Thursday, 27 December 2007

santa forgot one

I rarely check my stats.

Tonight an unexpected present loomed! My first creepy hit! Joy To The World and Come (ha) All Ye Faithful!

The searcher was, er, searching for "sexy cypriot ladies".

He (she?) didn't stay long. Oh well.
You probably couldn't afford me anyway.

(This isn't the proper post. Just in case the Christmas coma hasn't worn off yet.)

Monday, 24 December 2007


Er. Now this is embarrassing. I think I've forgotten your name; you'll have to forgive me, dear blog. Absence does not make my heart fonder; it makes it senile.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to write in a regular sort of fashion. And post the rest of those travel e-mails from the summer.

I have a few things to say and I really will type up a "real" post this week but my Dad has just come home and I want to go to the pub. Hurrah!

Merry Christmas, kids.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

getting fresh

I spent the weekend in Southampton visiting my younger sister. She is in her first year at university and still in the Hardcore Fresher phase where every night is full of drinks with questionable names (Jesticle, anyone?) and chicken burgers from a van owned by a man named Ali. I drank one of those innuendo laden cocktails last night and regretted it when I woke up with a head full of gnomes with gongs at 7am. Clearly my body clock does not allow for Jesticle abuse and still believes I should get out of bed (or, you know, off the floor) at Bright and Early AM.

Southampton is fun. Getting home was not. Stuck at a sorry excuse for a train station because the delay to the first part of my journey meant I missed my collection I texted nearly everyone I knew with much RAGE about the fucking trains. My experiences in relatively economically weak Eastern Europe this summer with trains that Run! And! Are On Time! make me particularly bitter about the stupid fucking government and their stupid fucking trains.

But! I had an awesome time. Like, totally groovy, which is my sister's new phrase du jour. I didn't embarrass myself particularly. I didn't throw myself at men who are too young for me, and I only had to use the toilet in that awful, awful bar once.

I am exhausted now because I am a sad old fart and so, to bed.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

wherein I am frustrated

I have a presentation due on Thursday, about a Roman villa no one cares about unless you are daft enough to read Archaeology at university. I am tired and fed up of writing notes on the excavation reports, scanning 20 colour plates and trying to collate it all into a coherent 10 minute piece that not even my supposedly academically inclined classmates will care about. It isn't even assessed, doesn't count for a point of credit, and yet it has enveloped my life these past few weeks.

University work at the moment, it makes me want to cry, like I used to over my Maths homework, balled into frustrated sobs. I am tired. I hardly see my friends. My best girlfriend lives two minutes from my door, and yet I have not seen her in a week. I wasted two hours today in a talk that was meant to give me some direction in my future career; all it did was convince me that most journalists only like to talk about themselves and that the inflated sense of ego they bear is totally undeserved given their presentation skills. If I wanted to listen to the supposed achievements of an overbearing overweight twit I could watch our illustrious PM splutter his socialism on the 10 o'clock news.

Undergrads are notorious for thinking they Know It All and of course I am right there, cooing away in my neat little pigeonhole, but I truly find it depressing that four successful professionals can damn their life's work by all coming across as rambling and incoherent, having previously stressed that the entire point of journalism is to produce news that is relevant and succinct.

Just, frustrated.

Monday, 12 November 2007



I would like to say I haven't been writing because my life has become fabulously tumultuous with love affairs and scandal. Six months ago you would have been bang on the money, and with a heady emphasis on the bang, but these days the only shagging I participate in is last night's overtly graphic dream about someone wonderfully inappropriate.

Instead, I have been going to bed before my housemates stumble in blearily from the pub and getting up in time to hear (nearly) all of Chris Moyles' show. I work out, an hour a day. I eat good things, in that sensible low-fat high-fibre proper diet fashion, I drink hardly anything and I have lost a stone in a matter of weeks. It is all terribly grown-up but it is also occasionally Really Fucking Boring.

Thing is, I just don't care. I like not being hungover. I like my girlfriends' jaws hitting the floor when I stepped off the train this weekend looking delicious (if I do say so myself), I like cooking and going to aerobics and enjoying the comparative stillness of an early morning city street.

I think, perhaps, I am about ready to move on from being a student. And I didn't ever think that would happen.

It is Itchy Feet syndrome, but on a more life-changing level than my usual escapes from England.

Monday, 15 October 2007

stationery rage

I am aware that I purport this blog to be primarily about travel, and that I have failed to post any more of my e-mails from the summer, or thoughts on Spain, France and Northern Ireland for ages. I know you miss the incisive wit of such pieces, and I promise I'll never neglect you like that again, baby. I didn't mean to knock you down the stairs.

Like all such statements, this one comes with a proviso. Prepare for a tale of such tragedy you'll be all Oedipal within seconds.

I am sat in a paper ocean. A semester's worth of notes are sprawled lustily across my desk, peeping coquettishly from behind my bed, even engaging in unspeakable orgies sandwiched steamily between my Oxford Classical Dictionary and a textbook detailing the thrills of ceramic analysis.

I haven't filed them because I had an argument with Hole Punch the First about six months ago and we are no longer speaking. It's all Hole Punch's fault, for complaining that he was overworked and refusing to relinquish a particularly generous donation of notes. I may have, in self defence, become enraged and smashed Hole Punch the First to pieces. May have, mind you.

My track record with stationery is not good. I have destroyed many Parker fountain pens in a fit of pique by stabbing the nib hard into my algebra homework. That'll teach you, numbers.

Hole Punch the Second is here and ready to begin his lifetime's work. I have high hopes. Let us hope they are not cruelly dashed, otherwise you will have to read more of this tripe about my predilection for stationery sadism.

Saturday, 13 October 2007


About five years ago I craved a pair of cordless headphones. Chunky DJ style all encompassing snuggly headphones that shut out everything. I never bought any, but tonight I'm listening to Adele's Hometown Glory through a pair I usually use for Skype chats. Buried in music.

I've been dragging my life back to the track this week. One drunken night and fight too many and I woke up last Sunday bloodying my lip on my chipped tooth worrying about my behaviour. The weather is turning and so am I. The chill in the air makes me miss years I remember as easy.

I tend to whitewash the truth of that time. Five years ago my self harm began, possibly, probably, five years to this month. The scars on my arms are now hidden by further injury; accidental, this time.

The last time I went to the doctor I admitted my mood swings have become worse. This is in part related to my birth control pills, and can be controlled by simply never taking a break from them. It has helped.

And. I am happier than I have been for months.
Despite my nostalgia, I am finding a path away from the debris of the summer's chaos.

It feels good.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


I bitched about my family, I now have Fresher's Flu before I've even made it back to uni.

Fuck you, karma.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

being Greek is shit, #1

The other day my aunt added my on Facebook. Due to etiquette that is universally acknowledged and agreed to be at least as important as, say, the international diplomacy required to avoid nuclear war, I accepted her friend request.

Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Being Greek, even just a little bit (my paternal grandfather is Greek Cypriot), is like living in that film. Everyone knows everyone, if you don't eat meat you are regarded with suspicion and worry (and I hate lamb), and all your cousins are named Nick and Diane.

Except that you cannot really remember all your cousins (I have 22 first cousins and many many many second) so when someone Greek adds you on the Gospel according to Facebook you have no idea whether they are actually a blood relative or just someone you are expected to know and submit to when they want to pinch your face and tell you how much you look like your Yaya (who is, at the latest estimation, 90, and has no teeth left).

Apparently, adding one aunt has opened a floodgate for people who I may or may not have met at Uncle Seraphee's sixtieth birthday, or Iaggi's wedding, which I didn't understand because it was conducted in Crazy (i.e. Greek) and I was also only six at the time and being forced to stand still for hours and wear a white dress with pink bows.

It is a testament to their tenacity that they are encroaching on my life when most of them live four hours' flight away.

Let's pretend I now say something begrudging about loving them all anyway.
I am, in fact, sure that being terrified of the familial advance and their consequent access to photos of me in situations that surely compromise my Good Greek Girl ticklist is far more appropriate.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

bonjour, kiddo

Springtime in Paris this year sold France to me in a way I'd never expected. When it comes to travel I am apparently a hopeless romantic. All that emotion that most 20-something women expend on men is, in my case, channelled into falling desperately in love with cities.

Bordeaux is seducing me as I type, as my girlfriends tunelessly sing old songs in a kitchen on the Rue Jean Burguet and we chat about what we've done today (an art gallery; an excavation that pertains nicely to my dissertation under a church on the Place des Martyrs de la Resistance; drinking hot chocolate that gave me a shaky sugar rush) and the sun sinks and the gin at my right hand goes straight to my head.

It is beautiful, it is interesting, I am in love.
More soon.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

geography 101

Could someone who has a clue about these things please tell me why my handy little stat count code is registering my visits as coming from Birkenhead? I don't live in Birkenhead. I live nowhere near Birkenhead. I had no idea where it was until I Googled it. (It's in the northwest of England, far too close to Liverpool for accented comfort.) I thought for a week (because in theory my visits are actually blocked, my sweet stat counter) that I had a devoted northern fan.

Quite why I have the thing when hardly anyone reads this is entirely due to that self-indulgent smugness that makes anyone start a blog in the first place.

Anyway. The geography thing, it is a recurring problem. My knowledge of English counties and their locations is sparse enough to make the traveller in you fall to the ground moaning. As you will discover when I finally post the next batch of e-mails from my trip to Eastern Europe this summer, my grasp of worldwide geography isn't too hot, either. Let's take, for example, the fact that I had no clue Auschwitz was in Poland until my sister casually dropped it into conversation - as smoothly as you can do so with a death camp, that is - that we could head there from Krakow.

It drives that same sister insane that I will set out for a destination with very little idea of how we will actually get there. But this is the magic of travel for me; to set out in a new city on foot and get lost. You find so much more when you're not bent over a map.

Tomorrow I leave for Northern Ireland to spend two nights with friends. I then fly to Bordeaux for a holiday with some close girlfriends.

I suspect I will have some stories.
Until then.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

keeping a promise

Hi. So.

My sister gave me a leather journal for my birthday. I've yet to mark it. Three weeks have gone by and I haven't posted here, either.

All I've written is scribbled notes about chastity and Christian sexuality. Go Google the former. I didn't realise male chastity belts existed, but apparently it's a very technical world.

My entire life revolves around screwing. My dissertation is all about Greeks fucking and Christians... not. There are men here and there but the single life, it does not suit.

I have spent a month working not quite hard enough and drinking just a little (read lot) too much. Writing (about things not related to sex, this is) has fallen by the wayside and this isn't good, says the psychologist in me. Alcohol is not a friendly escape route. Neither is going to bed with men you don't know, no matter how hot that French accent.

I'm back, ladies.

Friday, 14 September 2007


Back tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

want/need #2

Oh. Oh. I have one Tales from the Earth necklace already.
Now I want another.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

more sex chat

Two days reading about orgasms in the university library is not as exciting as you might think. Even though the name of the building I study in carries the delightful acronym of A.S.S., leading to predictable insinuations about one's sexual preferences (and there is a connection in there somewhere about how best to achieve that Big O), the necessary groundwork for writing my dissertation this year was far from scream-worthy. Reading about other women's orgasms is rather like discussing how tight your vagina is with your friends.

That initial queasiness that you are feeling imagining me and my friends chatting about muscle walls and stuff (this is presuming you're not indulging in some girl-on-girl wank here; I've got better material than that if you're interested) is not really the reason we don't gossip about it. I'm fine with frank sexual discussion, as long as I know what I'm talking about. And most girls have no idea how many Kegel exercises her friends do to keep it all happy, just as they have no clue what another woman's orgasm feels like. There are some aspects of sex talk that are just so personal (and this does not necessarily equate to private, kittens) that unless you have made the effort to explore such differences in width, length, depth, whatever, you have no basis for comparison. Vagina-wise, this doesn't apply to lesbians, obviously, but understanding how an orgasm feels for someone else is still presumably intangible.

This is why we talk about the size of your cocks, gentlemen, because as most of my friends are straight and sexually active, we have collectively seen more penises than we have pussy.

I'll leave you with an anecdote from my travels.
While beyond wasted one night in the Czech Republic, my Favourite Aussie Ever turns to me and says "Have you ever been with a guy who describes what he's doing to you while he's doing it?"
Weirdly enough, I had. "Yes" answer I, stumbling vacantly into the bar and waving money at the man until he gives me more Becherovka "I have." I drink some of the clove gin and realise I have ordered two. Or maybe my appearance grows more like an AA member's by the day. I think about what she has said and eventually add, "It was fine when I was slaughtered, but when I sobered up it did seem a bit fucking weird."
"What did he call your..."
"...My cunt? Pussy." I remember and something tightens in my lower belly. It was good sex. "I guess it's a bit Daddy's Little Girl porn-y. Maybe why I found it odd."
She looks as ponderous as her colourful cocktail will allow. "And what do you call it?"
I grin, because this is a near replay of a conversation I have had with a man of great interest to me in recent months. "Depends who I'm talking to."
(In my head, I always say cunt. With a man, I would say the same. The conversational situation has not yet arisen with my girlfriends.)
I do not expect the fully grown nurse sat in front of me to say what she does next.
"I call it my flower."

And that, dear children, is the other reason why we don't talk about it.
Because hysterical laughter makes other people feel bad.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

extra!: Vilnius

The day after I sent that last dispatch from Vilnius, we crept into the sleeping town early to visit a district called Uzupis. This slightly run-down part of town declared itself "independent" in 1997, and has its own flag, currency, president, and all the other tidy tasteless little factoids that you can munch on at Wikipedia.

On April 1st each year the residents set up border guards on the bridge you must cross to reach the district and you can have your passport stamped.

The upshot of all this tongue-in-cheek, er, cheek, is that they have their own constitution, posted on Paupio street near the statue of an angel standing on an egg. Oh, yes.

I was possibly particularly struck by the following points of the constitution, because I copied them into my notebook, but you can never rely fully on my reasons for writing things down. For God's sake, I wrote the words TUK TUK TUK in my notes the previous day and expected my later self to recall why.

Anyhow. They're really rather lovely:

10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in times of need.
24. Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
27. Everyone shall remember their name.
32. Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
41. Do not surrender.

I have searched for a link to the whole list, but failed to find anything sensible, so I suggest you book your flights now.

You think I'm joking.

want/need #1

Two for tea? Fuck, yeah.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

swindon sexy time

As it has been a long week (mostly spent cleaning things and putting IKEA flatpack stuff together) I took myself off to Swindon today for a touch of retail therapy. I knew, even before I decided to go, that it was a shit idea. Especially as I had to go to PC World first to buy a printer, but that foray into the gutter of technology is quite another story.

All I wanted, all I crave right now, is new underwear. Something black, with boning that makes me sit up straight, something in the 50 quid plus market. Something classy. Well, as classy as Sex Underwear gets, anyway. In the absence of suitable garments on another shopping trip this week I purchased Amazing Shoes with a six inch heel and inch and a bit platform, a black leather jacket and tan leather boots. Not finding what you want during retail therapy is an expensive business.

Anyway, as stupid and pointless as searching for pretty pants in Chavland seems to everyone who possesses more than one brain cell and less than one council flat plus BONUS! screaming illegitimate child I thought I might at least have some luck in Ann Summers. However, the Swindon branch seems to have gone more for the penis party accessories market than corsets to make my healing rib twinge in a satisfactorily masochistic fashion.

I even, in a fit of ugly people induced insanity, tried Primark. All that happened is I bought a t-shirt for four quid and wondered whether the top advertising one as an "80's love child" is in fact anything to be proud of; think about what your (presumably united for the briefest of shags in neon spattered club loo hell) leg warmer clad ma and pa would have been like. I am an 80's child myself, but as far as I'm aware the glowstick movement didn't really reach the be-guncrimed depths of Nottingham.

So. My Swindon sexy time was a waste of time. But wherever you are in the world, and even if you haven't heard of Swindon, you could have told me that in the beginning.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

travel snobbery

I was going to write about my time in Marbella this week, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, as this has turned into a big (and, let me point out wearily, tongue-in-cheek) rant about why I hate airports.

Spain was good and I shall write proper travel shit about it soon.

My irritation with the Stupid People of the planet is never more venomous than at an airport in high season. I don't just fly at UnGodly AM because I'm cheap; I also do it because the demon children of the world are likely to be dopey from interrupted sleep and their pramface parents mute in surprise, celebrating with 4am pints of wifebeater in that cozy traditional fashion.

I had the misfortune to take a flight home from Malaga yesterday that coincided with every awful Brit on the Costa del Sol attempting to flee Torremolinos, or wherever they'd been munching through plates of chips and sizzling their skins to a perfect hog roast red, at the same time as your delicate author was merely trying to make it to the Easyjet flight with one smug hand luggage bag full of all I had needed for five days in Marbella intact.

Malaga airport, as it happened, was relatively free of the zombified stupids. Bristol airport, it was not. The queue for immigration was dismally enormous. They didn't open the Non-EU passport lane to ease the rush because, well, we're British, and if you put a sign up that says "Jump" we're programmed to bleat "How high?". At least this time they didn't ask me to remove my glasses when they checked my passport as they did at Heathrow when we flew in two weeks ago. Spectacles! they're the way forward for the terrorists, don't you know.

There were three policemen (three!) patrolling the luggage reclaim hall, guarding a trolley of bags that needed to be pawed through by customs. There were children on those demonic wheely trainers, flying into pillars and making a noise that twisted my shrivelled soul still further. There were even more children, clambering on the belts that your bags, if you're lucky, appear on after a wait of a day or more. Every time I pick up my hold luggage I make it my aim to swipe as many hellspawn as I can as I swing it away from the belt; the record so far is two. Could Do Better. There were more children and more children and Oh God why do people have children?

And why arm the policemen if they're not allowed to use totally reasonable force to subdue the little shits? (Just to point out, in total seriousness, if one person, but one, gives me the "excuse" that such children are unable to behave because they are "only three, what do you expect?", I will smack you into next week. I was a very well behaved three year old. I know plenty of well behaved kids that age. Hence the call for arresting the children. And more on that point another time.)

We made it home after a trip through Bristol city centre during which I saw far too many men wearing women's clothes (was there a special festival?), and far too many women wearing clothes that were at least ten sizes too small (that, I am aware, is a totally average sight in any British town).

And yet, I am sat here, browsing through flights for the next year, wondering idly where next.

Oh, the trials we face.

dispatch: Vilnius

This is a quick update, in theory, as my sister is hassling me to get off the computer to go and get icecream.

Vilnius is wonderful. I get the feeling I am repeating myself in these descriptions, but today is not the time to think like a thesaurus because the idea of icecream is increasing in importance the longer I sit here. The Old Town is mostly Baroque style, which led to a wonderfully confusing conversation between the Swiss and the German yesterday:

German: "The town is Baroque style."
Swiss: "Rock?"
G: "BA-roque."
S: "Erotic baroque?"
G: "What?"

And so the day passes, with language barriers making a multitude of churches (even I didn't go in every one) much more interesting.

Today we have been to Trakai, the ancient capital of Lithuania. There is a castle on an island. Those of you who have had the misfortune to visit a stately home/palace/castle with me before know that this is the one type of historical exhibit that makes me want to scream. Too much furniture and not enough archaeology. Given the wealth of medieval evidence for the site I was disappointed that there was so little on display. Instead, room after room of furniture. The lake surrounding was beautiful though, and the short hike along the shore later the highlight of the afternoon.

We've also visited the former headquarters of the KGB, now home to a Genocide Museum. It was fascinating, though mostly about the Soviet invasion and the Lithuanian partisan movement. They have preserved the prison in the basement, and that is truly harrowing. The padded cell was particularly grim, with a straitjacket still hanging on the wall. I felt very odd making notes in the very place that such activities undoubtedly carried a death sentence.

Tomorrow we move on to a national park, still in Lithuania, for a couple of days canoeing and hiking. I can't wait. Although the cities are gorgeous, the weather is starting to warm up and it will be great to see some of the countryside.

Icecream time.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

chit chat

We take a break from our regularly scheduled sniping to snark instead.

My grandparents are staying.

The tone in which I am thinking this, and in which you should be reading it, is one of mild dread and definite foreboding, laced with just a dash of merriment that my grandmother's love of cooking means I do not have to Do Something with a chicken tonight that will somehow add up to that great British institution of Sunday dinner. The feathery filth within that sentence is unintentional.

No, it is not the food (though Shepherd's Pie in this heat does seem, well, mad) that makes my insides curdle. It is my grandfather's conversation. And we use that charming term "conversation" loosely, loose like the knickers of a crystal meth addict.

The problem is, he tricks you into thinking that the chat is going to be pleasant and within the realms of normality. He is, after all, a Norfolk farmer, and has a similar vocabulary to the Shire folk. Example: calling mute objects "he", e.g. buildings, radios, screws, and anything else that cannot move of its own accord and definitely does not have a sex. I can deal with that kind of weirdness, having lived in Hobbit central for an Elven lifetime. But, no.

Today he asked me whether I'd ever been to Bournemouth. See, normal.
I said, no, I haven't. Why?
His reply was the standard kind of odd, the odd where the elderly start talking about people you don't know as if they are a close family friend. Because a man I used to work for used to fish down there.
Why this would make me want to visit Bournemouth I don't know.

But, it got worse. Oh, right. Said I.
'e used to make us dig up worms to pack into moss so he'd have enough bait for his trips. Grandad replied merrily, settling in for the ultimate thrill of describing, in detail, how to find lots of worms for fishing.
The closest I have ever come to fishing is falling asleep after too many beers by the lakeside and waking up to discover my shit of a friend had put maggots on me.

Later: (after ten minutes of worm catching lessons) I might go down there to see where he used to fish. Oh, God, I am thinking. Oh God I am glad I am going to Spain tomorrow.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

responses to Riga

via e-mail:

"Living in the hen party capital of Britain (though quite why anyone would choose to go to York for their hen party is completely beyond me) I can assure you it is strictly necessary to take parents. Both mothers in fact. There is a beautiful thought to ponder."

"you're daft."

[describing a Spanish McDonalds. The food is evidently a reassuring constant world over.] "Was like eating melted, flavourless spam."

Monday, 30 July 2007

dispatch: Riga


Riga is the stag party capital of Eastern Europe, so I am told. I didn't quite believe it until in McDonalds just now (we shall avoid the shame that is the fact that I ate in McDonalds) there were 20 full grown men wearing numbered shirts with nicknames printed on the back, things like Acorn and Sputnik or The Daddy (do you have to take the appropriate parent on such pre-wedding adventures? Terrifying thought). Should be interesting to see what the bars are like tonight.

On a slightly similar note, Eastern European men are so much less sleazy than their Western counterparts. Think of the number of times, girls (oh shit, political correctness and a creeping sense of amusement demands me to include you boys in this as well) you've been chased down the street by a pizza-greased Italian (stereotype? Me?). None of that here. That, or I look so much like a tramp these days they just don't bother with me.

Talking of tramps (this flows rather nicely today, though I haven't told you anything about Riga itself) the women here, oh God. Amazing. I wrote this in my notebook (yes, I carry a notebook, Hi, I'm Rachel, I'm a total loser, also I use too many brackets) last night while sat in the central square:

Young people in the Baltic States like to wear socks with sandals. WHY.
Also, women are orange.
Also, they like matching tie dye suits.
And high heels.
Day and night.

The streets in the Baltic State old towns are generally cobbled and represent a challenge to me in my Converse, so God knows how the Fake Baked beauties (word used in the sweepingest of sweeping ideas) don't break their ankles daily. It's quite fascinating to watch them hobble, fake Chanel sunglasses perched on bleached blonde hair, over plucked-to-oblivion-and-redrawn-in-black eyebrows, around stunning Old Town Riga.

Riga itself. Yes, it's gorgeous. Apart from the bit where we are staying, where outside our hotel three drunk people sit huddled on a broken bench all day. It's the Russian quarter, apparently. I'm not sure whether the German meant the bench, or the streets in general. The Art Nouveau district is a treat, totally different to most Baltic buildings and well worth a visit. Riga market is truly hellish, though the setting is great; five enormous hangers that they intended to use for Zeppelins, but, well, never really got round to. The parks are frustrating, because you can't walk on the grass. Why bother having them? Very odd. The romantic bit of me that is twisted somewhere in my stomach was delighted by the padlocks on the bridge, though, inscribed with lovers' names and the date they were placed there. Quite sweetly naff.

We have been to a ton of churches, and also the Ethnography Museum, which I'm not quite sure I understand as Ethnography to me is not something that can be quite defined in traditional museum terms. I'll leave the Archaeology out of this, though.

Shit, this is long, again. Apologies. On a finishing note, have a few more bits from my notebook, most of which sprung from God knows where in my brain:


Sarah is being attacked by killer pigeons.

Swiss people don't get engaged.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

responses to Tallinn

via e-mail:

"i love how you dont remember most things, keep them un-remembered!!


The worn WASD keys comment gave me an idea for a trashy novel."

dispatch: Tallinn

It is raining in Tallinn as well. Also, we are sat in a basement internet cafe surrounded by gamers. W A S and D are particularly worn on this keyboard, and if you're into your geekery this is a pretty sure sign that not a lot apart from lovely nerd gaming has been going on down here.

Let us pause momentarily to enhance this picture. The boy next to me is belching more or less continuously. The man behind the desk looked terrified when my sister and I entered, despite the necessary dork uniform of waterproofs and chunky glasses. There is weird incongruous techno music blaring. I feel horribly at home.

Moving on. Tallinn has a staggeringly beautiful old town. It is built onto a hill, and looks a little like a fairytale castle. There's a Disneytown vibe, which is a little... I was going to sad, but I'm not sure I mean that. Artificial, certainly, but it does mean what they have is preserved beautifully. Some gorgeous Gothic architecture and a whitewashed church that belongs in a Spanish square stained with orange trees and filled with wooden coats of arms.

We spent an hour curled under the low ceilings of a cafe that definitely makes my favourites list, hiding from the weather, which had thoughtfully rearranged our plans to go the beach.

I can't remember where we're going tomorrow. I don't know why I can't remember.

I shall be keeping these short-ish from now on. [This will turn out to be a lie. I am incapable of shutting up.]

dispatch: Helsinki

This is the first in a series of e-mails I sent while travelling this summer. I intend to post them all here, along with additional stuff written after my return.


This is an exciting Finnish keyboard and so this e-mail may be interspersed with 'ä' and 'ö' and so on... enjoy!

Helsinki is weird. It is also wet. If you've ever been to Berlin, it's a little like that, with solid Soviet style architecture and a few beautiful buildings thrown into the mix. The interiors are generally rather austere; the Cathedral, apparently a masterpiece (and designed by a chap named Engel, Berlin-born. Does anyone know whether he designed the university square in Berlin? I'll shut up about Berlin now), looks almost unfinished inside. I really can't think of a better word than "weird", which is pathetic. Even the airport was bizarre. No immigration checks or anything. Just walk straight on out.

We've been to Suomenlinna Fortress (big sea fortress, intended to stop Russians invading, failed miserable when commander surrendered due to rumours the Russian forces were larger - they weren't) this morning, in the rain. We walked round it, in the rain. Did I mention the rain? It's July. It is raining. Was good, despite miserable weather. Will spare you the history lesson, but the guide was amusing, and those of you who know how much I hate guided tours/audio guides should be impressed that I listened.

Fortunately the weather cheered up this morning and I dragged my poor sister off to Temppeliaukio Church, (apparently Rock Church in English, which seems rather tame pronunciation wise) which is built into solid rock with a copper dome roof. Amazing, though full of Americans who were wittering on about being Brothers and Sisters in Christ. They get
everywhere. It's more infectious than Starbucks. (No Starbucks here, though many similar chains.)

Slightly related observations:
Finnish pop music is mental. It has made me stop and listen, gaping, in the street as it pumps out of bars. It is. Just. Mental.

Germans really do NOT get sarcasm.

Irish people really do say "tick" for "thick" sometimes. This also confuses Germans.

go until you get to the end

So, I moved blog. Again.

Fickle bitch.

I enjoyed writing my travel updates so much I wanted a fresh new sheet to splash them about on.

This is where I am beginning.