The Nicest Apocalypse Ever- A Visit to Șirince

In case, like most of humanity these days, you live with a constant fear of impending doom anyway, you might have already forgotten about that time the apocalypse was certain as predicted by the ancient Mayans. Opposed to now, when it’s predicted by climate scientists, but that’s a topic for another article altogether. So back…

Rocks, Saints, Rivers- A Visit to Ephesus

Present day Ephesus lies stranded inland, about 5 kilometres away from the coast. As with many ancient sites, one could hardly notice its presence if it wasn’t for the road signs. The closest settlement is Selçuk, a sleepy provincial town on the road from Izmir to the seaside resort of Kușadası. Most visitors also come…

Procrastinator’s Log, Stardate 0819

I left for my unusually long (end of) summer holiday adamant that this would be, finally, ‘offline’ time. No more checking the latest insta snaps of friends with evidently better lives than mine, no more refreshing emails just in case, no more ending up on Bored Panda browsing cats with their heads stuck in tubes,…

Procrastinator’s Log Stardate 0719

In case July was supposed to be the football free month (though frankly, why would there be a football free month at all?!), then July failed grandly at it. And how could it not fail, when it contained the closing stages of both the Women’s World Cup and the AFCON. Confession time: it took me…

Black Eagle, Blue Palace: A Day in Oradea

Growing up, one of the main tenets of our gang, often translated into footballing passions, was that out of the triad of neighbouring western Romanian cities ours (Arad) was the best. This was frankly contradicted by everything: Arad was the smallest, the economically least efficient and the one with the least spectacular architecture. Arguably, ours…

High Life over Vienna: The Donauturm (and other Observations)

Having found ourselves in Vienna on a particularly lovely summer’s day, we decided to do some things we’ve done before: briefly visit the Hundertwasserhaus (glad to report people are still posing with empty looks on their faces in front of the fountain), have cakes in Demel (glad to report the waitresses are still the same…

To Tourist or Not to Tourist: Day Trip to the Floating Village of Bokod

Experts in day tripping as we are, we set off on a sunny bank holiday morning with that generally ill-advised Top Gear/Grand Tour confidence of what could possibly go wrong only to be immediately confronted with the first thing that most definitely went wrong. As Hungarians are almost irrationally staunch about sticking to bank holiday…

A River Runs Through It- Day Trip to Mostar

Mount Velež oversees Mostar from a height of 1969 metres, bearing the name of Veles, the Slavic god of many things: earth, waters, underworld, and deceit. Veles is the trickster god. For those more familiar with Norse mythology, or its Marvel corruption, Veles is Loki. Yet the one thing Veles could not achieve is protect…

A Somewhat Practical Guide to Sarajevo- Travel Diary Part Two

Having waxed lyrical in the previous installment, it’s time for some actual intel for those who want to visit Sarajevo, beginning with the thorny issue of how to get there. Flying is probably the best bet for everyone approaching from outside the former Yugoslavia, as the country’s roads and railways still have some post-war infrastructural…

Life out of Time- Sarajevo Diary Part One

The airport is just a glorified hangar, and much as I had rehearsed looking at Sarajevo as just another tourist destination, I know all too well I’d seen this place before, on grainy footage of UN planes landing and taking off amid occasional shelling. As our driver makes steady progress towards the city centre, conversing…