Bologna I: New Worlds

2011 – 2012 Did I already mention I did a year abroad? in Paris? It gets worse. I drank wine on terraces while watching the world go past. And ate steak-frites. I walked through Montmartre. At night. In the rain (probably, at some point). I didn’t smoke gauloises. And I’ll forever regret it. I sat…

Back and Forth

20th March 2017 I lead a hard life. Before flying back from Huelva, we had a wander around Seville and stopped for lunch in a once-genuinely, now tourist-pleasingly rustic restaurant. The first time I came to Seville was when I was living in Granada. The two cities are rivals, sort of. The sevillanos just don’t seem…

Habladores

17th – 19th March 2017 From Faro, it was an quick 90-minute bus ride to Huelva. My girlfriend gets quite travel sick so I had to do most of the talking (while also arranging where, when and how we would meet my friends M&J). We’re quite a talkative couple – as are the friends we were…

Fleeting Moments

Simenon’s work features some of the most searingly genuine and true characters I’ve ever found in a novel. They can often be bizarre and are never bland but I cannot think of any that aren’t strickingly human. In seven volumes, Proust explored jealous love. Time and time again, Simenon captured a jealous lover in a…

‘Happy’ Birthday

25th March 2017 The European project was begun in earnest 60 years ago today. But the festivities today will be rather muted. As we march through London today, I hope it will be seen as a pro-EU demonstration but cannot ignore its antipathy to out governments apparent negotiating strategy. Let’s suffice today with a brain…

Conviviale

9th January 2017 I bought a raclette machine at uni after having the meal once in France. The meal, the machine and the cheese share a name: raclette. A swiss cheese; a machine with metal paddles in which you can melt slices of the former; and a self-assembled mound of potatoes and ham, covered in…

Maintaining Momentum

31st December 2016 I spent New Year’s Eve with Italians in Cambridge. Our menu for the night included: Butternut squash risotto Grissini Smoked salmon Cured hams Two polenta dishes: one with cheese, one with sausages in a tomato sauce Pannetone And a freshly baked pear cake It was quite a feast. And enough to stave…

HCA

December 2016 There is a man in the east London borough of Hackney who has been feeding the hungry and trying to bring together his compatriots since before I was born. In fact, my father was only ten when Turkish soldiers landed in northern Cyprus and my parents had only just met the year the…

Torn to Pieces

23rd February 2017 I was reading an article the other day about faultlines across Europe. The most obvious from the papers is that of the nationalist, populist mood against the increasingly-derogatory term Europhile. This in-out, inclusive-exclusive divide reacts to the others.  In England, we want to “take back control” from Brussels but jealously resist devolving…

Far from Bavaria

3rd December 2016 There’s a tradition in London wherein Londoners spend December telling each other how great Winter Wonderland is and how you really must go. It is a huge funfair in Hyde Park that is Christmas-themed and rammed full of people. I really couldn’t see the attraction. Now, when it comes to Christmas markets,…

Cheers!

29th – 30th November 2016 We didn’t arrive in Budapest in style. The overnight train didn’t seem too bad – until we were told to leave the first class carriage. In our rightful place in cattle class, the lights were bright and the seats, upright. I had just dozed off around 3 a.m. when we passed…

Surpises in Sibiu

…continued. 28th November 2016 To get to Budapest, we had to change in Sibiu. We decided to head to the centre to kill a little time. The taxi driver didn’t understand “centre” so I pointed at a random street in the middle of the map and off we went. It was bitterly cold and we…