Posts by: Paul

Ohrid, Macedonia

I’ve been staying with a family here for the past week: a man, a woman – who approached me at the bus station, or actually it was a guy with her who approached me asking if I needed somewhere to stay, which I did – and an occasional 20 year old son. They invited me into their living room this afternoon for a coffee and then some wine and some pumpkin. They live in the living room at the moment, at least whilst I’m there. The man told me the room I’m now staying in is actually his bedroom. I’m…

Thessaloniki, Greece

I’ve just taken the overnight train from Athens. Sitting in the smoky station cafe waiting for the connection to Skopje, Macedonia, having just eaten a sickly sweet king-size chocolate croissant with Nutella-type chocolate oozing out of it.

Samos, Greece

Paying the bill in the hotel today the woman went through the things I’d eaten or drunk then started saying two and a half hours internet, three hours internet etc.. They had wifi access and I’d been sitting there with my laptop, assuming it was free, not realizing they were noting down how long I was sitting there and charging me for it. There were signs saying internet 3 euros per hour by the computers, but when there’s wifi that’s usually free, except when some charging thing comes up on the screen and you have to put in a credit…

Ephesus Museum. Selçuk, Turkey

American woman talking to museum warden: – I like Turkish people. So would you describe yourself as a European? I’ve been to other countries in Europe and they don’t like us much. The French don’t like us, but in Turkey the people are so friendly. Your Ataturk was a great man, he really brought your country into the modern age, and look at you now: a developed country that’s neither muslim nor christian…

Selçuk, Turkey

This is a small town near to the ruins of Ephesus, the capital of the Eastern part of the Roman empire. I have been told to procure photos of the site so that they may be entered into a database.

Istanbul, Turkey

Sitting on the sea wall where the Bosphorus meets the Sea of Marmara. It’s Ramadan though it doesn’t seem to be as strictly observed here as in Morocco, the other islamic country I’ve been to during Ramadan. There, in Casablanca, I was stopped by a couple of policemen who had spotted me taking a swig from a bottle of water. Though they weren’t so bothered when they realized I wasn’t Moroccan, they still told me it was forbidden. In the more touristy places, such as Marrakech, some cafes were open during the day for tourists, but I only ever saw…

Hunting muslims in the Carpathians

Sitting on the sofa of the small common room area of the hostel in Lviv with my laptop, a two year old Mac Powerbook whose battery has pretty much died so it now needs to be constantly connected to a power supply. In the area just outside, covered by a leaking plastic roof, where building work is going on, occasionally, some men sit around a table drinking vodka and beer. One of them is the owner of the hostel. He invites me to come and join them for a drink. He speaks a little English but none of the others…

Lviv, Ukraine

Things are difficult in Ukraine. Even though I didn’t understand the language in Slovakia, Poland or Lithuania, at least I could read the letters, and then it’s often possible to get an idea of what’s going on. The culture here is also quite different. East Europe by comparison is very European. I’m in Lviv now, which is a big town. There don’t seem to be many restaurants or bars here. There are stalls where they sell beer and you can sit outside to drink it, but last night the only place I could find to eat was a McDonald’s. I…

Chop, Ukraine

I got on the train for Lviv at Kosice, Slovakia, at 7:24 but I didn’t have a ticket. I’d gone to what I think was the Kasa, ticket booth, in kosice station but the woman behind the curtains didn’t speak any English. I showed her my print out with the train I wanted to get on it, but she just wrote down the time of the train on it, even though the time was already on there. I told her I wanted to buy a ticket but she was just pointing to the train. It was about 7:10. I should…

Email to Gordon Brown

Re: Government response to petition ‘NoVATonBikes’ Dear Gordon Thanks for the reply. It’s good of you to get back to me. Tony never did. However, I’m a bit disappointed you don’t want to go for this, and your response that you can’t because the EU won’t let you sounds a bit lame, and plays into the hands of Eurosceptics (you’re not a Eurosceptic are you?). If Europe is a democratic institution, which it’s supposed to be, then surely the British government could campaign to abolish VAT on bikes and bike parts as part of a Europe-wide kind of thing. Climate…

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