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Report - "Sleepy City Tribute Tour", Europe. October 2010.

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by spungletrumpet, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. spungletrumpet

    spungletrumpet Super Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

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    I hadn't been over to mainland Europe for a few months so, when a couple of the usual suspects asked me to join them for a bit of 'urban tourism' I jumped at the chance.
    I had visions of nice hotels, visits to museums and art galleries, sampling some excellent local food and drink and generally taking in the local culture.
    I was even promised a ride on an exotic metro system. As a lover of trains I couldn't wait.
    So I packed a few extra bits and pieces just in case, bought myself a digital camera for 99p from Ebay, then headed off - full of expectations.

    The first part of the trip went flawlessly. We didn't miss the ferry, nobody seemed to be ill and we eventually made it to Holland, ate some excellent food in a teddy bear themed restaurant and went to look for some coffee to keep us awake. The Dutch coffee shop we visited proved to be a culturally interesting venue and we eventually left without spending all of our money.

    It was at this point that it all started to go a bit wrong.

    It turns out that the hotel we had booked went bust, so they told me. Still, we made the best of a bad deal and found a huge derelict coal mine to crash out in.
    To be honest, I slept fairly well. Had a bit of a crazy dream involving shouty german blokes in the middle of the night, but I was soon dozing again.
    [​IMG]

    As any good European historian will tell you, the Germans have been very fond of showers in the past..
    So it was with some trepidation that, early the following morning, we walked through one of the biggest shower rooms I have ever seen. Still, it was only a few hours to our next destination where there would, no doubt, be real working showers.
    We pressed on.
    [​IMG]

    Having got a little lost, we suddenly came upon a very strange sight indeed.
    4,000 baskets hanging from the ceiling rigged up to a bewildering collection of squeaky pulleys and chains enabling them, individually, to be lifted up and down.
    Just imagine thousands of dirty, naked, hairy, German coal miners lurking around in here... Mmmm.. Yes..
    [​IMG]

    The opportunity for autoerotic fun with the hanging baskets was not missed, needless to say we spent a lot of time in here.
    [​IMG]

    Eventually we left Germany, slightly sorry that we were unable to have a look at the top of this superb bit of German industrial architecture. There were a lot of big blokes playing around with big machines next to the headstock. It was probably a recipe for disaster.
    Anyway, the next hotel beckoned, and we dreamed of 3 course meals and fine wine.
    [​IMG]

    So, I was bundled into the back of the van once again and, many miles later, we finally got to do some city sightseeing.
    A gorgeous church which, according to Urbanity, is a "classic example of neolithic architecture'.
    Unfortunately, it appeared to be closed for restoration.

    The huge amount of scaffolding around the place was an awe inspiring sight, which gave one of the other chaps an interesting idea..
    Well, it would be rude not to..
    [​IMG]

    The city was rather nice from this altitude.. I'm sure it would be even nicer if we could just get up higher somehow..
    [​IMG]

    As we suspected, the higher we climbed, the nicer it got. Maybe this 'urban tourism' thing wasn't so bad after all.
    [​IMG]

    Suddenly, I couldn't help thinking that the trip was not going according to plan.
    So far, we had failed to visit any museums. My promised metro ride was still nowhere to be found, we had only managed one remotely luxurious meal. To top it all off, a huge tenor bell weighing at least a couple of tons decided to strike the hour while I was a few feet away from it.
    I suppose, at least, the views just got better and better.
    [​IMG]

    As it happened, we never made it to our 4 star hotel that night. One of the chaps mentioned something about an outbreak of legionairres disease and lots of people in hospital, or something like that.
    We did the next best thing and slept in some bushes near the church. Fortunately, the homeless people who had evidently been staying in the same spot didn't return that night.

    The following morning found us up and about early and heading towards the museum I had been promised.

    Unfortunately, there was no museum. But there was an old building full of various parts of animals pickled in formaldehyde. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
    [​IMG]

    To be honest, the path-pots were rather minging. Many of them contained decayed versions of their original contents, the formalin having become depleted over their many years of storage.

    My memory was jogged.. I was, on a few occasions a long time ago, lucky enough to sneak into the Chamberlain museum at the University of Birmingham medical school. Before they turned it into a huge PC lab it contained hundreds of path-pots, full of human heads, cancerous colons and fetid foetuses, all in excellent condition.
    Still, these veterinary pots full of random animal parts provided a certain amount of amusement and it was a nice place to spend a bit of time.
    [​IMG]

    Despite my obvious displeasure, the upper floors were not completely without charm.
    [​IMG]

    Suddenly, it got exciting.. On the stairs I found an identical set of plastic manacles to the ones I found in a toilet cubicle on the 28DL Birmingham pissup recently.. I couldn't help thinking this was more than coincidence.
    [​IMG]

    It was obvious that certain photographers in the past had set up various 'scenes' to enhance their photos. The sheer number of these 'scenes' indicated that many, many other tourists had been here before us.
    I enjoyed the faded glory of the old lecture rooms.
    [​IMG]

    One last lecture room, then off to have the ride on the metro that I had been promised.
    Trains.. Mmm.. I couldn't wait!
    [​IMG]

    Surely we would find a nice hotel tonight and then take in the local gay bars and lap dancing clubs?
    I grinned in anticipation.
     

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  2. spungletrumpet

    spungletrumpet Super Moderator
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    Yet again, our plans were thwarted.
    I was bundled, once more, in the back of the van and dosed up on sedatives so I would not remember where the hell we were going. Eventually I woke up with a headache in yet another place called "Dadizelle".
    After taking full advantage of the "kilo of seafood for 16 Euros" menu at a Turkish fish bar, we went to have our train ride.

    Unfortunately, something was very wrong. It turned out they hadn't bothered to install any lifts or stairs into the metro.
    It was just as well that I happened to bring along 65m of nice yellow rope and some vertical access kit. I just knew it would come in handy.
    After going to a local park to give one of the chaps a quick crash course in rope access, we abseiled down the short drop and went in search of our trains!
    [​IMG]

    Yet again, we hit a snag..

    It turned out that, not only had they not bothered to install lifts and escalators, they had also failed to install any train track. I silently wondered whether I had been victim of a huge scam. Maybe there were no trains either?
    [​IMG]

    My fears were confirmed.
    The station platforms contained no advertising boards and no vending machines. There weren't even any seats.
    It would be no use waiting for a train here.
    [​IMG]

    In the upper floors of the station the situation got even worse. There were no ticket machines.
    What if we did find the trains but got caught riding on them with no tickets?
    I got busted like this in Prague years ago and it was very difficult to talk our way out of it.
    Still, at least somebody had left the lights on.
    [​IMG]

    My smugness at the serendipity of the lights being left on soon dwindled.
    To carry on through kilometers of dark tube tunnels would require torches. Big torches.
    Fortunately, we had one.
    [​IMG]

    In one last vain hope of getting on a train, I stood patiently on the platform at one of the stations, looked longingly towards the dark and quiet tunnel, then waited..
    Surely that was the twang of oscillating rail tracks I could hear? Surely the humid, warm, oily windrush of an approaching locomotive would soon be forced into my face? I waited for the banshee howl of brakes to fill my ears, signalling the start of my luxurious and comfortable ride to another part of the city and some well deserved pampering.

    I opened my eyes and realised no, there would still be no trains. I also had a sneaking suspicion that there would be no strip clubs or posh hotels either.
    [​IMG]

    So, resigned to walking, we pressed on through other unfinished stations and other placid tunnels.
    Above, in the real world, there would be very little trace of this monument to bad financial planning and human fuckups. Nothing even resembling a metro station would exist.
    Maybe, if I return in a few years, I will get my train ride. Though as the years go on, it looks more and more unlikely.
    [​IMG]

    So we headed towards the end of our journey.
    The sound of voices and trains reminded us that, at least, part of this place had been used for its intended purpose.
    The pumps do a good job of keeping out the water, though in some places there are puddles to be splashed about in.
    We still had to get ourselves out of here. We would retrace our steps through the winding tunnels and maybe find a way back up the rope that had safely transported us down here.
    [​IMG]

    The following journey provided us with alternate half hours of driving and sleeping. Eventually we made it back to the UK, despite the best efforts of HM Customs.
    I said farewell to the others, giving heartfelt thanks to Urbanity for doing all the driving. He did a great job, even with his overuse of the words "Bukkake", "Spooge" and "clunge".

    I didn't get my comfy hotels, or my lap dancing bars. There were no museum trips, no epic 3-course blowouts. I never got my train ride.
    I spent a lot of time, heavily sedated, led in the back of a van with the same dog-on-a-string 'New Model Army' CD stuck in the stereo.

    Still, I didn't feel cheated.
    Hundreds of miles, lots of laughs, a few unexpected highlights and great company. Why bother with 'normal' tourist trips?

    Why indeed.
     
  3. urbanity

    urbanity 28dl flâneur
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    What a shit holiday:D

    Just to point out that Spooge, Bukkake and Clunge are not words I'd normally use, but they formed 3 sides of our Rhinehartian, decision-making dice (along with Pwned, Mcshit and Edgework.) This ingenious device helped us work out what the pr0s would have done, facing the same situations.

    99p camera ftw!
     
  4. dsankt

    dsankt si ce que tu dis est vrai
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    Jeez if this sleepycity lot have anything to do with the constant misfortunes you suffered on your trip you should seek a refund. Failing that you should definitely kick them in the nuts. What a bunch o' cunts, they're worse than Ryan Air!
     
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