Hello from not-so-sunny London! Ok, so it took longer than I anticipated but this blog is now alive and active. The below entry was something I wrote on the train between Brussels-Dusseldorf 2 days ago but never got around to posting until now (whilst sick in bed…)
I’ve somewhat lost track of the days here, but I think this marks a little more than one week since leaving Sydney – it’s mindboggling how fast time is flying! This post may be a lengthy one since I’ve been tardy with blogging, as well as the fact that I’m stuck on a train for 2.5 hours with no phone battery or wifi and only 1 song on my iPad which is playing on repeat.
So far this trip has been amazing, but also very full on. As some of you may know, I was stuck packing til the early hours of Monday morning before flying out. Thanks to everyone who helped me out on that frantic last weekend!
Kathy and I had a 6 hour layover in Singapore, followed by the 14 hour flight to Amsterdam. We have since carpe-diem’d the hell out of the week that’s followed..
After arriving in Amsterdam on Tuesday morning, we found Pete and Judy and spent the day exploring the area. My impression of Amsterdam is that it is a place of contrasts that somehow manage to tastefully coexist with each other – 1 minute you’re walking down a picturesque canal lined with flowers and classic architecture, and then turn a corner and find yourself in the Red Light district, complete with the ladies (and ladymen) in the infamous red curtained windows. While I really enjoyed and appreciated the eccentricities of Amsterdam, it’ll be nice not to have to smell cannabis in the streets for awhile lol!
A big standout from our time in Amsterdam was our visit to the Anne Frank museum. Being inside, there was an overwhelming sense of solemness, particularly as you climbed higher up into the house to the annex where the families hid for those years before being captured by the Nazi’s. If anyone wishes to go, I’d recommend lining up before the house opens as the line gets incredibly long – however it’s well worth the wait.
We then journeyed to Essen, Germany, to see my cousin Ina and her family. One of my biggest dreads of moving away from Sydney was that I’d have to live without good Vietnamese food for awhile – hence the generous bowl of homemade pho from my Auntie was a really pleasant reminder of home after a ridiculously painful 6 hour train ride (that was only meant to be 3)!
Cau Khai & Family in Essen, Germany
After refuelling, we repacked our bags ready to head off to Belgium for one of my bucket list items of this trip – TOMORROWLAND!
Kat and I had tent packages, which means our Tomorrowland experience started 1 day earlier than everyone else’s with the Dreamville pre-party on Thursday night – the preparty was on a scale as big as Stereosonic main stage in Australia with Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike as the headline acts. Camping was certainly a cool experience, but we were very grateful to have Judy/Pete & Theresa/Frankie with hotel packages (I.e proper showers!) which meant we only had to camp out 1 night.
Now Tomorrowland – WOW. I don’t think any music festival I’ll ever attend wil surpass the grandeur of it. It was 3 full on days (probably racking up 20+ hours of cardio) and very much worth the stress of getting tickets and paying a small fortune for them. Europeans really do know how to put on a show; the main stage was SO grand and awe inspiring, with organ-like water pipes and waterfalls and everything. But even aside from main stage, every other stage was also quite a sight. Acoustics and lights were on another level to anything we’ve experienced back home.
The weather didn’t favour us on days 2-3 (think 15 degrees and rain) and shuttle transport had some room for improvement but safe to say us Aussies were mightily impressed with the production value that Tomorrowland offered. Standout acts for me were Coone, Andrew Rayel and Hardwell. What I also really loved about it was the sense of global community – people travelled from all over the world to attend this event, and while it was such a big mix of cultures, there was this great sense of unity and appreciation for other’s differences which was really cool. Aussies made up a massive contingent in this mix – you could not walk 5m without seeing a southern cross haha.
Anyway, this post has gotten quite long so I’m going to wrap it up now. Tired, sore and a bit sick (now quite sick), I’m really looking forward to getting back to Germany and resting my crippled self. Think we’ve earned ourselves a night of proper sleep after this last week of craziness! After Essen, next stop will be London.
Bucket list- Attend tomorrowland