It’s probably places like the Mediterranean that inspired humanity to invent the camera in the first place. Sparkling blue waters, photogenic sunsets, white-washed cliff-top villages and enough je ne sais quoi to keep any photographer blissfully happy for months – that’s the beauty of Club Med.
Most countries of Europe are quite well known, but the further East you travel, the less familiar things become.
Make no mistake, lunchtime is a battlefield. For every glorious taco or triumphant baguette, a hundred bowls of ramen are left unslurped, a thousand sushi rolls sit unmunched and one greasy box of fish and chips goes unregretted.