In Which I Declare Blogruptcy
Hello! Or, as the boy would say, I’m NOT DEAD YET. In fact, I have a bundle of fabulous stories and exciting places that I’m just gagging to write about but probably won’t, because, well, work.
Further, I have about a bazillion draft posts mouldering, like so many Miss Havisham bridal feasts, in cobweb-festooned corners of my MacBook, coz, ya know, sloth. That’s not to mention my spiralling selection of to-do lists, because procrastination.
So, umm, sorry about that. SORREEEEEE…..
In between chasing my tail – because trying to take six weeks off to travel in Europe while simultaneously earning enough to keep one’s spawn in international school is no bagatelle, particularly when it comes back to back with a fortnight’s writing work trip and trying to get the house habitable enough to let while we’re away – we’ve been doing a tonne of travelling.
Over the last few weeks, I have slept in:
Zac and I have slept in:
Obviously, we’ve been to many other places besides the ones we slept in, but suffice to say I typically open my eyes not entirely sure where I am. (This morning, that was KL and that wasn’t good, because volcano.)
I don’t really do bucketlists, any more than I count countries, but I HAVE ticked the following items off my mental bucketlist this summer:
Explore the salt mines at Wieliczka
Take Zac to Auschwitz
Introduce Zac to tapas
Taste-test Paris’ best macaroons with Zac
Help Zac discover his Polish heritage (particularly World War 2)
See Dali’s Mae West Room fo’ real
Introduce Zac to Gaudi
Celebrate Waisak (Buddha’s birthday) at Borobudur
See Borobudur, full stop
Explore China’s canal cities
See the gardens of Suzhou
Take a boat-trip on China’s Grand Canal
Sip Dragon Well tea in a West Lake tea garden
Have a cocktail in one of Mr Lyan’s bars
Meet Talon and Stevie, finally
Eat xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) in Shanghai
Try next-generation Modern British at Hix Soho
I’ve also done various things that should totally have been on my bucket list:
Cycle through Białowieża, Europe’s last surviving primeval forest
Visit the Schindler Factory
Discover Polish beer
Walk along the Avon to the church where Shakespeare is buried
Explore Norwich’s lanes and medieval quarter – it’s the new Brighton, people!
Enter a speakeasy through a fake wall of books
Have a ladies lunch with pink champagne at Sheekeys (thanks, Mrs F!)
Clamber through a mocked-up sewer recreating the Warsaw Rising
Climb a medieval crane
Try cider in Normandy
I’ve repeated some of my favourite things to do:
Eat dim sum in Hong Kong
Drink cocktails on a roof terrace on the Bund
Eat foie gras at Chartier
Take long train rides across China
Eat steak tartare
Eat on my own
Watch tea being made
Speak rubbish Chinese
Get lost in historic city centres
Explore canal cities
Read about history
Pick places to stay at random
While my waistline is the only testimony required to my superlative prowess at eating and drinking – neither Poland, nor Catalunya, nor Blighty, let alone Kuala Lumpur are conducive to losing any of the quit-smoking weight – I must confess to a few areas in which this trip has not lived up to expectations. I have failed to:
Go out in a rowing boat on Amsterdam’s canals
Take Zac to see Shakespeare in London
Visit my cousin’s new house, despite flying out of an airport virtually next door to it (Southend: recommended)
Catch up with about a bazillion people
Go to the Miró museum (this was – embarrassed face – my third visit to Barcelona)
Get to Berlin
Go to Hel (a beach peninsula in Poland)
Eat at a Ferran Adrià joint
And, I must confess, I found the Crooked House in Sopot massively disappointing – go in winter.
But I’ve met up with friends old and new, well and sick, babies still unborn last time we went back, relatives from way back and family new-acquired. Hell! My friend A even held a barbecue for me. ON HER BIRTHDAY.
And now… Well, now Zac and I are sitting in Kuala Lumpur, courtesy of our low-cost carrier, waiting for the latest volcano to clear the air so that we can get home to Bali. And the funny thing is this: it really does feel like coming home. Sayonara!