Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium

I know it’s not a city, but our time at Tomorrowland festival was just as significant as seeing the Emperor’s palace in Beijing or St Basil’s in Moscow. You see, this festival is extra-ordinary.

Everyone who knows about Tomorrowland wants to attend, which is why tickets sold out in one second this year. Even though the festival has been running for almost ten years, it’s popularity has exploded in recent times thanks to YouTube and the Tomorrowland after movies of 2011 and 2012.

As often as we had watched those after movies and imagined ourselves adrift in the sea of people, being there (along with 180,000 other revellers) was infinitely better. Tomorrowland truly lives up to it’s hype.

Looking over the magical grounds!

Looking over the magical grounds!

What’s so good about this festival? The creativity and planning makes it an experience. For three days you visit the kind of Wonderland that Alice probably would have preferred in her later years. It’s a very different feel to the festivals back home where you’re herded into a stadium the highlight is just the music. Atmosphere is everything and Tomorrowland has got it in spades.

The main stage

The main stage

We met some awesome people and spent lots of time exploring the festival grounds where we saw some of our favourite artists and some more mainstream ones. We were disappointed on the Saturday night when a tremendous thunderstorm rolled in and flooded the last act of the night. We were armed with emergency ponchos but in the end, even they knew they wouldn’t withstand the pelting rain. We spent the best part of an hour trying to navigate our way back to the buses that would take us home, wading through water up to our shins along the footpaths.

The main stage lit up in the evening.

The main stage lit up in the evening.

Ultimately, the festival was everything we thought it would be.

Jez and I at the main stage, luckily with an Aussie flag in the picture too!

Jez and I at the main stage, luckily with an Aussie flag in the picture too!

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.

The long journey home

We have had an amazing time here at the Nature One Festival.

It’s out there. It’s different. I think that I’ve learned a lot about the festival scene overseas!

While we’re packing our backs for the final time, we are also dreading our journey home. As Australians, we can gloat about our beautiful country as much as we like, but it doesn’t make it any closer to the rest of the world!!!

We’re catching a bus from Frankfurt-Hahn to Frankfurt International Airport, then a flight from Frankfurt to Singapore with a three hour layover. From there, we will catch an A380 back in to Sydney which will arrive at about 6:30am. We will be over 24hrs in transit. It ain’t gonna be pretty!

We have work and Uni awaiting us at home, I wonder how quickly we will settle in to it all?

Over & Out 🙂 xx

Nature One

Our next stop was Frankfurt Hahn Airport, about an hour out of Frankfurt for the Nature One dance festival. Although we were both excited about the two-day festival, we were extremely unsure about what we would find at the airport hotel. We had tried to find information about what was there, if there were any shops or places to eat but to no avail! I persuaded Jez to stop at a supermarket in Frankfurt to stock up on food and some supplies just incase there wasn’t anything to eat in between the hotel breakfasts. When we arrived there however, we were pleasantly surprised to find a bakery or sorts and an American hot dog stand, both open 24hrs!

Our hotel room was incredible… in the sense that it was not even 50meters from the tarmac. Jez and I had a great time plane spotting while we were there!

Nature One was an incredible experience. Firstly, it was bizarre going to a festival where no one spoke English. Of course, most people are able to speak English but the conversations around you are all in German. Secondly, we saw an incredible line up of DJs. We saw, in those two nights, all the DJs that we would see over the course of a year in Australia. Thirdly, the location was an old US missile base. We just don’t have these types of venues at home and even if we did I don’t think they would put a dance festival in there!

Even though it was the middle of Summer, the nights at the festival were freezing cold! We wore jumpers and jeans and we were still feeling icy. It wasn’t such an issue when you were in a crowd, but on the long walk back to the shuttle bus at 6am, it was bloody cold.

We only had one moment of panic at the festival, when I lost Jez in a crowd for a good half hour. It was up there with one of the worst experience of the trip – I left Jez for 20 seconds to put down my drink and then wasn’t able to find him again! I retraced my steps and looked around for him, then decided to stand on a nearby platform so that I could try to find him in the crowd. I searched for Jez’s grey hoodie, only to find that every second guy was wearing one! At this point, I was really starting to panic. The drunk German guy standing next to me pointed to the crowd and must have said something along the lines of “Good luck trying to find them!”. I was so very close to tears. Stupidly, we hadn’t arranged a place to meet and we didn’t have our mobiles on us. After about twenty minutes of standing on the platform, I finally spotted Jez standing behind a really tall guy. Jez didn’t seemed too phased, but words cannot describe how relieved I was!!

As soon as the sun began to rise on Sunday morning, we knew that our trip was coming to an end. Nature One was the last big event for our holiday and it was over so quickly! We got back to the hotel, depressed at the thought of packing our bags for the long trip back to Australia.