Sorry for the delay guys; I've had the backlog of uni work, work work, and personal work to do to clear and that's left me with almost zero freetime. Thanks for your understanding
So yeah, we resume my journey on my last day in Slovenski Raj. I had to take a train out of there at 2200 hours, but that didn't mean I was going to skimp on the walking
Day 12: Slovenski Raj, Slovakia
One of the most appealing things about Slovenski Raj for me was just how untamed the land was. In the UK, every part of the 'wild' nature is tamed, trimmed and controlled so people can't hurt themselves. In Slovakia, however, they clearly said bollocks to that, as several of the trails I took required traversing fallen trees across deep water. The second picture was taken during my rushed escape downhill when I realised that, yet again, I had outstayed my welcome on the nature front. Even in darkness that required a 5 second shutter speed at 1600ISO, though, SR still flatly refused to be anything less than stunning.
Day 13: Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is well known for it's... exotic
... nightlife... around most of my peer groups. Even if that was my kind of thing, my feet were much to tired to rave all night, and at any rate, it would be difficult to be so irresponsible in such amazing architecture. I don't think there was a single building in a ten mile radius that wasn't in some way significant or interestingly designed. One interesting feature you can see here is a mirror maze. I thought stuff like that would be frivolous, but I actually have to admit, the confusion which a set of 33 ultra-clean mirrors can create, whilst scary, was also immensely funny. I spent the best part of 12 hours wandering around, tasting the local food (looks weird, tastes great!), absorbing the culture and reading up on my history. There was also a rather large and rather over-engineered clock. I couldn't understand it and it's probably better just to carry a watch with you
Day 14: Milan, Italy
Milan was more of a conveniance stop at this point, because it was quicker to change at Milan with an 8 hour stop-over than it was to go direct from Prague to my next destination. As it was, I had some *ahem* unfinished business
to attend to there with a certain Italian individual whom I paid a secret visit and left a special gift. If you need to know, you'll know what I'm saying. As it was, I spent most of my time either staking that out, or sat in Milan train station treating my feet, which at this point had almost completely stained two pairs of socks almost completely blood red. I'm not really good in big cities so I didn't stray too far from comfort, but I did find a few nice parks and a huge cathedral.
As my trip drew to a close, I saw the second of my DA friends of the trip, a certain
spongepierre. Much to his regret, I was arriving too late to see him at his home home, but it was still awesome to chill out with him at his own little apartment dealie. Due to the French police taking my passport long story
, I was also arriving later than planned, so our entertainment schedule had to be cut down a bit. We had a rather intriguing, home cooked, meal, the name of which I'm not going to embarrass myself by trying to remember. What I will say is that it was incredibly delicious and you should definately give him a visit to get the recipe. After that, we met up with Pierre's delightful
mother eversobreifly, and went out for a wander around the town, market, shops, and yes, even a small bar so I could try some of the local brew. After that little walk I think both of us were ready for a rest, so we sat in the apartment and I was bewildered by how funny videogames look in french. And DragonBall. Yes okay Pierre I never watched Dragonball as a kid. Geeze XD... To top it off, Caribou! It's an in-joke. You'll have to ask. Also Pierre f**k you
Pierre, you're an a cool, chill guy who takes things one step at a time and knows what the right thing to do is. It was an absolute pleasure meeting with you and I'm gutted it wasn't for very long. Without a doubt our paths will intersect in the future again.
Day 16: Dree-da, France
I said the trip was closing, but perhaps, meeting all these people, the journey had only really just started... The next person on my agenda was, of course,
my pal gabbers
Gabriel. Thanks to the suspiciously efficient french trains, I arrived right on time and was immidiately greeted by two (sorry) petite and very polite frenchmen: Dree and his dad. So we went for hot chocolate and croissant, which, as I learnt, I have been eating wrong for close to two decades. Eating issues aside, we went for a walk around town, we had ice cream, and then, AGAIN, I had food all ready for me when I got back; this time, it was quiche (which I had also never heard out loud until that moment. My mental voice was mindblown), which was very nicely done, I must say. Over the dinner table we chatted normal stuff; jobs, holidays, hobbies, and yes, even a bit of cross-border-banter. After that, we went bowling, this time accompanied by playa Dree's
school friend, manon. The result of the bowling wasn't important: what is important was the laughs had during the game. After a quick stop at McyDees, it was time for a bit of quality hangout time, which you can see to the right. Also visible, the totally awkward and unavoidable juxtaposition of lati dick, courtesy of streetdragon95
's livestream. There were ladies present Wern. French ladies. Regardless, after an hour of playing pokémon, getting totally thrashed at pokémon, and just chatting about stuff, it was time to go, and I was waved off the platform by the entire family.
Gabriel, you and your family are just about the kindest and most helpful people I have ever met. You've all made me question the way I perceive things and I honestly can't thank you enough for everything you guys did. At all.
Day 17: DELT-4, Belgium
On the way to Deltios I realized with sadness this would be my last day. Half a month is a suprisingly long time, but it still wasn't long enough. It was made longer by the f**king security guard at Brussels insisting I was homeless and kicking me out on to the street to wait for my next train, when I had planned on sleeping in the station, but ah well. I sat in a bar and had some Belgian beer whilst I waited. After 5 hours of trying not to fall asleep and get mugged, I was finally back on my way. Before I could even step off the train in Lomell,
was there with a nice warm handshake and enthusiastic grin. Unfortunatley I didn't have much time here at all, but fortunately it was just enough to see the f**king bread vending machine
, try out the classic Belgian cone of fries (sorry, I've forgotten the name), and talk video games and coding. I also met up with a very bubbly mother and rather excitable sister, who both were surprisingly accommodating. We went for a nice walk through the woodlands of Lomell, and before I knew it, I had to be on my way again...
Jordy, thank you so much for having me. You really are an inspiration to the people just like you, and it's heartwarming to see someone care for his own family like you do. I'll definitely take you around England at some point if possible
Day 18: Derby, England
I had uni.
Fuck that shit right off. Nope.
No thank you.
I'll do a final conclusion later on. For now, I just wanna sleep. I will say it was an amazing 2 and a bit weeks, and that this is by no means the end. It is but the beginning of a much larger journey.All photos are copyright Richard L.J. Sowden 2015 under Creative Commons CC-NC-ND Licence (reproduce freely, but please let me if know you do If it's for commercial stuff you need to ask me).