Ibiza, Spain.

Ibiza was our holiday from our holiday. Believe it or not, you can get tired of sight seeing! We scheduled a ridiculous three weeks on the White Isle so we could spend days at the beach and the nights dancing away. When you move from city to city three days at a time like we had for three months, three weeks in one place was a huge commitment.

Promo people parading on Playa den Bossa

Promo people parading on Playa den Bossa

Inside Privilege club - one of the biggest in the world.

Inside Privilege club – one of the biggest in the world.

We spent a week on the beach at Playa den Bossa, one of the biggest resort beaches on the island. The apartment we rented was so close to the beach and almost half of the island’s clubs, Ushuaia, Sankey’s and DC-10. Of course, Ibiza is a large island and we wanted to see as much of it as possible. Another popular place on the island is San Antoni which is well known spot for watching the sunset. Friends we met at Tomorrowland were staying not far from San An and had a fantastic view overlooking the water so we had dinner and drinks waiting for the sun to set.

Looking back to Ibiza town.

Looking back to Ibiza town.

The last two weeks we spent in Ibiza Town, the main city and port of the island. It has been a fabulous place to stay because of the shops and restaurants moments from our doorstep. We spent a few days wandering around the old walled city and the marina, both swarming with people from about lunchtime until 2am.

We caught buses to different places on the island, including Santa Eularia, another popular beach resort with visitors to Ibiza. We did see a bit of the island but not as much as we had hoped. August is the busiest and hottest month so there were some days that we were happy to relax on the beach…followed by a siesta!

Novalja, Croatia.

The small beach in front of our apartment.

The small beach in front of our apartment.

Novalja has been thought of as Croatia’s answer to Ibiza. It took us 5 hours to reach Novalja by bus from Zagreb and when we arrived at the bus terminal, it was chaos.

At first it was a visual assault. Lots of guys with shirts off darting on and off buses to different parts of town. Then, as our ears became accustomed to the buzz of the bus terminal, we realised that almost every person in the entire bus terminal was English.

We were visiting Novalja for Hideout festival that is held at the four main clubs on Zrce beach. In short, it was a three day, 72 hour, non stop party. The day time was for pool parties and the evenings were spent dancing and looking out to the beach. The most impressive time of the festival was watching the sun come up and looking at the surreal and barren landscape of the beach, with the soaring cliffs of Croatia’s mainland coastline in the distance.

We rented an apartment about 15 minute walk from the centre of Novalja which was a lovely little base for our time there. It was a relief to finally have an apartment to stay in so that we could spread out and relax. The view wasn’t bad either!

Given the sheer volume of foreigners descending on the Island, we wonder what the locals thought of the festival. There were lots of restaurants and bars in the town, as well as countless shops selling slices of pizza. These piping hot pizza slices were sold almost 24/7 along the main street and being cheap and tasty, we ate our fair share!

We enjoyed our time in Novalja and think that spending more time island hopping in Croatia would be absolutely amazing. While the island of Pag and Novalja were quite commercial, this isn’t the case everywhere.

Womb Club, Tokyo

For those of you who have followed our last overseas holiday, you will know our mission to visit the world’s most famous clubs. In Tokyo, we visited Womb Club for New Year’s Eve.

We enjoy clubbing and under Jez’s wing, I have probably experienced more of any culture through their moves and patterns on the dance floor than I have considering art or artifacts in a museum.

Tokyo was no exception.

Womb is tucked away in what is known as ‘Love Hotel Hill’ near Shibuya. It is essentially a concrete bunker that one descends into from the pedestrian street. As it was New Year’s it was packed with people, Japanese and American primarily. It seems that there are a number of Americans that spend semesters abroad in Japan (as well as Berlin…see our Berghain post) but I should also point out that there was an American DJ, Josh Wink, playing that night.

It was cramped, crowded and pretty uncomfortable in the hour leading up to midnight. After the count down to the new year, there was a rush to the exits and it was pretty spacious and fun for the rest of the night. Although the drinks were relatively expensive, we downed Asahi’s and a cocktail named ‘Kamikaze’ in rapid succession before dancing the night away.

We stumbled back to the hotel at about 4am, pleased with our clubbing efforts despite the cold. We were more than happy to sleep in that morning.

Berghain

We’ve been away from home for four weeks now. We’ve done a lot and seen some incredible things but no experience comes even close to the one we had last night at the Berghain club in Berlin. Jez would be best to tell this story. . . . .

Let me give you a bit of background on the Berghain. It’s been voted the best nightclub in the world and is regarded as the official home of techno music. Its predecessor was a men’s only nightclub, so the Berghain has a strong gay scene. The club is known for its strict and discriminatory door policy. If they don’t like the look of you, you’ve got no chance. Similar to the clubs in Ibiza, there are no cameras allowed but at Berghain this is much stricter i.e., if you take a photo with your phone, they will take it off you.

The club is located in an old power plant. Yes, I know, it’s the perfect location for a nightclub. This would seem like an outrageous idea in any other city, but Berlin seems to be littered with old industrial buildings so it seems pretty logical.

Front view of the Berghain

I‘d been researching the club extensively in online forums because I knew it was going to be hard to get in. The door policy seems to be completely opposite to any of our big clubs in Sydney. In Sydney, a large group of good-looking, dressed up girls would be permitted without hesitation. At the Berghain, these girls would be turned away instantly. From my research, I knew that our best bet would be to act like a local – look underdressed, act disinterested and not socialise with people in the line and of course, speak German! Obviously the club wants a particular kind of clientele, one that’s serious about the music and not there ‘to be seen’.

With all this in mind, Mads dressed it down – wore jeans, t-shirt and no jewellery – and me, I just wear what I always wear – black pants, grey top. The club opens at 12am Sunday morning and closes some time Sunday night. Getting there before 4am is considered early. We left the hotel at 1am and caught the U-bahn to Alexanderplatz so we could change trains to Ostbahnof, near where the Berghain is located. Riding the U-bahn at that hour is an experience in itself. We were out of place without a bottle of drink in hand! To cut a long story short, our U-Bahn attempt failed and we caught a cab to the club.

When we arrived, the line was massive and didn’t seem to be moving at all. It’s meant to be summer here, but it felt like a winter’s night in Sydney. The wind was freezing! As we edged ever so slowly on the dirt track towards the entrance, the power plant became bigger and bigger. It was a huge, grey and imposing building. We waited and waited and waited in this massive queue of people from absolutely everywhere. From listening to conversations around us, there were loads of people from overseas and many first-timers to the club. As I mentioned before, it was important to be able to speak German to the bouncers. So for the few days beforehand, I’d been practicing one German word that I was sure would get us in, a password if you will, the word ‘zwei’. German for ‘two’. I was confident the bouncer would ask me ‘How many?’.

There were some loud American frat boys in front of us. I didn’t think they would have a chance of getting in, but I knew if they did get in, we wouldn’t have a problem. After two hours of waiting in the freezing cold, we could now see the entrance to the club. We watched in horror as the bouncers ruined people’s nights and turned them away. It looked like at least half of the line was being refused entry. The bouncers took delight in having people plead with them to get in. I heard one person plead with the bouncer, saying he’d waited for two hours. They just laughed.

On the final stretch of the queue, we were herded through metal barriers towards the doors. This entry would break every law in the book back in Australia. There was a constant weight of people pressing on our backs. Now metres away from the entrance, we could see that the frat boys hadn’t made the cut.

Denied entry. Sent home. Dismissed. Our turn was fast approaching.

The three groups in front of us were denied. There was no pleading with the bouncers; after waiting three hours in the line, they were ready to go home defeated. Our turn had come and the bouncer looked us up and down and said something in German. I had no idea what he said, but I uttered our password. He nodded. There was an awkward moment where we didn’t know whether to walk in, wait or leave. He nodded again and gestured for us to move inside.

Once inside the doorway, I had no idea which direction to go. I didn’t know if we should continue down the hall or go to the room to the left. We hesitated and we could hear someone shouting something from behind, over and over. It clicked just in time that they were telling us to go left in German. At that point, the bouncer shouted ‘left’ in English. I thought we were gonners. He’d discovered that we weren’t German after all. We quickly moved in to the room on the left and were patted down by security. My phone was scrutinised and the security guy said ‘No photos’ to me in English. I moved along to pay the cover charge and said ‘zwei’ to the guy behind the desk. I paid and he stamped our arms.

I’m not exaggerating the entry. This place is hardcore. We waited three hours in the freezing cold with a very slim chance of making it past the doors. I felt like I’d pulled off a bank robbery!

Once inside, the sheer size of this place hits me. It has a very minimal and industrial feel, lots of steel and bare concrete. The ground level had couches and beds, with people draped across them. The main dance floor is one level up. We walked up the steel stairs and found the dance floor packed with people. Funnily enough, the DJ that was playing was Deepchild, an Aussie guy. We danced for a bit and I decided I needed a drink. As it was 5am, I didn’t particularly feel like a beer so I ordered a rum and coke. The drink was quite literally two thirds alcohol; the coke just gave it a bit of colour. Surprisingly, just like the entry fee, it wasn’t expensive.

Inside the Berghain. Steel stairs leading to the main dance floor.

For the next two hours, we explored the club. It was like a maze, with many passages and dark rooms. We visited the Panorama Bar, which was on another level of the club and continued to dance for a bit. With our sore legs and tired bodies we left the club just before 7am. When we walked out in to the daylight, we saw the line to get in was still huge. It would have still been at least a two hour wait to get in. We jumped in a cab and headed for home.

Mads and I were left speechless after experiencing Berghain. The club is like no other I’ve ever experienced. Even the clubs in Ibiza cannot compare. The club could have held more people, clearly the line to get in and the strict door is done purposely to give the club its exclusive feel and keep it true to its reputation. It certainly worked on us, and it certainly worked on the people that were rejected.

Ibiza

We have stopped over in Ibiza for a few days to catch a glimpse of glorious sunshine and unbelievable nightlife. We’ve been to two mega-clubs so far, Privilege and Amnesia. These places are incredible! Privilege is the largest club in the world – it can hold up to 10,000 people at a time. The atmosphere is awesome because everyone is on holidays and having fun. However, fun comes with a price tag!!! I ordered two bacardi and cokes for us and it came to a total of 32 Euro!!! That’s about AUD$50. Haha, we could have bought almost three bottles of Bacardi for that amount!

Everything here seems to be overpriced thanks to the hoards of tourists that visit the Island. Playa den Bossa, the beach where we are staying, is touristy and borderline tacky. We went in to Ibiza Town last night for dinner and found some beautiful restaurants and night markets. We have really enjoyed our time in Ibiza… we will return!!