Eurodan in English

January 27, 2005

Greetings from Gran Canaria!

I often have a bit of trouble explaining to people just why I have such a great time here. It was my then-boyfriend Adam who first suggested I go, as he thought I'd rather enjoy the nightlife, and how right he was.

Picture it: an enormous bunker of a shopping centre (by day) turns into a centre full of bars, restaurants and clubs at night - most of them gay, and - get this - run by all different nationalities. Yes, you've got your run-of-the-mill identikit gay bars, but there's so much more besides - and the mix is truly unique.

Still not with me? Well, the thing which is so pleasing is the diversity of it. You can go to one bar and watch old clips of Morecambe and Wise Christmas specials (Angela Rippon dancing to "There may be trouble ahead"), and then walk five metres and you're at the Icelandic restaurant, straining to hear whether those are Danes or Norwegians at the next table, while ex-Eurovision star Gretar Orvarsson's dad tickles the ivories and gives us a tune.

And on and on it goes... there's the British bar and the German bar directly opposite one another - do the tourists mix, the Brits trying the Koelsch bier and the Germans developing a liking for pork scratchings?

If you're interested in Northern Europe, quite enjoy a good old bit of kitsch (in several languages at once) and could do with a bit of winter sun then this place is perfect.

But try as I might to explain my reasons for coming here, sometimes people just don't buy it. Maybe it sounds like I'm protesting too much, and trying to cover up wanting to come on a "straw donkey" style holiday by making up a load of pseudo-intellectual codswallop about Nordic culture-watching.

Well, just for the record, I'm proud to have a deep fondness for the kitscher end of the cultural spectrum, so often derided by some. Vive l'europe... vive l'eurovision... and make mine a double.

Posted by Eurodan at 2:34 PM | Comments (2)

January 23, 2005

I know that I often drone on about how much I don't feel like a tourist when I travel, wanting to blend in and get in touch with the locals, speak the language etc etc, rather than 'doing' the sights or being otherwise just another piece of tourist headcount to be processed by the locals.

So it's with an unfathomable schizophrenia that I'm very much looking forward to a trip to Gran Canaria with Leigh. Don't get me wrong. We're not going to be asking for the English menu, looking for places where they sell the Daily Mail and complaining about the bacon.

No - it's just that Gran Canaria is a favoured overwintering spot for Northern Europeans. Indeed, it can sometimes seem like Stockholm (or Bremen) on Sea. Which suits us just fine, given that we're both into that part of the world.

So it's a linguistic holiday. Honest! What? You don't believe me? Shame on you!

Posted by Eurodan at 5:09 PM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2005

I'm going to Cuba! Yes - it's true. My friend Hugh asked me if I'd like to join him on a week-long holiday there towards the end of March, and my initial reaction was "oo-er... Cuba... that's not really a Daniel sort of place - a bit hot, non-first world and Spanish-speaking", but then I realised that it's good to sometimes do things which broaden your horizons, and it's only for a week so it's not that much of a risk.

Still it's going to be very different from anything I've experienced before, travel-wise, as you can see by the following list of capital cities I'll have visited after I get back:

London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Brussels, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Dublin, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavík, Washington DC, Havana.

Spot the odd one out, anyone?

Posted by Eurodan at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

January 7, 2005

I really couldn't have said it any better myself.

Posted by Eurodan at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2005

Arlanda flygplats

It's been nearly a week now that I've been in Sweden. First I went to Gothenburg and celebrated New Year with Henrik and his friends, and then I flew over the Stockholm and just sort of had fun really.

And what fun it was.

I can't think of a more perfect place for me to live than Stockholm. If only the European Commission could decide to relocate there.

And why is Stockholm so wonderful? It's down to all kinds of factors, big and small. I've always liked the Germanic half of Europe, and Sweden combines that Germanicness with a kind of effortless glamour which is rarely tacky. The place is beautifully modern and efficient, yet most of this is provided by public funds. There is a real sense of fair play and taking ones time to do things well, a sort of "three cheers for the winners but three cheers for the losers as well" mentality.

It's a world away from the frenetic capitalist buzz which surrounds London, or the filthy, Eastern-bloc decrepitude of Brussels.

There are little things as well. The language is just beautiful and very easy to learn. They have excellent publicly funded TV and radio. It can get blisteringly cold, but rarely too hot. It's a beautiful, big country, with not many people. They're good at technology; things work and come on time. They're also great designers and understand how important the built environment is. You can dance on a boat in Stockholm's harbour to Eurovision music until the early hours and then go out on deck and watch the sun rise over the world's most beautiful capital city. They have Midsommar. And Eva Dahlgren. And emancipation for women. And queers.

I could go on, and on. But you get it. I don't want to leave. But the flight's about to board. Vi ses, Sverige!

Posted by Eurodan at 7:09 AM | Comments (3)

Back to blog