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Thursday morning 3am

The day prematurely began at somewhere around 3am when my peaceful slumber was interrupted by a knocking noise. There I was, in a hostel in Amsterdam, in a dorm of about twenty other blokes, two floors up from street level, and someone was knocking on the window. My ears could hear what was happening. They were passing this information to my brain, which was in a state of shock at having to be

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Kosy in Kloveniersburgval

After breakfast, I said my goodbyes to Jeannie, who tragically had to go to work that day. Then after I packed up all my stuff, Richard and I set out for Brussels' Midi station (which had nothing to do with computer music, if you're wondering) and bought my ticket to Amsterdam on the 12:28 service of the very phallic-sounding Thalys express train. A bargain at only 1200 francs, especially as there

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Picturesque with a capital P

Jeannie, Richard and I set off early (well, reasonably early - well, that is, reasonably early for us - well, that is, well before lunchtime) for Bruges. Bruges is a marvellously historic town, full of historic buildings, museums, churches and packed to the brim with character. We drove out of central Brussels, stopping for petrol and paying at at an ATM amusingly named "Mister Cash". Then we f

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Drizzled upon in Brussels

Monday: time for some continental drifting. I had planned a trip into Belgium and Holland. Originally I'd planned to go to France too, but during the first few slightly homesick and lonely days of the holiday I'd decided that spending a few days in a country where I didn't speak the lingo, and where I had no friends to guide me around would not be a good idea. So I'd rejigged things a tad. Hew

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Hamley’s and The Croydon Mongolians

I'd arranged to meet Merlin at Oxford Circus tube station to do some shopping. Now, for those of you who've never been to Oxford Circus, it's a very crowded place, day or night, seven days a week. Like many places in central London, a large proportion of the human race finds themselves there, arsehole to bellybutton, roaming around doing whatever it is they happen to feel like doing. And that is w

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No fixed abode, Cricklewood

It was late by the time my Uncle Hew and I got up - somewhere around 10. At least, late by my usual standards. My boss wouldn't be too impressed if I waltzed into work at 11am, but thankfully on this occasion I was many thousands of miles away from work, on holiday. After breakfast I had a shower, and for the first time encountered the extremely wacky shower controls in Hew's house. It was anot

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Roaming around London

The train from Inverness pulled into London just a few minutes late, depositing me at Euston Station. It was 8am, and the place was buzzing with commuters. I managed to manoeuvre myself and my backpack through the station without hitting too many people and found the Left Luggage counter, where, following the tradition, I left my luggage. Then I took a tube south to Leicester Square for a walk

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Further into the Highlands

My mission for Thursday was to get from Inverness to Plockton and back in time for the 20:30 overnight sleeper train to London. Why Plockton? Two words: Hamish Macbeth. If these two words mean nothing to you, then perhaps the following thirty-nine words might help: Hamish Macbeth is a TV comedy/drama series starring Robert Carlyle (of Trainspotting and The Full Monty fame) set in a remote hi

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Into the Highlands

After packing my pack, I strode purposefully out of the hostel and down the street to Edinburgh's Haymarket station. Okay, so "strode purposefully" is probably an unfairly muscular-sounding description. But "staggered" wouldn't be fair either. It was probably something between the two. Perhaps just "walked". Anyway, I boarded the 09:44 train bound for Inverness, some three and a half hours away.

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More and more of Edinburgh

According to my Tour Of Bits Of Scotland Masterplan, I had a full day to explore Edinburgh. The first stop after breakfast was Edinburgh Castle. I walked back the way I'd come the night before (did I mention I passed a street called Spittal Street?), gazing up at the castle as I approached. The castle literally towers over the rest of the city, which makes sense; in the old days it must have se