Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Summer trip part tres: Madrid!

I am very happy today for a variety of reasons, and so I figured it would be a fantabulous idea to FINALLY write my long anticipated blog for Madrid! Oh the joy!

Viva Espana!

After waiting until 4 o'clock in the fucking morning, we at last went back to our hotel to sleep a bit before having to wake up quite early again to catch a train to Brussels. We headed off to the station, had something to eat, bid our goodbyes to Niko who was going home, and tried to figure out which train we had to take.
Let me tell you, trains in Belgium are weird. First they spoke French, but then suddenly they changed to Dutch. I didn't mind, but I think it can be confusing.

When we were finally in Brussels, the initial plan was to walk around the city before heading off to the airport, but decided it was better not to. We went down to buy tickets to the airport, but the man at the counter was having his period. I could tell he spoke Dutch by his English accent, so I took over from Laura and spoke Dutch to him. He was one nasty bitch and quite rude. We just took our tickets and off we went again.
It took a while, a bustrip with screaming kids (who would later accompany us in the plane) and overpriced drinks before we could fly to Madrid for a short stop in our tour. We didn't get to sit next to each other, but that was ok. We were far too tired anyway.
The flight was not spectacular, apart from Laura controlling the still screaming kids with her telepatic powers. She made one of the kids bump his head. That's how she rolls.

We arrived in Madrid at night, went to the metro, had to carry our bags over a shitload of stairs. Seriously Madrid, would it be so difficult to install lifts in your metro stations for poor tourists like us? The mood was not uplifting when we had to face another obstacle in our way to fresh air, condemned to carrying our bags.
At last, we managed to find the right stop and went upstairs once again to find our hostel. This happened to be a bit of a challenge. After first walking the wrong way, we decided to go all the way back. It was already dark, we were tired and if anyone had mugged us that night, I would have slapped a bitch.

Patience is a virtue and we finally found our hostel. It was quite nice, the people were nice and they had free wi-fi! We went up to our room and there were 3 beds. I drew a map for you:

Laura and I immediately claimed the beds in the middle of the room, forcing Luke to take the one opposite the door. He was not happy. You see, he feared the big men walking around the hostel would come and steal him away from us. Or eat him. Or tickle him to death. Anyway, he was not a happy camper. And threw a bitchfit. And we just laughed. And he had to sleep there.

We attempted to watch Harry Potter. We fell asleep. Luke was woken up by the cleaners who wanted to clean our room. Luke thought he was going to be kidnapped.

He is still alive though, for the people who wonder.

Anyway, we got out too late and just went to the Playa Mayor and had some overpriced lunch which wasn't even that good. We then walked around and went shopping. Yes we did. We gave Mr. Donegan a make-over. Even a new eau de toilette. The Secret by Antonio Banderas. It made him feel invincible.

After we did the make over we went to this lovely restaurant with even lovelier staff. Especially one guy. We shall call him Guadicimo. Guadicimo was a handsome Spanish guy. And nice too. And the food was lovely. So we gave him a 5 euro tip. He acted as if he had just won the lottery and Penelope Cruz had come in naked to tell him. We left and went back to the hostel, glad we did such a good deed for such a hardworking, good-looking, eager Spanish boy.

And we slept. We slept a lot. Basically we did not wake up and got ready until around dinner time. We had dinner in a lovely little Spanish restaurant where they did not speak English. Their cod was lovely. I want to go back there and marry them as it was the best thing I tasted in quite a while. After finishing our meal, we walked around a bit more, had some ice cream and headed back to the hostel as the next morning we had an early flight to Porto.

And we slept. And slept some more. And woke up too early. And said adios to Madrid and OLA to Porto!

And that adventure will be told in my next blog post!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Tears in Heaven

People die every single day. Basically we live to die eventually. We all know it. Some accept it and some refuse to deal with this fact. I was going to write a report about Porto, but it will have to wait, especially after all the tragedies.

I think about death a lot. Sometimes I am scared of it. Sometimes I tend to accept it. Truth be told, it gets harder every single day to live in this world. I'm not saying that it used to be better. I just think we've reached the point where the Third World War is going on, yet nobody dares to announce it yet.

Yes. People die. It happens. But does that mean we can't feel sorrow? Even though we don't know them.

People die of famine. Of poverty. Of loneliness. We do not pay attention to this every single day. The situation is out of our control and even if we try to solve it, we can't. Not alone. Not if the richest people keep all their wealth to themselves.

This weekend, many people died because of hatred. The hatred of one man.
Norway had always been a peaceful country. This shows that there only has to be 1 person with strong beliefs, 1 person who is sick in his head to destroy everything. I've been following the news on this for a while now and even looking at his picture gives me chills. It's in his eyes.

We do not accept each other any more. Does it really matter where someone else is from? Does it really matter what someone else believes? Is it worth killing another living being because it convinces you that you are doing the right thing?

It's a sick world we are living in. But I know that it might get better. The good always overpowers the bad. All the boats of independent people sailing to the island to get those kids out of the water, while being at risk to be shot themselves. It shows there are still enough people who do have good in their hearts.

“Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”

On the death of Amy Winehouse, all I'd like to say is that it is such a shame. She seemed so lost lately and it is so sad nobody could help her. I almost lost someone very close to me due to drugs so I've seen up close what she was going through. I hope she is free now. 

I know this blog was just an endless ramble of things, but I just wanted to share some thoughts. Right, now I should write that report for Porto.


Saturday, 23 July 2011


"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it." ~ Henry David Thoreau

This is for Norway, for all the lives lost, for all the innocent who had to go through this and their families and friends. I know this blog won't make much difference, but I hope it provides some light, and all the lights together, from all over the world, will come together and shine upon us in the darkness.

It is time we stop destroying our world, all living things and in the end, ourselves. 


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Summer trip part deux: Liege

As I am waiting for my hair to dry (hairdryers are overrated!), I figured I could just as well write the next blog. In this exciting installment of the Summer Tales, the Dream Team was off to Liege in the wonderful Belgium, where they would go and turn the Les Ardentes festival upside down.

Da Journey

Immediately after Mr. Penniman and gang had left the building, we went to the car because we foolishly decided it was a fantastic idea to drive to Liege overnight. Let me assure you this is not a good idea. Although Donegan and myself fell asleep during the drive, it was Laura who had to keep Niko awake, before we would have a tragic crash and die in the Neverland of France. Especially the last 30 minutes were hard for both him and Laura. Laura just kept talking and I think she was so tired it was mainly bullshit. A memorable quote: "You know that Mika flooded his bathroom?" That's right Mika, she is psychic. Now get those towels ready!

After what seemed like ages but was only 3 hours, we arrived at our hotel. I felt like shit, I was tired and grumpy. What did make me happier was the fact that the Holiday Inn we originally booked a room at, now was changed into a 4 star hotel. YAH FOR UPGRADES!
We knew that quite a lot of people were already queueing, but quite frankly, we didn't give a damn. We jumped into our beds and slept until 12, we'd just see whenever we felt like going there.
Sleeping was so nice and I felt good when I woke up. We decided to get brunch and went to a supermarket. I also bought razors. I forgot mine at home, which basically meant that after 4 days of not shaving, I felt like King Kong's sister. At that moment I was in such a state of bliss, I didn't even care about the festival anymore.

A delightful lunch later, I had a date with my razors in the bathroom, Luke and Laura went for a swim and Niko slept some more. I have never felt so refreshed when I was ready with my shower. I did my make-up, we all prepared some more and around 6 we headed down to the festival.

Da festival

We arrived at the festival and had to find our parking lot which took quite some time. We then went into the shuttle bus and were dropped off at the entrance. The lovely lady who checked our tickets said my top was "tres magnifique". I was about to high-five her.

We immediately went to the main stage. It was around 7 now. I just walked round the sides and surprisingly enough we could just walk to the front row. It was AMAZING. Especially after the whole Compiegne disaster, this was a real treat. We were chatting about how lucky we were, when Niko said he had to go back to the car to sleep some more, but he promised us he would be back by 10.

We were still in awe about how lucky we were, but then the inevitable happened. We had been there for more than an hour, sitting down to chill some more, when a big French Lady just sat down on Laura's bag. Laura immediately stood up, demanding the woman to get off her back and she tried to secure her spot. The French lady at her turn demanded Laura to move as she had been there since 3. Her husband who had been there all along never spoke a word. Both of them stood up and the lady kept saying:


Laura kept saying no.


Laura had no idea what she had to stop.

"EXCUSE ME, THAT IS MY WIFE!" The man said.

"Well, congrats?"


Laura, being the Essex girl that she is said: "Well, go on then!"

And she did.

Laura immediately called security and explained what was going on. The lady tried to get security to remove us, but they just shrugged and went away. 1-0 for team Laura! In the meantime, Luke was silent, afraid we would get kicked out.
We weren't. The punchline is that in fact, there was enough room for all of us to stand in the front row. After security were gone, the woman did not say a single thing any more.

The acts

We saw the full set of Puggy, an apparently famous band in Belgium and France as the crowd went wild for them. Mind you, they were very good.

After Puggy came Ozark Henry, which basically was a snoozefest (not as much as the Tindersticks though, but more on that later).

Then fiiinalllly, Mika came on! And boy was he on fire! It was waaay better than Compiegne, although Compiegne was also quite good. We danced our asses off and had the best time ever!

This was probably my favourite gig out of all 3 we did this tour. He was smiling and seemed so happy and it just rocked my socks off. Even though I wasn't wearing any.
The long wait after

We decided to wait for him after the gig. So we got our pretty asses over to the VIP parking. We weren't the only ones. Around 60 people were waiting. Then it got later. And later. And even later than later. So a lot of people left. By the time it was 4 in the morning, there were only around 29 people left and he FINALLY came out.
It was quite endearing to see. He pushed everybody out of his way to get out of the car, even crawled over them when it didn't go fast enough. The first thing he said to Laura and me was:


We said something about having no lives and having nothing better to do.
He stuck around for a few minutes, chatting and swearing like a sailor (in a positive way of course) and he did a video for after we managed to get a working camera (mine didn't work. Which made him say: "Sort your shit out! How many fucking hours did you have to prepare?")

He then moved on to the other people and when he came back, Niko politely asked him if he wanted to take a group picture with the 4 of us. He happily obliged and said: "Yeah let's do it!"

Now I warn you this is not the full group picture. This is the one with the 4 of us. But considering there have been some people angry about this cropped version, I thought I would just mention it.

When Mika left, we were still on a cloud nine. The excitement got even bigger when only a few seconds after he left, he tweeted:

I have some of the fiercest fans in the world. I am honoured and very lucky. Thank you. X

We were the lucky ones. Lucky to have had the chance to experience such a good meet&greet. And then to think we thought Liege would be the mediocre gig. Absolutely not! 

We went to bed quite satisfied, yet the trip did not end there yet!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Summer trip part 1: Compiegne

So, I figured it would be nice to let those 3 people, who still hopefully yearn for my insightful blogposts, know where the hell I've been the past, well, week.

7 July

I woke up in the morning, not feeling quite like P. Diddy. After little sleep, I had to get up and go to the airport to pick up Luke. Him and Niko would come over to my place that day, so we could leave for France the next day, together with Laura.
It was 10 am when I arrived at the airport, although it seemed like I had to wait a million years for the bitch  to come out. When he finally did, he had some vague excuse about Mexicans and tacos. Anyway, he was there and we could get our asses back to Casa Ingridia.

After settling down, we decided to go to the supermarket to get some food for our journey. It seemed like Luke had a hard time adjusting to the Dutchness of my country and he was often quite scared and in panic whenever someone spoke Dutch to him. Needless to say, I had to jump to the rescue several times.
After a nice sandwich and a lot of complaining (we only had one bike, so Luke was the unfortunate one to sit behind me on the bike) we went home and waited for the arrival of mr. Niko.

After quite a while (he said he would arrive at 2. It was around 5) Niko finally arrived. I showcased some of my fantastic cooking skills, although the boys were reluctant to try it. I know I should be in Master Chef, now they do too! We then went out to see Bad Teacher, which was cool and then back home and off to bed because we had another early mornin'!

8 July

Got up, got dressed and we were on our way to the airport once again. This time to pick up Laura, who already called us to ask us where the fuck we were. After we collected her, we could finally start our journey to Compiegne!

The driving in itself wasn't quite spectacular, we sang along to songs, chilled out and got bored. After almost 4 hours we finally arrived in Compiegne, but we weren't quite there.
See, we had only decided a week before to go to Compiegne a day before the gig instead of on the day itself, so we were condemned to the only hotel available. Thing is, it was nowhere to be found. We drove around for ages, even breaking all rules (damn the amount of one way roads!). Laura asked people in her best French where the damn place was, but nobody seemed to know. It wasn't until Luke and Laura decided to look for it by foot, we finally found it.

It turned out to be quite a nice place, very appartment like and we even had stairs! Yeah that's right! Naturally the upstairs room was claimed by Niko and myself.
After chilling for a bit, and me finding out I passed my last resit, we went out into the city to meet up with Rose, Treasa and Sharon. It wasn't hard to find their hotel, yet it took a while for them to get out. When they did, we went down to the Palace where the gig was going to take place the next day.

They were already building the stage and we curiously looked around. We weren't the only one. Everywhere, groups of Mika Fans were gathered around, looking or talking to the organisation. After a while, we decided we'd seen enough and went somewhere to get drinks and food. When we were done, Rose and the others went back to the Palace and our little group headed back to our hotel to sleep.

Gig day

At 5.30 Niko woke me up. He just received a text that said there were 15 people there already. Then he checked the time it was sent. 2 fucking am. Not much later he received another text. Almost 70 people. And it was not even 6 o'clock yet. I think I've never sworn as much in my life as I did that morning. We got dressed, did hair and make-up and went down there.

We arrived at around 7, where we got number 82, 83, 84 and 85. Funny thing is, there weren't even 80 people around. Apparently, most just got a number and went back to bed. Which is unfair. It also started raining. It did not make us happy people. Luckily, I met many great people in the queue, so we at least had some fun considering the circumstances.

The more people arrived, the more hectic it became. Security promised to do the number system, but as they were late with opening the doors, they did not. So there was a lot of screaming. And anger. And a whole lot of frustration. Eventually, Niko and I ended up on the right side of stage, second row. Initially I had some girl in front of me, but I switched with Niko as he had no room to stand because the man in front of him was not adjusted to gig etiquette.
I ended up standing next to a very cute French guy, offered him water. He refused though. Although he did ask me later if I wanted a bottle of water. I refused. That's how we roll.

Even though the queueing had been a nightmare, as were the 'support acts', I was very excited for the gig to finally start. It had been almost a year since I'd seen Mika live, and well, I kind of missed him.
So when the last support act got booed of stage, (poor thing had to cry it seems), we were ready for it to begin!

The moment the band came on stage, I already forgot about everything. The first notes of Relax brought back the goosebumps and I screamed like never before. The man in front of me gave me a WTF look but I didn't care. Then Mika came on stage. And I danced. I danced like never before. The man in front of me kept giving me sympathy looks, sometimes even annoyed looks but I didn't give a fuck. The guy next to me barely moved. I did. I don't go to gigs to just stare and go home. I go because I want to dance. And I don't care what others think about it.

Mika was fucking great as usual, and so was the band. Imma, Cherisse and Martin and Ida rocked it, as well as the new band members, although it seemed like they needed a little more time adjusting to the whole thing.
I loved the new songs. I loved the old songs, it was great. It felt like coming home again.
When the gig ended, I was covered in sweat. It was a great feeling for a change. Niko and I went to look for our friends and together we decided to wait for Mika to come out.

It was quite clear we weren't the only one who had this idea. I think more than 200 people were waiting. It was impossible to get closer, but I had the Fairytales Before Dark book I wanted to give him. People mobbed the door of where he was staying, it was a crazy mess.

After a while, he came out and I looked for a spot where I could just hand it to him. I found some short Frenchies and I managed to get myself in between them. I waited for him to come to us and when he did, I tried to hand him the book. He initially wanted to sign it, but I told him it was for him and he took it, quickly looked at it and promised to look at it later. Then he looked up and recognised me and said ooh hi! I said hi back, but everyone just kept screaming his name, so I walked away. Mission completed.

We said goodbye to everybody and made our way back to the car. We had a long drive to Liege to do...

But that my children, will be discussed in the next story.