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On the road with… Wally Koval

Mellow yellow: Széchenyi thermal bath in Budapest, the city where Wally (below) proposed to his wife, Amanda PICTURES: WALLY KOVAL

Insta’s enigmatic @accidentallywesanderson co-founder talks about staying in a New Zealand prison and why taking ferries is best

What is your favourite on-the-road moment?

My wife Amanda and I love being on a ferry — who doesn’t like to be on a boat? They move fairly slowly and you can just enjoy being onboard and the beauty of the water. Every ferry we took on a recent trip to Lake Como was unbelievably beautiful. There’s also a ferry that crosses between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Yes, we could have got a flight in half the time but the ferry will always win.

What keeps you sane on the road?

Good headphones. I got some noise-cancelling ones as a gift recently and they’ve been game-changers on flights. Now I want to noise-cancel everything.

What have you ever taken from a hotel room?

Every single pen I can get my hands on. I’ll even ask the hotel staff for more. I write a lot of notes when I’m away — I prefer that to using a laptop or a phone — especially if we’re doing a research trip where we try and find locations that look like they could have been in a Wes Anderson film. I’m a huge fan of his and of architecture and I started the account two years ago after stumbling across a thread on the website Reddit, where people uploaded photos of strange, beautiful, pastel-coloured buildings that looked like they could be in his films but with no actual details about them. So now people send me images of structures with the fascinating stories behind them and Amanda [the site’s other co-founder] and I also travel to find other places that fit with the aesthetic. We loved Milan, for example — La Scala opera house is incredible.

What is the best souvenir you’ve come home with?

A little dish that the waiter at a restaurant in Cappadocia brought our change on. It’s ceramic, beautifully painted, so I asked him where he got it. He said we could keep it. It’s on our coffee table and it always takes me right back to that great restaurant.

Idyllic: A ferry on Italy’s Lake Como

What has been your most life-changing experience while travelling?

When Amanda and I got engaged two years ago I had a grand plan for the proposal. It was meant to happen during a hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey, but it got cancelled due to the weather. The next stop on our trip was Budapest and I was nervous in case we didn’t like it as much as Turkey. But we had a great time. We spent the day exploring, then came back to our lovely Airbnb and sat on the balcony overlooking the river, which is where I did it. We got married in Delaware, last New Year’s Eve.

Worst meal you’ve had abroad?

Any time I’ve lazily gone for fast food. I feel like it’s a life-saver at the time, when I’m just craving something I recognise, but then I always think I should just have gone out on the street and found someone with a little cart or stall. My motto now is to always try the unusual, local stuff.

Hanging out: Wally and Amanda at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

And the best meal?

Probably in Cabo Polonio [a beach village on the south-east coast] in Uruguay. Our luggage had been lost and not only was it Amanda’s birthday but it was also our first trip abroad together. She was upset because she’d hoped to get dressed up but as it was so cold she had to wear my corduroy trousers and big baggy T-shirt, while I was in board shorts and a tank top. We found this little shack that had no electricity. But it was all candlelit and they served freshly caught fish. After some wine we warmed up and it ended up being an amazing experience. Let’s face it, if everything went as planned, you wouldn’t have any stories to tell.

Strangest place you’ve spent the night?

When I was younger I studied in Australia for a few months and afterwards I went on to New Zealand with three friends. We found this hostel on North Island that used to be a prison and it was quite an odd experience. It was as if the people running it hadn’t changed anything about it. We were shown to a cold, unheated cell filled with cot beds. Then they started telling us ghost stories and that’s when I was like, I think we should leave now…

Delicate: A small dish from Cappadocia

Where are you going next?

We’ve not actually been on our honeymoon yet. Amanda’s a big animal buff and a safari has been her dream forever, so we might go to Africa. But then neither of us has been to South East Asia. It would be great to see countries like Thailand and South Korea… hopefully we’ll be putting it on Instagram soon, wherever we go.

Some more from Wally’s Insta

Thrill rides: On board Swiss Federal Railways in Bern (above) Nagashima Spa Land in Japan and a school in Przemysl, Poland (below)


If you’d like to submit any pictures to be considered for the account, go to accidentallywesanderson.com