8 Stops on Berlusconi's Gap Year
After 17 years Silvio Berlusconi has announced he'll be stepping down as prime minister of Italy. He's a man that divides opinions; some critics argue that he'll leave Italy with rising poverty, endemic corruption and a sinking economy. But others argue that he is, quite simply, a hero; a politician that refreshingly speaks his mind, a man that does what he wants and physically loves who he wants - usually at one of his 'Bunga Bunga' parties.
Whatever people say, there's no doubt that 75-year-old billionaire has had a rough time of late. He's faced allegations of mafia collusion, false accounting, tax fraud and bribery, and in September it was revealed that Berlusconi wanted to leave Italy.
Basically, what he needs is a gap year. And now Ryanair have even offered him a free one-way ticket out of the country to kick-start his round the world trip.
But where would such a man go on his gap year? What places would he stop at? And what would he get up to in the political wilderness? Gapyear.com looks at the eight stops that Silvio Berlusconi would
1. Naked Safari, Tanzania
Berlusconi’s first destination should be Africa, and what better way to start his round the world trip? People love wildlife. People love getting naked. And some people like swinging. It was only a matter of time before someone combined them all, and here it is: Travel Au Naturel, a ‘clothing optional’ travel specialist. On one of their African tours the former Italian PM will be able to explore the Serengeti, enjoy naked game drives and boast constantly about being one of the ‘Big Five’. It has been said that once the sun goes down Berlusconi encourages everyone to do the same; no doubt this will initiate the swinging, with the ex-world leader at the centre of a feral menagerie.
2. Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand
The next stop on Berlusconi’s gap year would be the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. The FMP is the epitome of hedonism - it’s celebrated every month (with the full moon, obviously) on Haad Rin beach and it’s a party like no other. At the FMP there’s buckets of booze, drugs, fire dancing / skipping, ladyboys; there’s even Mushroom Mountain (you only get one guess as to what you can get there). All-in-all, it’s like Disneyland for adults, and with beaches, buckets and babes. What’s Berlusconi not going to like?
3. Mardi Gras, Sydney, Australia
After all that partying in Thailand Berlusconi’s probably going to want something a little more chilled, which is why he’ll like Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is one of the world’s biggest gay pride events, the centre piece of which is a huge street parade. Thousands of visitors from around Australia and overseas head to Sydney for the parade and even though it’s predominately a gay and lesbian parade, Berlusconi’s all about the party, so don your feather boa Silvio and join in the fun!
4. Love Motels, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Motels in Brazil are different to motels in most of the world. Like Japan, Korea and Thailand, in Brazil motels mean one thing: a place to privately engage in physical love. The side streets of Rio de Janeiro are populated by affordable love shacks ranging from discrete to the downright garish and tasteless. For between £10 and £50 Berlusconi can indulge himself in a discrete love-in at the throbbing heart of Brazil's bustling and exotic cities. For a man with estimated wealth exceeding £7 billion, we think he can take the hit.
5. Spring Break, Tijuana, Mexico
Every year around March and April US college students cross the Tex-Mex border and descend on the party town of Tijuana for Spring Break. The annual event has become a by-word for alcoholic endurance and youthful debauchery, with videos of drunk bikini-clad girls frolicking in pools regularly circulating online. For a gentleman said to covert attractive young women, this could well be Berlusconi's favourite stop on his round the world trip. While it might look slightly jarring for a septenagerian to be partying with a lean, attractive women in their late teens and early twenties, Berlusconi would undoubtedly not care in the slightest. There's something about this idea that's both repulsive and admirable.
6. Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica
'Hedonism' is a brand of holiday resorts in the Caribbean. They have gained a reputation for being, well, rather hedonistic. Over the years rumours (and sometimes photos) have appeared suggesting naked weddings, swingers conventions and public sex. Whatever the truth, the resorts have areas dedicated to naturism and are morally liberal. As a man that has oft stood accused of licentious pre-dispositions, Berlusconi would surely be in his element exploring the confines of the Hedonism resorts and beyond. It's possible that he may never leave, and end his days a plump old drunk in the corner muttering about how he used to 'rule the Eurozone' to any tourists that will listen.
7. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Exhausted and nearing the end of his trip, Berlusconi might want to get off the backpacker trail and revel in some luxurious pampering. Vegas may has long been the playboy's playground. As one of the most notorious - and self-proclaimed - playboys of modern times, Berlusconi should feel right at home in the ostentatious penthouse of the Bellagio, Aria or Wynn casinos. The former prime minister would be considered the highest of high rollers - a 'whale' in local parlance. When the larger-than-life Italian tires of roulette wheels, blackjack tables and all-you-can-eat buffets, he may wish to head downtown and indulge a different kind of voracious appetite. Vegas has one of the largest collections of 'exotic dancing' venues in the world, so there's plenty to pique Berlusconi's interest.
8. Red Light District, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Back to Europe at the end of his journey, and Berlusconi might feel the need to stop by one of the Netherlands' most iconic areas: the red light district of Amsterdam. By this point the political gapper may well be too tired to engage with any of the body-sellers that populate the sexy shop-fronts, but everyone loves to window shop, so we could probably expect Berlusconi to lead a growing entourage of lusty hangers-on through the winding streets of the Dutch capital like some kind of sexual Pied Piper. After he's done here he would probably return to Italy, where his gap year exploits have become the stuff of legend and re-election beckons.