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 degrades from a freshly ironed tablecloth to a patchwork quilt of filled in potholes. There are other differences too — almost instantly my phone with its German sim card went into roaming mode, unable to receive data and the relatively decipherable German signs yielded to the clustered consonants of Czech. Both conspired to mean that should I deviate from the pre-recorded GPS route I would be well and truly lost.

(more…)

Red Ink Run: from Riga with love

“Do you even know what’s it’s like up there anymore, Mr Bond?” I asked him, sneaking a quick glance at the weapon in his hand. I could see the barrel dead on, it yawned like a dilated pupil.

“You have to realise that the world has moved on from the clandestine superpower struggles of your heyday. We enjoy ourselves now. Here, in Riga, Latvia, we go to the pub for a pint on weekends, we don’t guard top secret nuclear missile silos, waiting for someone to steal a strip of microfilm. If, say instead of pointing that gun at me, you went right now and stood on the cobblestones, you could see the finest collection Art Nouveau spill from the eaves of apartments, not grim Soviet worker blocks.”

His features remained fixed in his trademark smug smirk. I could see that the appeal to his love of architecture, suave and cosmopolitan though he looked in a black tuxedo was a futile pursuit. I changed tact.

(more…)

Life as a full-time traveller

Elliott Bakker writes: In this fast moving world where everything is instantaneous, there are also those taking the long road — the one going through the Mongolian steppe, the floating markets of Bangkok or the vastness of the Sahara desert. They all have different stories to why they are here, but one thing in common; they took the life changing decision of living full-time on the road.

Eugen Reimer, 28, with both a German and Russian passport in his backpack, is one of them. Born in Siberia, but of German descent, Eugen and his family returned to Germany when he was seven, following the footsteps of many compatriots at the time. Since then, Eugen has travelled to 52 different countries.

(more…)