In 2007 I traveled to the other side of the globe with my close friend Gianni and made a six country trek around mainly Southern Europe. Along the way I managed to send home a few emails and the response to them was amazing. Even though my only two friends responded, they did so with such gusto that I felt inclined to share them with you all. What do I care about Chris Z’s stupid European travels you may ask? Well, would you read on if I promised public nudity, great historical discoveries and weed? Sounds good? Then read on.
I have arrived in Athens safe and sound. I hope everyone has been living well without my illustrious presence. The flight over was fine but the gauntlet I had to run through Duty Free was a trial. Henny to my left and Grants to my right, but it was the scotch that won the fight. Caught up on some movies on the way to Bangkok and even had a swig of Yac (again not Henny). Got a little bored, Gianni suggested we play tag with the stewards to see if they would join in and then they would tag the pilot and we’d crash.. maybe on the way back.
When we got to Athens it was already hella warm. It got to 42 C our first day. The trains are nice but the city is rather dirty and broken down and has some odd smelling corners. But there are some nice pockets with collections of complimentary colored buildings in old school steelo. Hard to get a real rhythm though look wise. Our room was a little small and I could barely wash my bits in the shower (so much for having a romantic shower with Gianni haha).
Athens is a maze of streets and after a wonder we headed to a few spots including the Acropolis, Olympic stadium and The Agora. Parking is available everywhere and I mean everywhere! Vespas and scooters buzz around everywhere and you need to make sure you don’t lose a toe. The whole experience at places like the Parthenon make u feel rather.. well.. mortal.. ill. A lot of marble pops out of the ground I spent much time giggling at people slipping about until I nearly had a trip. Everyone speaks Greek here.. funny that. But I got by with a few nods and «We are Australian.» Women here are slammin!
Heard a dope cut on TV I need to chase down.. other than that the music is not my thing. They got these buses with tram like appendages on the roof.. me and G call em «truses». You can smoke everywhere, even in Maccas. One day it was 48 C .. the hottest place on the planet. Can’t believe we walked so much .. I shall wind it up as the last time I typed this .. I lost it.. I miss my computer already.
Left for Mykonos Wednesday and got there real quick (35 min). We got a lift to our hotel which was rather crummy. Pretty much hit the beach as soon as we could. We walked, was quite dangerous with no footpaths. But the beaches are quite nice and we hired beach beds.. Water was maaad, we had shade when needed but the crowd was a bit older.
Getting round is pretty much by bus and the odd lift into town here and there. We thought our hotel was in the city center but .. nope.. quite a bit out. Soon we headed into the city centre for a wonder. The middle part is a huge collection of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. No roads just narrow white, stone encrusted streets where bikes can really only get through. Some delivery cars just get in. Neat little geometric houses with painted ledges and door ways weave around.
The port area is real nice and there is a great vibe. The bars were not for music aficionados like my self but fun enough. Went to the Down Under bar.. haha – no ID and free entry – I was scared I was gonna hit on a 16-year-old. Got real tired though and jetted back to hotel. Hit some other bars.. Lots of groping and old dudes hitting on tourists eew! Spent a lot of time by the pool and read, wrote a lot. Got some pretty decent poems down – choice!
We went to Paradise beach which contained lots more youngens, lots more nude bathing and ace bars. Cocktail places line the back of the beach just like you would imagine in some beach paradise 😛 Bubble machines, mad waitresses and lots more house music. We chatted to this Chilean chick with fake ‘assets’ who was hella friendly and then some Spanish birds.. got no play though.. must have had too much garlic in my last gyro.
We have this dumb ass staying in our hotel that we saw at the beach. He wanted a price on an umbrella and G said, «There is some shade over here.» Dude goes, «Shade! U kiddin, we want sun!» Like G was a dumb fool. Like where is the love man.. no thanks man we cool.. pff morons. Hit this club called Space dance.. but it was on Earth.. false advertising. Got pretty trashed with some Vodka I had drank before and ended up conquering a few podiums. Man where the real party ppl at!? Was a bit over it. Some people here have thought me and G are gay. Yea OK, just because I am sexy and like Duran Duran.. pff. There is this one real nice bar on the water.. like right on it. Water sprays inside sometimes. After some lewd bar shenanigans we were ready to hit Milan.
What was meant to be an uneventful one night stop over in Milan turned out to be a lot more than we bargained for. So we are a bit hungry and we are told to go up the road to the left by this dude at our hotel. We go right 😛 and end up at this Italian diner run by Asians with Asian decor.. OK whatever. We order and then a while later we hear a scream coming from out the back and our waitress runs out the door and throws herself out onto the pavement outside, blood all over her back.
We are then asked to leave as the chef had just offed himself.. yea slit his throat or somethin.. kid you not.. may be Gianni shouldn’t have asked for extra Salami on his pizza. We left and went to the right place and met a Spanish couple.. headed back and got a train to Florence the next morning.
We got a mad apartment right in town – old classic feel with appliances and linen. We got out ASAP booking a spot at the Uffizi gallery and while we waited we hit the Cathedral di Santa Mania Del Fiore (Renaisance freaks will know this place has the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi), Basilica di San Lorenzo, Palazzo Vecchio and others. Art drifts around Florence everywhere! There are people sketching and painting on the street, sculptures on every corner, frescoes here and there and monumental buildings that brood over you. Uffizi gallery took a while to get through, but it was worth it.. me and G got told off for talking Ebonics.
Then we saw David!!! Thing is massive, we snuck in a few pictures with it but really you just need to soak it up yourself. Man the look on the dudes face is something that would scare the crap out of the most bold traveler. Waited 2-3 hours for it but met some cool people in line so all good. It was one of many humbling experiences of the last few days.
On our last night in Florence we wanted to show the people there how to partay! We met this Oz dude who was a big army bloke (who we met lining up for David).. we agreed that he had the looks, I had the moves and Gianni… well Gianni had the fat. We hooked up with this group of US chicks and wondered around then hit a small bar, embarrassed myself then hit a decent RnB club, and it was on! Once again, all where left in my wake as I moved, glided and thrusted myself about to the sounds of oooohhs and arrrrs. Met this Russian chick who was pazow, wanted to take her home! Too bad I had a train to catch in a few hours.. yes it was an all-nighter. Stumbled home almost half naked with the smell of freshly made pastries wafting about and then rested for 30 minutes before heading off to Pisa.
We saw the leaning tower from the air and soon we landed in Alghero, Sardinia. Gianni has relatives there so we got a good hook up. The place is very nice, with neat buildings and some nice old monuments. Just as I had settled in I was off to Malta.. had to bus it down to Cagliari (south tip of Sardinia) and heard Daniel Merriweather on the way.. go MEL! Stayed at Caglairi airport over night and then planned it to Rome only to miss my flight to Malta because of late baggage claim (took an hour to pop out – long story) grr! Had to stay overnight.. was sick of saying ‘Grazie’ and ‘Prego’ (sounds like a pregnant teenager). Hotel in Rome was nice though, had a mad Pasta Tagliari or something.. mm! Oh and I got a phone charger so it was a fruitful day.
Right now I am in the motherland. Malta is great and my place is right on the Bay of Marsaskala – been hocking boogers on dudes in their boats. Saw some spots where my mum grew up. First night some family tried to get into my room – lost I guess. But I decided to sleep neked that night so I was thinking, do I want them to come in or not?? One part said hell no, you naked man, they’ll see ya bits and it’s my house, kitty! But another said, yea come in and see my tight buns as a nice welcome – your wife won’t want to leave haha.
Since that night I have been safe and well with no more potentially lewd moments to speak of. The last days in Malta where spent visiting several awesome historical sites including the 3,800 year old megalithic temple ruins, the Blue Grotto (beeeauuutiful), Mdina (the original capital of Malta), Valletta (the capital now) and St Johns Co-cathedral which was the highlight. The ceiling depicts the life of St John The Baptist (patron saint of Malta) and the floor is covered in a mosaic of tombstones of the founding Grand Masters. There is also a Caravaggio depicting the execution of St John in the Oratory which is the largest piece he ever painted. I need to go back and hit some trendy spots though.
Back in Sardinia we visited some relatives of Gianni and had a BBQ with more meat than meat day at the county fair. They got some beef patties and flattened them then stuck in some bacon then some green stuff and then more beef.. madness.. nearly had to have heart surgery. I enjoyed some great food and company despite me not understanding most of the Italian being spoken. I felt like an alien at times and a dumb one too. After a few more beers we headed into town where we met more chums of Gianni – a lively bunch but got hella tired and was glad to head home.
Soon we landed in Girona, Spain and our room was sweeet. We went for a wonder and found this massive dance party in a forest clearing. Boogied a little and enjoyed some booze then back to our place. Trains in Barcelona and transport in general are great. Very easy to get and you don’t ever have to wait long at all. Our place was right off La Rambla and is fully decked out, we ate in a lot and washed and dried our stuff in house. La Rambla is the main lifestyle place in Barcelona. It is a long strip of bars, food places and stores where street performers are all over the place- just give them dough if you want a picture or they will chase you down and stick you with a pitch fork!
Around the corner there is a prostitute hang out and the streets can stink at times but after a while you get use to it. Sometimes I am even a kin to the musky smell of crap. Had a mad meat lasagna and did shopping. They have these little half trolleys half baskets that you wheel around – they suck! Got some yac and then hit the town… was a little let down with the night life.. not many actual decent clubs on the strip and the bar tenders suck. Port Vell was nice and picturesque where we hit a dance club – they had a Bon Jovi tribute band (rock on!) but the bar tenders were topless and made me sad. But yes I did conquer the po! Somewhere between leaving the place and the next morning, I managed to sprain my left ankle, so who ever I took home must have been hella freaky 😉
Took in several sites including a cathedral, Arc De Triomf, Museu National D Art de Catalunya, Parc de la Ciutadella and Mirador de Colom. Google them they are nice 🙂 We also saw Torre AGBAR – which was basically a big knob and Sagrada Familia cathedral. Still in progress since the 19th century, the place is amazing and will take a while to finish building. Also had my first paella and I still can’t tell the difference between paella and risotto.
The fellas may be happy to know that one night we stumbled upon some free to air adult channels. Here I am sleeping and I hear all this ooohing and arring. I though, «Gianni, dude close the door bro.» Then I realized it was on TV.. geez!
Took in all the Antoni Gaudi sites (the dude is a mad crazy Spanish architect). Saw the museum in Park Guell, Casa Battlo and La Pedrera. I will save the description for all you art haters, I will just say that I loved Casa Battlo. One night we were rejected from an R&B club. I was livid! Gianni was like, «Yea we on the list, I’m Miguel, no, OK Sanchez, no, um Pablo?» HAHA .. even some chicks got knocked back so I was ok. We did find a better place anyway but they did not know what a Jagger bomb was!!!!
So we are walking down La Rambla and I see a hint of bottom. My mouth soon dropped as right there in broad daylight, a dude was strutting down the street, completely naked. The dude had perky moobs and was plump as hell, so not what I wanted to see just after having a plate of pasta. Then we saw another.. man what a trial!
I need to see more English ads for The Simpsons movie!!! Grr!! I love the pharmacies in Europe – they all have glowing, neon green crosses out the front that blink in a mad fashion. When ever I go into one I feel like ordering a drink and rocking a podium. Went to a few beaches, but I think I like my OZ beaches most. We met up later while there with Gianni’s mate Blair (who looked heaps like Billy Corgan). Had some drinks with more of their buds (Luke, Matt and Greg) – true blue Aussies.. ah it was actually good to talk about the footy. We saw the music and light show at the Museu National D Art de Catalunya. Gianni was like a kid in a candy store.. pics look gorgeous. It will be our last night here so soon we will be pimping in Paris and Amsterdam.
We had quite a small room in Paris and had a double bed; yea we got stiffed but only for two nights. Weather was much milder and even wet but it was lovely. Paris is like Florence with fewer sculptures but is cleaner and has more lighting. There was no rudeness to speak of in fact the people were very warm and hospitable while we were there. We were walking distance to a lot including Notre Dame Cathedral which was awesome and looked great at night. Also saw the Eiffel Tower at night which sparkles on the hour. In front at the foot of the tower are several parks where different people meet. Some couples some hippy dudes and well.. people who want to drink n smoke.
You can get decent meals for 10 Euro and although I didn’t try snails (which look like radioactive boogers) or frog’s legs, I watched in horror as G did. Trained it to Arc de Triumph which is in the middle of this massive intersection (13 streets jut out of it). We went to the top but it poured with rain. We did manage to get some shots off (we were the only douches up there). Lucky we snuck in for cheap as we pretended to be 18-year-old American tourists. Had some fun and games at the Toyota store and walked up Champs Elysees which leads to The Louvre. Ended up heading back to Eiffel Tower to take advantage of the sun and it was worth it.
It was a two hour wait to get to the top but the view is incredible. We saw a rainbow circle maaan!! I have video! We stayed into the evening and saw a bit of Paris light up so a good day despite the rain. There are some cute piano bars around but could not find any Alize!! Headed to Louvre next day only to find it is closed on Tuesdays – grrr!!
May this be a lesson to you all.. go on Mondays!! Wondered around and found the Moulin Rogue and a whole street of adult bookstores.. talk about excess! Saw the Pantheon and a mad comic/pop culture place where I bought a General Grievous bust.
Got to Amsterdam OK, was a pain lugging about my toys. Hostel was great though – a nice communal place with a ‘chill out’ corner with pillows and tables to roll ya joints and put ya drinks I guess 😛 Amsterdam has clean looking buildings most are tall white town houses with painted window and door frames. Some buildings seem to jut out too.. very weird. We had a room with four beds and all our room mates were cool.
Two colours encapsulate Amsterdam – Red and green. I thought ‘coffee shop’ was a slang term for weed hangout but they are actually called coffee shops. But cafes are a no weed area. The red light district is full on. The district is on a walking tour and we saw some grannies peeping some adult supplies.. haha! Prostitutes line the streets and bang on the windows to get your attention – sometimes they scare the crap out of you. They sit in little booths and I must say, the quality was top notch (no I didn’t partake). It isn’t all lewdness and hash though. Small canals cut up the town like a Trivial Pursuit game piece. Bikes are the travel item here and you need to watch them.
Also visited the Anne Frank house – quite moving. Saw the original diary, it is half A4 and in an orange and yellow cross hatched cover. Hit a boat cruise to the Van Gogh museum.. awesome! I have been a Van Gogh fan since I could write. There are some great works there including The Potato Eaters, a version of Sunflowers and Irises and some great self portraits. It’s a three level gallery with a lot of other artists on show. Saw the windmills and although the place reeked of Vegemite, I thought it was a nice day out in the country. I patted some sheep and some ducks (ducks rock). If I could be an animal, I’d be a tiger, a horse and then a duck. Visited ‘tiny town’ which was cute but we got lost in Rotterdam.
We met this Japanese dude Tommy and much fun was had. Came across a great toy shop which had old and new stuff.. had some oooold He Men. Went to the Magic Mushroom gallery which was informative. Had a few joints which were recommended by our weed expert Tommy and hit a few bars and clubs. Tommy led us through the crowds like a half supernatural shaman, quite a site seeing he was so quiet and unassuming. We went to a live sex show which was quite funny actually. And after going on a massive last night pub crawl, feeling a few booties and knocking my head on a few lighting fixtures, I was ready to come home.
Thus ends my European adventure, I hope you had as much fun as I did.
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