In September 2002 I rocked up in Bratislava with a couple of bags and just enough cash to last until my first paycheck. And so unfolded one of the great years of my life…
It was still dark when I awoke. With a thumping headache and sandpaper throat, I forced myself out of bed and shuffled over to the bathroom sink. Greedily gulping down mouthfuls of lukewarm water, it took me a beat to realise where I was. Then it all came flashing back, a whirlwind of images from our road trip across the country, followed by the more twisted snapshots of the previous night’s festivities in Košice. ‘‘Young girl, they call them the Diamond dogs!’’
Having put away just three to four hours’ sleep, my body was screaming for a return to bed and the blissful coma I’d been enjoying. And yet, peering out the window at the breaking yellow-grey of dawn, I found my myself wide-awake. Out into the Košice morning, the first blast of chilly air washed over me in a refreshing wave, going some way to hush the complaints of my aching joints. The streets were empty and silent save for the terse movements of the sparrows as they whistled and fluttered among the trees.