Month: February 2008

Inside out…

As some of us (those who chose to recognise it) got another country this week, the situation in the Southern Balkans seems to have improved for some, been emotional for others, enraging for the hard-liners and a lot more complicated for the rest.

The press here tend to relay the same Russia is bad, Serbia is bad, Kosovo is unique stories so it’s quite easy to start thinking that the whole place is going to hell in a handcart. This may still turn out to be true but, so far this doesn’t seem to be the case.

An Albanian friend of mine from Pristina wrote to say “My knee is better now…I can dance something at least It`s a pity that you haven`t been here to celebrate….was very nice :D”

and, an American friend of mine (Bethany who studied the CELTA course with us in Ljubljana) has started a new blog which shows that, despite the TV coverage – things aren’t as bad as they appear in Serbia proper: http://www.bethanygallivants.blogspot.com/.

and if you’re interested, TOL published possibly the best article I’ve read on the situation this week. You can read it here.

In case you were wondering Oxford is OK too. There were a few pro-testers in town, but I don’t think it’s going to reach the global stage

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Everyone’s entitled to my opinion, but…

Oh dear, the Slovene’s must be running short of social commentators… they’ve taken to quoting bearder.com in their articles.

No, I’ve no idea why either but, it’s a nice compliment. Maybe I should start a regular column

“Edd”

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Icelandic adventures…

Posted from: www.bearder.com

I pack my case

I check my face. I look a little bit older. I look a little bit colder.
With one deep breath, and with one big step…

I conquered Iceland, conquered Europe and conquered 30 years of life on planet earth. Julius Caesar, Mr Hitler and Starbucks – eat your heart out. I did them all and didn’t have to kill anyone. Even better – nobody killed me and I’m still here to entertain you with my somewhat pointless Bearder rantings.

But, before I take time out to contenplate life after Europe, it’s time for some wholly un-british boasting…

For those who don’t know, I’ve been on a mission to visit every country in Europe over the last 5 last weekend it all finished in Iceland. Inspired by a picture of a military pillbox (and encouraged by a £20 bet) I started in Athens in June 2003 and finished 115 beds and 152 towns, cities and villages later – in Iceland. From Tampere to Athens, Coimbra to Odessa, my mission is to conquer Europe took me through 46 different countries (plus two unrecognized territories) speaking 36 languages and dealing in 27 currencies.

I took 15 trips out of the UK
Left my job more times than I can remember
Slept in 115 beds
Slept with… (ha ha – mind your own business!)
Visited 150+ towns and cities in 46 countries and 2 unrecognised
territories
Sailed on 13 boats, rode 52 trains and took 24 flights, many many buses,
numerous taxis and the occasional trolley bus, cable car and horse drawn
carriage.

I didn’t get arrested but did loose 5 credit cards.

I met some of the funniest, coolest, interesting, sexist, annoying, arrogant, dim, odd and outright hospitable people you could imagine, got lost more times than Wally and found fame and fortune in at least two countries.

It’s tempting to list all the people here that helped me, saved me, hosted me and took pity on me during the last 5 years but the list would be too long and let’s face it, it wouldn’t mean much to anyone except me. However, I am truly thankful to everyone I know and everyone I now know as a result of my mission. For better or worse they all made it enjoyable – even the whooping, air-punching, George Bush-shouting Texan girl I met in Greece. If I find the time and money to do it again and drop in for another pivo, I will and that’s a promise.

I’ll also refrain from a deep and meaningful blurb about the ‘lessons I’ve learnt’ etc because I’m not convinced they’re any different to anyone else who’s been alive for the last 5 years. You get older – you learn stuff. You don’t need to be in another country to do it. However, for the record (and to save you all a lot of traveling) I can confirm that:

1. Tunnels, passageways and public stairs smell of urine in every country in Europe.
2. People in every country (without exception) blame their problems and their country’s problems on people who are not from their country.
3. No two neighboring countries like each other.
4. Nobody in the world knows what the silver bullet shaped things are on the wall in Balkan toilets.
5. Burek is not Slovene
6. The Soviets did more harm than the Germans
7. Nobody outside France speaks French. Ignore your GCSE French teacher and learn a Slavic language.
8. If you need a beer on a long train – find the Russian carriage.
9. the word for ‘Center’ is almost the same in every country (Centar, Centrum etc etc)
10. If someone tells you not to go somewhere, it’s because they are neighbors – go there, you’ll have a lot of fun.

Finally, my advice to anyone thinking of doing something similar would be…

Just wing-it
Don’t plan too much (if at all)
Don’t worry about anything (except rabid dogs).
(You are unlikely to die)
Don’t wait for anyone.
(People, myself included are reassuringly unreliable)
Always, always, always take food and water on long train journeys.
(I always, always, always forget this and always, always, always regret it)
Always ask.
(groups of teenage girls are the most likely to speak English, least likely to mug you and often ask you more questions that you’ve just asked then but, look lost, worried or confused enough and someone always takes pity)
and finally,
Collect stuff, keep a diary and draw stuff – it’s amazing what you forget when you get home and get old.

What’s next? Well… I have a plan but it’s too late to keep typing and you’re probably getting bored reading. So, until next time – here’s some pictures of Iceland

Eddy.

PS, I’ve changed my mind – I think I will write about all the people I met. Just not now – there’s too many.
PPS. If anyone sees Sturat Clarke – tell him I want my £20.

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Land of Ice, Fire and Eddy

For those of you who don’t speak Icelandic, the kind people at the Icelandic Tourist Board translated it for me (Thanks to Mr Addison for arraning this)

The whole of Europe by 30
For the last 5 years the Englisman Ian Bearder has been working hard to win a bet that he made with his friend that he would be able to visit all the countries in Europe before his 30th birthday. That he has now accomplished. Next week Ian will be 30 years old and is going to celebrate his birthday in Iceland, this weekend and finish the Europe tour.

In the last 5 years Ian has been travelling to 46 countries within Europe and his adventure ends in Iceland. “This all started in 2003 with a bet that I made with my friend for 20₤ I said to my friend that I was sure that I could visit all the countries in Europe before I turned 30 and he challenged me to do just that.”

When he was asked why he chose to end his adventure in Iceland Ian said Iceland was the perfect place to celebrate his 30th birthday, he had heard many fun stories about the Reykjavik night life.

“I have only been here for two days and it is clear that Iceland makes the list over the top 5 countries in Europe. This morning we went swimming and it was great. It is a very special feeling to stand outside in your swim suit in -10°C.”

Ian said that he chose to travel around Europe because the continent is big and versitile and has a lot more to offer than people think. “Most of the places that I visited had something uniqe to offer but I really enjoy visiting placed that are not the most popular. There you usually experience something special and have the most fun.” Ian said.

“Slovenia was my favourite place” Ian said when asked about what place affected him the most. “There I lived for 7 months. In Slovenia you get a mixture of all the good that Europe has to offer. You have the Alps, the shores of the Adriatic sea and the food has an Italian influence.”

Ian came to Iceland with 12 of his friends and is going to spend a few days here and celebrate his birthday and the fact the he won the bet.

Happy birthday and congratulations on winning the bet.

All the best from Iceland,
The Icelandic Tourist Board

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Land of Ice, Fire and Eddy

For those of you who don’t speak Icelandic, the kind people at the Icelandic Tourist Board translated it for me (Thanks to Mr Addison for arraning this)

The whole of Europe by 30
For the last 5 years the Englisman Ian Bearder has been working hard to win a bet that he made with his friend that he would be able to visit all the countries in Europe before his 30th birthday. That he has now accomplished. Next week Ian will be 30 years old and is going to celebrate his birthday in Iceland, this weekend and finish the Europe tour.

In the last 5 years Ian has been travelling to 46 countries within Europe and his adventure ends in Iceland. “This all started in 2003 with a bet that I made with my friend for 20₤ I said to my friend that I was sure that I could visit all the countries in Europe before I turned 30 and he challenged me to do just that.”

When he was asked why he chose to end his adventure in Iceland Ian said Iceland was the perfect place to celebrate his 30th birthday, he had heard many fun stories about the Reykjavik night life.

“I have only been here for two days and it is clear that Iceland makes the list over the top 5 countries in Europe. This morning we went swimming and it was great. It is a very special feeling to stand outside in your swim suit in -10°C.”

Ian said that he chose to travel around Europe because the continent is big and versitile and has a lot more to offer than people think. “Most of the places that I visited had something uniqe to offer but I really enjoy visiting placed that are not the most popular. There you usually experience something special and have the most fun.” Ian said.

“Slovenia was my favourite place” Ian said when asked about what place affected him the most. “There I lived for 7 months. In Slovenia you get a mixture of all the good that Europe has to offer. You have the Alps, the shores of the Adriatic sea and the food has an Italian influence.”

Ian came to Iceland with 12 of his friends and is going to spend a few days here and celebrate his birthday and the fact the he won the bet.

Happy birthday and congratulations on winning the bet.

All the best from Iceland,
The Icelandic Tourist Board

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

proeuropa_icon
Keep Britain in Europe