Saturday, January 29, 2011

Festivals and Ferries

Last night my bliss was achieved by curling up in bed with my long haired boy, wearing winter pyjamas, listening to the rain and watching If it's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium, a movie made in 1969. I love old movies! The sound, the colour, the way the actors speak. But today is another day, and this means another couple of bookings for Europe! 

First up, we bought our tickets to Party San, the last of the three music festivals we are going to. Its another metal festival for Courts - I like metal music as well but as I've said before. Wacken would have been enough for me! If Courts is going to follow me through ancient Greek and Roman ruins I'm pretty sure I can handle an extra 3 days of metal. 

The entire reason Courtney has always wanted to go to Europe was for the metal scene in Germany. Germany has a huge metal following and therefore produces more metal bands and more metal festivals than many other countries, and is a point of pilgrimage for metal fans around the world. The upside of Party San is that it is much cheaper than the other festivals we have booked - tickets are just under 50 Euros each as opposed to over 100 for Wacken and FiberFIB. The downside, for me at least, is that the bands are a little more obscure. Courts thinks this is great (they're not so obscure to him) as the move towards more mainstream bands for Wacken has garnered criticism from some metalheads.

Our other recent booking, is for the return ferry between Italy and Greece. We head to Venice straight after Germany but then we jump on a ferry at Ancona and take a 22 hour ride to Patras in Greece, where we will spend time in Athens, Delphi and Santorini. We could take a shorter ferry, but boarding at Ancona means a much shorter ride from Venice to the ferry. Since we will be on it overnight, we save money on accommodation. 

Also, this ferry, Superfast VI, is like nothing I had imagined. It has a swimming pool with an on-deck bar, a casino, games arcade, and even a disco. There is a myriad of options for sleeping, but we chose to stick with airline-type reclining seats to save money. Speaking of saving money, we qualified for a 20% Youth Discount (under 26 years old) and a 45% discount for booking early (prior to the end of Feb for travel prior to October), which is awesome. 

After Greece, we head back to Italy for a few weeks, this time sailing Patras to Bari. The ferry, Superfast II, isn't as flash, nor is the trip as long, but we still travel overnight, thus saving more on accommodation. I'm actually really excited about the ferries, particularly Superfast VI, having never travelled on anything like it. And with nothing to visit and nowhere to ride, it will be like a mini-holiday within a holiday.

Lastly, I just want to tell you about a really cool website I found a few weeks ago, Songkick. I can’t believe I didn’t know this existed before! You register for the site and then ‘track’ all of the locations you could possibly visit as well as all of the bands you could possibly want to see. It then produces a calendar of all tour dates that have been announced so far by the bands you have chosen in the areas you selected, and updates you as new ones are announced.

We are still a few months out from arriving in Europe so more dates will be announced I’m sure, but so far there are concerts by Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and Iron Maiden that match up with our plans – right place, right time. I’m sorry budget, really, I am… kind of.