Hey all, if you're wondering why I took down some of the travel blogs that were up here it's because I'm collating my travel diaries and editing them. Also because what with keeping a diary I didn't have time to do the blogposts justice. I went through Seven countries - Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Monaco and France in 30 days in the autumn so it was quite full-on travelling.
I recommend keeping a diary with an old-fashioned pen and notebook to anyone. Not only does it keep you much saner than social media (you can tell it anything, without repercussions) you get to relive your journey later, including the bits you forgot. Writing in a notebook gives you permission to be anywhere, as people aren't sure if you're a researcher, a journalist, a writer, an escaped lunatic, an eccentric millionaire who might tip loads, or a health and safety inspector. If you're lucky they may assume you're a restaurant reviewer and give you a free glass of wine. It allows you to avoid eye-contact with jerks, members of your own nationality that you're keen to avoid, and over-zealous ticket-inspectors. Most importantly, it justifies your purchase of over-priced Italian notebooks as an absolutely indispensable work expense.
I also recommend travelling by train in Europe. It is vastly more interesting, cheaper, less stressful, and in every way, better than travelling by plane.
I am hoping to do a crowdfunder to publish the diaries at some point, as a small run of print books, so when I've sorted out how and when, and with whom, I will post the details up here.
In the meantime here is a picture of St Ursula, my namesake saint and patron of Cologne. As a kid I wondered who St Ursula was, and my mother, who went to a Catholic school, mumbled something about her being martyred rather than marry a Pagan, and I concluded it was some sort of tedious Catholic anti-sex tale. But she turned out to be much much cooler than that. Anyway, she's got a pen to write stuff down , as well as an arrow to stab people with, which seemed to me an excellent combination.