Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Brit Abroad

After reading of Allison's globe-trotting Monday, I was quite tempted to steal it. Seriously; coffee, alcohol, FOOTBALL and polar bears. What more could you want? No. No, I'll keep mine. I'll follow Allison's route tomorrow. Today, my itinerary is as follows:

MORNING: Paris, France

I'm strolling down a leafy Parisian boulevard, minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye I notice a familiar face.
Me: "NO WAY! Allison?
Allison: "Hi -"
Me: "What are you doing here?" Having a croissant I see. I LOVE CROISSANTS. Mind if I join you?"
Allison: "Erm, well..."
Me: "Of course you don't. So tell me, how are things? All good I hope. I had a nightmare journey yesterday, I tell you. I got the train over from London last night, stuck in a tunnel for HOURS."

At this point a dashing young French man emerges from inside the café. I realise that Allison has company, and that I'm sitting on her company's seat and have started tucking into her company's croissant. I realise I am intruding on an otherwise very romantic picture.

Of course, as much as I would love to meet Allison face-to-face, my perfect morning would not actually involve gatecrashing an otherwise perfect date. But it would be in Paris. I find the city enchanting. It's so different to what I'm used to - London strikes me as a butch, brash and masculine city compared to its elegant, pretty yet no less bustling counterpart across the Channel.

So here I am, Paris. It's autumn and the trees that line the streets are shedding their brown leaves. I'm sitting on a balcony, overlooking a sea of rooftops, buildings jostling for space as far as the eye can see. The noise of a city waking up and dragging itself to work fills the air. The sky is blue and clear; a bright sunlight bounces off the pavements still wet from an early morning shower. It's a little cold, but I have a coffee to warm, and wake, me up.

And then I go and gatecrash Allison's date. Bonjour François!

AFTERNOON: Chia, Sardinia, Italy

'Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun' is truer than you may think. I'm the only one here. The locals have retired to their homes for lunch and to shelter from the heat. But I live in such a cold and grey country I stubbornly refuse. Instead, I sit on the beach, listening to the waves break on the shore as flamingos fly over head. Seagulls' cries float on the wind as a cloud passes over the sun.

On the the cliffs that jut out into the sea to my left, a ruined tower stands. It's incredible that it's still standing, at least in part. It must be as stubborn as me. And then I realise that my face is on fire. Aw crap.

[EDIT: This part would obviously not occur on the perfect day, but will occur without fail on every other holiday I go on. In October I went to Frankfurt with work. I spent all day, every day inside and came back with a tan. I have no idea how. Sunburnt Tom in picture below, for reference. Ouch.]

EVENING: Athens, Greece

I stand on the Acropolis looking out over the city, watching as the sun sets and shadow creeps over the rooftops. Behind me stands the Parthenon; an ancient wonder that I've been wandering around for the past half an hour. I've been taking it in, imagining how it used to look and wishing I'd seen it in its former glory. I wonder who walked this path 2,000 years ago and what sights the lifeless, stone eyes of the Erechtheum's caryatids have witnessed as time passed them by. The setting sun shines through its columns as I begin to head back down the hill. Back in the city, I choose a restaurant with a table outside. I sip at a cold glass of Mythos as I wait for my moussaka. The calm, before the storm.

NIGHT TIME: New York, US of A.

Yes, I've finally dragged my sorry arse out of the Old World and into the New. Where better to spend an evening than the city that never sleeps? Not that I've ever been, but I'm pretty sure I would be hard-pressed to not have a good time. I love cities, I love hustle and bustle, bright lights and loud noises. I drink until I'm drunk enough to dance, dance until I'm too tired to stand, sit and remind myself that I shouldn't ever dance in public.
And I tell you what else I'd do; I'd get the Subway really late at night (or early in the morning) because I've heard that in the Big Apple it runs all night. Imagine that for someone from London, or "the City That Packs Up and Goes to Bed at 12", leaving you to battle your own way home.

And then I wake up, and realise I'm incredibly late for work.


  1. Lol'd for real at this (at work). Better comment later.

  2. I know these posts took time to write, but so worth it. This was a fun topic! Thank you so much for suggesting it.

    I would be totally okay with you crashing my fake date in Paris. He was boring, just wanted to read the newspaper and drink his coffee. Adding a little Tom to the story certainly gives it more life. I love it. I was laughing to myself at work reading this on my phone. Made my night!

    You need to get some sunscreen with a high SPF Tom.

    I think Greece would be lovely too...

    I've never been to NYC either - someday, hopefully.

  3. ... this is going to the be the creepiest thing I've ever said to you Tom (and bloody hell have I come up with some really creepy things) and I apologise in advance as I can't not say it:

    you have such lovely eyelashes!

    /end creepy