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The Road to Rhodes

Rhodes

sunny 29 °C
View Rhodes on kmmk17's travel map.

When it came to our summer holiday this year we were pretty open minded - all we wanted was somewhere warm, a nice hotel with good food, and not in Spain.

Nothing against Spain - they do what they do really well, but after going to Gran Canaria last year, and having been to Spain 11 times before, I really wanted to go somewhere new this year.

We looked around for a while and started to settle in on Greece. I had been to Athens 10 years ago, but that was all. Visiting one of the islands would be a different experience, and we started to settle in on Crete. Nevertheless, we didn't want to book anything too far in advance - all the Covid related cancellations and reschedulings had scarred us, so we waited until relatively close to the time.

Then just as we were ready to book at the hotel I had found, I had a thought - is Crete the island we wanted to visit? I started to think about Rhodes, and realised it had more to see. Last minute change of plan!

We looked at the flights and they were all pretty awful timings. Looked at hotels and last minute bookings meant a small choice that met our wants. In the end it worked out better to go on a package with Tui than to book everything independently. Going All-Inclusive with Tui was no more expensive than our usual Half Board independent trip, so we decided to make our lives easier and do that. Let's treat ourselves - after all, we had scrapped a holiday in August anyway!

The hotel we found looked pretty good - but there were some sketchy reviews - ants, dodgy WiFi, smelly nearby sewage works. But the reviews for other good places we'd stayed before had sketchy reviews, and did some of this matter anyway? We took a punt and decided just to go with it!

The Kresten Royal

The Kresten Royal

Several weeks later, it was almost time to head off. Then two days before we were due to leave, the Queen died. How annoying - all the drama, special TV programmes and general excitement of this generational event was taking place whilst we were heading out of the country. We had talked about going down to London - maybe to see the lying in state. Then there was the funeral - when would this take place and would be able to see it?

As our flight wasn't leaving until mid afternoon, we got to see the official proclamation of the new monarch on TV that morning. We had heard rumours that the funeral would take place on the Monday after we returned, which would give us time to head down to London the day before (the day after we got back) but this wasn't yet confirmed

Mourning

Mourning

It was soon time to head off. Once arriving at the airport there was no mistaking the country was in mourning. There were images of the Queen everywhere, as well as a Book of Condolence, which we had signed as we didn't have time to visit one at home.

Book of Condolence

Book of Condolence

By the time we would arrive in Greece, we would miss dinner so we grabbed food from the recently opened Burger King in the departure lounge, before boarding our plane.

It was a four hour flight, so we'd got some newspapers, puzzle books and music to keep us entertained. Some beautiful views en route over the Alps and Italy and then just after sunset we arrived at Rhodes Airport.

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

Frustratingly most of the UK flights were arriving at the same times, and so there was a lot of hanging about. Baggage reclaim took around an hour, and then we waited ages for our transfer coach to leave. It then decided to reverse the drop off route and so we were one of the last to get dropped off. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was just after midnight - even accounting for the loss of two hours, this still meant 10 hours end to end. Being late there was just one poor man on he reception dealing with all the new arrivals. Eventually we managed to get our key and head to the room.

The bar was still open for another half hour, so we decided to go and get a drink so we could at least do something on our first day!

The following morning we headed down to breakfast, had our fill and then headed to the nearby supermarket to get some supplies. We sussed out the local buses and headed back to the hotel. It was then finally time to start enjoying ourselves! We made our way to the top pool - just next to the hotel where there was a bar. Found ourselves some sun loungers and grabbed some drinks. All-inclusive meant free, so we started working our way through the cocktail list.

By the Pool

By the Pool

After having dinner we headed down to the bar and then sat and enjoyed some evening entertainment.

The following day we decided to head down to the lower pool, which we realised we didn't enjoy as much, despite being closer to the restaurant with the Souvlaki. We briefly went to the beach, where the pebbles hurt our feet, before heading back up to the top pool.

After two days in the hotel, on the Tuesday we had a day out - heading south to visit the ruins at Lindos. After breakfast, we headed to the bus stop and got on a direct bus to Lindos. It took around 90 minutes and picked up more and more people until there was no room left, but eventually we arrived at the very busy tourist town.

The buses stop on the outskirts of the town, and everyone then walks down the hill, passing numerous stray cats, towards the quaint, traditional Greek town.

Streets of Lindos

Streets of Lindos

Many winding streets made this very busy, but before long we arrived at the entrance to the ruins. We bought out tickets online so we didn't need to queue for ages and headed straight through.

Lindos

Lindos

To be honest, these ruins were no more special than any other set of Greek ruins, but nevertheless they were still pretty and had beautiful views over the nearby bays.

Lindos Bay

Lindos Bay

We had a nice look around, before we headed back down through the beautiful town and eventually back to the bus station.

Arriving back at the hotel earlier than expected, we had time to go into the main restaurant for lunch (normally the effort to get dressed meant we opted for the Souvlaki and Pizza at the outside restaurant). We then had some more sunbathing before dinner and a visit to the bar that night.

After a day out, Wednesday was spent chilling in the hotel. However we overdid it a bit on the alcohol today. Too many strong cocktails too quickly. I had aimed to beat my record of 7 earlier in the week - but with 5 before lunch I ended up feeling queasy all day and gave up! A lesson for the rest of the week...

Cocktails Galore

Cocktails Galore

That afternoon there was a big changeover at the hotel. Many of the nice courteous (and mostly German) guests headed home, to be replaced by bus loads of Israelis who can only be described as "pushy". They made their presence known instantly and it meant and end to the nice orderly queues in the restaurant and the peaceful relaxing by the pool for the rest of the holiday...

The following day we again headed out of the hotel - making our way up to Rhodes Town. There is a lot of history here and it was a beautiful place to visit.

Site of the Colossus

Site of the Colossus

We started around the harbour - heading past many of the old buildings before reaching the site where the Colossus stood before being destroyed in the earthquake in 226BC, and now graced by a pair of Does. Pretty, but not quite on par with one of the seven Wonders of the World.

The Doe

The Doe

We then headed around to the other side of the harbour, passing three beautiful traditional windmills.

Mandraki Windmills

Mandraki Windmills

Just past these was a man looking after numerous cats, and finally at the end of the harbour entrance is another doe statue, and from where the Turkish coast can be seen, just 12 miles away.

Cats

Cats

We then headed south, entering the Old City, to where many of the most important old buildings on this island are located.

Grand Master's Palace

Grand Master's Palace

We walked past numerous souvenir shops, cafés, defensive and religious buildings of different types, representing the history of the rule of this island by the Romans, Ottomans, Italians and Greeks.

Old Town Streets

Old Town Streets

We then headed back towards the bus stop and eventually our hotel. Once again, being back at lunchtime we headed into the main restaurant for lunch. It was outside the entrance where we noticed one of the new guests, a young girl from Britain was hurriedly buying a T-shirt from the neighbouring gift shop, so she could enter for lunch - apparently dismayed that this 5* resort won't allow their guests to enter (barely) wearing a bikini...

The following day was our last full day. We again spent it around the pool, with cocktails and snacks before heading for dinner. Tonight the entertainment was "International Night", which basically meant getting out the bouzouki.

Bouzouki Time

Bouzouki Time

I decided to take a nice evening walk around the resort, taking a night time walk down to the beach and around the complex.

Evening view from our room

Evening view from our room

Our final day was now upon us, and thankfully our All inclusive wristbands weren't taken off us at check out, so we could again enjoy some drinks and snacks - particularly useful as our pick up was just before dinner time.

The airport was again full of faffing - lots of delays and extremely busy. A particular 'highlight' was the boarding of our flight at the exact same time as those at the gate next door. Everyone must get on an airport bus, and as there wasn't room to board both at the same time, we had to wait for all the stragglers heading to East Midlands before we could even start. In the end it meant boarding the flight 90 minutes later than departure was supposed to be - at around midnight - with estimated arrival back home at 2am (accounting for the time difference). Great...

This essentially made this a short haul overnight flight, and we eventually arrived home at around 3am (5am Greek time).

As planned, the following day we got up and headed into London to see the interesting, but busy and hectic funeral preparations - thank God for the extra bank holiday giving us chance to finally rest... even if my Out of Office was completely wrong...

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:45 Archived in Greece Tagged sea architecture history airport memorial sun pool tourists drunk Comments (0)

Eclectic Istanbul

Turkey - Istanbul

sunny 27 °C
View Turkey on kmmk17's travel map.

After a few short trips this year, this trip was to be our big holiday for the year. A mix of exploration, adventure, relaxation, sun and reunions. However the stomach ulcer and toothache that had plagued me all summer had another sting in their tail. Having worse pain than ever before just weeks before the holiday was due to start, I again visited the doctors and changed to a strict diet - hoping to be healed enough by the time the trip came around, but sadly it was not to be.

Despite everything having been organised, booked and sorted for the trip, just two days before we were due to leave we made the sad decision to cancel the first half of the holiday. We would no longer be visiting the Caucasus, hopefully being able to resurrect that part of the trip in the near future. Instead we would now fly directly to Istanbul, where we would be attending the wedding of two of my friends from my Erasmus experience in Germany back in 2012, and subsequently continuing the second half of the planned trip. I therefore cancelled all the bookings and rescheduled our trip, which would now begin a week later.

In hindsight this was the right decision to make, as sad as it felt at the time, and I still ended up having a sick day during this time which reiterated that I just wasn't able to have an adventure holiday right now. Having had an extra week to rest, recover and do the right things, by the time it came around to our rescheduled holiday I was much more ready for the trip.

Despite waking up still feeling a bit ill I was determined to just get on holiday and have a break from everything, so we headed down to Heathrow for our flight. And with it being a normal airline instead of our usual budget airlines we got the luxury of in-flight entertainment and food. After a four hour flight, we came in to land at Istanbul Airport just as the evening arrived. Although after all these hours, it was only now that my stomach pains had started easing - being on the go all day had probably not helped it to settle.

Istanbul Airport was new and had replaced the one that I had used on my last visit, but it was not yet fully connected to the city and so we still had to take a bus to get the hotel. By now it was getting pretty late and as we didn't want to wait an extra half hour, we rushed around trying to buy our transport cards and top them up as quickly as possible to make the next bus. Luckily we made it, and finally we were headed into the city.

Around an hour or so later we made it, and after a short walk with our suitcases up and down the subway passes we arrived at the hotel for our first night, which was also where most of the other wedding guests were to stay. Whilst checking in we bumped into my friend Daniel from Malta, and his partner José, who were also attending the wedding and would be exploring the city with us for the next few days.

After a well earned rest, the following morning we went down for breakfast, being joined by Daniel and José. Not long later, after heading back to the room to get ready for the day we left the hotel and headed into the city. With today being our only full day to explore, we decided to tackle the oldest part - the Historic Peninsular, south of the Golden Horn. Starting with the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest in the world. It was as to be expected, full of shops teaming with items for sale, as well as people everywhere. It was also something new for me, as I hadn't got to see this on my previous visits.

Inside the Grand Bazaar

Inside the Grand Bazaar

After a little wander around, we headed out of the complex walking past the Column of Constantine towards the real heart of the city - the Sultanahmet district. With it being Friday we knew the Blue Mosque wouldn't be open in the morning, and so after checking it's opening times we headed over towards the Hagia Sofia, viewing it from the park between the sights.

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

After purchasing tickets for the Hagia Sofia, we headed around the museum, which was undergoing a bit of renovation, unfortunately lessening some of the impressive impact that would normally be encountered.

Inside the Hagia Sofia

Inside the Hagia Sofia

After exploring the lower and upper levels, we headed back out into the square, and with half an hour to wait, we decided to visit the Basilica Cistern. As we waited in the queue, we had some catch up conversations with Daniel, although it wasn't long before we entered the cistern.

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

Unfortunately inside had been drained so we weren't treated to any reflections but it was still an impressive sight. By now, the Blue Mosque was almost open so we headed over and made our way in.

Entering the Blue Mosque

Entering the Blue Mosque

Unfortunately like the Hagia Sofia it was undergoing restoration, and so the enormity and beauty of the mosque wasn't able to be seen, but it was still a nice visit.

Entering the Topkapı Palace

Entering the Topkapı Palace

Still early afternoon we had time to also visit the Topkapı Palace, and so headed over to the northern end of the peninsular. Buying our tickets, we entered not long after and took a walk around the complex. After taking views over the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, we entered some of the museum areas. However after a long day and still not being 100% we started to feel quite tired, and so left to grab food and head back to the hotel for a rest.

Views over the Bosphorus

Views over the Bosphorus

With Camilla and Onur checking into the hotel tonight, on the way back to the hotel I thought about how funny it would be if we saw them at reception as we walked in. By coincidence, as we reached the entrance there they were coming out of a taxi! Knowing that there wouldn't be a lot of opportunities to spend much time with them on this busy weekend, we said a quick hello and had a short catch up as they waited for their room to be ready.

With more of their other guests arriving, including some Swedes who I had met a few times previously, we headed back to the room to find that our keys no longer worked. After heading back down to reception via the ridiculously slow lifts, and the entire population of Turkey who have no idea how one works, we eventually managed to get a chilled few hours.

As most of the wedding guests were now at the hotel, during the evening a pre-wedding get together had been arranged at a local pub. We met Daniel and José in reception and headed down the road together. Finding the table, it wasn't long before we were joined by other wedding guests as well as the happy couple themselves. It was an enjoyable evening catching up with them but as ever it was over too soon!

The following day was the day of the wedding, although this wasn't starting until this evening. Therefore after breakfast we headed out once again with Daniel and José, this time for the Beyoğlu district on the north side of the Golden Horn. After taking the funicular down the hill, we arrived at the ferry port and took a boat over to the other side of the Bosphorus.

Ferry Across the Bosphorus

Ferry Across the Bosphorus

After a twenty minute trip, seeing the sights of the heart of Istanbul on the European side, we arrived in Asia. Although with time already catching up with us, and not much to see on this side, we walked back round the ferry port and boarded the same boat back to Europe. Asia had been stunning but 5 minutes was enough for now.

Upon arriving back in Europe, we started heading back to the hotel, saying goodbye to Daniel and José and walking up the hill past the Galata Tower.

Galata Tower

Galata Tower

This area was full of little tourist shops so we bought some postcards before walking back to the metro stop seeing the historic trams that run down the avenue towards Taksim Square. We then headed back to the hotel for a rest and afternoon nap to prepare us for the late wedding night to come.

Beyoğlu Trams

Beyoğlu Trams

After a good rest we then got ourselves ready for the wedding and headed down into reception to wait for the shuttle bus, where we caught up with some the wedding guests we were already getting to know quite well.

Not long later we boarded the bus and headed out of the city and into the woods to a lovely setting amongst the trees, which was where the wedding was being held. Upon arrival we were welcomed by the close family of the couple, and mingled with the other guests.

Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue

After waiting around for a while - the event was clearly being held in Turkish time, the happy couple emerged and walked towards the aisle hand in hand. After a very short ceremony in Turkish and English, which essentially consisted of them saying their names and the "I Dos", they were married, and we were led to the tables for a five course dinner.

Just Married!

Just Married!

We were sat together with the other Erasmus people, including our Turkish friend Merve, who I hadn't seen in 7 years, as well as a Turk who now lives in Germany who I didn't recognise, but had remembered me from the speech I gave on the last party night in Bremen back in July 2012. (I did later find a photo in which we had been photographed together, but that's hardly surprising considering the amount of people I met during that year!)

Dinner chats

Dinner chats

We had a fun time reminiscing on our shared experiences, and talking about the people we remembered, and sharing updates on how everyone was. As we had conversations, it was as if nothing had changed since the moment we had left. It was a really fun evening and showed yet again just how much of a unique experience Study Abroad is, as these were people we had spent up to just four months with and yet they were friends for life.

After eating dinner the married couple went round each table individually to say hello. Onur had studied in Bremen for the whole year, as I had, whilst Camilla had joined during the summer semester. Camilla was living in the same house as me, and one of their first meetings had been at a party I had thrown at our house the start of term, which Onur would himself move into a few months later. During the summer semester I was able to witness their relationship develop and so it was a real pleasure to be able to be here for thir wedding.

Photo with the happy couple

Photo with the happy couple

After some more chats on our table it was time for the traditional speeches and first dance, as well as a game of Mr & Mrs, which I now assume is a Scandinavian tradition, after seeing the same thing at a Danish Wedding.

After some Turkish music and dancing it hit midnight, and the older guests were heading home, whilst the younger guests were headed to the "After Party". This was a real change of scene, with more modern, western music.

After Party

After Party

The party was a lovely experience getting to spend some fun and slightly drunk times with friends, but as ever it was over too soon and before we knew it it had hit 3am. As we waited for the shuttle bus we chatted to the guests and happy couple for the last time recounting stories and reminiscing about our times together. We eventually got back to the hotel at about 4am, and said goodbye to everyone before getting a well earned sleep.

The following day was always planned as a write-off, and after waking in time for breakfast and seeing just a few of the wedding guests who had managed to wake from the night before, we headed back to bed for another few hours.

Waking at around lunchtime we spent the day lazing in the hotel, heading down to the swimming pool before heading out for some food at the local shopping centre. After three days of seeing everyone all the time it felt a bit strange not seeing anyone at all - but it was also refreshing just to relax.

The following morning after breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed to Taksim Square, taking a look around our last sight in Istanbul.

Taksim Square

Taksim Square

Not long later we caught our bus to the other airport of the city, crossing the Bosphorus to the Asian side, from where we would catch a flight and continue our trip by exploring Anatolia.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 13:26 Archived in Turkey Tagged architecture mosque wedding culture history city friends party drunk islam souq sickness erasmus turkey2019 Comments (2)

Polar Plunge Madness

In Search of the Penguins - Deception Island & Hannah Point

sunny 3 °C
View In Search of the Penguins on kmmk17's travel map.


Today was the final day in Antarctica. After a wake up call and breakfast, we entered the caldera of Deception Island, anchored up and landed ashore.

Deception Island

Deception Island

Being geothermal, the island was almost barren of wildlife. Being much more rocky and with almost no snow compared to our previous landing sights. Nevertheless there were many points to view over the caldera, and after a short walk we arrived back at the beach for the Polar Plunge.

Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge

I certainly was not going to take part in this, but half the group did - stripping down into swimwear or nudity and then racing into the sea. The geothermal heat warms this part of the sea from around -1 to 1C, and this chilly temperature was clearly visible on many of people's faces.

After that experience, we then headed back to the ship for lunch, whilst the ship left the caldera and headed towards Hannah Point on Livingstone Island in the South Shetlands. This would be our last landing point, and we weren't to be disappointed! After enjoying perfect weather for the last few days, we landed to find huge penguin colonies covering the entire area.

Penguins

Penguins

Upon arrival, the G Adventures flags caused complete bewilderment amongst the penguins, and then with all the tourists landing on shore they simply didn't know what to do. After a little walk around the area, I sat down and attempted to get a penguin selfie. With curious penguins coming over to see what I was or simply running past ignoring my presence.

Penguin Selfie

Penguin Selfie

At one point a group of chasing penguins literally ran into some people's legs, falling over and then trying to work out what to do next! What an experience!

Penguins

Penguins

After a few hours soaking up the last of these unforgettable landing experiences I headed back to ship for the day's review and then dinner. As tonight was the last evening in Antarctica, we celebrated by having a fancy dress contest. However as I turned up too late to get a costume I didn't join in. Nevertheless the turnout was pretty high - including our Aussie friends as The Jackson Five (Minus 3), Cameron in drag and funniest of all - Gary, the stripper penguin.

Evening Entertainment

Evening Entertainment

After a really enjoyable evening I then headed up to the bar with the group for drinks with the crew band, before finally calling it a night.

What a great way to end the Antarctic adventure. And yet there were still two whole days on the ship to come!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged beach party swim penguins drunk penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

UH converge on Devon

Woolacombe

semi-overcast 21 °C
View Woolacombe on kmmk17's travel map.


After many many foreign holidays I was finally taking a trip without going abroad. Having been planned for some time, 18 friends from university all descended on Devon for a Bank Holiday getaway to catch up and relive some of the fun from our university experience five years ago.

The team

The team

Booking the Friday off work I travelled down to the coast with Sian from Bedford and Saman from Letchworth, eventually arriving in Woolacombe by mid-afternoon - the only place en route where the sun was not shining.

Evening fun

Evening fun

The weekend proceeded along mostly in the same way, with lot of drunken banter and catch ups. With Friday being a busier day I took an earlier night, whereas Saturday was definitely the party night with us staying up until the early hours.

Relaxing on the beach in the sun

Relaxing on the beach in the sun

Meanwhile the days consisted of walks down the long hill to the beach to enjoy the sunshine and seaside resort. Lots of sunburn on Saturday and a long but fun game of mini golf on Sunday before the end of the weekend and return home on Monday.

Mini Golf

Mini Golf

This was a different kind of holiday to normal, but nevertheless it was thoroughly enjoyable sitting around more relaxed and enjoying the company of friends who we don't all get to see that often!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged sea beach friends drunk uni Comments (0)

The Eurovision Experience...2.0

Stockholm

semi-overcast 16 °C
View Eurovision 2016 on kmmk17's travel map.


Six weeks after I last visited Sweden, and five weeks after I went to the Eurovision in Concert, I was in Stockholm for the Eurovision itself.

This was going to be one busy holiday, and it started early on the Thursday morning with me driving to Stansted for an 8:30am flight to the capital of Sweden, which despite being my fourth time in the country, was my first outside of Malmö city centre. With the flight landing in the city of Nyköping, it took me the whole morning to actually get to the city centre where after grabbing a bite to eat I met up with my good friend Johan, with whom I had spent two weeks last summer travelling around the Balkans with.

City Hall

City Hall


Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

Johan provided me with a brief tour of the city, crossing the numerous bridges that make up the archipelago of Stockholm city, through Gamla Stan and towards the Katarina Elevator where there is a wonderful view over the whole city. We then made our way back into the city and met up with our friend Jesper with whom we would all be staying for the weekend.

East side of Stockholm from the Katarina Elevator

East side of Stockholm from the Katarina Elevator

After getting some supplies for the week it was already reaching the evening and so I quickly downed my drinks and then left the guys back at the apartment and made my way towards the Globen Arena for tonight's semi final which I had also bought tickets for and would be attending alone.

Also in the city this evening was my good friend Camilla, with whom I had lived with in Germany four years previously; however due to my rushed schedule, we had arranged to meet outside the arena an hour or so before I planned to go inside.

Drunk reunion

Drunk reunion

Turning up rather tipsily, we had a lovely catch up with two of her friends I had also met in London three years previously (although it took me ten minutes to recognise one of them), before we proceeded to take 400 pictures so that at least one would look half decent.

One of the many pictures

One of the many pictures

After saying goodbye, I proceeded into the arena to witness my second ever contest after attending the show in Düsseldorf five years previously.

Måns opening the second semi

Måns opening the second semi

Being inside the arena, like in 2011, naturally provides a different experience to watching on TV. There is no commentary, you get to see the behind the scenes, including the super fast changing of the stage instead of the postcards, as well as the audience reaction and tension to the results.

Jamala at Semi 2

Jamala at Semi 2

Having spent all morning being surrounded on the plane and airport bus hearing comments such as "I wonder if Belgium will qualify tonight" I had sobered up enough by the results to remember that vividly. However when later asked how I enjoyed the opening I am unable to comment....

The Green Room during Semi 2

The Green Room during Semi 2


Carriage at the Royal Armoury

Carriage at the Royal Armoury

After a very long day of travelling, sightseeing, catch ups and watching the show I was glad to enjoy a more restful second day, and after enjoying a well earned lie in, as well as almost locking ourselves out of the apartment with the handle fell off, Johan and I headed into the city again to visit the Royal Palace Armoury, as well as explore the Eurovillage, where Eurovision had taken over the Kungsträdgården park.

Inside the Eurovillage

Inside the Eurovillage


With the award

With the award

Posing for photos with a mock of the Eurovision Winner's Award we went for lunch before exploring the cave-style metro stations and eventually meeting back up with Jesper who was working today.

Johan and I in the Metro

Johan and I in the Metro

We then went to visit the Mall of Scandinavia in Solna before heading back to the apartment for an evening of drinks and chat, at which we were joined by some of Jepser's friends who joined at the embarassing moment Johan and I were singing along to decade old Eurovision recaps and songs on Youtube.

Singing out them #choons

Singing out them #choons

After another late night of drunken bants the day of the final had finally arrived. Jesper went into the city to meet up with his friend Marcus, who would be joining us for the contest, whilst Johan attended a political conference. Meanwhile I had bought myself tickets for the ABBA Museum, and made my way towards Djurgårgden.

Eurovision Pop Up at the ABBA Museum

Eurovision Pop Up at the ABBA Museum

The ABBA Museum contains many exhibits donated by the members of ABBA themselves, including clothes, awards and instruments; and as this was also the Eurovision week, a special popup exhibition was also in place with memorabilia from the contest as well, making this an even more exciting place to visit.

ABBA Museum

ABBA Museum


Models of ABBA

Models of ABBA

After a few hours at the museum I made my way back to Jesper's apartment, met Marcus, and we got ready for tonight's show.

5 hours to go!

5 hours to go!


Outside the Globen ready to go in!

Outside the Globen ready to go in!

Having a few drinks, the four of us made our way towards the arena and with the excitement finally building we were inside the arena finding our seats at the very back and top of the arena - which still had great views of the stage.

Azerbaijan at the Final

Azerbaijan at the Final

Unfortunately Marcus had lost us, but nevertheless the three of us sat watching the show enjoying the live atmosphere (including the beautiful communal Green Room reaction to Justin Timberlake, showing that national stars can be just like normal people too) as well as struggling to see what was happening with the scores before the nail-biting finish.

Cyprus during the final

Cyprus during the final

After the show, still with no sign of Marcus (having heard he was at Central Station?!), another of Jesper's friends, Adam joined us and brought with him more booze to drink before attending the after party at the Tele2 Arena next door to the Globen.

Inside Tele2

Inside Tele2

Having said hello to Emil from Malta, Johan and I also found Roel from the Netherlands and had a mini-reunion with the both of them whilst enjoying the after party. This ended at 4am where it had already begun to get light, and after waiting for a while to get our metro train, we missed our stop and had to walk back to the apartment. Eventually making it back gone 5am, it was now the same time I had got up just two days previously....

The following morning we awoke at the arrival of Marcus, who had told us that he had knocked into someone at the arena, been made concussed and sent to the hospital, from where he had only just been discharged. Unfortunately missing the entire show, and sadly flying back to Helsinki that evening!

We therefore sat and watched the whole contest on the television before it was time to go home, and I then headed in the early evening back to the central station to catch my bus back to the airport and eventually home. Eventually arriving back in my own bed at gone 12:30am UK time....a very long and busy holiday before a five day week at work!

Nevertheless it was a truly great holiday, filled with fun and jokes, catch ups, a city in beautiful weather, as well as the excellent Eurovision experience.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged city friends party show drunk arena erasmus eurovision Comments (0)

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