Why I’m spending this winter in India
I’m sat here in the local all day brunch place in the centre of Stafford, making use of the free WiFi, enjoying the pleasant ambient temperature and listening to the perfectly acceptable playlist (currently beyond recognition above the half term lunch rush).
I met Miroslav almost the instant I stepped off the plane at Gdansk Lech Walesa airport. I was looking up at the timetable for the tram when the retired journalist offered to help. ‘You are from England?’ he asked. ‘Where are you going?’
‘I’m heading into Gdansk. Is this the right tram?’ I replied.
‘Come with me. I have a special permit for the bus. No pay.’ Miroslav added invitingly.
Five weeks ago in a sleepy Greek town just outside Thessaloniki a guy gestured me over to his white van. “Wo kommst du?” Says he, holding out his hand to be shaken. England, says I, shaking the proffered mitt. “Have a coffee on me” he urged, driving off hurriedly. I step back to the pavement to find a neatly folded 20 euro note in my palm. Generous thinks I, very generous. Continue reading
Maps and Apps
Finding one’s way around on a bike is one of those tricky things that every cyclist needs to master. Back in the days before the internet, GPS and smartphones the only options we would have had would have been to either be very good at navigating or carry paper maps with us. Indeed, to a lot of people that is still the case (and it can be a much more reliable way of navigating when out of battery or signal reception). One invention that didn’t quite catch on back in the 1950s was a map that you wore like a wristwatch. Continue reading