Of flights and Frankfurt; drunks and dungeons; towers and tourists

Iron bridge in Frankfurt.

Box wine.

Perhaps this isn’t exactly how you’d expect a travel log to start, but there you have it. Box wine. It first made its appearence at the main station in Frankfurt, Germany, the first stop on my three-week holiday in Europe. It was being consumed by a man as he walked – no, staggered – through the station st 8.24am. The first person to speak to me outside of the Frankfurt Int’l Airport was a hobo drinking box wine. Holidays don’t start any better than that. Especially when in a city called by one Twitter mate as “the Bloemfontein of Germany”. Quite.

Sponge Bob birthday cake. I kind of like it.

But Frankfurt isn’t Germany’s armpit. Oh no, it’s actually quite wonderful. Packed full of history, it’s modernity is stitched almost seemlessly with its medieval architecture. It’s beautiful. Frankfurt has 33 museums, a glorius cathedral and even some cat statues on its town hall to prevent fraud. There’s even a 1600s version of the phone hacking scandal. Yep, us journos have been dodgy for ages.

Then it was back to the airport for long-haul flight part two. I don’t remember this part. I slept right through it. It was unlike part one, an 11-hour flight during which I slept for 3 hours. The nappy count on the plane was remarkably high; babies and old people where there en masse. It was dreadful. There was one highlight, as Emma, the 3-and-a-bit-year-old sitting behind me, fell of her chair. Oh, how I laughed. Loud. Until her dad looked bleakly at me. He was bigger than me.

Me at Tower Bridge. Yes, it's as cold as my face suggests.

Then it was London, Heathrow Airport. Former Chelsea and Portsmouth boss Avram Grant was in the queue with me. I thought I might have been in the kak-at-my-job line by mistake…

It was off to my sister and her boyfriend’s house, known henceforth as Basecamp. We chatted until 2am, shot people on xbox and caught up. I love my family, more than this blog could ever explain.

Simon becoming a real Londoner.

The next day was my birthday. Yep, I awoke after the first night of my holiday as a 27-year-old. I instantly craved that drunk guy’s box wine… It’s like breakfast prepackaged for perfect consumption – plus it’s grapes, so probably counts as my one daily fruit or veg… Anyway, I’m going off point. It was my birthday and I got well spoilt. My sister, Wendy, got me tickets to watch Arsenal at The Emirates! It doesn’t get better than that! Then, my mate Simon (@simonjamescar on Twitter) suggested I see him in downtown London – I just didn’t know he meant literally down underneath London.

Greatest birthday present ever!

I molested a horse. Well, not really. But that was my crime, according to the judge as I was hauled into the dock at the London Dungeon. It was fun. The dungron, not the horse… We missioned to Tower Bridge, which is not London Bridge. They are vastly different structures. Tower Bridge is gorgeous. I’ve seen it a few times, but it still amazes. I saw it at night the next night, and it was arguably even more amazing. Have got a few pics on here, just scroll through. I shamelessly admit I was a proper tourist.

Camden Town was next on the agenda. Simon and I met my other friend from Durban, Byrce, and his girlperson, Tarryn, there. Bryce and I had Christmas lunch together, and three days later had a burger in a pub together. It was awesome.

Tarryn, Bryce and I in Camden.

It’s easy to see why people like Amy Winehouse live in Camden. It’s so eclectic, alive and vibrant. It shouts brashly, but has subtle undertones of cultural diversity and acceptance. Si and I walked in the streets drinking the champagne he bought me, talking kak, stopping at stores and soaking up the vibes. Bryce and Tarryn took us around, showed us some awesome stuff – and some weird stuff, too (bottom floor at Cyberdig. Eish.) Camden is my favourite place in London. By far. It’s brilliant.

And that is pretty much my first few days. There was a special tour given by my sister, but weather meant we couldn’t finish it. There was some clothing shopping, too. Boring. Let me know what you thought in the comments section.

Until next time, toodlepip old boy.

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