Day 58: Go Yell It To The Ocean

27.02.09: The Longest Day Part I. So, we got to Tapachula near the Guatemalan border early in the morning to find another bus to Guatemala City waiting to take me away, ha ha. So goodbye Mexico, I'll see you again next week. The journey into Guate City was fairly uneventful, as was the quick change for San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. I got in about 7pm. After an amazingly scary oh-dear-it's-dark-I-got-no-map-where-the-hell-is-an-ATM-when-you-need-one walk around the city, I found a bus that was leaving at 3am going all the way through Honduras, Nicaragua and ending up in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. It would get me in at 10pm the same day. All good. I threw my bag in the bus station office and headed out to the pub. It was in the Irish bar (there's always an Irish bar) that I met Jorge…

Continue Reading Day 58: Go Yell It To The Ocean

Day 60: The Tailor of Panama

01.03.09: I arose before dawn for the last leg of the southern journey that had been necessitated by the fact that I didn't get to go to Costa Rica on the bad ship Pamplona one week ago. Oh well. The journey to the Panama border was uneventful, as was the Panama border. I couldn't be bothered queuing up for stamps in my passport, so I just walked across unchallenged and bought a can of Coke IN PANAMA! Woo! And then I came back to Costa Rica and waited for the bus back up North. On the return journey, I met Jordan, a boat captain from Florida, who said he might be able to help with the old Cuba chestnut. We were pretty much made to stand for a large portion of the 5-hour journey, but that's something I learned to do working in the Union Bar,…

Continue Reading Day 60: The Tailor of Panama

Day 61: The Land Before Time

02.03.09: Back on the groovy bus up through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. No cute girl for me to annoy this time, but I did meet a guy from Texas called John, who was - like myself - backpacking around Central America on his own. The remarkable thing was that he was 86 years old. I guess you're never too old to hit the road. Nicaragua was amazing - driving past Lake Nicaragua, which is just HUGE, and seeing the massive, perfectly-formed volcanoes rising out of the middle of it - it looked like the backdrop from The Land Before Time. Honduras was a little less remarkable, but seriously, they don't generally stick the cool stuff next to the road, do they? We arrived in San Salvador late that night. The guy on the bus told me there was a bus going north to…

Continue Reading Day 61: The Land Before Time

Day 89: The Shipping News

30.03.09: I'm still on the train at the moment; it's a 20 hour journey. Looking out of the window, it's like I've stumbled into Narnia. I almost expect a White Witch to turn up and offer me some Turkish Delight. I don't even like Turkish Delight, but if it meant we got to kill that bloody sanctimonious lion again, I'd take it. Mount his silly head on the wall of my hunting lodge. Tee hee. Anyway, what I'm trying to say it that it is COLD. Bloody cold. Outside is miles and miles of pure white snow, which is being dusted by yet more snow flitting about like the fairies of Dingly Dell. Cars with chains on tyres drive alongside, but, unlike the locals, I can't tell where the road ends and the fields begin. Even the trees look cold, like they're huddling together to keep…

Continue Reading Day 89: The Shipping News

Day 114: With Ruthless Efficiently

24.04.09: It would NEVER happen in the UK. Let's face it, it would never happen in the US either, but I have my faith in Sweden. If anyone can do it, Sweden can. What on Earth am I on about? Allow me to digress... Up and at 'em! At 7am I was just about knocking the sleep out of my eyes and before you could say ‘cripes'! Jens was running me into town to catch the 08:23 to Oslo, via Gothenburg in Sweden. Now like I say, it would never happen in the UK... I wouldn't be going all the way to Oslo, lest not forget that I only need to step foot in each country, not go and give its most famous monument a dirty great kiss. So my plan was to get off the train in a place called Halden, just over the Norwegian…

Continue Reading Day 114: With Ruthless Efficiently

Day 115: The Floating Valhalla

25.04.09: I'm never going to get any sleep, am I?! Cursed! Cursed I am to spend this month wide awake like a teething baby. Ah well. I somehow managed to struggle free from my bunk after a microscopic amount of shuteye; and furthermore I managed to jump in a taxi to the port for the crack o' dawn ferry to Finland. Talk about 24-hour party people! The Finnish and Swedish onboard had turned the ship into a floating Valhalla for the sole purpose of getting as drunk as humanly possible. The cabin corridors looked like student digs and reeked of booze. Everyone who attempted to speak to me fell over before they could finish their sentence. Most of the people on board hadn't even got off the boat when it got into Stockholm - they were just going to Sweden and back to get rotten and…

Continue Reading Day 115: The Floating Valhalla

Day 116: Arrested Development

26.04.09: The boat over to Tallinn was quick and easy and got me in to the capital of Estonia in fine fettle just around noon. I grabbed a cab across town (and what a marvellously delightful town it is!) and jumped a bus to Narva, on the Russian border. Here's the plan... I don't have a Russian visa, so I can't actually go into Russia proper, but what I can do is go up to the border and talk to the border guards, and then I'm technically in that country, yeah? Er... no. The border post, and there was only one, was on the European side of the river. Fences, CCTV and border guards standing all around. This was not going to be the cakewalk I expected. IDIOT!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Russia! Putin! Gulags! The KGB! So I had a gander at a map on…

Continue Reading Day 116: Arrested Development

Day 117: Kettles Of Fish

27.04.09: I emerged from the coach in the wee small hours to find myself in the rather attractive town of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. I was busy trying to suss out how I was going to get into Belarus (avoiding all the tomfoolery of yesterday) when I ran into none other than Lynn Robinson, my ex-girlfriend Michelle's mum! She was in the coach station getting a bus to the airport. What are the chances of that? Well, statistically speaking, pretty damn high. In fact, considering the number of people I know, times the fact I am travelling for a full year, I think the chances of me running into somebody I know are probably one in one. But that doesn't stop it being really cool! Anyways, we unfortunately didn't have time for coffee as her bus was due, so I headed off to the Belarusian…

Continue Reading Day 117: Kettles Of Fish

Day 119: Carlos The Jackal

29.04.09: After all the excitement of yesterday, I slept like a baby. By that, I mean that I woke up every two hours and started screaming. Although my laptop and camcorder were safely by my side on the train to Budapest, the charger for my camcorder and my spare battery were not. And I had about 20 minutes left of power. This would not last until next Sunday. It would not last until the end of today. I arrived in Bucharest around lunchtime and headed to the coach station. A political rally was taking place in the park between - I gave it a wide berth. I've never been one for mob mentality; I prefer to operate under the radar, subverting people's opinions by means of stealth, cunning and outright ridicule. The bus took me to the town of Galati on the border of Moldova and…

Continue Reading Day 119: Carlos The Jackal

Day 121: The Swines!

01.05.09: What transpired to be an incredibly long day, started in Thessaloniki before dawn. It was raining hard and John and I took far too long getting off the train, so we found ourselves shunted into the goods yard and having to walk the five-hundred meters back to the station like a pair of divs. I had a few hours to mooch about, say hello to the Aegean Sea and drink an overpriced coffee (I needed the toilet and McDonald's was closed) before returning to the station to hop on the train to Skopje (pronounced Skopia, by the way). Incidentally, on the off-chance that the girl from Canada with the hotpants - whom I helped get the coach to Athens because no domestic trains were running - is reading this, when you ask for somebody's help and they give it, try saying thank you next time,…

Continue Reading Day 121: The Swines!