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Reading ‘The Sixth Watch’ in Charles De Gaulle

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The book: The Sixth Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko

The place: Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris (for the next two hours or so, anyway)

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No need for yet another airport photo, really, especially as I am wall-eyed with tiredness after three hours of sleep and possibly the most stressful check-in process ever experienced (still in the queue for bag drop twenty minutes before my flight was due to depart, along with many other disgruntled fellow passengers: thanks Air France at Heathrow), so instead I refer you to the above photograph, taken in early December 2011 from the Hermitage in St Petersburg. Until that point I’d almost entirely used my Kindle for free Project Gutenberg downloads, but for some reason, while actually in the Hermitage, I was overwhelmed with avarice and took advantage of Amazon’s then-very-generous provision of free 3G access worldwide to purchase and download the first three Night Watch books. I enjoy the series very much, despite an extremely dubious Scottish setting in one of the books, and Lukyanenko’s rather touching habit of writing books that are definitely, totally, 100% for real the final book in the series … and then cracking and writing another a few years later.

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August was a particularly peripatetic month: Comoros to Kenya to the UK (Glasgow, London, South Wales, as ever) to Greece, Bulgaria and Romania for an epic and over-ambitious road-trip with a friend. Highlights of the trip included getting our hire-car clamped and towed in two separate incidents in two separate Bulgarian cities on the same day, and accomplishing a number of travel goals: two new European capitals (Sofia and Bucharest – the latter, in particular, is criminally underrated), and two places on my Travel  Bucket List (monasteries in Meteora and Bucovina).

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Diporto Agoras, Athens: the first of many amazing meals.

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Meteora, which has been on my List since I first visited Greece in 1997.

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Sofia by night (arty shot, courtesy of just getting a replacement charger for my Proper Camera and no longer being dependent on phone photos).

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Another amazing meal, at Manastirska Magernitza in Sofia. (Also the most extensive and bonkers menu I have ever seen.)

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Veliko Tarnovo, where our time was sadly constrained owing to having to get our car out of chokey.

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Bucharest Old Town by night. (Many of my photos are night shots, owing to our great difficulty in ever leaving places.)

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Caru’ cu Bere, Bucharest, where we had both dinner and lunch, because it was that good.

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It’s only been a week, but I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve already forgotten which monastery this was: I think Suceavita, but it could also be Moldovita. Travel fail.

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Brilliantly spooky cemetery in Arbore.

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Every other day of the trip was blazing sunshine, but pretty much as soon as we entered Transylvania it was all creeping mists and sinister pine forests and (probably, invisible in the mist) vampire-filled castles.

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Cluj-Napoca, journey’s end, and temporary home of an old friend I hadn’t seen since Juba, who fed me tripe soup and Cluj cabbage and walked with me for 12km around the town, catching Pokemon.

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Written by Jess

September 8, 2016 at 10:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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