Six Short Stories From The Roskilde Music Festival

Last year I wrote up my experiences as a first timer at the Roskilde Music festival. The festival is world famous, not only for its size, but for it’s unique and quirky atmosphere.  The experience was rich and deeply enjoyable in no small part due to the people I had with me.  So, this year, I recruited Juan Martinez, a close friend and periodic consultant for VirtualWayfarer. I gave him free reign and set him loose on Roskilde with the charge of recording, documenting, and then coming up with a creative look at the festival. What follows is “Obi” Juan’s insights into the festival as a long-time festival veteran and one of my de-facto tour guides.

The Orange Feeling (n) defined as: Good friends, good vibes and good times

Six short stories of the Orange Feeling at Roskilde Festival

by Juan David Martinez (flickr | Instagram)

Camp Unknown

My phone rang. It was a lovely Wednesday summer afternoon and our camp aptly named “Camp Unknown” was beginning to start the party in the camping area. We had one day until the music started and the friends who couldn’t be there the entire week started coming in. Beer in hand, we took in the much needed sun, and told stories of festivals’ past. I answered my phone. I heard a soft familiar voice, but seemingly saddened.

It was my friend Andra. She was in tears – the ticket she had bought was fake. The festival had sold out that year and she tried to purchase the ticket via an online website. The frailty in her voice drove a dagger through my heart. Some of our close friends were already at the festival and she was the last person we were waiting for. My heart started racing, and I asked where she was and immediately started running that way.

I told the rest of the camp what had happened, and immediately the party stopped.

My First Time At The Roskilde Music Festival

I was deep in thought, a conversation about something that seemed relevant at the time raging as my friend and I lugged our heavily-laden backpacks down the road toward our campsite in the B section of Roskilde’s sprawling camping area. So, it was with some surprise that I looked up and realized that the chain link fence to our right was lined by people.  These people were a mixture of men and women, some in the midst of their own conversations, but all diligently focused on not falling over while peeing on the fence.  The men unashamedly looked around, equipment in hand and fully exposed, as they artistically sought to wet the criss-cross of metal links. The women, casually enjoying a public squat, were a bit more furtive in their efforts.  Some had friends making some effort to block their naked bodies, while most just embraced the moment with a very typical Danish pragmatism. It’s just a naked body, right?

The Copenhagen Color Run – Weekly Travel Photo

What is the old saying? Boys will be boys? In June Copenhagen hosted the Color Run, a very laid back (don’t let my friends in this photo fool you) social marathon that focuses more on crazy outfits and colored powder than times or athletic dominance.  Inspired heavily by the Holi Festival which is a Hindu religious festival, the Color Run made for a fantastic afternoon with friends and strangers alike, covering each other in bright colors and enjoying the beautiful Danish weather.

Cherry Blossoms – Weekly Travel Photo

Smithsonian Gardens - Washington DC

Spring in Washington D.C. is a magical time.  The weather is starting to change. The city is slowly coming out of its winter hibernation and both tourists and residents alike start to wander the sweeping boulevards and monument filled parks.  One of spring’s highlights is the annual cherry blossom festival when the city’s small forest of cherry trees cover the city in a layer of rich pink and white blossoms.   This photo was snapped outside of the Smithsonian museum, but a walk through the FDR monument is a definite must.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon G11, however I typically shoot on a Canon T3i (600D).

Goodbye Norway, Hello Denmark!

The Round Tower - Copenhagen, Denmark

Excited for the next leg of my adventure I woke up with a spring to my step. It was cold and rainy, but given my mood, I found it more invigorating than anything.  I’d picked up a cheap youth ticket for 693 NOK (about $110 at the time) via the regional budget airline Wideroe.   While I had initially hoped to make the trip from Bergen to Copenhagen by train, what ended up being a two hour flight would have taken me closer to 15 hours by train and cost about the same (possibly more).

A Lazy Traveler - Bergen, Norway

From the hostel I made the 5 minute walk to the bus stop for the airport express and found a marginally dry bench.  Once there I leveraged years of experience, and settled in for one of the things I’m famous for – a quick cat nap. From there it was a quick bus ride to the airport, during which I had a delightful conversation with an older Canadian couple, before catching my flight.

Street Scene - Copenhagen, Denmark

The trip from the airport to my hostel was easy. A straight forward metro ride to a major stop, and then a quick walk to a funky hotel/hostel. I wasn’t thrilled about the place, it was a hotel which had converted its 3 story basement into a hostel.  Despite its general lack of character, and inflated price, it did offer decent facilities and a prime location.  I tossed my bag on my bed and set out – it was time to explore the city and rustle up some food.

Jazz Festival - Copenhagen, Denmark

The first thing I noticed about Copenhagen was the people. The Danish have repeatedly been ranked as some of the happiest people in the world. It’s hard to describe but there’s an energy throughout the city which truly reflects their ranking.  They’re just down right friendly, happy and active.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt that a massive, city wide jazz festival was also going on, which meant that there was stages set up in all of the small squares and musicians everywhere.

Draft Horses - Copenhagen, Denmark

In addition to being an extremely friendly city, Copenhagen (København) is also a spectacularly beautiful one.  The architecture is a delightful mix of international styles, the streets are clean, well groomed/repaired and the city itself a mixture of streets and parks crisscrossed by the occasional canal.

Main Drag  - Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen also boasts a fantastic amount of foot traffic. Something which while initially surprising started to make more sense once I learned more about the culture.  As it turns out the Danish government imposes a 180% tax on the purchase of new vehicles.  As you can imagine, that goes a long ways towards encouraging pedestrian traffic and the use of public transport.  The locals also are prestigious bikers. The only other city I’ve ever seen that came anywhere close was Amsterdam, and though it’s a close tossup I’m tempted to say that Copenhagen may be the bicycle capital of Europe. Everyone has one, and there are bike parking areas every block which consist of literally hundreds of bikes lined up in rows.  Some are chained to something, most are not.

Bicycles Downtown - Copenhagen, Denmark

As I wandered through the city streets I couldn’t help but be impressed.  Granted, the size of Copenhagen makes biking/walking a feasible option, but can you imagine if the US tried something similar?  A 10% sales tax is grounds for excessive complaining, let alone 180%! There would be riots.  Yet the Danes take it in stride and are happier, healthier, and better off for it.  No doubt there’s an important lesson to be learned there.

Old Skyline - Copenhagen, Denmark

I mentioned that the city was a beautiful mixture of architectural styles.  The eclectic roof line int eh photo above highlights this slightly.   You definitely get a feel fairly quickly for Copenhagen’s rich history.  A few minutes walking around the old city leaves one with a solid insight into the centuries of wealth, power, architectural and intellectual might that define Copenhagen.

Candy and Scale - Copenhagen, Denmark

As I wound my way down the main market street I couldn’t help but feel my mouth water.  Every block or so there was another food stand offering delicious looking wares.  From dried apricots to Danish hotdog stands.  With a chuckle I quickly realized that in Denmark the go-to street food isn’t kebabs, it’s hotdogs.  But not just any hotdogs…

Lunch - Copenhagen, Denmark

…Danish hot dogs.  Though there were a variety of options one of the most appealing (and healthy…obviously) were the bacon wrapped hotdogs served with sweet ketchup and a bucket full of mustard all washed down with a good ol’ cocacola.  Other options included big brats served up with pickled relish-like cucumber and sprinkled with dehydrated/breaded onions.

Street Music - Copenhagen, Denmark

I picked up one…or perhaps two? Hotdogs and made my way towards a small stage set up in the middle of the square.  Once within sight of the stage I found an empty set of cobblestones and settled in to enjoy my snack, people watch, and enjoy the sound of live music bouncing off the ancient cobblestone streets and multi-colored walls of ancient storefronts.

The Old Harbor - Copenhagen, Denmark

From there it was time to explore a bit further before heading back to the hostel.  I was in desperate need of a nap, and had made plans to connect with a friend I’d made during my Central America trip earlier in the year. I was eager to catch up, and to get a local’s insights into the city. It promised to be a good evening.

On a final note here are two quick bits of information I found fascinating.  The city of Copenhagen, despite being a capital city and home to several of the largest shipping companies in the world, sports an inner harbor that is so clean, you can swim in it (and people do regularly).

Remember how I mentioned that the city was incredibly bike friendly? An estimated 36% of locals commute to work by bike.  Amazing!

24 Hours in Dublin

Dublin - Near Temple bar

My adventure began at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  I arrived a few hours early preparing for the possibility of long lines and delays.  I shouldn’t have worried.  The Phoenix Airport is not only one of the friendliest, but also one of the most convenient I’ve ever flown through.  It took me less than 20 minutes to find my way from curb to gate leaving me with a 2 hour wait before my flight.  I didn’t mind, the extra peace of mind was worth a few extra minutes in the terminal.

I settled in, pulled out my netbook, and streamed an episode or two via Hulu using the Airport’s complimentary wifi service.  Another benefit to flying out of Sky Harbor.

Before long my flight began to board.  We piled on and quickly sandwiched ourselves into our seats.  Unfortunately, mine was the middle seat.  Luckily both of the gentlemen I was sitting next to were of a reasonable weight and friendly.

Then something odd happened.  I’ve heard of and been in all sorts of weather delays.  I’ve had mechanical delays, and scheduling delays…but I’d never had a weather delay on a bright, sunny, Phoenix afternoon.  As it turned out, our flight was delayed by just under an hour – the captain informed us that we were too heavy.  The sweltering Phoenix heat had increased just as the wind shifted which meant we had to drop several thousand pounds before we’d be able to take off.  I guess there’s a first for everything.

The rest of the flight was uneventful. Though initially expecting the delay to be problematic, I made my connection to Ireland without difficulty.  Sleep was more wishful thinking than reality, but that’s par for the course. Some day I’ll learn how to sleep sitting up.  Until then….well, I’ll be thankful for movies on my netbook and a good book.

Dublin

I arrived in Dublin just after 9am.  My lack of sleep was offset by adrenaline and excitement. I seemed to draw new energy from the very ground I was walking upon.  The adventure was finally real.  I’d made it! There was no going back, no chance of cancellations or obstacles.

City Streets - Dublin

I hit the ATM first, then found my way to the tourist center where I bought my bus pass and broke a 50.  There’s nothing quite as obnoxious as having to break large ATM bills while traveling. Why they don’t have a “small bills” option is beyond me. Too inconvenient for the bank no doubt.

The air was crisp and warm, the sky sunny and bright. It would be a beautiful day.

Kinlay Hostel Dublin - Mural

The bus ride lasted about 30 minutes and deposited me on Dublin’s main drag, next to their millennial spire – a gargantuan steel spire that pierces the heavens.  A grin on my face I set off towards Temple Bar and my hostel, all the while retracing old steps from previous visits. Over the river, up past the bar district, past Dublin Castle and then around one last corner before I arrived at Kinlay House, Dublin.

Outdoor Market in Dublin - Food

I checked in, but had to wait until 2 before my bed would be ready which was expected. My main pack in a luggage locker at the hostel I set out to poke around town and quickly tracked down the small out door market I’d discovered on a previous trip.

Outdoor Market - Dublin

A few Euro later found me with a delicious Bratwurst and several small bags filled with fresh goodies — rice wrapped in olive leaves, green olives, and fresh anchovies.  Treats in hand, I made my way across the river to a wooden boardwalk where I settled in and enjoyed my small, savory feast.

Temple Bar District - Dublin

With a full belly I was off to poke around town: A quick stop at Trinity College for some video; a quick hello at the statue of Molly Malone; a pleasant stroll through central park, where I paused and watched a grandfather and his granddaughter feeding the ducks;  a few moments spent on the main market street watching street performers; then a final stroll back through Temple Bar to the hostel.

Little Girl Feeding Ducks and Swans - Dublin

Once back at the hostel I found my way to my room, crawled into my bunk bed and crashed, only to be greeted by strange dreams.

Dublin Pride Festival - June 2010

I dreamed of a parade, of huge crowds, loud music and chanting.  It was odd. I never dream of parades. Why would I?  ….and then I started to slip towards consciousness.  As I drifted up and out of my slumber, the music and chanting remained. It turns out the dreams were a reflection of reality.  The noise was coming through my open 3rd story window from the street below where thousands, if not tens of thousands, people marched along the street celebrating Ireland’s Pride Day.  I’d noticed an abundance of rainbow flags earlier in the day, but hadn’t thought much of it. As it turns out, it was a huge festival filled with color, music, and thousands of people marching for equality.

Dublin Pride Festival - June 2010

I settled in and enjoyed my birds-eye view as cars, buses, and people strolled by chanting, smiling, and singing. A convertible with 5 drag queens preceded the YouTube bus, which was followed by a semi pulling a flatbed trailer which announced the world’s first LGTB circus.  The whole spectacle was a welcome surprise.

Dublin Pride Festival - June 2010

I crawled back into bed and stole another few hours of sleep before finding my way to the common room where I made a few new friends, as we watched the USA’s exit from the world cup.  Starving, I split off and wandered through Temple Bar which had turned into a madhouse.  Streets near gay-friendly bars (most of Temple Bar) were packed with people who had spilled out of the bars, live music, and general revelry.  In more than a few areas the streets were so busy that the crowd was shoulder to shoulder.  The sheer level of positive energy was delightful and the variety of outfits was quite often quite comical.

Dublin Pride Festival - June 2010

After tracking down a bite to eat and a few beers I found my way back to the hostel where, to my delight, I recognized the guy working the front desk.  Hostel workers are typically fairly temporary in nature, so it was with some surprise I recognized a guy from Belgium, also named Alex, who I’d gotten to know during my previous stay in July 2009.  We caught up and bullshitted a bit before I re-joined the rest of the party I’d met earlier, while adding a few new friends. We drank our beers and set out for a night on the town. A few pubs later, we found ourselves deep underground in an old wine cellar-converted into a night club where we danced a decent portion of the night away.

Dublin Pride Festival - June 2010

Jet lagged and tired, I wound down around 1:30amand made my way back to the hostel.  I had a 6am wake-up call for my flight to Norway.  The previous 48 hours had been intense.  The following 24 promised not to disappoint.