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Published: December 22nd 2009
28th March '09:
A bit more on Neuschwanstein? OK, then - I’ll do all the travelling. You just put your feet up.. Maxine told us to have our barcodes ready as we milled about in the courtyard among a hundred other tourists. Ludwig II’s death rather halted construction of this castle; much of the edifice’s interior remains unfinished. The tour itself, then, is staggeringly brief and prohibits photography.
Now, I don’t mind prohibiting flash photography, but no photographs at all? To me, that rather smacks of stinging the destitute traveller in the souvenir shop - one is forced to spend one’s hard-earned shitters on postcards. Or you can simply photograph the postcards, which I might have done in the last blog. Or, if you find ‘verboten’ (forbidden) is like a red rag to a bull, there is the odd opportunity to take sneaky pictures once the tour guide has exited each room. I mention it simply as an observation.
Maxine gestures towards the sign that reads: ‘Danger. No Trespassing’, indicating the route to the lookout and Mary’s bridge, which offers a fantastic view of the castle’s scaffolding. The danger notices are only to avail the authorities of any
responsibility should you slip on the snowy, ungritted path; they leave them up all winter.
Ironically, the actual path is clear and safe; the really dangerous part - potentially resulting in castration - is climbing over the notices warning of danger. Oh, I’m sick to death of health and safety, and am seriously considering living in the tropics where you can hang out of train doors till your heart’s content. Anyway, genitalia still more or less intact, Maxine shepherds us back to Munich, where we all go our separate ways: some to Denver, some to Venice, an Indian to Marseilles, and I'm off to Switzerland - with it’s renowned hatred of trucks. What a busy world we live in, eh?
So, today we leave the EU once more. The Swiss border involves paperwork, and a declaration of mileage. When we exit Switzerland again, we must declare the new mileage - and will be taxed accordingly; trucking companies are not pleased, therefore, if drivers get lost and clock up unnecessary distance.
The man with the rubber stamp chats happily to Little Dick about the length of Angus’s guitar solos nowadays, and processes forms speedily: 'you must get there.
I am coming to the (AC/DC) concert.' His colleagues, however, are less keen to ease our passage. Little Dick’s kilometre reading is checked, and Namibian is admonished for declaring an incorrect gross permissible trailer weight. It was a badly worded question on a computer screen, though, to be honest. Oh, and amid the uproar, I forget to change up any Swiss shitters - or francs, as some like to call them. Honestly, you'd think after eleven years, I'd have got the hang of this job..
29th March: (“forward or back?”)
These blog entries are getting a bit lengthy, don’t you think? So, I’ll do my utmost to cull all the waffling. Yes, well with an introduction like this, I’ve already wasted three sentences. Whoops, four.
Julian, a pal from school, lives in Zurich. As usual, the truck is hastily abandoned, and a tram is boarded. In the wrong direction. With every intention to purchase a travelcard in town, but with no Swiss shitters, I have to sit ticketless, quivering in fear of inspectors. The trip, however, is essential because his partner Justine has a staggering collection of audio books for me to borrow. Handing back the last dozen
I had on loan, we sit on the bed and she says: 'now, we want a balance between didactic and racy, and well-written.”
Julian, I am happy to say, is squinting rather less than at our last meeting. I comment on it, congratulating him on an unscrewed-up face. 'He’s got a little thingy now,' says Justine helpfully. Well, I know that, but she is, in fact, alluding to a small plastic prism that sticks on his spectacle lens, aiding short-sightedness. Back to more important matters, though: Julian swears that he recently opened another bottle of Tempranillo, but he is unable to find it. Ah, he hasn’t got his little thingy on.
While he hunts for the alcohol, squinting furiously again, I telephone his brother in Spain. We're planning to ‘do’ lunch in Barcelona, AC/DC’s next tour date. I hope I’m not giving the impression that this touring life is anything but hard work: it is ‘work hard, play hard’ in this industry; you can make a tour work for you but it’s no good if you can’t survive on catnaps. For those who need eight hours in bed at night - I like it but don’t need it
- DO NOT APPLY. Julian asks me if I’d mind taking my sock out of his wine glass.
Over a nightcap in a dimly lit bar last night, Justine, like most of us, bemoaned the changing of the clocks. Why is it that we cannot decide whether they move forward or back? Twice a year, this is a huge talking point in village post offices throughout England: 'Ooh, Maureen, do we lose an hour or gain one, this time?' Even when the point is settled, people (including me) still don’t know in which direction to wind their wristwatches. For the next fortnight, Justine will be asking: 'yes, but what time is it REALLY?'
Just to leave you on a spicy cliffhanger, I’m meeting a mystery girl tonight: Claudia, one of Crazy Sandra's friends. Oh blast, now you’re going to want to know how I get on. If I don’t mention her, you’ll assume she’s ghastly, and if I do? Ooh, tricky. Assume I just had a quiet drink and we’ll leave it at that..
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