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Why I love music festivals (and Rock im Park in particular)

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Hey there, I’m sorry it’s been a little quiet on here lately, but summer has finally arrived, so I’ve been trying to spend as much time out in the sun as possible. When I’m not working that is. I’ve also just returned from a week-long holiday that took us to Nuremberg for a music festival and to Lake Constance for a few days of much needed relaxation after rocking out for 4 days. The weather was just amazing every single day, even though it was almost a little too hot for my taste, but hey, I’m not complaining about that. Of course I want to tell you all about our recent adventures and I’ll start with the music-side of our trip which took us back to Rock im Park, one of Germany’s biggest and personally my favourite music festival. We’d already been there last year and since we had a great time it was clear we needed to be back.

It seems there are basically 2 different types of music lovers – the ones who love festivals and the ones who hate them. I’d always wanted to visit one, but I have to say that a lot of things I’d heard and seen about festivals made me doubt if it would actually be enjoyable for me. First of all, I don’t really like camping. It’s not the hygiene or lack thereof that I’m worried about. But I need a decent night’s sleep. I don’t function well without it and something that’s supposed to be fun can easily turn into a nightmare if I’m sleep-deprived. So the prospect of sleeping in a tent on uncomfy ground being kept awake by drunken party people didn’t seem very appealing to me. Then I’m not the biggest fan of huge crowds. I love going to concerts, but being stuck in the middle of thousands of people makes me feel utterly uncomfortable. So the thought of 70.000 people piling up in front or constantly moving between stages kinda scared me. And while I like drinking and having fun, I’m definitely not a person who enjoys being pissed 3 or 4 days straight or to the extent of not being able to walk, talk or stand properly. Neither do I like being  harassed by people who act this way while trying to enjoy the music. These were the thoughts I had before I went to Rock im Park for the first time. And you know what? None of them were actually true in the way I had imagined them. Except for the camping part of which I had my fair share at Southside festival where I basically didn’t sleep for 3 days because it was a) freezing cold and b) the only place we could find for our tent was on a hillside. But: there’s a solution to this which you’ll find, among others, in my reasons for loving music festivals.

1. Music, music, music – all day long

Of course, for me the main reason to visit a music festival is the music itself. I always have a few bands I definitely want to see. This year for example these were Portugal. The Man (who I’d seen as a support band in March), Maximo Park (who always make for a great show), Metallica (because I’d never seen them before and well, it’s Metallica) and Linkin Park. But I also love to explore new bands who I have or haven’t heard about before. We often just wandered from stage to stage and stopped when we liked the sound of the band playing. This year I really enjoyed Kasabian, Fall Out Boy and New Politics and I’ll definitely buy a few albums of theirs. I know a lot of oldschool festival-goers have been complaining that the lineups, especially of Rock im Park and Rock am Ring, have become very mainstream over the past years and the “Rock” in the title has been neglected more and more. I do agree with that at least to some extent, but I’ve always been able to find plenty of bands I like.

2. It’s not like they show you on TV

As I said before, my opinion of festivals was highly influenced by the way it was depicted by media. Drunk, half-naked, screaming people, garbage, dirt, pee, puke everywhere. Of course you get that, too, at least to some extent. But it’s not like you won’t enjoy yourself if you’re not the 24/7 party animal. I actually found the festival crowd to be a very pleasant bunch of people. The atmosphere was always very relaxed and everybody was just trying to have the greatest time they could have, whatever that means for the individual person. Of course, you will get hit on by a drunk person from time to time if you’re a girl. But as long as it doesn’t get annoying, that’s ok. And the boyfriend always made sure they left quickly. Of course, several 10.000 people will leave their traces, so garbage definitely is an issue. But it’s not like you can’t sit down on the ground anymore or something like that. Just make sure you don’t wear your newest clothes and especially shoes (you most likely won’t want to wear them anymore judging by all the undefinable things you’ll find on their soles). Using portable toilets definitely isn’t for the squeamish, but it’s bearable if you know how to breathe through your mouth and make sure not to look around too closely. And be cautious if a toilet is free despite there being a huge queue. You don’t wanna have a look into that one. As always there’s also a luxury option if you really can’t bring yourself to use a portable toilet. The normal version usually costs you a little fee (at RiP it was 0,50€) and you’ll probably have to bear with quite some waiting time.

3. Moshpit or chilling in the back? You can have it all!

One reason I like Rock im Park so much is how the festival area is laid out. There’s lots of space in front of the stages, so if you don’t like being in the middle of the crowd you can just sit down on the grass in the back and still see something thanks to the huge screens on the side of the stages. There are also a few trees around, so we were even able to stay in the shade when the heat was too unbearable during the day. This actually saved me because I don’t really cope well with heat. We had temperatures of around 35 degrees for almost all 4 days, so it was really, really hot. On the last day, I dared to step into the sun in front of the stage to see Maximo Park at 2 pm. I jumped and danced around, but after their set was over I was in desperate need of some shade and water. The barriers in the crowd are also set out pretty nicely, so it never gets overcrowded (at least from what I’ve seen) in the area in front of the stage. We went to the front of the main stage to see Linkin Park playing and there was still plenty of space in the back. The only time when it can get a little tight and pushy is when entering the front area, especially right after a band has finished playing. But it’s never been too bad when I went.

4. You don’t have to sleep in a tent

The great thing about Rock im Park, especially for me as a camping-hater, is its close proximity to the city center of Nuremberg. The train will take you from the main station to a stop nearby the festival area in a few minutes and then it’s only a short walk and you’re in the middle of it all. It’s so convenient! We stayed in a hotel near the main station, had a nice lie-in, then went for breakfast and showed up at the festival well rested and showered. I know a lot of people think that camping is part of the real festival experience. But for me it’s just the perfect way.

I’m currently looking into other festivals to attend this summer. Probably only for a day trip since I’ve already planned most of my holiday. I really, really recommend to visit a music festival if you’re into music. It’s so much fun! I’m really dying to go to one again soon.

March Photo Challenge: Week 2

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Another busy week has come to an end. I can’t believe we’re already 2 weeks into March. Again time is flying! Last week’s theme for the photo challenge was “noon/midday”. Here are the photos I took.

Day 8

DSC_0678Saturday brought the most amazing spring weather! It was so warm, I was acutally able to wear a t-shirt. In early march! Truly amazing! Up until then I was still wearing my winter coat and suddenly I didn’t even need to wear a light jacket. Of course, I had to go outside and enjoy the sun. The boyfriend had to work, so I met up with my sister and her boyfriend. We went down to the river and sat down for a little bit. It was so great to feel the sun on my skin and to just sit there and do some people watching.

Day 9

DSC_0682On Sunday, the weather was amazing again. We had our first breakfast on the balcony. Then we wanted to do something outside again. Originally we wanted to go to a little hill area with a park and a beer garden, but it was absolutely impossible to find a place to park the car. That’s what happens when the sun suddenly comes out. Everybody comes crawling out of their holes. We had no choice but to go back home. My sister and her boyfriend came over and we decided to finally check out that cafe-bar-concert venue thingy just around the corner from our place. They have a nice beer garden outside – the perfect thing to do on a beautiful spring day. There was a concert going on which made it even better. After we’d waited for ages for a beer and a sausage (we actually got the last few sausages before they ran out of them), we sat down on one of the benches and enjoyed that beautiful afternoon. I have a feeling that I’m gonna become a regular at that place.

Day 10

DSC_0693My noons at work aren’t very exciting. Most of the time I’m having lunch in the office with my colleagues which doesn’t make for an interesting picture. So I decided to share some things that were on my mind during my lunch breaks. On Monday, I started a new read. I’m a huge fan of Haruki Murakami and I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time. I’ve started to use my commute to read in it everyday and so far I absolutely love it. Sometimes I wish my train ride was a little bit longer.

Day 11

DSC_0692Tuesday marked the 3-year anniversary of the Fukushima catastrophe. A tragedy that hit close to home since I’d only returned back to Germany from Japan just a year before it happened and the country still felt like a second home to me. I remember exactly where I was and what I did when I learned about the earthquake, the tsunami and the following nuclear catastrophe. I spent hours and hours worrying about my friends living in Japan until I heard that everyone was doing fine. Even 3 years after the desaster many people are still suffering from the consequences and my thoughts were with these people that day.

Day 12

DSC_0689On Wednesday, I had to go to Cologne for a meeting. It was a nice change from the usual. When I stepped outside the central station, the huge cathedral was shining in the sun. I just had to take a picture of it. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Day 13

Since nothing spectacular happened on Thursday (and to be honest, I just forgot to take a picture), I have to cheat a little and share another picture I took in Cologne. When I was walking through the pedestrian area, I saw this guy walking in front of me. He was selling 2 jokes for just 1€. A real bargain I’d say! 😉

Day 14

DSC_0694All I could think about on Friday was the Frank Turner concert I was going to that night. I’d already wanted to see Frank last year, but couldn’t make it. I’d heard so many good things about his shows, so I was very excited to finally see him. And I’ll say this much: I wasn’t disappointed.

A walk through the neighbourhood

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Whenever I move to a new place, I love to explore the new neighbourhood. To just stroll through the streets, never knowing what’s waiting around the next corner. It’s now been almost a month since we’ve moved to our new place (can you believe it!?), but since there’s still so much to do in our new home and I’ve been away on a few weekends, we didn’t really have the time to have a look around. Except for my daily walk to the train station which isn’t that exciting. So yesterday, we decided to finally go for a walk and see what the new place has to offer. Now our new neighbourhood definitely isn’t ordinary (as you’ll see from the pics I’ve taken). We’re located on a little peninsula in the river and we’re the only building that is finished so far. Everything else still has to be built and they’ve already started to. While you could see construction sites around your house as annoying, I personally find it pretty exciting. We’re getting to witness how a new residential area is being built. What’s not to find exciting about that!

We started our walk in the direction of the tip of the peninsula. But we didn’t get very far since the whole area is already under construction. We technically weren’t even allowed to walk where we did, but some people had already pulled the fences to the side and since it was a Sunday no construction was going on, so I think it was ok for us to have a walk around. To be honest, there wasn’t much to see except for huge piles of dirt and the river where 2 swans were going for a Sunday swim.

DSC02968DSC02969We then headed to the other side of the harbour basin, where a fairly new walk and bike lane is inviting people for a stroll (or a roll) along the river. You can basically walk all the way to Frankfurt if you like. I actually might try to cycle to work when it’s warmer. It’s around 5km which actually isn’t too bad. Around the top of the basin, there’s s little area whith benches where people can sit and have a nice view over the water. Every morning I walk past there to get to work, I can’t help but dream of having my first beer there with the boyfriend when it’s warmer. I’m sure we’re gonna enjoy this little place as oftern as we can. Or at least once we’re tired of sitting on our huge balcony. We even discovered a little kiosk down there which is going to open in April, so we can have ice cream or beer if we’ve run out of it at home.

DSC02970The area along the little promenade is also still under development. Right now there’s an interesting mix of industry, abandoned and recreational areas. I especially love this old crane which is still standing there despite not being used anymore. It just fits perfectly into the whole area.

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DSC02972Then there’s an empty space which is being used as a place for gardening for people who don’t have a garden of their own. Right now, it does look a little dead, but I’m sure in a few weeks time that place is gonna be a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city.

DSC02974DSC02975Further down, there’s a coal power station. From our balcony, I can see the coal being delivered by ship and carried inside the station by a crane. It certainly is one of the less beautiful things around here, but still I think it makes for an interesting scenery.

DSC02978At the end of the lane is my favourite spot of the whole area. I actually still need to check it out, but I’m sure we’re gonna be frequent visitors soon. It’s a mix between a cafe, club and concert venue with a huge green space outside where you can have drinks in summer. They even have a little zoo with sheep and geese. How adorable is that! I really hope we’re gonna have time soon to check it out because it just looks like one of these places I’m really going to dig.

DSC02980I hope you enjoyed my little tour around our neighbourhood. And if you like, let me know what’s your favourite thing about the area you live in.