After five years full of lies, exaggerations and massive hangovers we've had enough: the Shitty Guide calls it quits. We give up. So what the fuck happened?

Ancient history

It all started five years ago when Kata and Benni went on a back-packing journey to find themselves.  After a month of travel they ditched the Lonely Planet and ended up in used-panties shops all over the world.

6 months later they were wandering in Belgrade and trying to shake off a hassling gypsy woman who was following them. There and they had another eureka moment. It wasn’t an apple that hit their head but large portion of liquid coming out of the woman’s mouth. The idea of the Shitty Guide was born.

A spiritual journey into the margins. An odyssey to find the raw, the untouched (not talking about the used panties), the real, the authentic places where no tourist - or sometimes even local - would dare to go.

Once in Antwerp they started writing a ‘shitty’ guide. After a year of wandering around Antwerp’s shittiest places (and 1232 cans of cara pils) The Shitty Guide was a fact. A Microsoft doc was sent into cyberspace, which you could download for free. A guide based upon experiences, lies, assumptions, truths, stories, exaggerations and full of spelling errors. An ode to imperfection.

Shitty Guide 2.0

It was an underground success, 5000 downloads! Soon after the release a group of unemployed nobodies started following Benni around everywhere. They always met at the Groenplaats, right under Ruben’s penis, drinking cara pils. Together they shared a love for shitty places and speed.

Using brain power and sheer will, from a simple .doc the Shitty Guide expanded into a shitty website on the world wide web: the Shitty Guide 2.0. All thanks to the hard work of Simonneke, Krokky and Vinny, who had nothing better to do anyway. An incredible moment in internet history.

From that point on, everyone who Googled ‘drugs Brussels’ or ‘drugs Antwerp’ arrived at our humble little website. No Ricardo, we still don’t know where to fix ketamine, fuck off. Since then, we've had 120.394 unique visitors to the website. On average 1900 unique visitors per month! In total our little website had half a million page views.

Even a mobile app was developed. It never made it to the app store, because of “shitty” in the name, but hey, that’s really not the point is it? 

Together with the help of talented low-lifes such as Anne, Ellen, Sam and Bram we threw some incredible, unforgettable parties and expanded the Shitty Guide. We went on shitty expeditions to discover new territory, but mostly found hang-overs and islands of regret.

Shitty Goes Worldwide

World domination was always the shitty goal. We’ve thought long and hard on our international expansion strategy.

First we took Brussels. Our favorite hellhole! We asked a random, unemployed local on the street to write the guide for us. That random local was Coby, who is now no longer unemployed, she “works” with animals now, but don’t worry, she didn't really change, she still has drugs- and mental issues, anyway thank you for everything Coby.

Due to the huge demand, the next logical step for a Shitty Guide was Kiev, Ukraine. A team of young, dedicated Shitty explorers decided to go there in the middle of the winter and join the war. But we don’t talk about it. We can’t, because we don’t remember anything. It was dark, it was cold, there was vodka and bare fistfights in the snow.  We went to Chernobyl and we tried Tinder there. Gave it ⅕ stars on Tripadvisor, the HBO-series were much better.

After Antwerp, Brussels and Kiev there’s really only one place left: Brasschaat. One of our writers, Freddy, grew up there. His psychologist recommended writing about his trauma’s. The nightmares didn't go away, but the Shitty Guide Brasschaat is something that exists now. Sam Gooris became a life-time fan and Jean Marie Pfaff wears our logo on his collar till the end of his days. Less happy was the ex-mayor, who was forced to react in a newspaper that yes, the cops on Segways were a bad and expensive idea. 

Shitty Tours

Building on the success of the paper guide, Benni and Freddy decided in 2016 to give tours. It was a massive success and we had great time. The owners they loved us, and we loved them back. They were delighted to host the tours, and always greeted us with much hospitality. No doubt: every owner of a brown bar or turkish disco venue or tibetan noodle shop or whatever has A LOT more sense of humor than any stupid fuckin’ yuppie owner of a posh hip coffeebar on the Antwerp south.

But unfortunately time, and also bulliness by this city’s government, took its toll. Already 5 (5!) places of the original Shitty Tour™ closed down since we started. The closing down of these places (Ciné Royale, Café Kiebooms, Café Vogelzang, The Turkish Disco , Tipanan karaoke) is a big loss for cultural heritage of Antwerp. The city is changing.

Shitty <3 Imagoverlagend

The city is changing, and this is the consequence of an active policy of disneyfication and gentrification. One of these policies was the “imagoverlagende taks”. Since 2015 all nightshops, shisha bars, video library, etc in Antwerp had to pay an additional, medieval tax 'cause the city council apparently gets to decide what is nice and what is not. We, at Shitty Guide, were not pleased with this feodal mindset and decided to fight back.

We threw a party Shitty Party 4(000), made an underground nightshop video song, wrote a petition and gathered 400 signatures and even went to protest together with Murad and the other nightshop owners at the city hall. The city graciously accepted our 400 signatures and threw it in the trash when we were not looking. Today, the imagoverlagende taks is still there. Another great achievement by the Shitty Guide.

This is the end, shitty friends, the end 

The Shitty Guide became a victim of its own success. Too many tourists came, looking for shittyness, but making everything less shitty. The whole city nowadays feels like Disneyland on coke. Very soon the city will go the same way as Venice: too many tourists, too many (sunken) cruiseships and too much water.

That’s why we're leaving Antwerp, for good! We shall return to where we came from: ashes to ashes, dust to dust, shit to shit. The goods news: you're invited to join our ship! A 21th century version of Noah's Ark, but with less beastiality and more tolerance for LGBT. Together, we will survive this great flood of shit.

Join us at the final shitty party. And remember. There may be a terrible climate catastrophe ahead, but while there's moonlight and mdma and love and romance: let's face the music and dance.

A big thank you:

- Benni Booi (our spiritual shitty leader) 
- Katarina for coming with the idea of the Shitty Guide 
- Frederik Van den Bril 
- Vincent Peters
- Koray Sels
- Bram Van Bree 
- Simon Peters 
- Sam Van Loon
- Anne Verbist 
- Ellen Anthoni 
- Sven Mes & Liselotte for making the shitty fashion happen
- Lode Uyterschot for believing in the Shitty Guide (LOL) 
- Armand from Café Strange 
- Dylan from In de stad Aalst 
- The Zomsa family 
- Patsi & Tim for hosting the first shitty party at Mu(i)ltatuli
- Stefan en Sabrina van Cafe De Vogelenzang
- The owner of Cinema Royale although you never wanted to talk to us
- Tipanan family (we never got to say goodbye…)
- Stefan van de Turkse Disco 
- The Bivak crew (Lotte, Zoe, ...) for co-organising the first shitty tour
- Jasper Kuylen & the volunteers at ThisisAntwerp magazine we had a barfight with.
- Serge Muyters
- All the Antwerp drug dealers for the 2+1 promo
- Gestapo Knallmuzik
- Johnny Boy 
- The Ukrainian guy who took off his shirt and yelled at Simon “we fight now” 
- Koen Crucke for running the best instagram account in the world
- All the journalists who didn’t have anything better to write about
- That one newspaper photographer who hates his job and got really pissed at us
- Tanguy Otomer for being our arch-rival  for so many years
- All the volunteers at the Shitty Party
- Everyone who came on the Shitty Tours 


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Shitty Guide paid a visit to Chernobyl

This winter Shitty Guide has spent two weeks in Kiev to celebrate NYE and explore the city. A visit to Kiev without visiting Chernobyl is like going to India without visiting the Taj Mahal. Not entirely true but you get the point, right? Read our report about one of the shittiest places on earth.

Sasha, a grafitti artist from Kiev, told us we should hire a stalker to get to Chernobyl. Stalkers are locals who can get you in Chernobyl without the expensive permits and official guide. This would only take up to a week of walking and camping. Perhaps something you could do during your honeymoon in summer? We'd found a tour company and did it the easy way.  

Maidan square, a year after the revolution

Maidan square, a year after the revolution

Our tour started at the Maidan Square in the centre of Kiev. After we paid a $100/person, half a monthly salary of the average Ukrainian, to the tour company guy we took off to Chernobyl. Before leaving he made some jokes that he was gonna go shopping with our money and was going to stay in Kiev didn’t want to die of radiation. LOL.    

The first thing we got when we were in the car was a little piece of paper with info about the radiation levels at Chernobyl. Apparently the highest radiation level we were going to meet was as high as in an airplane flight! No worries at all. The tour company guy was just joking after all.  

A shitty punk rock Chernobyl sound

During the drive to Chernobyl the city scape was slowly changing to snow white forests and wide plains. In the meanwhile we had to watch a documentary about the Chernobyl disaster with a lot of old archive footage and people with weird haircuts. We found out one of the people we’ve met during our night train to Lviv was a liquidator. One of the 500.000 people who had to clean up the radio active dust in Chernobyl a few weeks after the disaster.

Pjetr, the liquidator we met during our train journey to Lviv

Pjetr, the liquidator we met during our train journey to Lviv 

It was shocking how long the government waited before evacuating people living near the powerplant. The people living in Pryopat, the city next to the reactor, didn’t even have a clue what just happened. The government even acted like nothing happened and only after a week people got evacuated. But then it was already too late for them. Scientists estimated about +/- 4.000 people got infected by the radioactive dust and got cancers etc. But they never could prove it ‘cause they got diagnosed only years after the disaster.  

After a 1h30 drive we arrived at the 30km exclusion zone checkpoint were we had to show our passports to an official. There were about 3 checkpoints: one at 30km, 10km and 2.5km. The 30 km zone is quite safe. There are even people living over here and in thirty years it might be possible this area could be radioactive free again! The ten km zone is more radioactive and in the last zone it’s allowed to stay for only a day. But still the dosages are very low.  

Igor, our Ukrainian guide, has everything under control.

A Chernobyl resident

The start of the tour

After showing our passports to a grumpy official we could enter Chernobyl town. To our surprise there are living about 7.000 people in the town. Most of them are working in the powerplant and for the government. And some of the locals never even left Chernobyl after the disaster. These are mainly the elder. They survived the famine during the rule of Stalin and two world wars. Why the hell would they run from something you can not see, smell or hear? Igor told us these people are fine and still drinking water, eating the fish from the river and drink their vodka. Although people can only drink from 7 to 10pm at night in one of the two bars which Chernobyl counts. You can even get on the wifi over there.  

No password by the way. Don’t expect any tindermatches.  

Our next stop was Duga. On a map it was a kindergarten in the middle of the forest, in reality it was huge radar built by the Soviet Union in the seventies. It’s a massive structure of about 100m high, which looks like massive drying frame. It was built to detect war missiles from thousands of km away. If America would’ve sent a missile the Duga would notice it after 5 min and they would have 25 min send a missile back. Except for detecting missiles it was also great at bird spotting. Every time a bird flew by they had to play a guessing game if it was a missile or an eagle. The radar was built to be too efficient.  

Duga, a massive radar which was best at detecting birds

Duga, a massive radar which was best at detecting birds

Our guide told us he sometimes climbs the structure when he’s on a private tour in summer. When asking him about the view he said this: “Too many forest.”. Which made us feel much better when we only climbed two levels up and had to get back to the car.  

After a 15min ride we had a quick stop near the exploded reactor. You could see they are building a big structure they are going to place on top of the exploded reactor. Till the day of today you can not come any closer than 100m or you’ll die in 24h. To clean the reactor right after the disaster 5000 soldiers had to clean it by hand and could only stay for maximum 3 minutes near the reactor. All of them who did this died in less 5 years afterwards.

The reactor of Chernobyl

Next to the exploded reactor you can see the two other reactors which were set back in use only 2 weeks after the disaster! And even till 2000 they were at work! We took some pictures of the memorial, took a selfie of our almost dead experience and went off to Pryopat, the city next to Chernobyl.  

When you  look up Chernobyl in google images this is the shit you see. The abandoned houses, sport halls, amusement park etc. Together with our guide we walked through the ghost town of Pryopat. If you walk through the ruins you somehow feel this must’ve been a prosperous city. They had a library, good education, a cultural centre were people would go dancing on Fridays. After the explosion they all had to flee to Kiev or nearby cities and just could take their most valuable belongings. They even had to leave their pets ‘cause their furs were probably too radioactive.    

The ruins looked like they were abandoned for ages but 80% of the damage made to the buildings was human harm and ten percent by nature. The government gave the order to strip the buildings from copper and everything of value and that’s why it looks so shitty. The pool was still used by scientists till 2005. Somehow the radioactive dust didn’t manage to get inside and they could just take a swim without meeting fish with three eyes.  

Pripyat city, next to Chernobyl

Pripyat city, next to Chernobyl


An abandoned schoolbuilding in Pripyat

An abondened schoolbuilding

Lenin still kickin' in over here

After the fourth abandoned building Igor was a bit cold and tired of the touring and told us we could hang around ourself in a 3 storey school building. Most of the chairs and schoolbanks were still in place and the faces of forgotten heroes were still keeping an eye on the classroom. But after a half an hour it was getting very cold and after a long day of wandering it was time to get to the cantina.  

Nothing special going on there. Just a big LCD playing shitty Ukrainian video clips, a typical Ukrainian dish and wifi. And still no tinder matches…  

After dinner it was time to get back to Kiev. But we had to do one final stop and get out for a radioactivity check. It was possible your shoes or clothes are still too radioactive. We had to walk through some old machine which looked like an arms detector which would beep if you were too radioactive. “What if my shoes are too dusty?”. I asked “No worries my friend" said Igor “Then we’ll just have to cut off your leg! Ha ha ha ha”. I guess that was the last radioactive joke for the day.


Pics by Bram V. & Benni B.


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