03 August 2009

Nous sommes ici

With all the excitement over the An Bord Snip Nua report, the Green Special Convention, the Blasphemy and Criminal Justice Bills, and the imminent release of the NAMA terms of reference all coupled with the rather appalling weather that we had been having, I decided to do what any sensible person does when faced with an overwhelming depressing environment and little sight of any light at the end of the tunnel, namely to change trains and start going in the opposite direction. Given that the Very Understanding Girlfriend and I had only just returned to Dublin from Italy, the obvious course of action therefore was to retrace our steps almost exactly and return to Italy.

Yup, we fled the country and went back to Italy for a few days via Nice and Monaco, and returned late last night via Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Germany and England, mostly by train. On the way we encountered good friends from the Have', stayed in a medieval fortified Italian town now converted into an Eco-village, viewed the Last Supper, attended a production of Aida that literally rose up from the waters of Lake Constance and saw Zeppelins flying over the roof-tops of Friedrichshafen. We ate in possibly the best vegetarian restaurant I have ever been in and later traveled for three hours just to have a pint in Lichtenstein. We stayed with friends and family in London, in a bio-hotel in Milan, youth hostel in Austria and the hotel in Nice where Chekhov wrote "Three Sisters". We wandered the halls of the Steve Zissou-esque Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and dropped in unannounced on a wonderfully receptive Communist Social Center in Milan. We rode cable-cars and ferries, trains and trams and subways galore. And the best part of all this was simply traveling together for two weeks with no plan, no timetable, no end goal. Just the two of us, our bags and a star to guide us*.

Simply amazing!

I'll no doubt post a bit more on the trip in the coming days, but for now I'm just enjoying being home, relaxed and recharged and ready for what comes next.

* and by star I mean a Samsung NC10 netbook and a 3 usb modem that coincidentally worked in almost all the countries along our route.

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