rock werchter 2017
Travel

Arguably Abroad: Amsterdam and Rock Werchter 2017

Well, here we are again. Another travel blog. Hush – don’t look at the ridiculous amount of shopping I did, and ignore the packets of waffles and other Dutch treats next to me. Definitely don’t pay any attention to the two bags I didn’t need that I bought from duty free on the way back. Okay you can look, but don’t judge. I can explain.

Towards the end of last month, I set off for a week-and-a-half long holiday to Amsterdam (my second visit) and Belgium for Rock Werchter – a music festival I’ve been dying to hit for the last two or three years. I like things to be a little organised, so let’s break this down by location, okay?

Amsterdam

This was my first time visiting Amsterdam in summer, and it was absolutely stunning. Vondelpark was transformed from a quiet park made up of greys and earthy tones into a lively hub filled with lush, green grass and countless people relaxing in the sun or cycling around. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and having lunch there and I would 100% recommend you do that too.

vondelpark amsterdam

On our first day, we hit a place called Body Worlds. How do I begin to explain the strange beauty that is Body Worlds? Well, it’s an exhibit about ‘the secrets of happiness and its effects on the body’ – but using real human bodies that have been peeled back a few layers and posed doing normal human things. I feel like I’m not doing a great job selling this one, but trust me – if you’re into the weird and wonderful, then this is a cool alternative to your typical sightseeing.

Oh yeah – and if you want to go to the next level of ‘weird’ (and if you’re not squeamish at all) hit the Museum Vrolik Academic Medical Centre, just a short train ride away from the city centre. Here’s the low-down: this museum is made up of the private collection of…interesting…specimens curated and brought together by a super important Dutch scientist called Gerardus Vrolik (1755 – 1859) and his son, Willem Vrolik. You’ll find roughly 5000 different, um, “specimens”, including (but not limited to) loads of different skeletons, sliced brains, male and female reproductive systems, and various creatures (human and not) preserved in big jars. Moving on…

vrolik museum amsterdam

I’d wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum for ages, and had already spent a good chunk of time exploring the Van Gogh Museum (go – seriously). While the rest of my friends hit the Heineken Experience, I spent around three hours wandering around this huge space filled with century upon century of incredible art, completely in awe of everything. Rembrandt was a definite highlight, and they even had one of Van Gogh‘s self-portraits.

Rock Werchter (Belgium)

After a few days exploring Amsterdam, we set off on the journey to Rock Werchter. Two trains, a bus ride, and a fair few hours (and not enough coffees) later, we made it to the camping grounds – that, I’ll have to say, was not fun. I’m not a good or happy camper, and I especially don’t like queuing to find a decent spot to pitch my tent. Then there’s the actual camping – ugh. I’m already too impatient to queue for long – add the fact that I’m queuing for showers and toilets is just a little too much.

travel blog

I will admit that it was nice to wake up to the sound of rain drops hitting the tent one morning – but that’s all the positive feedback you’ll get about camping from this house-cat right here. Forget about all that – the music is what we were there for anyway! The lineup was pretty strong, but my must-sees were Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon, Blink-182, Linkin Park, and Alt-J – you obviously can’t hope to see every single act at a festival. I was quite happy to enjoy the rest of the acts sitting down on the grass and being quite possibly more relaxed than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What else can I say? Travelling to see some of your favourite, most inspiring bands and artists live is something else. You can’t compare the feeling you get when you’re right in front of your idols, watching them play songs both old and new. I’m going to try and hit a music festival once a year – where to next?

Which music festival do you recommend? Leave a comment to help me choose my 2018 spot! 

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Travel photo by Eva Darron
Travel

Packing Up: My 10 Travel Essentials

So I’ve recently returned from a week-long trip to Newcastle in the UK, and already have another three trips or so planned for 2017. The wanderlust is truly strong in this one. Far from being an expert, organised packer, I’m the type of person who frantically throws things into her suitcase a few hours before her flight and only remembers she’s forgotten a few things when the plane’s about to take off. My bad.

travel essentials

Even though I’m quite possibly the worst person I know when it comes to packing for a holiday, there are a few essentials that I always remember to chuck in before grabbing my passport and whirling out the door. Who knows, this post might help me become a more organised person when it comes to this sort of thing (indeed, it might not).

1. A book

And a backup book because you know I’m not going to be a happy bookworm when I finish the first book half way through my flight. I can’t be bothered to haul my laptop out of my hand-luggage, and I very rarely manage to sleep on a flight, so if I’m not reading a book I’ve probably got my nose buried in the latest issue of The Economist.

2. A hair tie or hair clip

Between Maltese humidity, a 2-3 hour plane journey, and all the trials and tribulations that come with any holiday, your hair might get in the way. If my hair is up, sh*t is going down.

hair essentials travel rihanna harvard

3. iPod

Raise your hand if you don’t want to have to listen to your drunk neighbour or screaming kids for the duration of your flight. Raise your other hand if that constant humming sound the plane makes gets on your nerves. Okay, you can put your hands down now, you weirdo.

travel essentials

4. Compact brush with mirror

This doesn’t even need an explanation. Do you have hair? Does your hair get messy? Does your hair get knotted sometimes? Do you just want to look at just how much of a hot mess you are half way through your flight? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these, get yourself one of these babies.

packing list

6. A pack of tissues

I confess, this is mostly because of my ridiculous year-round allergies, but this is actually a good quick-fix if you don’t have blotting paper on you and your make up is looking a little…worse for wear.

travel essentials

7. Water

If you want to be smart about staying hydrated during your flight, forget the teeny-tiny bottles you pay way too much for during the flight – buy a larger bottle for the same price before hitting your designated gate.

travel essentials

8. Lip Balm

Whenever you fly, you know your lips are going to get thirsty as hell. My personal favourite right now is Carmex lip balm, but Body Shop also do a good job in this department.

beauty essentials travel

9. My journal

If you read my recent article about keeping a journal, you’ll know I love writing in mine. At the end of a busy day sightseeing, there’s nothing I love more than sitting down with a glass of wine and looking back over all the things I’ve done, savouring each memorable moment as its written out.

what to pack travelling

10. Nail Clippers

Before you raise your eyebrow at me, hear me out. When you’re abroad and you inevitably hit the shops, you’re going to want nail clippers to de-tag everything so you can wear it immediately. I see you there, with the Primark bag.

travel essentials

BONUS: Instant Camera

A couple of years ago, I treated myself to a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. The film is a little pricey (it works out to around €1 per shot) but I love the fact that I can keep a physical copy of my photos and stick them in my purse or display them on my desk at work. It’s something you can treasure and enjoy without WiFi.

What are your travel essentials? Let me know in a comment below! 

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