Blog

Les Villes de La France.

This past year I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in some of the great cities of France. Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Nîmes… I’ve really been blessed to be able to experience these places. From the contrasting cultures to the longstanding traditions, I never thought in my life I would have an opportunity to conquer this historic nation.

“La France, le plus beau royaume après celui du ciel.” de Grotius.

P1110600
Nîmes
P1110606
Nîmes
P1110605
Four auld men in Nîmes.
P1110633
Nîmes
P1110641
A Pub in Nîmes.
P1010182
I missed the last bus from Bordeaux Airport to the city centre. So I camped outside and waited until morning.
P1010192
Bordeaux
P1010184
Bordeaux
P1010196
Bordeaux
P1110513
Marseille
P1110590
Marseille
P1110588
Marseille
P1110525
Skater boi
P1110499
Marseille
P1110479
Sick architecture in Lyon.
P1110482
La Sucrière, Lyon.
Advertisements

Good Wee Reads.

I haven’t shared much of my library on here. Which is strange because it’s all I have done for a while. So now I figure is a good time to share my reading fancies with you. And it’s something I will probably be doing a lot more frequently on here.

Here are 5 incredible books that have not only inspired me but also helped to bring around changes in my own life. I highly recommend in plunging heed first into these literary dreams. From adventure stories able to drag you out of the slog of the day to political works filled with powerful logic and humbling passion. I hope that you can find yourself a Good Wee Read tailored to your tastes.

On the Road – Jack Kerouac. Buy Here.

on the road

“..the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse. Buy Here.

siddhartha

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

Che Guevara Talks To Young People. Buy Here.

che guevara

“The walls of the educational system must come down. Education should not be a privilege, so the children of those who have money can study.”

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson. Buy Here.

treasure island

“Sometimes the isle was thick with savages, with whom we fought, sometimes full of dangerous animals that hunted us, but in all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange as our actual adventures.”

James Connolly: Collected Works. Buy Here.

james-connolly.jpg

“It would be well to realize that the talk of ‘humane methods of warfare’, of the ‘rules of civilized warfare’, and all such homage to the finer sentiments of the race are hypocritical and unreal, and only intended for the consumption of stay-at-homes. There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress… What lover of humanity can view with anything but horror the prospect of this ruthless destruction of human life. Yet this is war: war for which all the jingoes are howling, war to which all the hopes of the world are being sacrificed, war to which a mad ruling class would plunge a mad world.”

Dubrovnik, Hrvatska.

It was my last stop on the Balkan tour. I didn’t want it to be. But my money management killed off any ambition of making it to Sarajevo. Lesson learned. But I still had a great few days in Dubrovnik to finish off what had been an amazing experience.

To be fair, I could’ve seen it all in a day. Apart from the Old Town there wasn’t much else to do. But I spent some time relaxing and reading after a hectic few weeks of running aboot this fascinating, absorbing (and sometimes baffling) region of the world. Until now it’s probably been looked down on by the majority of outsiders. Still there seems to be an underlying legacy of war, corruption and poverty. But the people fight on and rise above all that they can’t control. It wasn’t so long ago that foreigners like me coming through this area would have been seemingly unthinkable.

Fortunately, things change. We can all enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of these countries and its people through visiting and embracing the amazing cultures.

For the Balkan countries who showed me their kindness… Hvala, Благодаря ти, mulțumesc, Ви благодарам, faleminderit.

Thank you.

P1010104
Casual
P1010165
Dubrovnik
P1010175
Hrvatska
P1010169
Scenic
P1010107
God Help Us
P1010114
Old Town
P1010120
Stairs
P1010124
Top of the Stairs
P1010119
Square
P1010147
Painting
P1010158
Walloper
P1010110
God Help Us Again
P1010174
Aw the Boats

 

‘The Wide-Eyed Scotsman’ is a collection of thoughts, written pieces, opinions and blogs by myself, Aidan Meehan. Unless stated otherwise all of the work on this site is my own. All of the photos (unless credited) are my own aswell. I put a lot of work into upkeeping this for little or no return other than the gratitude I feel when my work is appreciated. Please.. If you have anything to say or if you enjoy my updates do not hesitate to like, share, follow, communicate or even criticise (be gentle). I am in no ways a professional blogger/writer/photographer and any sort of interaction which may help to improve my future work would be hugely appreciated.

It means the world to me to see people viewing this project. I hope its able to give you something aswell.

For all private enquiries get in touch at aidanmeehan94@outlook.com. Thank you so much. The Wide-Eyed Scotsman.

Translating on WordPress.

In order to reach a wider audience I added the Google Translate widget to the Wide-Eyed Scotsman. I have several French friends who are sad they can’t read what I write. Looking at the geographical statistics of my readers as well shows me that native English language speakers only make up a certain percentage of the full amount.

Unfortunately, Google Translate is rotten.

So what are my next steps? Do I begin writing all my posts in French underneath the original version? I could, but it doesn’t cover everyone else.

Are there any other available options that will ultimately benefit me and those who visit my blog? Widgets, apps, websites etc.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Merci.

 

why-google-translate-should-not-be-used-for-entity-management-680x426

Kosovo.

What a dream it was to visit this place. I don’t mean that it had been a lifelong ambition. But my aim at the beginning of 2018 was to go to places ‘off the beaten path’. The Balkans epitomised that but more so than the others, the Republic of Kosovo.

I only stayed one night in the capital city Prishtina before heading further north to the city of Peja. I’d never felt so surreal to be there. The youngest country in Europe. It’s safe to say I didn’t look remotely native. But everyone I met were all humbly welcoming and I even had a conversation with a local in French. He invited me for a coffee the next time I would visit.

Throughout my time travelling in these countries I encountered Islam on various occasions. I didn’t know a great deal about the religion and its teachings but on a personal level for a while now I’ve felt compelled to research a little. So I visited my first mosque while spending time in Sofia and then visited another two throughout my time in Kosovo. The hostel where I stayed in Peja was also stacked with plenty of books and I stumbled upon an English version of a book teaching Islam. I spent one of my evenings reading some pages and resting quietly in my bed area.

I’m not a believer of any religion. My own opinion is that to be a believer in any faith would require years of studying and education. I never enjoyed being raised as a catholic mainly because I didn’t understand it. What I do respect now is the power religion has to change someones life for the better and for that I would not attempt to persuade anyone to give up their learning. Unless it was some dark, hateful shit.

Here’s to you dear Kosovo. You helped me live out a small dream and welcomed me with grace. Until next time.

p1000969
Prishtina.
p1000973
Abandoned Church.
p1000999
Political Graffiti knows no bounds.
p1000977
Architecture 101.
p1000984
Prishtina
p1000980
Newborn.
p1010093
Albanian Roots.
p1010002
Mosque in Prishtina.
p1010027
Peja
p1010096
Trail Beginnings.
p1010048
Peja Mountains.
p1010050
Peja Mountains.
p1010076
A Tim in Kosovo.
p1010086
Peja Mountains.

Pour L’Amour des Verts

As promised, here are some snapshots from the Saint Etienne and Lyon Ligue 1 derby match. Unfortunately for the home side a first half goal wasn’t enough to see it through. After a disappointing first half Lyon came back out from the break and took control. The final score was 2-1.

However… Quelle ambiance! 

It’s been a while now that I’ve hoped to make it through for a game and, the result aside, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The supporters were friendly & passionate and even reminded me of going to the games back home in Glasgow. Something I miss dearly.

Until next time, les Stephanois

 

p1010964

 

”Stade Geoffroy Guichard”

 

p1010965

 

”Le chaudron va bouillir!”

 

p1010974

 

”Absolute screamer of a vintage kit in the museum. If anyone knows where I can get me one, hit me up.”

 

p1010983

 

”For the love of the Green..”

 

p1010996

 

”Combattre pour son club. Mouiller le maillot. Respecter ses couleurs.”

 

 

Allez qui c’est les plus forts?
Évidemment c’est les verts
On a un bon public et les meilleurs supporters
On va gagner!
Ça c’est juré allez…

 

 

Hangin’.

So I’m trudging downstairs to the bins out the back. Pair of old shorts and last nights jumper. It’s late in the afternoon of the first day of the New Year. The end of the festive season for me as it’s back to 6am wake-ups and out on the grind tomorrow morning. I pass a couple of fresh-faced neighbours and we exchange the usual niceties.

‘Bonjour monsieur. Bonjour messieurs-dames.’

There’s something about the people I meet in this same situation that I can’t get my head around. The seemingly carelessly ecstatic aura that they encompass. Emanating an ambience of sheer life and energy.. Ready for the adventures of the day that lay ahead. Even if (for talking’s sake) the Gilet Jaunes were to successfully overthrow Macron and his government or an ISIS uprising raised hell in the French suburbs these same ostensibly & untouchable folk will always be there to meet me, dishevelled and hanging, on the first floor landing of the flats of Cours Berriat.

I’m back in my cave now. The room is a tip. I haven’t taken the time to unpack my bag from the week spent back home in Glasgow. In all honesty I haven’t even managed to sort myself out yet. But I don’t really mind. For now I’m back in my own little world ready to jump back into my studies and my work. Back into grafting. Learning on the go. And I fucking love learning. Learning is power, strength.. profound and utter bravery. To me anyway. It takes a courageous soul to commit to education in the world that we live in. Often I think about what it means to rebel against the system of education in fear of something truly feign. A common theme throughout young people who choose to walk a path that strays away from their potential. Like me when I left school. Why did I not want to learn? Why did I not want to acquire knowledge? I think it was probably just that I couldn’t be arsed. Are all the disenchanted folk similar in that respect? Can we all just not be arsed? It’s possible. If it wasn’t for this hangover I’d probably indulge a bit. But I’m fucking hanging and for my own well-being I’ve decided to give it a by. Earlier on a friend asked me why I once collected so many records and threw myself into the clubbing industry as an aspiring DJ, only to give it all up and sell all that I had. I wish I had just said ‘I couldnae be arsed.’

I’ve got a few hours left now to prepare my work things and lay low for a while. I’ve just finished reading ‘Hings’ by Chris McQueer (what a book by the way) and I’m about to stick on the trusty Fitbaw Manager in the hope that signing foreign wonderkids will nurture my bevvy-riddled corpse back to a decent standard.

Happy New Year everyone. Bonne Année.

Aidan x

This Mad Fabled Land Called Skopje.

 

P1000956

 

Skopje

 

When I started planning this trip I asked myself what I wanted to do and at the very top of my list was to go and see some places that didn’t fit the norm. And just like Limmy spoke of Yoker as ‘some mad fabled land‘ I definitely felt a bit like the man himself, sitting at Sofia Bus Station with the rest of the troops as we humbly awaited to hit the road. Obviously a peely-wally Scotsman wi’ ginger hair stuck out like a sore thumb at the Balkan bus stop. But I wasn’t for caring. I was heading on my merry way to the Macedonian capital of Skopje.

I’m not gonna lie. This place is a bit mental. Half the city is being reconstructed as the government try to promote tourism and move away from the carry on with the name and the culture. I don’t even know where to begin if i’m honest. The people sound Slavic. The alphabet is Cyrillic. But the fridge magnet I brought back was definitely a wee Greek soldier. I think that’s why I bought it. It represented my confusion by this mesh of cultures. I’m not the only one. Bulgarians say Macedonia is Bulgaria. The Greeks say it’s Northern Greece. Albanians say it’s Eastern Albania. And the whole time there’s a collective of politicians sitting in the Macedonian government ripping the arse out of it and spending millions on rubbing in the fact that they don’t really care.

And if you thought that was bad, I hadn’t mentioned religion. On the outskirts of Skopje there were some hills, the top being visible from the city centre. Erected at the peak of the hill was a massive Christ’s Cross and at night it glowed clear white so as to look as though it was suspended in the dark night sky. Sound lads. Looked a bit like a Justice cover album and that gave me some peace of mind. But when walking through the old Town with this in full, clear vision and the Islamic Call to Prayer blasting through the Mosque speakers not far ahead… I grew up in the West of Scotland so religious tension is generally not a bother to me. But this was probably on another level. At least, the natives  didn’t seem too fussed.

In the city centre there’s an Arc de Triomphe twenty yards away from where Mother Teresa was born. Then another short distance down the road there is a garden with miniature sized statues and memorials inspired by different countries. There’s a replica of the Berlin Jewish Memorial. In the main city square there is a massive statue which is basically Alexander the Great but because the Greeks are absolutely raging it’s been officially named ‘Man On a Horse’. They don’t give a monkeys.

There was a free street festival on during my time. The headliners were a national hip-hop treasure. I didn’t understand a word and there was points where it seemed like more of a political rally than a concert. It was government funded after all. Still, it was class.

 

 

”Rap music is not dead. It faked it’s own death and moved to Skopje.”

 

It’s not all about the madness though. I took a bus from the city centre with some others to Matka Canyon. Twenty five minutes away. Beautiful place with a nice bar, a restaurant and a small pier where we hired some kayaks.

 

P1000957

 

Matka Canyon

 

An absolute anomaly of a place. Bewilderingly abnormal.

The North Korea of Europe. There I said it. Inspired by they mad Macedonians. Bold as brass.

And I absolutely loved it.

 

Unfortunately I didn’t take too many photos, but the internet is a smashing place. And here is a site that documents perfectly oor Skopje. Have a look!

(https://bbqboy.net/wild-wacky-skopje-macedonia-one-strangest-places-weve/)