My expectations of a city-trip to Bruges entirely revolved around quintessential Belgian stereotypes: fries, chocolate, and traditional medieval buildings. This is perhaps a little unfair to the miniature city in the west of Belgium – there was actually plenty more to it than that.
The tiny Welsh town of Trefor sits snug in the shadow of three huge hills on the North coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. I’d experienced rural Wales before, but not rural Wales like this. Driving into the village, it reminded us all of something out of a horror film – the lack of people, the grey cottages, the wind and rain. This was isolation on another level, and I felt about as far from London as it is possible to feel.
Approximately 11am on the 2nd August 2015. I had just arrived at Berlin Schönefeld airport and was being talked to in broken English by a young Chinese man – my first direct point of contact to City Travel Review, the company I had arranged to come to Berlin for a month with. At one point he simply turned and asked me ‘Do you like Coldplay?’. I was not feeling very reassured.