And so we are here. As promised to Ervinas and some other people, I will [occasionally] be trying to reflect on what Arvydas and I have done in Newcastle. For those of you who don’t know, I and Arvydas will be spending the following week in Newcastle where the European University Debating Championships takes place. We just have settled in our rooms in place called Castle Leazes. Do not be fooled by the pretentious name, since it is simply a student campus built of grey bricks in the middle of nowhere. First observation about Newcastle – grey, lifeless, industrial buildings. I feel like in Mordor. Rooms are a little bit better, but having separate water taps is still bloody stupid.
But enough about this. You will be informed about our [lack of] debating success. The real action happened in our trip to here. In short, it would look approximately like this: Riga – Stockholm – Glasgow – Newcastle. In reality, it was even tougher:
(1) After taking a flight to Stockholm, we had 12 hours to spare before our next piece of Ryanair experience (selling Playboy wallets, playing classical music hits in bad quality while boarding, you know, the lot). When I say Stockholm, I actually mean 100km away from Stockholm, so we decided to spend this time in the airport. I am sure that Arvydas would portray a slightly different version of what happened, but I spent my time (a) falling asleep in the sun and burning one side of my face, (b) feeling excited about being in Sweden and seeing cutie-pie blondes everywhere and (c) irritating Arvydas with my discussions. Arvydas had a more productive way of spending time, engaging in heavy reading about foreign policy and related affairs.
(2) We landed in Prestwick Airport in 23.15. After taking a cab to Glasgow train station, we found ourselves in a peculiar situation – the next train to Newcastle was at 6.50 in the morning. Getting a hostel seemed like a waste of time/money/dignity, so we decided to spend the time in some other ways. We started with a quick night tour around Glasgow. Actually the buildings are really nice there. After a while, it became clear that avoiding Scottish youth and sharing a small umbrella in heavy rain was not the way to go. The solution – hitting Burger King at 1AM. Awesome experience! While eating our soya burgers, we had the wondrous opportunity of observing a very special selection of the lowest social levels of the Glasgow scene. Drunk guys in rugby shirts talking in an incomprehensible Scottish accent, white trash in high heels and disastrous dresses – it all was part of the mix. We spent close to three hours hanging out and exchanging glances with the guards when yet another particularly impressive specimen from the Glasgow social scene had entered the restaurant (why do they call it a restaurant anyway? It is a fast food place). At 4AM we, on the border of an emotional breakdown, left the special place and went back to the train station to get some sleep before the journey. That is, we would have done it if it would not be so cold.
(3) When finally getting ready to hit the train (obviously, feeling ridiculously tired), we discovered an unpleasant detail. Contrary to our expectations, a one-way train ticket from Glagow to Newcastle was 55£ for a single person. I am still not entirely sure who is to blame for this mix-up, but if you meet Arvydas, tell him that I blame him. Since we had no choice, we paid the price & got on the train. Two hours of sleeping, and we finally were in Newcastle.
Sorry for the details and mess – I am yet to recover from our trip. Expect next entries to be way shorter, as we will be concentrating on debating. Post your special requests in the comments section!