Saturday, May 05, 2007

A few of my favourite times

(Nearly) 9 months in, here's a selection of my favourite moments of Gwan's Grand Tour. In no particular order:


  • Being surprised at Dublin airport by wiley Ranch, who told me she wouldn't be back in Dublin till the next day
  • The first "oh my God, I'm in Russia!" moments - from flying in to Moscow over pine forests and snow-spotted fields, to driving into the city watching people throw packs of cigarettes to soldiers sitting in the back of an army truck
  • Trudging past Moscow University in the snow in the wee hours of New Year's Day with Melani and Andy, singing Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Getting directions to Tsarskoe Selo from friendly stall-owners in St Petersburg - they get points for saying I was pretty!
  • Setting the table on fire (sort of) with absinthe in a tiny Prague bar (inhabitants of said bar: me & my mates and one evil house painter)
  • The weekend away in Cesky Krumlov: bus crashes, chocolate, scary stories, girl-on-boy football, leaf fights and 'haunted' houses - non-stop fun!
  • Sitting on a wall in Sixmilebridge with Heather eating fish and chips - perfect after a few ciders
  • Getting my groove on with Alasdair in Radost, by some miracle Gwan managed to dance with some rhythm for possibly the first time ever
  • Being asked for directions in Prague & in Czech - and being able to supply them
  • Christmas Eve dinner in Moscow, nothing beats finest street chicken with friends. AND a White Christmas at last! Pity I had to work...
  • Pure elation when my classes were suddenly cancelled one day. Actually this highpoint also featured street chicken - one of the few times in Moscow I actually got to eat at dinner time
  • Evenings spent at Greg and Laurie's talking rubbish and listening to Greg playing guitar
  • Being met at Manchester airport by Mum & Dad after a couple of months being miserable and homesick in Moscow
  • Touring the Burren with Heather and our fantastic "ash, o-ak, ellum" Irish guide
  • Walking through 'demonstration day' Moscow, with 8,500 troops and police out in force - just because it made me feel I was possibly witnessing history ("As Russia became more and more authoritarian, any marches and demonstrations were clamped down upon with thousands of soldiers on the streets. This culminated in 2009, when marchers were fired upon and 200 were injured, leading to martial law being declared...")
  • Wandering through the gardens at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace to the strains of Radiohead on my ipod. You know how some songs become indelibly linked with a time or place? Radiohead henceforth will always be Schloss Schoenbrunn for me.

Which I suppose goes to show it's not the obvious 'sights' that really make a holiday, it's the people you meet along the way. Cliche, sure, but reasonably accurate. I have, of course, been to some magnificent art galleries, castles, stately homes, monuments, churches etc. etc. but those things are public property, if you like, whereas the things on this list are one in a lifetime experiences that I never expected, but I'll hopefully always remember. Presumably there are others as well, and certainly more to come!

11 comments:

  1. Thanks, enjoyed that! What's "ash, o-ak, ellum" ?

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  2. Yup I realise that, but meaning what???

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  3. Ahh, just realised, Ash, Oak, Elm" trees!!!!

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  4. SETTING TABLE ON FIRE , REMINDS ME OF BEING IN A NIGHT CLUB WITH OUR LINDA , AND THE STAR TURN SAT WITH US DURING INTERMISSION HE WAS HOLDING LARGE BAG OF CRISPS AND WANTED A LIGHT FOR HIS FAG , WICH I OBLIGINGLY DID FOR HIM INADVERTANTLY SETTING FIRE TO HIS CRISPS , DIDN'T KNOW CRISPS COULD CAUSE SUCH A BLAZE HEEHEEHE , WAS SLOSHED AT THE TIME

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  5. Naughty naughty Auntie E!

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  6. the first one was the best ever i know

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  7. Who could possibly have that opinion? I have no idea who would make such a comment. Could it be PEAnut?

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  8. no ROUND all is quiet on the PEAnut front. must've been the equally perceptive magpie.

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  9. Look forward to your next post - from France? Bon voyage!

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