So here comes the most exciting part of our trip. From Portugal we flew into Barcelona where we had a couple of days to prepare for Benicassim, which is a 5 day festival in the middle of Spain. In this time we needed to buy tents, sleeping mats, supplies and pack a small bag to take with us as we didn’t want to carry a massive backpack to the festival (we locked this up in train station storage in Barcelona). I was a bit apprehensive about going to this festival because I DO NOT deal well with heat. The thought of being in 36-degree heat everyday with no shelter made me feel ill. Little did I know that there was a beach about 5 minutes bus-ride away, which pretty much ended up saving my life.

Anyway, the festival was the most incredible thing I had ever been to: it was about 100 times better (and cheaper) than Falls festival in Lorne (where you can end up spending nearly a grand over the 3-4 days that you are there). At Benicassim, sleep was very hard to come by.  The music would finish at about 7am, so at this time we would head back to our tent, but it was waaayyyy too hot already to sleep. So we would head to the beach, hire a deck chair, seek out some shade and get a couple of hours of sleep before the beach was too loud to stay asleep. We would wait until it cooled down a bit before we headed back to the campsite, and the music would start at 6pm. This routine continued for 5 days!

early mornings at the beach

There was a huge variety of acts that played. To name a few: De La Soul, Bob Dylan, Chase & Status, Katy B, SebastiAn, David Guetta
Ed Sheeran, Dizzee Rascal, Jesse J, Crystal Castles, and other DJs (whose names I can’t remember) who played later in the night/early mornings. There were about 5 stages set up, a silent disco, countless food stalls, many bars and ‘beer tents’ where you could bring in your own drinks and food!

This festival was predominately filled with Spanish and English people, with surprisingly quite a few Australians. Everyone was so nice to each other. Normally, if you fall over in a mosh pit at a festival you will get stomped on and yes, you may potentially die; however, my experience at this festival was that people would pick you up and make sure you were ok! Everyone seemed to have a great time here, and it was sad to leave, but I think we all needed a well-earned rest … as did this guy!

We went back to Barcelona for a few more nights before we moved on to Greece, slept for most of the days, fitted in a bit of sight-seeing – you know the usual stuff!

Sagrada Familia

Last country was Greece! I spent the last 2 weeks of my trip here. Greece is really a one-of-a-kind country. As we drove through Athens I expected it to be falling apart due to its current economic problems. But it really wasn’t in such bad condition. It is just very dry, but it really isn’t their fault that it is nearly 35 degrees every day in summer! First stop in Greece was Mykonos. Mykonos is pretty much the party/gay capital of Greece and everyone is absolutely insane. Every day there would be beach parties starting around 4 and finishing around midnight, and then people would go off to various clubs where some of the most famous DJs in the world would be playing. It was a pretty good lifestyle to live for a while. However, because of this, most of the island was full with Italians who would drive around, extremely intoxicated, on motorbikes at all times of the day. This is one of the main problems there, as so many young people die from these accidents each year. We were told that last year (2011) there were 70 fatalities in peak season (July-August).  As you could probably guess, laws are pretty chilled in places like this. There is little to no police presence, so these things do happen.

Anyway, enough of the bad. Mykonos is beautiful! In the main town, it’s all vivid white and cobalt blue colours which make it look like a perfect postcard. Now the problem here was that the food was too good! Every day we would find ourselves eating copious amounts of food because every place we went to just had lots of different things we wanted to try! After being there for about 8 days I could no longer fit anything in my stomach. Time to move on – to Santorini, for a bit of a break from everything before I departed for home.

Santorini is a much quieter island, seemingly filled with couples on their honeymoons. However, it was nice to have a couple of quieter days here to just explore and lie in the sun. The main town, Fira, was filled with amazing shops which kept us exploring for hours! Santorini is famous for its sunset. To have the best view you have to go to Oia, where you can get a panoramic view of the sunset. It was absolutely beautiful, but the peacefulness of it all was a little bit ruined by the number of tourists that would flock to see it, each person trying to push in front of the other to try and get closer to have almost the exact same view!

Along with these sights, we also went to Perissa which had a black beach. This beach was very impractical, because the weather was so hot during the day that walking on the black sand would feel like you were walking on lava. There was also a red beach… but I didn’t go there as I really didn’t care about seeing another different coloured beach, and spent more of my last days of soaking up some sun next to the pool. Yes, I wanted to come back with a tan… which ended up fading within about 3 weeks of being back anyway – so fat lot of good that did me!

Anyway, the last day we spent in Athens, and I made sure I spent the rest of my money.  Coming home with 6 euros made me realise I was an excellent budgeter. I probably should be an accountant. Pretty much people, Europe is incredible, so much to see and do, with meeting some amazing people along the way! …. Yes, I have already started saving for next year!!!


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