Hiking and Hangovers – episode #1 – Cinque Terre

I created a Facebook group for friends who are passionate about both drinking and hiking. It’s part of my new years resolution to not be a sack of shit after a night out, and actually get up and get busy. Which is probably the best hangover cure anyway.

For our first trip we headed to the Cinque Terre in Italy. Which, in short, is five small historic towns dotted amongst cliffs along the Italian coast. There’s five towns with a 1.5-2.5 walk between each. There’s also a train that runs through the cliffs linking them all together. Perfect setting for low commitment, yet beautiful, hiking.


Looking down on Vernazza

We got in at a reasonable 6pm after re-familiarising ourselves with the difficulties of non-English speaking train travel and my questionable short cuts to save a few euros on trains. We stayed at a sweet air bnb in Monterosso. We got straight to work on working up a nice hangover for the next days hiking. Although it was a Saturday night, it wasn’t quite peak season, and this area is still not known for its nightlife even in the high season. Yet we found some cool people and ended up drinking on a rooftop with some Americans after all the bars closed at 1 or 2am.


I don’t think anyone recalls this Polaroid being taken…


Old mates doing pretty well to lift that. Especially with no arms.

We all got back at different times, last of whom were Simon and Casey. Casey didn’t quite make it back incident-free. He ended up in the ocean. With his phone in his pocket. After a routine boat-dock jump went sour. He also became the second person I needed to support financially after getting a £300 fine from transport for London. It sounds like his rental Boris bike didn’t correctly dock back into the station and he’d been charged for the bike. The other guy I was supporting was old mate, Simon. He’d lost his wallet for the hundredth time the night before the trip.

Day #1. The hiking commences! Bright and early at 12.30pm on the dot. We took to it like athletes and walked to not one, but two towns. It really was a spectacular walk. Highly recommend. We ended it with some bomb seafood, Italian wine and beer.


We walked from Monterosso -> Corniglia on the first day. On the second from Riomaggiore -> south off this map.


Cool olive harvesting machinery


Excuse the terrible filter. My new camera has this feature where it quickly takes a photo with 10 different filters on it. So there was a lot of these on my card! Here we are with Corniglia in the near distance.


That coastline!


Serious engineering challenges


On the road again, beers in hand

Some might say we’re a lot better at the hangover side of things than the hiking. Night #2 would support that theory. We swiftly got through a few slabs of beer playing drinking games and talking shit at the air bnb for the night.

Hiking day #2. So we had walked from town 1-2 and 2-3 out of the five (Monterosso being our #1 start point). So today we had planned to train to town 3 and walk 3-4 and 4-5. However paths between both these two were closed due to massive land slides and not due to reopen until 2019 i think? Which was new news to us… So we needed a plan B. A few guys were rallying to spend the day in the pub, but I was pretty determined to get our hike on again. I convinced the others and we tried catching a boat from Monterosso to the furthest south of the five towns, Riomaggiore. Which was a recommendation from travel expert Mum. However the boat time table didn’t match what I had read online and we were faced with an hour and a half wait. So we decided to flag the boat and instead train to Riomaggiore. Getting in about 1.30pm.

I had a grand plan of hiking from Riomaggiore to Porto Venere. Which is further south along the coast. I naievely thought that it would be the same stuff as yesterday. Nice coastal paths. So we grabbed some food in Riomaggiore and set off walking through the town in the direction of the coast line. However these towns are serious labyrinths.

Before long we decided to ask directions of this nice Italian man. He basically said we’re idiots and it isn’t possible. We had to walk up the towering cliff that this town poked out of. We then had to walk along the top of the hills down to Porto Venere. Which is all good and well, except we’re no athletes, and even if we were, it would be a real struggle to do it before nightfall. BALLLLS!

He presented us with an alternative, that he still recommended against due to time constraints. He said we could catch a bus to a town up high in the cliffs and walk from there. So of course, that’s what we did.

The clock was against us, so we hurried to the bus stop and quickly started waiting for our bus… for an hour and a half. Which was all the more disconcerning as we didn’t understand the bus timetable and neither did anyone we ask. One bus that did arrive let a pile of locals on then shut it’s door in my face. The bus driver gave my all time least favourite gesture, that single index finger waving left to right, a favourite of primary school teachers. He drove off and we continued to wait, with no real certainty that we were doing the right thing.

Eventually another bus turned up and we got in. This trip was a success and we had a picturesque drive up the hill. The advice to not walk up the hill was very good advice indeed. After about half an hour we got to small town where we got out. Here  a few of the guys grabbed  a quick espresso and we were off on hike #2. At 4.30pm…!! We truly do suck.


I have a rule for myself. No photos out of vehicle windows. As they are always shit. This photo however, is an exception.



Hangover faces?

This hike took us mainly through trees and small towns. With the odd glimpse of the ocean either side of us, way down below. We found a cool abandoned house that I couldn’t say no to exploring. We ended up walking into our destination, Portovenere, as the sun was coming down. If we had of been another hour it would’ve been a very dark final decent. One benefit of hiking so late in the day, was that we saw only two other hikers the whole walk.




Then it was a bus to La Spezia for some dinner and a train home to Monterosso. Unlike the first two nights, this one was much quieter in the house. We were smashed from the hike and the previous night of drinking. It felt reeeally good to lie down. I think we did pretty good overall for a pack of non-athletic tourists. Definitely looking forward to hiking and hangovers episode #2!

St Patrick’s Day in Dublin

Yes that’s right! We went to Dublin for St Patrick’s day and shit got messy. We flew in and got an air bnb across the road from the Guinness brewery. Our Ryan Air flight got in late with a delay, as usual, but we still managed to join some Irish friends we made in Athens on a pub crawl. One of them was a girl named India. I don’t want to confirm or deny anything, but Simon may or may not have ended up with her that night. Which lead to many hilarious jokes such as “what smells like butter chicken?” And “bro, you look tired, did you cross the Himalayas last night?”


We chose some pretty amazing costumes to rock. Bright green Sargent Pepper costumes. They were perfect except for one minor fact. Which was that the Beatles were British and the Irish aren’t the biggest fans of the British. Surprisingly only a few locals called us out on it. At least to our faces anyway.

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Lil Bros stag du pranks

My brother, Quinn’s, stag du was awesome. Quinn had foolishly asked me to be his best man. Event planning is one of my passions so I jumped at the chance to plan his stag du. I hadn’t actually even seen my brother in four years! We had both been bouncing around the world, sometimes only missing each other by a month or two.


You can probably guess which one is my brother. I had those green shirts made, the faces on them are actually Quinn’s face with some tweaks. “RIP The freedom of Quinny”

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Air Asia, more like No Airtime Asia

What should have been a reasonable two stop transit from Phuket, Thailand to New Zealand ended up being a 44 hour door to door experience. It was about an hour and a half from my accommodation to the airport. While about to board my flight to Kuala Lumpur, for a two hour stopover, things first started to go sour. This flight was delayed by an hour and twenty minutes, leaving me about 45 minutes to make my transfer.

I booked this leg of my trip through a  company called Skypicker. It was a cheap route but with good deals can come big problems. In this case, they had purchased my three flights separately, meaning I needed to pick up my bag and recheck it in KL for the next leg to Sydney. I collected my bag and cleared immigration in record speed thanks to the airport being almost deserted. I got to the check in desk with almost half an hour to make the flight. It was here that I first got worried. The check in staff said we couldn’t make it onto the flight. There was a few Aussies there too who lost their shit at the check in staff. There was seven of us all in the same boat. However it was all in vein and we missed the flight. They did rebook us for another flight the next morning, but I was booked the whole way through to Auckland. My last leg from Sydney-Auckland was with Air NZ and not Asia Air as were the first two flights. Even though it was fully Air Asia’s balls up, they wouldn’t help me.

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4 days in Fu#kit *Phuket

Headed to New Zealand for my brothers wedding I swung a stopover in Thailand. It only added another £100 to my flight bringing the total to £1250!! Bad time to fly round the world. I arrived in Thailand after a two hour delay in Germany due to Euro wings. Formally known as German wings until they had a pilot kill himself and everyone else on the plane. I got into Phuket international at 5am and was met with a serious mental and even physical challenge at the border. The worst que of my entire life. After 20 hours of transit I got stuck waiting for passport control for 2.5 hours. This was no normal que though, it was a full time, sweaty, mosh pit with no structure whatsoever. Everyone was pushing forward for the total duration. When I finally reached the front I had to lean back to not bump into the person having their passport checked in front of me. When I did eventually get through and go to bend down to get my suitcase from the carousel my legs almost gave out and I had to go on in for a second attempt. As horrible as this all was I couldn’t escape an overwhelming sense of happiness. It’s hot!! I couldn’t remember the last time I had sweat. I’ve officially escaped the miserable UK winter.




Yet, it’s all worth it for this!

I had one intention for this stopover, and that was to chill the f out and be in the sun. I only had one lapse in my plan when I caved and did one touristy excursion. I took a day tour around four islands. In the UK a travel company uses this awkward German tourist in their promotional adds. Being from New Zealand I’m only now slowly learning all the European stereotypes that seem common knowledge to everyone here. Germans being awkward tourists is apparently one of those. Something I’d never noticed until this golden example came crashing down onto my groin.


The German groin squasher. Note the glasses.

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German Road Trip Baby!

Three buddies from New Zealand I took a road trip in Germany from Munich to Cologne. Also briefly popping up in three other countries on our whirlwind five night trip. We rented a sparking new beast of a car and set about seeing an average of 1.8 Christmas markets a day which helped me towards my goal of a solid German beer and Bratwurst diet.


The Gang! Mannschaft Quattro

road trip zoomed out.JPG

Flying into Munich we ventured South into Austria, then up towards Frankfurt but made an impromptu turn into Luxembourg. Then on route to Cologne we missed our off-ramp so swung out wide through the south of Belgium.

road trip.JPG

Considering we only had five nights, we saw a shit load. This list is missing two other stops in little German towns. Munich-Cologne direct should only take 5 hours to drive.

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