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Research darling, research!

Swanning around ancient European countries requires a savvy strategy if we are to justify enduring the 24+ hour airline food and movie fest sans sleep marathon don’t you think? Not to mention ensuring a glamorous entrance at our ancient cliff clinging quaintly cobbled village upon arrival. Now if you think getting stuck behind a pig parade is fun, consider trashing your best Louboutin heels par for the course or are still wondering why heavy baggage hefting isn’t yet an Olympian sport, stop reading now. For the rest of us…we need tactics. Big ones. And Google. Just a small amount of research can prevent a big amount of pain. Trust me, been there!

Research darling, research!

You’ve a list of places you’d love to visit while on that fab holiday and you’ve Googled highlights to add to your must see list. Now, seven further items worth the research:

1: Is the hamlet/village/township/city built upon level terrain, clinging cliffside or an ancient fortification perched atop a bloody great mountain?
Two weeks spent toting a heavy suitcase full of endless wardrobe possibilities up and down Italian cliff clinging villages and I was quickly packing excess into boxes homeward bound.

Solution: Pack light! Wanna know how? See: Packing like a sophisticate

2: Is it historic and thus likely paved with cobble stones?
The death knell for those gorgeous heels!

Solution: Thank god ballet flats are considered de rigueur in Europe!

3: Can it be easily accessed if one hasn’t a car?
Damn! Strike those gorgeous little villas in the Tuscan mountains, the lavender fields of Provence and anything else remotely remote off the list.

Solution: Day tours make great substitutes! I took one which started at a winery. Five tastings later and our party had morphed into one hilarious fun fest. For more on that crazy day and a little taste of the Luberon: Wine o’clock somewhere yeah?

4: Are there multiple platform swaps if traveling by train?
Most European trains have steps. The platforms have steps, few  of the smaller train stations have escalators and if there’s a lift, it’s usually broken. Platforms are mostly accessed via subterranean pathways. This means steps my friend. Steps!

Solution: Pack light! Allow plenty of time between connections (Oh! And here’s a story about a time I sat on a set of train steps with a bunch of perfect strangers eating pizza washed down with cheap red wine: You eez on zer wrong train Signora

5: How far is my chosen accommodation from the train/bu20131215-210108s/airport?

Just one baby jumping, phallus whacking,orange throwing, pig celebrating festival street closure and next thing your taxi driver is salivating as both meter and your flight climb heavenward right before your very eyes. (Spain, Greece, Italy, France)

Solution: Research festival and market activity scheduled at the time of your visit. Put Spain on future agenda – baby jumping is a must!

6: How close is the accommodation to the action?
The outskirts may be cheaper but a quick stroll directly through quaint streets into the hamlet heart and soul means a deeper, more culturally enriching experience.

Solution: Negate public transportation costs by choosing digs close to the hub of activity.

7: And if the hotel/villa/apartment isn’t on ground floor, does the building have a lift?
My traveling buddy’s hubby started divorce proceedings in a stairwell somewhere between the 9th and 14th floor of a particularly arduous curvy flight of timber stairs; though it must be said BOTH their bags weighed the equivalent of two dead bodies. The beauty of the actual apartment and a stiff G&T managed to stifle a potential screaming match. Just.

Solution: Need I say? Pack light!

 Logistics sorted? Prepped for a penis whacking? Anxious to avoid a divorce hearing? Keen to pack mega efficiently to make the most of that well earned holiday? You can do it!!

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Who loves Space Invaders?

Damn space invaders, the little suckers are everywhere. Excuse-moi? No I have NOT been worshipping at the wine trough thank you. You’d think so though the way I’ve been stumbling over gutters and into fellow pedestrians, for these perfect little mosaic space invaders from the arcade games of yesteryear are high up the sides of buildings and necessitating nose in sky not on sidewalk.

And I’m obsessed! MUST FIND MORE.

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But why are they there and what do they mean and exactly how many of them are there and who’s the quirky artiste who put them there in the first place? Well dear reader, in the interest of reporting in on the lesser known quirks of this fine city, I did a spot of research.

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Seems there’s over 500 of them in Paris alone, all lovingly created, planned and attached by a French urban artist who goes by the name of ‘Invader’. Having started the project in this his home city, he now pops little invaders high above the urban traffic in cities across the world, then documents this as an “Invasion”, with books and maps of where to find each invader.

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The locations for the mosaics are not random, rather, they are chosen according to a diverse criteria which may be aesthetic, strategic or conceptual. He favors locations frequented by volumes of people but also a few hidden locations. In Montpellier, the locations of mosaics were chosen so that, when placed on a map, they form an image of a giant space invader character. (Wikipedia)

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I’ve managed to find 10. My new mission has begun. I will need shoes of fine leather of course, perhaps those cute boots with the gold hardware, and that uber cool pair of…oh sorry, digressing again. Here’s a few space invaders to tickle your curiosity. Don’t ask me for their addresses for I was mostly lost at the time.You can visit the Invader’s website and Google maps also have a series that share invader locations. Must rest now, this sleuthing takes energy!

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 (photo below taken from Invader’s web site)

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