A night in Galway in 3 parts

Because even when you think you might finally just be about to go home – something else can always happen.

2013-08-05 19.42.32-2

Part I: how I met Zazie at the window at 4 o’clock.

Galway. The night is pitch back and I am in a small street by the Docks. Not a single human being around.

Hey…”

The voice of a girl.

“HEY”

Again. And I still do not see anyone around.

HEY! I said H-E-Y –Y-O-U!

Ok, maybe it’s for me.

“Y-O-U!”

I see her. She is probably about 20, has black dark hair, a black dress, and she is at the window of an apartment I just passed by. Ground floor.

“Yes, you! Finally!

“What the hell are you doing at 4 in the morning with that big bag? Who are you, a serial killer?”

Nice. I had the impression I didn’t look fresher than ever but I didn’t know things got so out of hands that I started looking like a serial killer.

Yet, ok. This time at least she didn’t go for the are you a journalist right away.

“No, I haven’t been one so far yet. I just have my office here in this bag. I’m coming from the poker village around the corner…”

“Ah, so you are a journalist.”

What the…

“How do you know?”

“I don’t know, you just look like a journalist.”

Or a serial killer. Not bad.

“Why? How does a journalist look like?”

“Like you, I told you. Don’t make repeat the same stuff all over, please. It’s almost 4am, I am tired- you know?

Damn it. If in my life I have ever imagined Queneau’s Zazie in any other way – I was wrong. One minute talking to her, and she is Zazie already.

“Where are you from?” she asks me.

“Uh, it’s not that easy” I go with. “What do you want to know: where was I born or where I am coming from now?”

“Israel.”

“Wait – what?”

“You are from Israel.”

“Why would I be from Israel then?”

Because you look like one.”

One – what?”

ONE FROM ISRAEL! WAKE UP!”

“And how one f…no. sorry, I won’t ask that. Do you know where can I go to buy cigarettes this late?”

“No. But I can give you a cigarette if you want.”

“That would be wonderful. Thank you.”

Part II: on how Sardina is a country on its own and I got myself a girlfriend

Sorrysorrysorrypleasepleaseplease…can you just pretend you are my boyfriend from a minute?”

Another girl, another type, another scenario.

We are on Galway’s busiest road, few steps from a super crowded MacDonalds and she’s wearing a short dress and high noisy heels.

“Please, just for one minute. Some Polish guys are being so annoying that I told them you are my boyfriend.”

Ok…few steps earlier I was a serial killer, and now I am potential boyfriend. This Galway has quite a nightlife.

We start walking together.

“Where are you from?” she asks. And this time I go for a simpler answer.

“Italy.”

“Where about?”

“Sardinia.”

“Where is that?”

Now, if there’s one thing I do not understand is why in the world lots of people know nothing about Sardinia but know everything about Corse.

“Do you know the French island..”

“Corse? Sure, I do.”

“Ok. I come from an island right below that. Just bigger.”

“You come from Sardinia!”

“Yes, I do…”

“But so don’t bullshit me, please! YOU are NOT Italian!”

Ok, fine. Here we go…maybe I should just start saying Israel…“You know, trust me – but I am not form anywhere in Africa either. Sardinia is part of Italy so…”

“No, it’s not! Do you think I am that ignorant?!  I know perfectly that Sardinia is a country on its own”.

And if she knows it perfectly, that means she must be right. “I know people who would love that to be true – but I am afraid I will have to disappoint you…”

“GIIIIIIIRLS!! GIIIIIIIRLS!!”

Oh, please. We were only missing the shouting now.

“GIIIIIIIRLS!! This guy is from Sardinia and keep saying he is Italian! Why is he doing this?!”

Thee high-heeled girls join the conversation. And it’s 4 against 1 in a second.

Thankfully they are drunk, I am drunk and I can just walk away while they argue about geography and Sardinia.

So, that’s how I dumped my Galway girlfriend.

Part III: What people do before getting married in Galway

Less than 500 meters from home – another stop.

This time one guy is just sitting on a chair in the middle of a busy road while people around just keep laughing and cars keep driving as if he was not really a problem.

“That’s Galway!” someone say. And I do not want to miss it, I want to keep a memory of this.

So, I take my camera and I start filming what is going on close to Merchant Street past 4am.

These guys are soon getting married. And he is a genius.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

How I got drunk in Galway trying to write about Irish beers

Ask a local where to go in Galway for drinking a pint of real Irish Stout without tens of tourists around, and the answer will be “Bierhaus”.

Ask another one and you will be most likely to get the very same answer.

Wondering why?

Well, let me tell you. Probably it is because Bierhaus is just a great place. And, trust me, I know what I am talking about.

I went there.

Now you can read what happened.

2013-08-09 16.33.35

Once you come in, the pub is exactly what you expect a real pub to be.

Empty consumed and super comfy leather couches on every corner, full stools right next to the bar.

Once you come in you see that in Bierhaus people like staying as close to their beer as they can. Even if this means not sitting on a comfortable couch.

Which is good because, in the end, we are in a pub. And beer is all that matters here.

“What are you, a journalist?” goes the host –  a cool mustached guy named Jack Consicline – once he sees me unpacking my portable office for getting camera and notebook ready and have my mission done.

IMG_7296

Our beer trip starts with a pint of Darkhous, a 4% Stout that tasting like a caramelized and chocolatized Guinness.

In other words, a delicious beer.

As soon as he sees my pass from the tournament, Jack asks me how things are at the Village.

“Pretty good”, I say. “There’s a good vibe there. You should give it a try.”

“I don’t play poker” he goes. “I only play with some friends at my basketball team. That’s all.

You know, I like to spend my money, not to lose it”.

– silence in the bar. After 4 days at the tournament I really feel already too tired to engage in a discussion about the social role of poker and the dualism of “having fun” vs. “losing money”.

Few silent sips of Darkhouse later, we are joined by a regular.

He’s probably on his 50s, has cool and intellectual round spectacles, carries a book with himself and has heard bits of our conversation.

Hence, obviously, he can’t resist the temptation of asking about the Village as well.

“How is it there? Lots of people? Lots of money?”

IMG_7124

“I only gamble with my health when I come drinking here. That’s the only gambling I like” goes the intellectual looking fellow drinker while asking for “one” and getting a pint of Guinness in return. A classic.

“Nobody ever wins. Ever.” He says before our host contradicts  him saying “That’s not true.”

“I have this one friend”, he goes. “He has been unemployed for two years and be paid his mortgage by playing online poker. Some people do win money at the game.”

Interesting, I think. I might get unemployed anytime soon, I have a mortgage – I need to know how did he do.

“He had a software to help him understanding probabilities of his hands and he moved from one table to the other playing only against bad players.

That’s how he got their money”.

If anything, he is visibly proud of his friend right now. So proud that I wonder if he has ever told him that.

“Are there software for that?” asks the intellectual type.

“There are software for any kind of things” goes the bartender leaving on a table a bottle of HoppelHammer.

That’s for me. He thinks it’s time to move on an keep our beer trip going.

IMG_7300

“How’s your research going? Good?” asks me a third man I haven’t seen before.

He heard what I am doing there but for some reasons he choose not to jump in the conversation with the other two guys

He waited until I went outside to smoke a cigarette and followed me there.

“How do you like our Irish beers?” he asks with an accent that only a stout can help you to really understand.

“I am not sure I should say this, but man! That Darkhous tasted better than Guinness!”

“What?” he says. “Better than Guinness you say!? But Guinness is pretty much the worse stout around here!”

WHAT?!  Can it be?! Can he be possibly right?!

If he is…well…I might seriously start considering moving to Ireland after all.

IMG_7298

HoppelHammer, on the other hand, is a whole different story.

Firstly is a bottled beer, secondly is an triple hopped IPA and thirdly is a 6% one. So you are free to get to your own conclusions now.

Especially once I specify that it usually take me no more than two sips of a triple hopped beer to get completely knocked out. And right now I am having a full pint of it.

This second (still delicious) beer does not come from Galway. It comes straight from the Mountains of Mourne, the heart of Ireland, if you are not good at geography.

And, trust me, it carries inside all the taste of a triple hopped IPA with a very fruity aroma.

Out on the market since 1996, HoppelHammer is such a completely different story that half a pint later we all forgot the reason why I came to the pub. Me included.

“What do you think of this? Will it work?” asks me the guy who told me Guinness is bad while showing me some kind of never seen gizmo to be put on the back of his bicycle.

“I would not use it, it will brake the bike” – goes the host.

“It is going to bounce a lot” – goes the intellectual type coming out with a doubtfully useful yet smart opinion. Fits his role after all.

“I have no idea what you are talking about – is what I would like to say while instead I nob with my head and swallow yet another sip.

Which I would enjoy a lot, if it wasn’t for the simple fact that IPAs get me hammered in a second.

Did I say that already?

IMG_7110

“It’s quiet today, hah?” A new young bold guy approaches me.

“Students are not here yet.

You know? They are over 20.000. One third of the population, easily

Somehow I am not really sure he is really talking to me. He does not look at me, he does not wait for an answer, yet there’s only me in the direction of his words.

Jack, the bartender, just dropped a Galway Hooker on the bar. And before you start thinking weird, I probably should tell you that here, a “ ’Hooker ” is just a beer – nothing else.

Galway Hooker

If even for a single second you wondered why in the world would anyone name a beer “hooker” you should keep in mind few basic points as the Irish sense of humor and the fact that NO ONE ever drinks only one pint of it.

Do you follow me here? No?

Too bad, really.

While I drink a beer which name was chosen through a public contest run back in 2006, the bold guy keeps his monologue going.

“Ten years ago it wasn’t like this, you know?

“I used to live in London and I remember how was to come back to Galway back then. This place was a mess.”

“Why so?” I finally jumped in and from a monologue now we have a conversation. He got me. Or maybe it’s the hooker. Damn her..erm…it..

A Girl I might have fallen in love with because of the pink guitar

“This used to be a  city of artists, you know?

“if you wanted to study in Galway, it was easier to get  a spot to become a doctor or an architect than an artist. Here everyone was an artist.”

For how strange that might sound to anyone, believe me – it only takes a short walk in the Latin Quarter of Galway to realize this might actually be all true.

“I remember when I came back here from London once. Oh, that was life, man!

“Clubs were closing early, parties were all going on in private houses. I also use to be a DJ back then. I remember the girls, the fights, the friends who were getting married and had to go home”

He sees the ring on my finger. He sees I am married.

“Me, married, never. Nobody is going to get me.

“No-bo-dy.”

And suddenly he stops talking and starts looking somewhere else, somewhere far. Somewhere I can’t see.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Verso Venezia: i Miei Primi 7 Appunti di Viaggio

#1. In ogni aereo c’è sempre uno che lo vedi e pensi “questo è americano”.

E ci azzecchi pure.

Da cosa lo riconosci? Semplice.

Cappellino in testa, voce profondissima, iPhone incollato al palmo della mano e bermudoni d’ordinanza. E pazienza se a Venezia fa 6 gradi, piove e weather.com dice che il real feel è di 1 grado. Si vede che in America fa sempre molto caldo. Oppure loro sono molto calienti.

#2. A Venezia fa un freddo cane.

No ma sul serio, proprio un freddo cane.

Non so se sia mi stia già abituando a Malta ma, porcocane (non il mio eh, che è porco ma non lo insulto – quello degli altri) lo stesso cappotto che ho usato per anni a Tallinn non sembra servire a nulla qui a Venezia. A meno che…

#3. Non abbia preso il bus sbagliato e non sia finito da qualche altra parte.

Questo ancora non lo so. Per ora mi bevo una birra mentre continuo a pensarci su.

Perché nel bus che ho preso per venire qui non c’era scritto niente…e l’autista non è sembrato voler andare oltre il veneto stretto mentre parlava con me.

L’unica cosa che ho capito è stata “se vedemo”. E da come mi ha ricordato il Gabibbo, forse c’è il rischio che tra una fermata e l’altra io sia arrivato fino a Genova. Vedrém.

#4. Parlano tutti di Grillo

Cinque minuti in un bar ed è tutto un “Bersanistronzocazzo” alternato da cinquemila spiegazioni sul perché chi non è d’accordo con grillo sia un po’scemo e – soprattutto – non abbia ancora capito niente.

Ora ho capito perché vi sia piaciuto l’altro post.

#5. Venezia o no, qualcuno ha sbagliato stazione comunque.

Tre ragazze brasiliane sono scese a Mestre e non a Venezia. Per sbaglio.

Mentre mezzo bus cercava di convincerle ad aspettare ancora un po’, la loro impazienza di ballare la samba sotto la pioggia le ha fatte scattare alla porta del bus alla prima fermata. Certo, il fatto che alla loro domanda “Stescion?” l’autista abbia risposto “Si.” Dimenticandosi di dire che – sì, per quanto quella fosse una stescion …non era quella di Venezia…

#7. Gli 883 sono ancora tra noi

Tieni il tempo, con le gambe e con le mani,

Tieni il tempo, non fermarti fino a domani.

Tieni il tempo, vai avanti e vedrai…

Il ritmo non finisce mai.

Tieni il tempo-o,

Tieni il tempo-o,

Tieni il tempo-o.

No, sul serio, qui al bar stanno passando gli 883.

Non stessi ancora cercando il modo di fare una domanda da film tipo “Dimmi, Gringo: che città è questa?” io gli chiederei se davvero loro ascoltino ancora gli 883 oppure se sia semplicemente io ad avere un sedere micidiale.

#6. Secondo me l’autista era mezzo figlio di emigrante e mezzo figlio di…

Ma questa è un’impressione mia. Pazienza.

Bersanistronzocazzo.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS