Saturday, August 14, 2004



Something of a travel hiatus this week, since late on Monday I've been very comfortably ensconsed with Marcus, Eva, Mattias, Molly and Marlon up the road near Karlshamn.

It's warm and sunny round these parts and swimming's a popular option both in lakes and the very pleasant sea. Mattias has just learned and loves nothing more than paddling round waiting for another chance to splash his miserable old uncle. Molly jumped in for the first time the other day and enjoyed it so much she did it again and again, giggling louder every time. Being one, Marlon preferred to stick mainly to the shore, even if it's usually full of Germans. Yes, Germans! Come all the way to Sweden and still they're inescapable, wandering around in their underpants, driving large white camper vans, and generally eschewing all accepted indicators of style and fashion.

We had a crayfish party the other night. Lots of fun sucking the juice out of the poor creatures before taking them apart to get at the meaty bits. I had about 15, but that was no more than Mattias and he's not seven yet so I think I need some more practice before I can pass for a real Swede. I even tried some schnapps for the first time since a bad experience five years ago but unlike then I didn't finish the night throwing up in a gutter.

Rayne got here on Wednesday and she's just left to go back to the London grind. Or at least I hope it's a grind, as I'm not going to see her again until December she'd better not be having too much fun without me.

I'm leaving tomorrow to get back on the road, or at least the railway tracks. Apparently winter's coming on so it's time to head south.

Sunday, August 08, 2004



After a day looking round Checkpoint Charlie and other stuff in the area of the wall I stumbled - as if by magic - on the Berlin Beer Festival. It's not quite Munich, but there was a mile of stands dispensing all kinds of ales to rosy cheeked men with remarkable moustaches. It would have been rude not to, so I munched on bratwurst and tried a few beers. Most stunning of all was a bottle of a French drink that combined beer and whisky. Beer and whisky! In the same drink! I could barely believe my eyes, but having had some I don't think it's going to catch on. It was a bit too sickly sweet, like caramel.

Back at the hostel I stayed up with the usual assortment of Brits, Irish, Canadians and Australians until much later than I should have done, which means once again I'm feeling more than a bit delicate this morning. The festival's still going but I think they'll have to do without my presence today.