Travel Diaries #1: Journey to Unknown Festival

unknown festival road

With summer just around the corner (although in Britain that’s questionable) I’ve been getting excited about my upcoming trip to America and this got me thinking about my adventures last summer. One adventure in particular I want to share with you is my journey to Unknown Festival last year. Allow me to set the scene…

It is now the beginning of September, like many of my friends I’ve spent my summer working trying to gain some experience for my later years, as a result of this we’ve not seen a lot of each other by no fault of our own. It’s not long ’til we go back to uni and we could do with a holiday, but ultimately we’re still poor.

Cue Music Festival Holidays a company that promised to take us to a new international music festival in Croatia for a very reasonable cost and the only catch was that the journey to Unknown Festival would be by bus. We couldn’t refuse. My sister on the other hand did refuse and flew out to meet us.

As there were no pick up destinations in Scotland I’d travelled down to stay in Sheffield the night before. The next day as my lift frantically drove around looking for the bus pick up point my excitement finally kicked in. When we finally found the coach I was pleasantly surprised after reading some slightly untoward comments on Facebook from previous passengers – ‘DO NOT GET THIS BUS’ and ‘It’s like Jimmy Saville’s coffin on wheels’ to name a few. It was a standard coach, nothing special, but comfortable and I couldn’t really see what there was to complain about. I draped myself across a couple of chairs and enjoyed the scenic back route to Manchester, which was our next pick up point.

From Manchester we picked up my friends Billie and Sam, Manchester’s very own budding entrepreneur/laughing gas dealer and some other inconspicuous characters. It was at this point I discovered it took a lot longer to get to Croatia than I thought – 36 hours to be precise. The volume had noticeably picked up after leaving Manchester, an excited buzz but not unbearable. That was until  we reached London.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Londoners from this trip it’s that they know how to party. Like, seriously party. About 20 of them piled on before our final British stop of the ferry port, whisky, gin and various other beverages in tow. That same evening the bus was decorated with one Londoner’s vomit and sounds of his friends slating him for everything he was worth echoed around the bus well in to the early morning.

unknown festival check in

By the time we’d reached Slovenia we’d hit rock bottom – we were brushing our teeth and indulging in light rinses in the toilets of a service station. When we returned to the bus one of the reps stuck a DVD on, he was a cool guy but why he hadn’t though of this earlier I don’t know. Finally arriving in Croatia we clambered off the bus as the sun set, grateful to be away from it for an entire week and secretly hoping it would never come back. The festival itself was a whole other experience, but I’ll come back to that another time. 

If the way there was bad, the way back was a thing of nightmares. The bus was hot, stuffy and there was no beautiful destination at the end to look forward to. We were instantly aware of just how long it was going to take to get home, the laughing gas dealer/ budding Alan Sugar had been arrested, one bus driver took five hours to make his swap over and by the time we eventually got home we were broken souls. I’m able to look back on it now and see it for the hilarious situation it was, but will I be spending 30+ hours on a bus again? Mmm, probably not.

What about you guys? Have you had any ‘interesting’ travel experiences? Let me know!

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