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Eaten up by the east: embarrassed in Albania

A former tour guide, Carla Pratt figured it took a lot to rattle her when travelling. But a simple bus trip in Albania was enough to make her question all her travel skills.

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EUROPE |

Red Ink Run: Czech yourself before you wreck yourself

When crossing from Germany into the Czech Republic you notice a marked decrease in the quality of the road’s surface. It’s a bumpy journey for all sorts of reasons.

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EUROPE |

The problem with siestas

Once upon a time in a land far away, two naïve and rather idiotic girls set off to find a fabled land near the border of Spain and Portugal. Rumours of its unsurpassed beauty ran rings around them as they eagerly planned their journey, their excitement growing by the minute. Little did they know that these plans would soon become unravelled due to one small detail — the siesta.

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EUROPE |

The Nanny Diaries: from sunshine to snow, from dream to nightmare

Crikey intern Freya Cole writes: I had no idea what I was getting myself in to when I applied to be a nanny for six months. I had romanticised the idea in my head, thinking that a nanny would look after polite little children and take them to the local park, where they would meet [...]

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EUROPE |

The Swiss wedding survival guide

Claudia List writes: “Wear jeans, you’ll end up in a field afterward.” Not something I’d usually consider when going to a wedding, but I found this interesting piece of advice on an expat forum when I was wondering what to wear to my very first Swiss wedding. The comment thread continued, with several expats agreeing [...]

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EUROPE |

Welcome to Albania, where ice on the road gets the bus driver dancing

At a certain point I asked someone when the bus to Theth would arrive, at which he laughed heartily, said “minute!” and shrugged. So the two of us have just stood here, watching local life cartwheel by, until, just as we’ve given up hope, everyone around us starts shouting “Theth!” and pointing to an ancient yellow minibus that has magically appeared across the road.

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EUROPE |

The City of Mink: walking through Milan

“What is the fatal charm of Italy?  What do we find there that can be found nowhere else?  I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” — Erica Jong Binoy Kampmark writes: The city of mink, lying on ladies who seem to have stepped out of [...]

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EUROPE |

Madame Bessiere and the gypsies

John Newton writes: This story was written in 1982. I was travelling from Rome to Barcelona on the way to Mallorca with my lover at the time (and for some years after) and her daughter.  We arrived in Arles at around ten o’clock in the evening in a sickening Seat Ritmo, having driven all the way [...]

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EUROPE |

So long, and thanks for all the sour cream

“You’ll get bored,” she’d said to me, with such certainty that I wondered if it might be true. ‘She’ was my boss, and they were her parting words as I walked out of my office, family photos from my desk and farewell card stashed in my bag, three years in a country I couldn’t even [...]

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EUROPE |

The post-modern bogan: not so poor after all

Chasing cheap beer and loose women around the European continent has a long and noble tradition stretching back to the 17th century, when young, aristocratic, mostly British men set off in search of refinement, classic antiquity and plenty of drunken sex. Not much has changed in 350 years.

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