2014 has come and gone quickly. Just this time last year, I was preparing for my final exam and packing up my things to put in storage. I was daydreaming of colourful sarees, paradise beaches and freedom. Now, a year later, I am doing almost exactly the same. I have booked a flight to Cambodia early next year, and have been granted a Working Holiday Visa for Australia. I am excited, nervous and poor. I still have a lot of planning and purchasing to do before I’m ready for departure.
As everyone sits down to reflect on their year (usually with that stupid Facebook feature), I’ve created a list (yes, another list) of some accomplishments/experiences that I found worthy of sharing with someone. I clearly live an exciting life.
THIS YEAR I
Visited 10 countries (if you count Burma)
Was (only) reported for pornography on Facebook twice
Now, as much as I enjoy doing nothing all day, I decided I needed a vacation. I was offered such an opportunity when Shank, a friend from The Pink Palace, decided to visit Copenhagen for a few days. This post is not for the easily offended, because Shank’s face is in it a lot. In fact, his face is the only thing in this post, besides a lot of words.
Copenhagen is a 3-hour train ride from Horsens, and I had everything perfectly timed, so that we would both arrive at the Central Station at the same time. Less than fifteen minutes after getting on the train, I am informed the passengers have to switch trains. That’s super annoying and all, since I paid extra to reserve a seat. We switch trains while complaining and small talking a bit, but the train decides it isn’t going anywhere for the next 30 minutes. In the end, I arrive a full 60 minutes later than expected. I’m not too upset though, since Shank is waiting with a beer for me – after I find him, ‘cause I walk straight up to a guy at McDonald’s that looks just like him, only to realize it’s not him seconds before it’s too late.
We stay at Generator Hostel, which is 3 km away from the train station – and we decide to just walk there. The weather’s really nice for a November evening. Of course we take the longest time getting to our hostel – even with GPS. It’s a really cool place with a huge common area, a bar and a TV area. We meet our roommates from Australia, who are super nice and very cool about what happens later on. I’ll get to that.
As soon as we’ve dropped our bags and talked to our roommates a bit, we go out to find food and end up at a Danish restaurant. Now, as much as I failed to show Shank around, I won when it came to getting him Danish food. We get meatballs and fried fish and remoulade and gravy and potatoes and…. Alright, we have the most Danish meal ever. We head back to the hostel and hang out at the bar, which is slowly filling up. Shank does the worst thing you can possibly do here: buy 10 shots of Fisk. Also, two large beers. We play some Foosball and force down the shots, go out for a few cigarette breaks and decide to go to bed, ‘cause we’re definitely feeling like taking it easy tonight.
And that is the last thing I really remember. We’ve spent hours trying to piece together flashbacks from that night, and I think we decided on this story:
A girl in a striped shirt was looking at Shank most of the night, which he pointed out to me. As I got drunker, I offered to go talk to her, but he was just feeling like going to bed. When we were done with our drinks (I think there were a few Jägerbombs and other dangerous things involved), we decided to head up to the room, but we ran into Girl In Striped Shirt and her friends on the way and I guess I started chatting them up. We ended up joining their table and drinking more – judging from the apps I had opened, I tried to pay one of them. Probably for drinks, but who knows. Shank might have made out with Girl In Striped Shirt, and I might have aggressively hit on a guy, and might have gotten rejected, but I don’t remember any of that. I went to bed early, probably around 11.
Now, according to our roommates, I came into the room and tried to get to the top bunk, which I had claimed earlier. It didn’t go too well, but I managed, and as soon as I laid down, I had to throw up. Getting down from the bed was just as hilarious to watch, and I threw up several times, both in the toilet, and in the showerroom. I obviously don’t remember that. I do remember that I passed out in Shank’s bed, as I couldn’t keep climbing up and down, and he hadn’t gotten back from the bar yet.
So I wake up at 7 in the morning, when Shank climbs down from the top bunk (he snuck in God knows when and took my bed since I was passed out in his) and loudly says something like “Ew, I just stepped in your vomit!” And yes, in my drunken state I had just turned my head and started throwing up, thus getting it all over the side of the bed and the floor. Even my shirt had throw-up on it. Our roommates tell us the story of how I got back – a mystery, since I never learned to master the maze that is the hallway that leads to the room – and after a lot of apologies, a shower and complaints about feeling shitty, we go out to find breakfast. We randomly end up at Nyhavn and eat breakfast – or, Shank kinda eats for both of us, since I can’t keep anything down.
After getting some food in our systems, we head to Christiania. It’s a Freetown that is known for its (totally illegal) use of cannabis, amongst other things. It’s a big tourist attraction, and I have never been there before, so it’s about time. Photography isn’t allowed, but I’ll paint you a picture: worn-down buildings decorated with colorful graffiti, tiny shops where you can buy everything with has Bob Marley on it, and of course, a lot of hippies. Also, it really smells like weed there.
We walk around a little bit, and then we sit down and share a Sandwich – How I Met Your Mother reference. It makes us feel a lot better, also super tired, so we get the metro back to the hostel and pass out in our room – and it’s not even noon!
At about 5 we wake up and slowly start feeling normal. We have some beer and some fresh air, as we spend the better part of an hour trying to find Restaurant BROR, which is a pretty nice restaurant close to city center. All the waiters speak English, and the dishes has something either gross-sounding or unfamiliar in it. You get a 4 course menu with some wine, and no one knows what the meals are going to be. Our menu was an app (I will use a Parks and Recreation reference to describe food courses) with fish and celery, then another app with beets and tomatoes (sooo good!), then a trey-trey with chicken, and lastly, the zert was apple crumble with rosemary ice cream. On top of that, we had bread with bone marrow smoked butter (WTF, but soo good), a cheese platter, chicken liver, and yes, BULL’S BALLS. It was cut in slices and breaded and fried, and tasted a bit like a chicken nugget, but as soon as I put it in my mouth, I remembered what it was, and felt a bit disgusted. Shank has been on a mission for like a year to try bull’s balls, so he was pretty excited about eating it. I have really weird friends.
Bull nuggets in the bottom right corner
We had some amazing wine though, and because the waiter forgot to bring us wine for all the courses, we got it for free – yay! The bill ended up being like half the price of what I thought it’d be, so we were pretty stoked about that. Also, one of the male waiters was so smoking, I would have eaten him instead. Would probably have been cheaper too.
Since it’s a Sunday, everyone is watching a movie instead of hanging out at the bar, so we have a pretty quiet night. We have a beer, and the bartender pours us a free shot because we’re the only ones hanging out at the bar. We go outside for a cigarette and then call it a night.
The next day, we check out and say goodbye to our roommates. We lock up our luggage at the train station, and go for a walk on the main street, where we’re almost run over by a truck. We buy Danish pastry at a bakery, and as soon as we finish that, we find an American burger joint called MAD that brews its own beer – we had planned to go to a brewery at least once, but failed, and ended up at this place instead. Burgers and beers are always delicious, even before noon. We realize we need to hurry up to catch our trains, especially me, since my train only leaves once an hour. Luckily, we manage to get back to the station, get our luggage and then jump on our separate trains. In my opinion, the weekend has been a success. I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with my friend, and having some fun. I would say this vacation of doing nothing has prepared me to go back home and do nothing again.
My first time flying solo is just a one hour flight to Amsterdam, and I handle it with minimal anxiety and confusion. I am proud. I end up walking around the arrival halls of Schiphol – there are many – before I drop into a seat and start on my Kindle copy of Into The Wild. I’m only 31 % in when it’s time to go greet Aga at Arrival 2, which they suddenly switch to 3, but thanks to the free Wi-Fi, I realize she’s at one of the gates at the other end of the airport, running around like a lost puppy looking for me. We celebrate seeing each others faces again by eating Burger King, and then proceed to fail at finding the right platform to get to Central Station.
Anyhow, I’m sure you can all imagine how much time we can spend running back and forth with confused faces. We finally get to the heart of Amsterdam, or rather the tit. That’s right, we go to Red Light District. In between almost getting run over by bikes while we look at our map (see picture below), and snapping those awkward-ly candid tourist photos of each other (see picture below), we walk into a few coffee shops to get a space muffin. We end up going to one called High Times or whatever, and we share a tiny muffin that tastes surprisingly like not-basil.
Such bad bitches
We walk for a long time to the Rijksmusem, where the famous “I AMsterdam” sign is (it is NOT by the train station anymore, ignorants), and we meet up with Molly, an American who’s also going to Stoketoberfest. First, we took some akward pictures by the sign.
Gosh, kill us now…cause we’re so attractive in these, it’s really not fair to the other people in the pictures.
We all bond over beer at a nearby cafe that has “Bitter Balls” on the menu – we bond over that too. From there, we walk back to the Central Station and show Molly the Red Light District on the way. Amsterdam is a very pretty city, but at night it seems that it really comes to life. We enjoy sex shops with window displays that has dildos the size of my arm, the heavy scent of cannabis hitting us momentarily, and the atmosphere seeping out through the entrance of all the cozy bars. That was Amsterdam, and we’re on a train to Duivendrecht to catch our Stoke bus to Munich.
If I have to give one complaint, and you know I do, since this is my blog, I would point out that the sparse information I recieved before going to Munich was that I would be picked up in Amsterdam, and end up in Munich ten hours later. Instead, we are in a small city that I’ve never heard of outside of Amsterdam, and suddenly our guides, Chris, Ned and Chris show up, and they know just as little as I do. They too believe that the busride will take ten hours. It was 12+. This is important to the story of how we almost miss our flights home a few days later, but I will get to that once all the fun stuff are out of the way.
The busride is equal parts fun and annoying – one moment we are all drinking beers and getting to know each other, the next moment most of us are flying on a magic carpet to Sleepsville, but a few guys behind us are super unimpressed with us all and proceed to get wasted and loudly exclaim how much we suck. Please, we already know that, but we also know that we will be grateful in the morning, when we arrive and are NOT hungover.
As always, I am right. We arrive at Campingplatz Obermenzing where Stoketoberfest is held, and after a long check-in, which is saved by the staff shoving free beer in our faces – and in my case, also down my throat with the help of a funnel – we shower, get dressed and are on our way to the actual Oktoberfest. It is me, Aga, Molly and Hollie, our roommate from last year at The Pink Palace, all looking cute in our dirndls if I may say so – and yes I may, because this is my blog.
From left to right: my partner in crime, me with a chest that cannot be contained, Hollie who gets to be the middle of a cuddlepie, and Cole, another great Pink Palace pal. Hottest reunion evaaah.
With Molly. At this point we are all pretty much under the influence of sangria and beer. Damn you Stoke! (not really)
We go to the Löwenbräu beer tent (tent is a very misleading word, since it’s basically a giant house), and miracuously find a spot that fits us all towards the backdoor. We sit with some American ladies in their 30s, and right next to a table full of young Swiss guys. We order beer and food (duck and pork knuckle), and as the Americans get more drunk, they start trying to hook me up with the Swiss guys. For some reason I am not very interested in anything but taking pictures of myself eating food, and dancing on tables, but by then I am fairly intoxicated, and that’s a perfectly good excuse.
I am not sure how long we stay at Löwenbräu, but we end up leaving Molly with the Swiss’ and try one of the “fun houses”. It is challenging to our balance, and we end up falling all over the place, giggling uncontrollably. We drunkenly eat pretzels and apfelstrudel on the street, and at some point after that, we go back to Stoketoberfest and pass out in our tents.
At 8 in the morning, there is an unbelievably loud party going on at Stoketoberfest, so we get up and grab some breakfast. It is an egg and bacon roll which is delicious with our free sangria, and we spot Hollie in the kitchen tent, masterfully cutting up baguettes for all us lucky campers to eat. A guy in a very nice pastel dirdnl is sitting by the stage, doing the Stoke radio show, which promises to play Bryan Adams all day long. In reality, he introduces every song as “Bryan Adams’ Summer of 69”, and then proceed to play anything but Bryan Adams or Summer of 69. He promises to “be right back after this Bryan Adams song with important topics like ISIS”, and “talking about finger-banging, anal-banging and banging-banging”. Needless to say, the Stoke humor is exactly my kind of humor.
While we wait for Hollie to get off work, Aga, Molly and I try some rides at Oktoberfest, a stranger grab my tit and makes a honking noise, and then we meet up with Hollie and go to a tent. We manage for find a way to skip the line at Hofbräu, but end up at another one. When we finally realize it’s a dead end, Hollie and Aga come back from the bathroom, visibly emotionally scarred from watching a girl squatting and peeing on the floor while waiting in line. Good on her. We end up finding one seat at a table with some elderly Italian guys, and Hollie finds a dude she was talking to on the train, so she tries to get him to order beer for us, while I try to do the same at the table – and that is the story of how we ended up double fisting beer steins. Many people, the Italians especially, seem impressed by these four girls drinking two liters at once, and it distracts them long enough for us to steal some of their pretzel every now and then. We play a few drinking games, watch some guys get kicked out (that happens A LOT), and wave off an African guy who wants to buy us dinner and go clubbing with us, as he is “a PIMP”. I assumed that was a warning sign.
While waiting for our train, some young guys (about 18) approaches us, and I guess Molly and I take a piss by putting on a very fake Southern accent and saying “Jesus” and “my babydaddy” a lot. Hollie keeps asking me to shut up, so I think I was being very offensive, which is a thing I compare to breathing: I do it all the time, without noticing. We thought we were hilarious.
We go back to Stoketoberfest just in time to grab free dinner – schnitzel with potato salad. SO MUCH YUM. Hollie did an amazing job cutting potatoes, and Cole was frying schnitzels like a champ. I am so full after dinner that I can’t even drink anything after that, so Hollie is formally invited to our tent and brings extra sleeping bags, and we all have a spoontrain (for warmth, of course) while watching Bad Neighbours (and by watching, I mean we all pass out within minutes). Aga gets sick in the middle of the night, and opens the front of the tent just in time to throw up on our “door step”, and Hollie goes back to her own, much warmer tent soon after that. After all the heartbreak, we get up, have the same breakfast that is less yummy because Hollie haven’t cut the baguettes, and then we just hang out until Hollie gets on a bus to Barcelona. Saying goodbye always suck.
As I sit with the girls by the camping reception, just hanging out, an old guy joins our table. He is in his mid-forties, very drunk and very Danish. So of course I pretend to be American and 17, but he will not stop hitting on me and ask for kisses in english that’s so bad, it’s almost just danish. We finally make a run for it and go sightseeing for the day.
We go with Molly and Liz, another American we met on the bus from Amsterdam, to the central station of Munich and do our own walking tour until we reach Oktoberfest.
It’s the most crowded it had been all weekend. We go up the ferris wheel and can barely see the ground from all the people walking on it. We hang out on a patch of grass, where we have the pleasure of watching an Asian couple that look like drinking is a first for them. While the girl is on her side, spewing, sobbing and almost passing out, her boyfriend doesn’t seem to know that true love means holding a lady’s hair. The paramedics show up to help out, which is when she tris the most tragic/hilarious escape ever. She runs a couple of meters before falling down, only the way drunk people and toddlers do.
I have my very last beer while killing time before getting on our bus back to Amsterdam, and Aga and I have our worries. Our flights are a few hours after our scheduled arrival in Amsterdam, but we were so behind the schedule last time, that we might very well miss our flights. We let the guides and the driver know, but it’s not gonna help much. A girl realizes her passport is missing, so of course we are half an hour late before even leaving the camp. There’s a car accident on the highway in the morning, which stops the traffic for a while. There are so many things that slow us down, so when the driver stops to switch with another driver, we voice our concern once again. We are very lucky, as our driver, Martin, decides to take us straight to the airport in his car, while the new driver finishes the bus route. We make it, and in good time. Thank you so much, Martin from Bakker Travel!
While Aga and I are not ready to say goodbye, we are more than ready for a shower and an actual bed. We have breakfast and try our first Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, because all we wanna be when we grow up are basic bitches. My verdict: good, but overrated. We wacthed The Other Woman for a while, and then I followed Aga to her gate and said goodbye. I went to my gate, read my book, boarded the plane, and then got super nauseous in the air thanks to Starbucks and the delicious cookie the flight attendant gave me.
Thanks Oktoberfest and dirndl- or lederhosen-wearing people, you were awesome!
I’m home after two months of chasing guys that don’t like me, drinking champagne from the bottle and regretting it the day after, and most of all, working. It’s been pretty much non-stop, from breakfast until 2 or 3 at night. For the first time in many years, The Pink Palace was over-booked. It is rare that it reaches its maximum capacity of 300-something, but this year, we were pushing towards 600 guests – and more than half of them were families! Ugh.
I was jet-lagged, sick and tired when I arrived on July 3rd. Alcohol was hard to keep down, and my eyes were hard to keep open. I suffered from Boring many times during my two months in Corfu, but I enjoyed many of my nights cuddling with Jack, our inflatable crocodile too much to care. I got to read books. I finally got to see shooting stars while sipping on Retsina on the beach kitcken roof. I took plenty of naps.
A typical day this summer would go like this, with very few variations day to day:
Aga and I would wake up and go to breakfast, which started at 8. As the rest of the staff working breakfast didn’t seem to care if they were late for work, we started going at 9.30. We’d get the room keys from the cleaning lady and see if everyone checking out had already left – and if not, we had to give them a firm reminder that they would be charged if they didn’t get out. This led to many sights of morning wood and white butts. At one point we would leave after that and set up tables for dinner, but Dr. George, the owner, sent us down to the kitchen after a week or so of setting up tables.
After that, we would eat breakfast and pick up the guests plates. When Pete, our good friend through all our Pink years, was present, we’d usually drink mimosas. At 11, breakfast ended, and staff and the cool guests announced that by putting on Martin Garrix – Animals and fist pumping like drunk people (which we sometimes were, as one mimosa is never enough).
After cleaning up everything at breakfast, we headed up to the office to do marketing, party planning and picture sorting. For a short period, we had to stay and do lunch all day, thanks to a total cunt playing boss, but Dr. George had our backs! Aga and I would have a few hours in there where we would go to lunch at one of the beach restaurants with Pete, or take a nap. Then we would go do dinner.
Dinner was greeting and seating people, offer them 1 € shots after they’d been served and then tell them about the party for the night. We would clean up the dinner hall and polish cutlery until midnight, unless Aga and I had planned a party that called for body painting, which gave us an excuse to leave so we could paint the guests.
We’d start the party by painting people, setting up drinking games, or tying their togas, depending on the theme for the night. At one point, we had to bus at night too, but there was no way you could keep us up till 3 or 4 at night every night with everything else going on. We had quite a few early nights, as my body never fully recovered from my traveling.
So I guess what I should really say, is that my year was kind of disappointing, and I blame that on myself for being tired, and the staff for causing drama, spreading bad vibes, and giving no fucks about their jobs.
A great thing was, that my summer was one giant reunion. Former staff members and guests came back, and it was amazing. Pete, Bieber, Shank, Jordan, Cole, the Albanian girls, and many more. A lot of things have changed here since 2012, for better and for worse, but it was nice that my old friends came back to see it and still enjoyed it, because this place truly is magical. It has everything you need, and then it’s up to the people that are there to make it the party hostel it is supposed to be – even with families around. Aga and I arranged all the parties, and we tried really hard to have a theme or a game every night. We tiredlessly painted the same swirls and dots on guests for all the parties involving bodypaint. We drove to Jumbo constantly to stock up on glowsticks. We made posters, we told everyone about the parties at dinner, and we kept trying to get people involved, and most of the time we ended up with a camera full of pictures of smiling faces and painted bodies. I am proud of the work we did, and we got great reviews and feedback from many guests and some of our co-workers.
I was often desperate to leave the Palace during the daytime, as Agios Gordios, Corfu Town and Paleokastritsa are such beautiful places, and I wanted to spend more time there. We snuck out every chance we got, because we felt like everyone would be mad if they knew that we ate lunch somewhere else, or went shopping for friendship bracelets in town. We treated our summer like it was our last time there. I tried some amazing food in Agios Gordios: pastas, saganaki, calamari and moussaka. I sat on the back of a quad to and from Corfu Town plenty of times, just thinking about little and big things in life. Some people have moments of genius in the shower; mine were on the back of a quad. Whenever I wasn’t at the Palace, I forgot all about being tired, and I forgot about the staff.
As the lovely bartender Sue put it: “this is the worst staff this place has ever seen“. Not only did people come and go as they pleased after two weeks, 9 days or even just 2 hours of working here. The staff that actually stayed ended up clashing so much, that I spent most of my days wondering how I could make them leave. I thought working there 3 summers in a row would earn you a bit of respect, but instead I felt that Aga and I were constantly bossed around. We ended up being just a very small group that hung out and partied, while others watched us from the sideline, judging us. When we were over-booked, we were so busy, that I burned out completely. It didn’t help at all that we were severely under-staffed all summer, and no one seemed to think breakfast, marketing, dinner and night activities is enough of a workload.
It’s funny, because the owner, Dr. George, really appreciated Aga and me this year. Every chance he could get, he would tell us how much it meant to him that we were there, and that we were doing a great job. It wasn’t until last year that he even learned our names, and now he was handing out free ice creams and compliments and even a very nice bonus when we left! It made me feel so much better to know that at least we were pleasing the only person whose opinion matters: Dr. George.
Now that it’s all been said, I have to admit that all the partying was great, but I’ve forgotten most of it. I will always remember the great friends I’ve made here though, so a massive thanks to them for making my summer. And Chile, you were an amzing big brother. May you never have less than two people in your bed.
I realize that this post is boring, with no pictures, stories or people. When I get my memory back I will try and put up another on about this summer, I sorta promise.
Update: here is a video of my summer. It’s not looking too bad, eh?
Boo. Did I scare you by coming out of nowhere? Aww.
Anyway, I finally got it together and officially crossed another thing off my list. Probably the last time that will happen before my 23rd birthday, but I promise – to you and to myself – that all these things will be crossed off at some point. Hopefully I still have a few good years in me.