twenty-seven fragments

Posted on March 24, 2012

Fragments and memories of a three month adventure around Europe through the lens of artist Amy Reid.

some glimpses of one little lady’s adventure.
27 places
93 days
16 sim cards
34 trains
4,085 photographs


Imagine a place where all the houses have a river view. Where trees line every street. Where quaint little bridges dressed in fairylights cast dancing reflections on the water at night. Where everywhere you could want to go, is just an easy bike ride away. Where all the streets have bike lanes. Where the people are friendly and good-looking and carefree. A place where you can sit on your front porch, smoking a joint and no one will even notice. This is the city of Amsterdam.



Cologne feels familiar. Arriving in Cologne seemed more like returning, even though I’d never seen pictures or read anything about it. It’s a university town, with an excellent independent shopping culture, great cheap food and cute local beer that comes in tiny, tiny glasses. The apartment we stayed in was owned by a German boy called Christof. The house had a waterbed and the toilet seat lit-up when you sat down. In Cologne, I bought some shoes that were too small and you piggybacked me across the city so I didn’t have to walk. When I left Cologne I felt a little homesick.


I loved train time. I got myself a two month, first class Eurail train pass for the trip and I really cashed in on it. Train time was my relaxing time. It was the only opportunity I had in the three months to reflect. I did a lot of dorky scrapbooking during train time and read a lot of George R. R. Martin books. I had a few train snoozes and ate a few train snacks. The trains in Germany were particularly splendid, because in first class we got free “bitties”, which usually included some chocolate and a fruitbox. Train time is tremendous.


I didn’t bother with a map in Rome. Not because I knew where I was going, but because I didn’t need one. We spent our days continuously lost and absolutely mesmerized. We walked constantly and well into the night, exploring and eating and going in circles. Whenever I became worried I might never find my way back, we would turn a corner and accidentally stumble upon the crowded Fontana di Trevi or the unfathomably large Pantheon. On menus, the Italian to English translation of rocket is arugula.



In Prague we managed to eat at possibly the only two vegetarian restaurants in the Czech Repulic. In Prague, I accidentally learned that if you blow hot breath onto your camera lens it looks like you’re shooting in dense fog. In Prague, I took sneaky photos of some Alphonse Mucha prints even though the lady strictly said “no photography” and even though I work in a gallery and should know better. In Prague, I saw my first castle.



If not for the enormous language barrier, every English speaking person under 30 on earth would be living in Budapest. There’s a bar, music venue, beer-garden, shisha house, art gallery, recording studio, pizza joint, outdoor cinema called Szimpla Kert where the furniture is made from bathtubs and the beers are the Hungarian Forint equivalent of about two dollars. It has all your needs covered in one convenient, non pretentious location. You can even take your dog.



San Sebastian.
Dear favourite shoes,
You were there for me in Malta when I met his grandparents. You took me for endless walks in Italy and I took you to the Venice Biennale. You were there in Poland for that outdoor night festival in the bitter cold. You came with me to the movie set in Berlin to meet my cousin. You saw Salzburg and Milan and Monaco. In Cannes, you made it through the ice cream incident and I thought you would be okay, but then the rains came in Barcelona and you were taken before your time.


It looks big from the outside. When the main spire is finally completed, sometime in the next twenty years, the Sagrada Familia will be 170 metres tall. That will make its height one metre less than Montjuïc Hill in Barcelona, because Gaudi didn’t want to create something that competes with God. He died in 1926, knowing he would never see his masterpiece completed. Inside, it is like entering another realm of spatial perception. No amount of research, film, photography or explanation can encapsulate what it feels like to stand, so small, inside something so monumental in scale and divinity. I was profoundly moved.


Read more fragments in Overcoat Issue One: Location.

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