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Doing Things by Halves: Europe

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You join me halfway through. Mum used to say I didn’t do things by halves. Not true, I thought, as I slouched at my desk and gawped wide-eyed at a partition wall: I had only visited half of Europe. And so it hit me, and stopped me slavering like a moron all over my keyboard.

Broadly speaking, that other half is the newer half, creeping out from behind closed borders and societies and into the smartphone camera focus. Europeans hop from one country to the next these days, but some countries get hopped to more than others. There is another half out there which is less well-hopped. We’ve triumphantly built karaoke bars and greasy spoons all over Spain’s Mediterranean coastline. We’ve seen some of our finest football hooligans water cannoned into shop fronts across the continent. But do we know what Liechtenstein is getting up to? Why can’t I think of anything to do with Belarus? Where is Moldova?

Perhaps everything in that other half will be ‘nice’. Things are often ‘nice’, according to Europeans. Situations are ‘nice’. Nights out are ‘nice’, particularly when Europeans ‘make party’. Perhaps, in that other half, taxi drivers won’t shout the words ‘Wayne Rooney’ and ‘Manchester United’ at me from a distance of twenty paces. Scrap that, of course they will. And I'll nod and mutter 'Manchester' back at them like I have done many times before.

Perhaps, somewhere in that other half, someone in fact invented the continental breakfast. Had they realised that, in doing so, they had made early morning package holiday excursions that much more miserable? Why hadn’t they make it clearer for the rule-benders out there that a slice of bread and some instant coffee was absolutely not what they had in mind when they coined the phrase?

Amongst all this uncertainty, a few things can be taken for granted. There will be more churches, bridges and fountains than a group of middle aged Japanese tourists can shake a selfie stick at. There will be crowds of camera-wielding tourists, bussed from one site to the next. People on segways. Pigeons gobbling up fag ends and punters throwing coins into wells for good luck. There will be spirits which look and taste like ouzo, but are apparently not ouzo… and all this while Ryanair's in-flight team will attempt to sell me my body weight in scratchcards.

So, back to the focus of this entry, which is doing Europe by halves. In order to come full circle and make things whole, you will be glad to learn that this blog will also be done by halves. It will be reassuringly half-arsed, spectacularly half baked and well and truly half-hearted. At this stage, the following countries remain:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Ukraine
  • Vatican City

Why on earth did I decide to do this?

Posted by Peter.Moules 14:11 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london

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