Like many before me, I had a limited view of how Germany worked. It turns out there is a world beyond Berlin.
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.
When I landed in Paris for the first time, I spent a happy few hours Googling the best baguette, the most celebrated croissant, a critically acclaimed salted caramel.
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.
Move over, Manhattan. Take five, London. Apart from being a game winner in Scrabble and relatively easy to pronounce (by Icelandic standards at least), Reykjavick is one of the coolest cities going around.
Nestled between Eastern and Western Europe, travellers shouldn’t miss Poland – known for its rich history and equally rich beer.