Questo pazzo pazzo 2014 in viaggio

Si chiude il 2014, ed è il momento migliore per ricordare quanto di sorprendente e bizzarro è successo nel corso di questi dodici mesi, per quel che riguarda il mondo dei viaggi. Senza mettersi a fare classifiche (indicateci nei commenti la vostra storia preferita) vi proponiamo un breve elenco delle notizie più strane dell’anno appena trascorso.

Come quella della signora che si è imbarcata su un volo statunitense con in braccio il suo bel maialino nero, animale autorizzato dalle autorità aeroportuali in quanto ufficialmente etichettato come “emotional support animal”. L’animale, del peso di oltre trenta chili, ha da subito messo in chiaro di non voler passare inosservato, tanto che dopo pochi minuti aveva già collezionato gli sguardi infastiditi di buona parte dei passeggeri. Quando poi si è lasciato andare nel corridoio dell’aereo, aggiungendo altro odore al suo già penetrante, ecco che la compagnia ha deciso di far scendere la strana coppia, per il sollievo dei presenti.

maiale in volo
Divertente anche la querelle tra quanti hanno riconosciuto, in un video promozionale dedicato alle bellezze della Grecia, quindici secondi di un filmato girato in Australia dal fotografo Alex Cherney, e le autorità turistiche greche. Che hanno dato una risposta illuminante, arrivata dopo che il titolare dei diritti d’immagine aveva sollevato la questione. Risposta che, tradotta, recita all’incirca così: “Quasi in tutto il mondo, ovunque si girino gli occhi, si incontra un’idea, un nome, che ha avuto origine dalla Grecia. Anche nei cieli dell’Australia si vedono stelle e costellazioni che portano nomi greci. La mitologia del cielo, a tutte le latitudini e longitudini della Terra, è greca”. Capito?

Passiamo ora al capitolo “spese pazze in giro per il mondo”. Sapevate che un turista inglese si è visto aggiungere al suo conto, in un albergo di Cannes, ben 300 dollari per l’uso della connessione Wi-Fi nel corso delle 24 ore in cui si era trattenuto nell’hotel? O che un signore si è visto arrivare un conto di 127 dollari per tre bottiglie di acqua minerale consumate sulla terrazza dell’hotel di Londra dove alloggiava? O che qualche albergatore, nel corso dell’anno, si è messo in testa di aggiungere una cauzione di 500 dollari al conto dell’albergo, per cautelarsi da eventuali recensioni negative sui portali social? Eppure tutte e tre le notizie sono vere, anche se nel terzo caso la pratica sembra al momento essere stata accantonata.

La palma del genio delle spese pazze va però alla piccola, ma furba, Carissa Grice, che nel corso di una vacanza sulle spiagge turche in compagnia della famiglia, ha pensato bene di tenersi aggiornata sulle vicende dei suoi amici, usando la connessione dati del telefono della mamma. Bene, finita la vacanza, alla mamma è arrivato un conto di quasi tremila sterline da pagare. La ragazzina, dopo lo svenimento del genitore, ha ammesso di aver forse scaricato anche qualcosina dalla rete, oltre ad aver controllato la pagina Facebook per leggere le novità dai suoi amici.

Bella figura l’ha fatta anche quel Customer Care Manager, alla United Airlines, che ha mandato una lettera di scuse, in risposta alle lamentele del cliente di turno, dimenticandosi di riempire le caselle relative al nome della persona e all’evento specifico verificatosi. In questo modo ha fatto ben capire quanto poco spontanea e personale potesse essere quella comunicazione, aggiungendo danno a beffa. United Airlines che tra l’altro risulta recidiva, avendo qualche tempo prima mandato un’intera comunicazione a tale “Mister Human”, sostanzialmente il “Signor Umano”.

mr.human
Chiudiamo con la campagna apparsa su Facebook della cittadina di Berkhamsted, che la rete ha accolto con un enorme sorriso, a causa della forma della mappa. Una cosa che era evidentemente sfuggita alle ingenue autorità, ma che ha scatenato l’ilarità degli utenti del social network. A voi cosa ricorda? 🙂

Mappa Berkhamsted

Si parte! Dall’Italia alla Turchia per raggiungere i Cyclown Circus

Dopo aver raccontato in via generale l’itinerario del viaggio e iniziato a rivivere lo spirito che lo ha animato, è il caso di riavvolgere il nastro e tornare indietro sui nostri passi, pedalando al contrario fino al momento della decisione di intraprendere un percorso così ricco di punti interrogativi, per scorrerne i momenti più e meno belli, che guardati insieme danno l’idea di un’esperienza in grado davvero di cambiare una vita intera e la percezione di quello che si ha intorno, una volta rimesso piede nella terra d’origine.

Piero raggi bici

Piero tra raggi e ingranaggi della bici

PREPARAZIONE del VIAGGIO e PARTENZA – La data fissata per la partenza è quella di un giorno di giugno del 2005.

«Ci sono voluti qualcosa come sei mesi di preparazione – racconta Piero – per riuscire a pensare a quello che mi sarebbe servito e interrompere tutto quello che stavo facendo. Sei mesi per lasciare alle spalle nove anni di Roma. Mi sono costruito una bici (come dicevamo una Tall Bike) su misura per le mie esigenze, facendone una per me, una per Rocio e una per Simone, i due ragazzi con cui sono partito dall’Italia. Partenza in direzione sud sud/est, si punta inizialmente verso Brindisi. L’idea è quella di raggiungere il Salento, per incontrare qualche amico e fare lì qualche spettacolo». Per fare un po’ di riscaldamento in vista di quella che sarebbe stata, nei mesi e negli anni a seguire, una specie di abitudine quotidiana.

«I primi 30/40 chilometri ce li facciamo in treno, per uscire dalla grande città, poi via sull’Appia verso Napoli. Da Napoli si va a Salerno, poi si scavalca l’Appennino, che è stato duro, e si punta a Bari. I primi tre mesi passano facendo spettacoli in Salento, e in giro a trovare amici. Facevamo giocoleria e spettacoli vari, e ci accampavamo in spazi lontani, all’aperto in mezzo agli uliveti, senza avere particolari problemi». Quindi ci si muove verso Brindisi, dove avremmo incontrato Simone. A settembre si parte per la Turchia, destinazione Izmir, ovvero Smirne.

VERSO ISTANBUL – «Sapevamo che alcuni amici erano già in Turchia, e ci aspettavano a Istanbul». Loro erano i Cyclown Circus, un gruppo itinerante di artisti circensi a due ruote provenienti da ogni parte del mondo, che andavano a Istanbul venendo dalla Bulgaria, in quel momento. «Abbiamo fatto percorsi sia in treno che in bici, da Smirne fino a Istanbul, senza incontrare particolari difficoltà neanche nel caricare le bici sui treni. Sono stati 4 o 5 giorni di viaggio in tutto. Si dormiva in campagna e l’obiettivo era quello di raggiungere il gruppo al più presto. Era fine settembre quando ci siamo incontrati, dormivamo ospiti in una casa piccolissima, in 14 persone».

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Il gruppo di artisti con i suoi ospiti turchi

«Abbiamo passato tanti giorni a fare spettacolo a Istanbul, con i Cyclown Circus che erano in particolare musicisti, per cui il mix tra la nostra arte (la giocoleria) e la loro all’inizio non è stato facile. Io tra l’altro parlavo un pessimo inglese, e anche questo rappresentava un po’ un problema. Il furto di cui avevamo già parlato a proposito della sicurezza di un viaggio come questo è avvenuto nella casa dove stavamo in 14 persone. Alcune persone sono entrate nella notte, e grazie agli spray che addormentano hanno rubato le cose che loro ritenevano di valore. Via i borselli, con dentro i documenti, qualche cellulare (noi “italiani” non ne possedevamo) e stop. Ci è toccato quindi rifare i documenti, in qualche maniera si ripartiva davvero da zero. Sotto sotto mi intrigava anche questa cosa. Purtroppo oggi l’ho perso quel passaporto».

ANKARA e la CAPPADOCIA – Terminata la parentesi di Istanbul il gruppo si muove verso Ankara, dove – come sottolinea Piero – «è iniziato il viaggio vero e proprio». La formula del cantastorie che si ferma e fa spettacolo, chiedendo a sua volta ospitalità e cibo, prende così forma.

Goodbye Turkey, it’s time to spend the winter in Cyprus

When we last left the group, our cyclist friends had split into smaller groups. Piero was the first one to arrive in the town of Mersin, only to realize that the promised shelter was actually a house of cards. Falling apart.

 

Camping out in Turkey

Camping out in Turkey

Mersin

“We were the first to arrive in Mersin, and we immediately called the number of the guy who had offered us hospitality. He started talking very vaguely from the first moment. Anyway we managed to get an appointment, so we could see things more clearly. When the guy saw that there were just four of us he exclaimed: “Thank goodness. My parents are at home, they didn’t leave and now I cannot accommodate everyone. ”

Our world fell on top of us. We were quite tired, among other things. He led us to his house. We had to leave the bikes in the yard and already this kind of scared us. We entered the apartment, and were met by the stare of an old-fashioned Muslim-style father, and a mother who was evidently very embarrassed. We took a shower, more or less. We could not wash our clothes. We felt completely out of place. We slept in the living room and the next day the guy told us that we had to get out of the house. We left after breakfast and tried to get some news of the others. We spent a few days waiting for them to arrive in this vast, new city,  a city built round its harbor.”

“We did shows, and after the first one we were invited to perform in a rather ambiguous club. There we just played some music, no one seemed to want to help us, and in the meantime night was falling. I don’t remember where we slept that night, but I remember the two consecutive rainy days when we had to sleep under bridges. That’s when I really had a taste of a bum’s life. Everything was very dirty. The city chock full of kids sniffing glue from paper bags. They looked like zombies moving in herds, with these bags. Totally harmless, because of the drug. They were rather annoying, but unable to steal from us. A truly sad scene, which we tried to downplay by teasing them.”

A show in Turkey

A show in Turkey

“The others took forever to arrive, but at least the rain was over. We slept for a night or two in a bar under construction, on the waterfront. Nice, finally. Then we get an email from the other group, they were 30 km from us, in the cottage of a family that had adopted them as part of their own family. They just couldn’t leave, that’s how good they were. And we were sleeping under bridges…”.

On the way to Famagusta

On the way to Famagusta

On the way to Famagusta

“Finally, we were reunited with the rest of the group. And we tried to figure out how to get to Cyprus, where we had been told that winter is not so cold. “Why not,” we said. We left the same day and we arrived in Famagusta. The island of Cyprus went through a deathly war 40 years ago, when the Greeks were attacked by the Turks. We often spoke about it while on the island. We had to leave Scuccia, the stray dog who had traveled with the circus since Bosnia, in quarantine, and that broke our hearts. We did a first show there, then we got on our bikes in the warm weather and enjoyed a nice swim in the sea after the cold we had suffered in Cappadocia a week earlier. “

Cycling through Cappadocia, fleeing from the cold

“The Turkish people are very hospitable of course, but also quite effusive, so sometimes we felt we needed to stay away from populated areas just to get a bit of peace, be able to practice a bit of juggling, or just to work out. Otherwise, we were always being observed, it wasn’t easy. From Ankara onwards there was also a TV station that followed our trip, so we were often expected in a village square, sometimes even with the chairs all arranged! It was very nice. We soon entered into a sort of routine: In the morning we cycled for about 60/80/90 km, then in the afternoon we did the show, and before night it was necessary to find a place to sleep and then have dinner, keep your diary, do some stretching or whatever in front of a fire or in some house. The roads in general were quite challenging, Turkish traffic is not easy. But having said that, the streets are not packed with cars, and many areas are quite deserted.”

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A break in Eskiseir

“I remember this new city, just like Pescara (Piero’s city of origin), a place with no history… I don’t remember how we ended up there, but it was terrible, with lots of kids who circled around us handling our things. It was quite stressful. We sheltered in a small house which was being built outside of town, and some of us went back and forth from the town with two “regular” bikes (the others were Tall Bikes) to carry out daily activities. We didn’t think it was appropriate to make any shows. You could smell a sort of negative euphoria in that place. But that was an isolated case, and in general I have fond memories of those five months in Turkey. After a while I started understanding quite well what I was told, and I picked up a little Turkish too. ‘

Cappadocia

One of the variables to consider when traveling and being so exposed to the elements is the arrival of winter and the cold. So the group soon had to find suitable accommodation to weather the approaching winter months.” We found accommodation for the winter in Mersin, a city on the Mediterranean shores, right at the tip of the tourist area in the south. Some guy whom we had met offered to accommodate us in his family apartment.” To reach Mersin the group had to cross Cappadocia, where, for a few days, they even had to shelter in a cave.

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“Sleeping in Cappadocia was beautiful, but in general it was not easy. Those days were a sort of retreat, to train and try out new things. We did shows in a neighboring village, full of European, Americans, Chinese, and Japanese tourists… But we soon started to feel the cold. “M4031M-4205
“We had to flee with snow pursuing us, looking for a train to take us as far away as possible. One day we covered 80 Km almost all downhill. We pedaled fast, the threatening snow right behind us. One of us got a flat tire and that forced us to stop and we ended up with snow falling on our heads, without being in the least prepared for it. It was hard. ”

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“We finally got to the town from which we could take a train. It had a tiny little station where we started to cook with a camping stove. Then a railroad worker approached and we asked him about the train, because there was only one way to arrive to Mersin, with a mountain pass at 1400 meters in altitude. But he told us there were no trains, and he also warned us that the next day we would have to move out of the station. The next day, divided into groups of two to four people, self-sufficient and able to do shows, we hitchhiked. My group was picked up in an empty truck and the driver, who was mad and drove like a madman, was actually directed to Mersin. He drank a lot and also offered us lunch. “

A different perspective of the streets of New York with Ryan Sheckler

We like to look at things from a different point of view. Here are the streets of New York as seen from the digital eye recording the crazy skateboarding tricks of Ryan Sheckler.

Il turismo mondiale ha le sue Miss

Si è tenuta il 10 dicembre a Barquisimeto, in Venezuela, la finale del concorso Miss Tourism World 2014, che elegge le reginette del turismo mondiale, scelte tra 50 bellissime ambasciatrici in rappresentanza dei loro rispettivi paesi. E se ad aggiudicarsi il titolo nella finale mondiale è stata la 20enne Tomomi Kondou, giapponese, c’è stata gloria anche per il Belpaese, che ha visto Sofia Pivato eletta come Miss Tourism Europa.

Sofia Pivato

Sofia Pivato

Sofia, 19enne di Cittadella, è alta 1 metro e 70, ha capelli e occhi marroni, parla quattro lingue ed è stata eletta Miss Kaos 2014 durante la serata finale del Festivalshow all’Arena di Verona. È la terza italiana a partecipare al concorso, dopo Martina Sgambaro di Castelfranco Veneto nel 2013 e Mara dall’Armellina di Mareno di Piave nel 2012. Curiosamente, tutte bellezze venete.

The journey begins: from Italy to Turkey to meet the Cyclown Circus

Having introduced the general itinerary of the trip and revived the spirit which animated it, let’s now rewind and go back to when the decision to embark on such a trip was actually made. A path full of questions, with happy and less happy moments, which, when seen as a whole, reveals a life-changing experience, one that alters the very perception of all that surrounds you once you get back home.

Eastbound

a typical Turkish landscape

a typical Turkish landscape

The departure date was set for a day in June 2005.”It took something like 6 months of preparation – says Piero – in order to figure out what to bring along, and to tie up the loose ends of what I was doing at the time. Six months to leave behind nine years in Rome. I made a bike (as we said a Tall Bike) tailored to my needs, and also made one for Rocio and Simone, the two people who were leaving Italy with me.We headed south to south-east, our first destination Brindisi.The idea was to reach Salento, to meet some friends and do a couple of shows there. “This turned out to be a sort of rehearsal of what was to come in the months and years to follow, a kind of daily routine. “We did the first 30-40 kilometers by train, to get out of the city, then we cycled along via Appia towards Naples. From Naples we reached Salerno, then we crossed the Apennines, which was hard, and we headed for Bari. We spent the first three months doing shows in Salento, and cycling around to visit friends. We did some juggling and various performances, and we camped outside the towns and villages, outdoors among the olive groves, without any particular problems.” Then Piero and Rocio headed towards Brindisi, where they would meet Simone. In September, we were off to Turkey, destination Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna.

Towards Istanbul

heavy traffic

heavy traffic

“We knew some of our friends were already in Turkey, and were waiting for us in Istanbul.”They were the Cyclown Circus (http://www.cyclown.org/), a group of itinerant circus performers on two wheels from all over the world, who arrived in Istanbul travelling from Bulgaria. “From Izmir to Istanbul we took both train and bike routes, without encountering great difficulties, even when loading the bikes on trains. A total of 4 or 5 traveling days. We slept in the countryside and the goal was to reach the group as soon as possible. It was late September when we met, and we slept as guests in a small house, a total of 14 people.”

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Turkish hospitality for Piero and the Cyclown Circus

“We spent many days doing shows in Istanbul, along with the Cyclown Circus who were moslty musicians. Initially mixing our juggling art and their music wasn’t easy. In addition my English was very poor, and that was something of a problem. The theft I mentioned when discussing the safety issues of such a trip happened in the house where this group of 14 people was staying. During the night we had some intruders who used sleeping spray on us all. They then stole whatever they thought was of value. Gone were the handbags, which contained all documents, some phones (I did not possess one) and that was pretty much it. We were forced to redo our documents, and in some way we really were starting from scratch. Deep down I was kind of intrigued by this whole thing. Unfortunately, today I can no longer find that passport. ”

After the Istanbul interlude the group moved towards Ankara, and there – as pointed out by Piero – ” the real journey began”. The formula of the storyteller stopping, giving a show, asking for hospitality and food, started taking shape.

Per chi viaggia e per chi accoglie: il Magazine di Personal Travels

intro

Benvenute e benvenuti al Magazine di Personal Travels, ovvero lo strumento che abbiamo scelto per comunicare la nostra passione per il viaggio, declinato in tutte le sue possibili varianti. Il tutto da un punto di vista che speriamo possa risultare interessante e nuovo. Perchè il viaggio, prima di essere il pane quotidiano per il nostro lavoro, è la nostra più grande passione.

Nel corso dei prossimi mesi, vi terremo aggiornati sulle principali novità che riguardano il settore, nel tentativo di fornire da un lato consigli utili a quanti stessero per affrontare un viaggio, da soli, in famiglia o in gruppo, dall’altro spunti e statistiche interessanti per coloro che li accoglieranno nelle loro strutture.

Essendo basati in Italia, abbiamo anche intenzione di esplorare le più importanti e belle città italiane guardandole sotto una luce diversa da quella che tradizionalmente viene proposta dalle varie guide. Ci soffermeremo su alcuni particolari proponendo itinerari diversi da quelli canonici, senza dimenticarci di raccontare le vicissitudini e gli aspetti più divertenti del mettersi in viaggio.

Insieme, vogliamo poi tentare di raccontare esperienze di viaggio affascinanti, di quelle che superano ogni schema e stravolgono il corso di un’intera vita, invitando anche i lettori a contattarci per raccontare la loro esperienza indimenticabile di viaggio su queste pagine. Che ci serviranno soprattutto per metterci in contatto con voi lettori, viaggiatori e albergatori o gestori di strutture ricettive, per farci conoscere e potervi conoscere meglio.

Nelle nostre pagine troverete alcuni link che consentono di prenotare un soggiorno nei luoghi che menzioniamo. Speriamo di fornirvi qualche interessante punto di partenza per i vostri viaggi.

Ci metteremo tutta la nostra competenza e passione, nella speranza che la nostra pubblicazione possa rappresentare sia la lettura che accompagna il caffè della mattina, sia uno strumento utile a fornire qualche spunto da approfondire sul mondo del turismo.

Noi ci siamo, non dimenticatevi di farci sentire la vostra partecipazione!

About travelers and hosts: the Personal Travels Magazine

welcome

Welcome to the Personal Travels Magazine, which is the tool that we have chosen to communicate our passion for travel stories, declined in all its possible variants. All from a point of view that we hope will be interesting and new. Because traveling, before being the core of our work, is our greatest passion. A passion we want to share with our readers.

Over the coming months, our travel magazine will keep you updated on key news affecting the industry. We will try to provide useful advice on the one hand to those who are about to take a trip, alone, with family or in a group. On the other hand we will offer insights and interesting statistics for those who welcome travelers into their properties as guests.

Being based in Italy, we also intend to explore the most important and beautiful Italian cities looking at them in a different light from what is traditionally proposed by the various guides. We’ll focus on some details and provide alternative paths, without forgetting to tell the adventures and the most enjoyable aspects of traveling.

Together, we want to try and tell the most fascinating travel experiences, those that exceed any pattern, and change the course of a lifetime, also inviting readers to contact us to share their unforgettable travel experiences on these pages. Pages that will be useful mainly to get in touch with you readers, travelers and hoteliers and hosts of all kinds, to introduce our company, and to know you better.

We will invest all our expertise and passion in the hope that our publication will represent both the morning-coffee reading, and a useful tool to provide some inspiration to delve into the world of tourism. Our travel magazine is here, don’t forget to share your comments and feedback with us!

Before Personal Travels

It was a bold man who ate the first oyster” – Jonathan Swift

Gulliver breaks free

When I left my full-time job at booking-dot-com to start a project of my own, it did feel a bit like being the first person to ever try oyster. I still don’t know if it’s really my thing, but I will never forget that flavor. The idea is to make the world of travel easier and smoother, more democratic even, by bringing together those who travel and those who host travelers for a living.

On this blog we will discuss traveling under different perspectives and points of view. What do people who travel experience and feel during their trips? What do hoteliers or other hosts have to say about it? The aim is to try and define best practices and useful tips to enjoy at best on of the great gifts of humanity, however it involves you.

Before I further introduce the features of the blog, let me tell you more about myself and how I defined my own way of traveling. Being born in Italy in 1976, I’m old enough to remember what it was like when households did not have any form of personal computer. But thanks to my father the first such machine to enter our home was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and that was early in 1983.

Around 10 years later it was time for dad’s first ever-so-bulky mobile phone. In those same years I was already becoming a frequent flier, mainly to visit my mother’s side of the family in the ‘Ole Country, every given summer. Back then the No-Smoking sign would go off while airborne and you could happily light up on your regular Aer Lingus or Alitalia flights.

Of course traveling is always the same, magic experience that expands the lives of millions of people today as it was at the time. Only we had to deal with a totally different way to organize, enjoy, and remember our trips. Let me just hint at what I mean by crucial differences by recalling some aspects of the one trip that forever defined my way of traveling: the InterRail trip of summer 1998 with the girl who was to become my lifetime companion.

Photos:

At the time not every hand-held device had an incorporated 12 megapixel digital lens. There was no such thing as a digital camera, at least not at consumer level. People had compact cameras that required actual film to deliver photos, like Serena’s Pentax camera we had with us.

souvenir shop in Granada

You brought tons of film with you from home, bought from trusted shops where you hoped they wouldn’t give you expired stuff. When you ran out of it, it was time to retort to souvenir shops like this one in Granada, where you could buy your Kodak Gold films and pay for them like they were actually made of the precious metal. During the trip, you shot blindly at your subjects, hoping to have pressed the button at the right moment. The adrenaline kick when you came back home and sent the film to develop hoping to have at least a few good photos in the batch is something still unsurpassed. As is the disappointment of finding out that you had completely burnt the film by accidentally exposing it to light, and would have to do with no visual memories for that particular vacation.

Calling home

As I said, mobile phones weren’t exactly portable back then, nor were they very affordable. Needless to say, we didn’t have one with us while travelling through Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. When you had a chance you called the old folks from a public phone booth and reassure them that all was well, like I was doing from this cabin in Barcelona’s famous Barceloneta.

calling home from a phone box in Barceloneta

Another option was to inform your relatives of the phone number of the place you were staying, but this meant that your mother-in-law would have had to find out how to overcome the language barriers of the case and get the clerk of a dusty old posada to get her daughter on the phone ASAP.  She didn’t really use that word.

Accommodation:

Booking a stay somewhere before you actually got there was almost impossible during youth travels. Business and leisure travelers succeeded by calling days in advance, and providing a credit card number or a bank instalment as a guarantee. But generally the rule was: Reach a destination, find a place to stay.

sleeping out in Faro train station

A trail of youngsters following a hotel owner to an available alternative nearby was a typical sight in many European cities. Sometimes though the task was unsuccessful. You could spend most of the day wandering from one to another place on your list, only to find them fully booked or unavailable.

That’s when you retorted to literally anything, like the night we spent on the hard stone floor outside a godforsaken train station in Portugal with a bunch of German youths.

Friends:

Those guys were the funniest bunch of kraut aficionados I’ve ever met, and together we spent a couple of fantastic days. My memories of the time spent with them include a sick joke on Lady D, and the weirdest ever train journey. Between the stops I had to pick out the thorns of juicy cactuses from the unexperienced hands of those who had obviously never seen what the Italians call Indian figs.

dinner in Portugal (why pizza?)

Needless to say we did not have social media back then. If you wanted to keep in touch you had to commit to becoming pen pals. Provided you never lost the addresses scribbled on random sheets of paper or at the back of your phone book.

I always lost them. That’s why none of these beautiful people are my facebook friends today. I wish they could recognize themselves in the photo and contact me, to share more memories of that fantastic summer traveling around Europe.