Europe 3. roothub

day by day, train by train: the story of our European adventure.


Our hostel had reached its incredibly low expectations with the sweet surprise of a (hopefully small) bedbug infestation.

Well, when I say infestation, I mean that we found one creeping and crawling about just on Kaila’s bed.

Dampening the inclination to shift the blame for this confuffle off my own bugless bed, we comforted Kaila with kind words and blind reassurance. Needless to say, Kaila survived and we hurriedly left the hostel with the ironic little Italian victim  exuding the ‘i told ya so’ smugness that comes with heralding the bedbug prophecies in the first place.

we haven’t told her until this day that we actually did find more than 1 bug in her bed, oops


We headed to the station for a (yes,another) croissant and a mcmuffin to fill the wait for our very long journey to Italy. No longer able to stay in Kaila’s larger apartment, we managed to agree to stay in the smaller one, as long as we washed all of our clothes. I tried to stay calm and casual at this condition, as if this didn’t send a white flush of panic through me or the void where my common sense would reside if I actually had any.

Relieved to make it to the next stage of the journey, we said goodbye to some boy with silly goldilocks, a sweaty disposition (or tearful, even?) and a face I can no longer recall trapped on the other side of the glass barrier and hopped onto the train to Valence (where, hopefully, Flo and I could lend a hand to talk to people because we have #culturalawareness).

praise be to the IB

This obstacle (potential bedbug infestation) to rock our day was countered by a clichéd saving grace which would rock our world. This miracle was granted to us  in the god-like form of the eponymous hero of the day: Greg Williams, or more commonly known as his stage name by his innumerable fan-base, Roothub.

 no, i don’t know what it means either…

What I do know is that he lives in Hawaii and goes spear fishing every morning. He travels and teaches at yoga retreats about releasing the mind through sound (#preach).

He offered very eagerly to play us a song (or five) as he writes a bangin’ acoustic chon for every city he goes to (we heard Hawaii, Berlin and Paris). He taught us words in Hawaiin that we already knew from ‘Lilo and Stitch’ but politely pretended to be fascinated anyway.

(Our favourite lyrics read ‘I’m in Berlin and I’m wonderin’ how I’m gonna do my best’, ‘The stars they are my guide’ and ‘I fall asleep to the rhythm of a lucid light’ which Maddy deluded herself into thinking he said ‘loose headlight’. The controversy surrounding this lyric continued throughout the rest of our time exploring Europe and to this day, but I still cannot discern which version is worse.)

Flo and I even got to grace the carriage with a classic rendition of Royals on Roothub’s guitar (I mean…some Indie pop solo project spin-off song no-one’s ever heard of) before exchanging cards with Roothub, now his five biggest (only?) fans.

we could not have had a more typically traveler experience if we had tried


We hoped that the next stage of the journey from Valence would be as smooth as the one that morning. After being serenaded by Flo and Larissa on the A VOUS DE JOUER piano in the station, we all sat down on the platform and told the stories of our past and current loves and losses

or, in my case, just losses

But again, a positive had to be weighed down by its counterpart as we learnt that our next train would be 40 minutes late, meaning that we would most likely miss the following connection and be stuck on the French-Italian border. Merde.


Using la langue de l’amour, we discovered that we could be freely given a taxi to make it to Italy if we missed our connection.

We were then able to to relax our straining brains and spent a wonderful journey watching Kaila zip-up her face into a grotesque gremlin impression and flirting with a french glasses model with our seductive command of the french language. Flo said it was the most she had ever seen me laugh, which probably says something, whatever that may be.


We did miss our connection, but, as promised, all five of us were crammed into a four person taxi (health and safety is subjective) with a very nice driver who used his phone a little too often during the journey as we were smuggled across the French-Italian border.

now surely this was real interrailing?


I am writing this sitting in Ventimiglia station in Italy at 2:16 am and the girls are sleeping next to me.  Kaila is up and reading a book, saint-like and watching over until our train at 6am where we will then track down a launderette to be de-bedbugged, hoping that we wouldn’t get ‘raped, killed or mugged or all of the above’ (Conli-Conversi: 2015).

and this is only day 3…

                                                                    …I’m too tired to end this entry any other way, sorry


Memory sparks:

  • Roothub’s Instagram comment ‘Hey we met on a train!
  • ‘Ohana means family’ (Roothub: 2015) – who knew?
  • I have a spare room in hawaii…
  • Check out my 1924 guitar!
  • Madhub: ‘to the rhythm of a loose headlight’
  • Oh the stars they are my guide

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