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Entries about eurovision

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)

The Dam '16

Amsterdam

sunny 13 °C
View Amsterdam 2016 on kmmk17's travel map.


After coming back from Copenhagen late on Sunday night, on Friday evening after work I returned to Luton Airport to take a flight to Amsterdam where I would once again visit the Eurovision in Concert with my Dutch friends.

Being met at the airport briefly by Sandy and her boyfriend, I eventually made it to my hotel and took a long lie in after the busy week before meeting Sandy again on Saturday afternoon in the city centre.

On a Boat Tour

On a Boat Tour

Having been to Amsterdam four times previously, I was not too fussed about seeing that much, as the holiday was mostly about having a nice catch up, but nevertheless, we still took a lovely boat tour around the canals with Roel and some of his other Eurovision friends, before visiting the concert itself in the evening.

Hosts with Greta from Iceland

Hosts with Greta from Iceland

As ever, the concert gets just over half the acts of the year coming to perform their songs for an excitable crowd of fans, with some of the acts better than others. It was an enjoyable evening as always, and a nice taster of what to expect on my next holiday to Stockholm for the real event in a few weeks time.

Jüri from Estonia

Jüri from Estonia


Keukenhof

Keukenhof

The following day I once again met up with Sandy and we went over to the Keukenhof Flower Garden, where each spring the gardens are laid out beautifully with tulips. This gave my holiday a real nice feel as not only was the weather the entire weekend great, but I also got to experience some new Dutch things despite having been to the country many times previously.

Clogs

Clogs

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Tagged boat flowers friends eurovision Comments (0)

Amsterdam again

semi-overcast 18 °C
View A'dam '15 on kmmk17's travel map.


As is tradition, each year I meet up with my good friends Sandy and Roel, and this year I made yet another trip to the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.

With EasyJet flying several times daily from Luton, I was able to juggle my flights around so as not to take off any annual leave from work, whilst maximising time spent with my friends. I therefore left work a little bit early after working through lunch to arrive at the airport in good time for my flight - which was just as well.

Bare minutes after making it through security, on my way to collect my free newspaper and get the cheapest drinks from Boots, off went a fire alarm and all the security staff were evacuated, with the whole area being shut down for well over 20 minutes. Anyone who was already running late for their flights had no chance! Nevertheless I still had good time and was the first person to be sat down and buckled up on the plane! Like. A. Pro.

Arriving after the short 45 minute flight, I was met in departures by Sandy, and her boyfriend Arnold, whom I had stayed with three years ago during their Erasmus in Leeds. After a brief reunion I boarded my bus to the hotel I had booked on the outskirts of Amsterdam, and I would see the guys later.

Arriving at the hotel it was already 10pm, and unfortunately the lights in my room had blown meaning I couldn't see my way around. However after contacting the reception they came and sorted it out and I eventually went to bed excited about the next day.

Begijnhof

Begijnhof

Getting up at around lunchtime, Roel had finally arrived and after dropping off the stuff we made our way to the city centre. Having been to Amsterdam numerous times already the holiday was going to be somewhat different to my usual trips - more of a social event. However there was one particular sight I had never seen - the Begijnhof. And with Roel not even knowing about it we made our way there to find a lovely sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city, with traditional Amsterdam houses.

Flower Market

Flower Market

Heading down towards the Flower Market, we eventually made our way back to Dam Square where Sandy had joined us. We sat down for a catch up before making our way to find somewhere to eat, which ended up being once again the same Italian restaurant on Damstraat. After finishing here, we made our way to the highlight of the trip - the Eurovision In Concert in the Melkweg.

At EIC

At EIC

Held every April, I had been to the event twice before and had thoroughly enjoyed it, being much cheaper and closer to the action than the Eurovision itself. And by getting to the queue just over an hour before the doors opened, we managed to nab spots right at the front of the stage.

Daniel from Macedonia

Daniel from Macedonia

This year, 24 of the 40 acts this year were scheduled to perform, as well as songs from the host, Edsilia Rombley and the winners from 30 years ago - Bobbysocks. As luck would have it, we were also stood very close to the backstage door, and as the night progressed, some of the acts came into the audience who we were able to meet.

Bojana from Serbia

Bojana from Serbia


In front of the stage

In front of the stage

After the event finished, we said goodbye to Sandy and made our way to the afterparty, which several of the acts from the concert were going to sing their songs again for a smaller audience.

Måns from Sweden

Måns from Sweden

We were fortunate enough to also be able to meet some of the artists more personally, as they were just floating around the venue. This included the German, Lithuanians and Norwegians, as well as hearing Måns from Sweden sing his Melodifestivalen songs.

Roel and I with the Lithuanians

Roel and I with the Lithuanians

Towards the end of the night I also saw the British guy standing around, and feeling sorry for him not being 'popular', I went to go and have a little chat about his career and how he got the gig. It was now getting on for half past 3 in the morning, and after some heavy partying, we decided to make our way back to the hotel.

With Alex from the UK

With Alex from the UK


Rural Holland

Rural Holland

The following morning we checked out of our hotel and made our way to the village of Spaardam, just outside Amsterdam, to Arnold's House for a catch up and to spend time with Sandy again. After having lunch and playing Mario Party I said my goodbyes after a great weekend and made my way to Schiphol for the return flight.

With Roel and Sandy

With Roel and Sandy

After seemingly no problems, before I knew it, my plane was delayed almost 4 hours and once again the airports were seemingly out to get me. Luckily I was not very affected by the delay, the only disadvantages really being that I would get home late, and could have spent some more time with my friends or in Amsterdam - but there are many times when it would have been a real problem.

Eventually arriving home safely I had fond memories of a great weekend, and am already looking forward to the next time!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Tagged airport city friends party eurovision Comments (0)

Beautiful Benelux

Luxembourg

all seasons in one day 16 °C
View Benelux on kmmk17's travel map.

Almost as soon as my exams came to an end, I made my second travel of the year, back to the Netherlands after less than 5 weeks in order to fulfil three tasks. To recover from the intense final weeks of university, to visit my good friends Roel and Sandy, and also to fill in one of the holes in my visited countries map.

Being filmed for Dutch TV

Being filmed for Dutch TV

Straight from winning at the casino the night before, I took a coach from Luton to Stansted on Saturday 18th to fly to the city of Eindhoven in the southern Netherlands where we watched the final of the Eurovision whilst being filmed for Dutch TV, where I was even interviewed on my views of the Dutch song.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

The following day Roel and I made the trip to Luxembourg where awaiting us were some spectacular unexpected views. Despite raining the entire time in the country/city it still looked so beautiful, with massive cliffs and greenery, whilst from our hotel room in the Hilton Hotel we could see the forest covered in clouds!

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

I would highly recommend a weekend visit to the city - the amount of spectacular views are comparable somewhat to Switzerland (although obviously less extreme)

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Luxembourg Tagged city friends eurovision Comments (0)

Under The Sea

North Holland

overcast 10 °C
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On Friday afternoon (12th April) where I took a nice break from studying to go and visit my friends Roel and Sandy after a long time. Flying into Amsterdam Airport once again I was (eventually) met by Sandy to take me to her village in North Holland, lying 1 metre below sea level, where I met her lovely family who were so kind to let me stay for the weekend.

Windmill under sea level

Windmill under sea level

On Saturday we took the car to visit a windmill, close to a dike behind the Markermeer - part of the inland lake system in the centre of the country. We then visited Sandy's sister in the café next to the mill before heading back to the house and preparing for the main event of the weekend, Eurovision In Concert in Amsterdam. Taking the bus into Amsterdam, we met up with Roel and his two Belgian friends, before taking a mini-tour of the city (including the Red Light District) and followed by a meal at a restaurant. Afterwards we made our way to Melkweg where we joined the queue to enter the concert.

Finland

Finland

At the event, me and Sandy nabbed spots pretty close to the stage, where we saw over half of the acts who will perform at the contest next month, as well as special guest - Carola, who had won the contest 22 years ago. We also met up with many Eurovision friends from across Europe, before making our way to the after party, where after an entertaining night made our way back to Sandy's village in the early hours.

Carola

Carola

The following day we travelled to Volendam (via Edam, where the cheese is from), a traditional Dutch port town on the Markermeer, and involved seeing all the typical Dutch attractions - Clogs, Tulips, Bikes, Dikes, and all-round flatness. This was my final full day in the country, and the next day I took my flight home to carry on with my final round of studying (and recover from my sore throat due to talking Dutch!)

Wearing Clogs at Volendam

Wearing Clogs at Volendam

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Tagged culture friends party eurovision Comments (0)

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