Day 402: Don’t Stop Believin’

06.02.10: The last two blogs aren't true. I just made them up. Sorry, it would have ruined the surprise. Here's what really happened... When I was in Cyprus last Tuesday, I discovered that it would take two weeks from the date of application for my visa for my next country (Libya) to come through. I had not been made aware of this earlier (annoyingly enough) – I thought I was just going to pick it up at the border. This meant that no matter what I did in the next couple of weeks, I couldn't continue with my journey. I might as well pick up the visas for Libya, Algeria and Central Asia from London myself. I might as well... Why the hell not, eh? It's still part of the journey, it's still in the spirit of The Odyssey; I can't enter the kingdom of the…

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He's Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Graham's back in the U.K.!!! Amidst the trickery of smoke & mirrors, and a rather cleverly laden plot, this time he managed to pull the big one by fooling EVERYONE into thinking that he was Skype-ing from Rome, Italy! A live Skype event with Graham had been arranged for a gathering of friends in the bar area of the FACT cinema in Liverpool city centre. With only minutes having passed into the start of the event, we began to lose the ability to hear Graham properly via the wireless laptop that the lovely Anna had brought. "Can you hear me?", came the cry from the ginger one, and before long, his voice was as distant as a distant one from distantville. Just then, a familiar face came bounding into the bar with a beaming smile and a booming voice, "Can you hear me now?!!!". It was…

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Day 401: Ljuvly Ljubblies

05.02.10: The train to the delightfully-named Ljubljana was a typically ramshackle affair (man I miss them Turkish buses) but it did the job and by the evening, I was sitting enjoying a solitary beer in the Death Bar on the banks of the Ljunljanica river. They say this place was founded by Jason of the Argonauts, which would be awesome if only it were true. Ljubljana is quite possibly my favourite European city, I don't know why, there's just a feeling it gives me, it radiates from the architecture, the statues, the bridges... a feeling like I belong. Of course, for a journeyman such as myself anywhere I hang my hat is home for the night, but – oh I don't know – Ljubljana is just the right size and the right shape and the right look for me... it's a Goldilocks thing and I'm not…

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Day 400: I Say Sir, Beer!

04.02.10: I could have done without the 3am border crossing, it was unnecessarily cold outside – why couldn't they come to us? There was only about ten people on the whole bloomin' train. Well soon enough we were moving again and I fell fast asleep. In the morning, I had a couple of hours to kill in Sofia before getting on the next train to Belgrade so I sat down at a bakery and ate as many sausage rolls as I could stuff in my face... sausage rolls being somewhat of a rarity in Africa and the Middle East so smoke 'em, smoke 'em, smoke 'em, if you've got 'em. The train to Belgrade was, again, fairly empty, and so I had no company for the day. Soon my laptop batteries were dead and I was left twiddling my thumbs, not wanting to read the only…

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Day 399: Istanbulldozin’

03.02.10: The bus arrived bang on time in good ol' Istanbul – the only city in the world that straddles two continents. I wandered down to the Metro to find out what the SP was with the old trains to Belgrade. Why are you going to Belgrade, Graham? I hear you ask. Well, good question! It's really just because the fletchlugginer boats from Greece to Italy don't seem to be running, so I'm going to have to go the long way round back to Sicily in order to visit countries 143 and 144, or as they like to call themselves, Algeria and Libya... two of the most difficult countries to enter in the world. And I should know, I've already tried once. Well, in the case of Libya, twice. That means I can either go the way I went last time, via Thessaloniki in Greece up…

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Day 398: Branson’s Pickle

02.02.10: Dragged my carcass off Zafer's couch a few minutes after seven, said my thank yous and goodbyes and soon enough I was down at the port clambering onto the fast ferry back to Turkey. And twist my nipples and call me Frank what a fast ferry it was. While the Calypso had taken a good eleven hours to cross the sea to Cyprus, the fast ferry took under two hours to get back. If only these hydrofoil things existed elsewhere... I could have been to Crap Verde and back within a day! The return leg from Mauritius would have taken a six days, not six weeks! The Caribbean?! Oh, if only...! Excuse me, Mr Branson, once you've quite finished fleecing the British commuter of every penny to travel on your disgustingly over-priced train 'services' (you know, the ones that actively punish the spontaneous and bereaved…

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Day 397: Calypso’s Isle

01.02.10: When they say slow boat, they mean it! It was 11am before we reached port in Girne in the northern half of Cyprus. Northern half? What, like in St. Martin/Sint Maarten? Well, kind of, but in a much less hilarious fashion... Warning – history lesson alert!! You can skip this bit if you like... Back in the mists of time, Cyprus was ruled by a succession of all the usual suspects in the area – Assyria, then Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome and eventually the Byzantines... that was up until Richard The Lionheart turned up like a great big flowery nonce and gave the island to his 'friend' Guy de Lusignan. That was good for Cyprus for a while, having a 'guy' in charge who was good with colours helped with the aesthetics no end and before long, Cyprus was enjoying a golden age. That golden…

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