Hearty Welcomes & Salutations! Originally an action-packed travel blog from a globe-trotting Scotsman, An Ache for the Distance has, over the years, slowed down (I post less often), mellowed out (domestic life has found it's way way on here) and become more of an expat/photo blog. Take a look around, leave a comment and share the love if you like something.
Stuart Mathieson, Lübeck, Germany

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Classy Italia?

The Italians are generally regarded as a stylish bunch, zipping around atop Vespas, clad in Gucci and on the whole enjoying "La Dolce Vita." Fine wine, world class food and a decidedly attractive populace all go towards confirming this much accepted belief. However, sometimes our Latin cousins just don't quite get it right.

When it comes to alcohol, they may produce some of the worlds best wines but they have no idea what constitutes a good beer. Credit I suppose is due to Caledonian Breweries of Glasgow for somehow convincing the Italian population that Tennants Super is a respectable beverage worthy of purchase. Readily available in supermarkets, cafés, trattorias and restaurants across the country, Tennants Super not only commands commercial respect in Italy but also rips the euros from Dolce & Gabbana wallets.

Most Scots, including myself, would happily admit their national beer isn't exactly of world beating calibre but it's pretty cheap for a pint and the super strength stuff keeps the homeless fellas in the park happy for a bit. Although how it came to be a respected brew in classy Italia remains a mystery. Perhaps the comment under the second photo explains the situation better, after all the financial crisis has been a difficult time...

From An Ache For The Distance
A box of Tennants almost finished in my local supermarket in Milan. To put the price in perspective, a bottle of German Franziskaner hefeweizen costs €1.19 and is almost twice the size.

The usual place you find Tennants Super (pic & subsequent comment from naughton321 on Flickr)
From An Ache For The Distance
Tennents Super, aka Tramp Juice, is a beer that has been cynically 'reverse engineered' by its manufacturers to cash in on the requirement of many hardened alcoholics to find a favourable price/strength ratio when purchasing booze. This is referred to by advertising types as market forces or supply and demand. Nobody else drinks Tennents - it tastes foul and you are nauseatingly drunk after two cans.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Warning - Travelling (in India) Can Damage Your Health

It's a strange sensation when your eyelids feel like they're on fire but a sure sign that you've got a fever high enough to heat the inside of an igloo. I shivered my way through two fever-filled nights in Arambol, Goa before dropping the masculine facade of "ah, it's nothing" and finally going to the doctor.

To be honest, if it was only fever and chills I would have just stayed in bed, but it wasn't. The fluctuating temperatures combined with a tropical climate had me sweating like an alcoholic in a sauna. As a human puddle, I would put on a fresh t-shirt, lie in bed and have to ring it out after an hour. A continuous state of sogginess.

The result, a fantastically extensive heat rash took hold. Not only was I glowing on and off and leaving damp patches everywhere I went, but to add insult to injury, my body felt that more attention needed to be drawn to my sorry state. Red, blister like spots stretched down both sides of my neck, over my shoulders, down onto my arms, around my back and across my stomach. My complexion changed from bronzed and well travelled to cherry tomato pizza in a matter of hours. I swiftly went in search of a doctor...

As I lay having my pulse taken and cultivating my sweaty calling card on the black leather examination table, the doctor enquired calmly if I'd had any long trips recently. I asked if Bhopal to Goa in a week by bus, train, boat, tuk tuk and taxi qualified as a journey worthy of medical note, he gave a confirming nod.

It seemed the diesel fumes inhaled for an hour on the ferry from Mumbai, the dust streaming in through the bus window in Indore and the windowless second class carriages on the Konkan railway (complete with numerous airless tunnels) had given my immune system a hefty kick in the groin so to speak. Travelling in India had reduced my to a sweaty, fevered, spotty lump and given the slogan Incredible India another interesting dimension...

The least offensive photo of the pizza rash...
From An Ache For The Distance

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Mock The Week

Italian TV shows the British perspective of Berlusconi through the eloquent prose of Frankie Boyle...