June 27, 2017

Music Festival at Benicassim Spain

Calling all music festival lovers!  You might want to start planning to attend next years music festival in Benicassim Spain after reading this guest post brought to you by Richard Cabo!

 

Ask a person to name a music festival and, chances are, they’re likely to go with one of two – Glastonbury, the UK’s traditionally muddy three-day party in a field, or Coachella, a festival that slowly cooks both attendees and musicians in the heat of the American desert. However in the past few years, one European festival has really started to come into its own, garnering international recognition and not causing a bunch of raised eyebrows and a, “where’s that?” response: Benicassim, on Spain’s Costa del Azahar, not too far from the city of Valencia.

Benicassim beach Spain

Benicassim by luipermom, on Flickr

 

Increasingly popular with British festival goers, thanks to its sunny locale and the availability of cheap flights to Spain, Benicassim continues to become more and more popular and, in 2009, exceeded its capacity of fifty thousand revellers for the first time, and shows no sign of slowing down.

With a stellar line-up that includes some of the world’s best musicians, can you blame people from not being able to stay away?

Past festivals have seen performances from artists that cover the musical spectrum, from The Stone Roses, Scissor Sisters, Little Dragon and Portishead to Hot Chip, Oasis and Roisin Murphy. Benicassim really does have something for everyone, with rockers, ravers, pop lovers and those ever-present hipsters all having their musical preferences catered for.

Oasis at Benicassim Musical Festival Spain

Oasis @ FIB Heineken 2009 by Rafael Tovar, on Flickr

 

This year’s line-up was no less eclectic, with headliners including British rockers the Arctic Monkeys, veteran musicians Primal Scream, techno DJ supreme Benny Benassi and loud-mouthed rapper Azealia Banks taking to the stage to entertain the throngs of people descending on the small Spanish resort town. Check out 2013’s full line-up here.

Vampire Weekend at Benicassim Spain

One of my current favorite bands! Vampire Weekend - FIB (Benicassim) by feiticeira_org, on Flickr

 

Getting to the festival isn’t too much of a slog either! Rail Europe offers tickets to Benicassim with easy connections from Barcelona, Madrid and Alicante. Lots of budget airlines also serve the airports in both Barcelona and Valencia, the most convenient airports for those flying in to enjoy the festival from outside Spain. And if you wanted to combine Benicassim with a full-blown holiday, there are plenty of holiday providers offering cheap packages to Spain – First Choice has a few good deals at the moment.

Benicassim has been running for almost twenty years now, first starting in 1995, and has blossomed into one of the world’s most well-renowned music festivals. Festival goers tend to be young and eager to party, with bands often playing through until around eight o’clock in the morning, giving attendees time to rest until things kick off again in the early evening. The festivities kick off on the second Monday in July, usually going on for four days that are crammed with quality bands and the very best of the current music scene.

Beach at Benicassim Spain

Benicassim by savoir.faire, on Flickr

 

Festival goers also have the added benefit of being close to a beach, a far cry from the likes of Glastonbury. Attendees of Benicassim will likely be seen donning flip-flops and shorts rather than hoodies and wellington boots. The festival offers camping along with its four-day weekend pass, meaning that revellers wanting to really get close to the action need to be willing to sacrifice a little bit of comfort for their love of music. Of course, VIP passes are available for those who find sleeping in anything other than quilted luxury nothing short of abhorrent.

If you only make it to one music festival during the summer, make Benicassim the one as, in my opinion, it has the best line-up, the best location and, hopefully, the best weather out of the myriad of festivals taking place during the summer months. If you do end up heading to Benicassim to party, make sure you pack a big smile, some clean clothes, your drinking hat and your snazziest pair of dancing shoes!

 

What do you think, is Benicassim a music festival you’d enjoy attending?

Art Around Town: Budapest

To enjoy art you don’t have to visit a museum.  In fact, art can be seen while wandering the streets of any city you visit.  You see it in the statues, monuments, fountains and buildings lining the streets and squares.

A city that has a lot of art along its streets is Budapest Hungary where the streets are full of beautiful buildings and hundreds of sculptures.  But you better be prepared to look up to take in all the amazing art work.

Here are a few examples of the beautiful artwork you’ll see wandering the streets of Budapest!

 

Parliament Building

This icon of Budapest sits beautifully along the Danube River.  Best seen either from the river or from across the river, this Neo-gothic design was completed in 1902 and is one of the largest Parliament buildings in the world.  Look closely and you’ll see many statues of Hungarian rulers, arcades, gargoyles and spires along with other Gothic decorations.

Stunning Parliament Building Budapest Hungary

Stunning Parliament Building Budapest Hungary

St Stephen’s Basilica

Named in honor of Stephen the first King of Hungary, the Neo-classic basilica was completed in 1905 and, along with the Parliament Building, is one of the tallest buildings in the city.  Walk around the facade enjoying the many columns, 2 bell towers, the bust of King Stephen over the main portal, the beautiful tympanon over the main portal and statues of the 12 apostles.

Wonderful western facade St Stephens Basilica Budapest Hungary

Wonderful western facade St Stephens Basilica

Museum of Ethnography

Originally built to house the Supreme Court, the Museum of Ethnography is housed in a 19th century palace.  The architectural masterpiece is stunning from the outside but I’ve heard the inside is even more impressive.  Look at all the statues adorning the top of this building!

Art litters the top of the Museum of Ethnography Budapest Hungary

Art litters the top of the Museum of Ethnography

Opera House

Liszt and Erkel adorn the lower portion of the beautiful Opera House but take a look up and you’ll see statues of some of the world’s greatest composers lining the top.  Included are Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi.

Great composers line the top of the Opera House Budapest Hungary

Look up to see some of the worlds greatest composers!

Hungarian National Bank

Besides the beautiful entrance, people come to see the bas-reliefs adorning the outside of the Hungarian National Bank.  These reliefs depict trade across the ages from camel traders to tea traders.  Sitting along Freedom Square, the building is a wonderful example of the late classical style.

Notice the Bas-Reliefs along the Hungarian National Bank Budapest

Notice the Bas-Reliefs along the Hungarian National Bank

As you can see, Budapest is full of many examples of art around town and now you’re forewarned you might develop a sore neck taking it all in!

These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures, make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and Alpine Bavaria

When people visit Germany it almost always includes a stop in Bavaria and, with good reason, this trip will include a visit to Neuschwanstein, just one of King Ludwig’s castles. Perched high atop a hill deep in Bavaria, near the Austrian border, sits Neuschwanstein castle. The castle combined with the dramatic scenery created by the jagged peaks of the Alps equal a beauty that is unsurpassed.

This impressive castle, built in the medieval style, creates a dreamy fairy tale vision that also exemplifies the feeling of this southern portion of Bavaria. It’s no wonder the castle is so popular!

View of Neuschwanstein Castle Bavaria Germany

View of Neuschwanstein Castle from www.schloesser.bayern.de - Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung

I recently had the opportunity to read a new guide to visiting Neuschwanstein and her sister castle Hohenschwangau. Written by Edd Morris, Neuschwanstein Castle 2013: An ‘Exploring Castles’ Travel Guide would be a great read for anyone visiting the castle for the first time. The author not only gives tips to enhance your visit of Neuschwanstein but also includes nearby hotel recommendations, not to miss excursions, ways to save a few euros on your visit and some interesting history on King Ludwig and the rooms in the castle. Also included is a discussion on the various ways you can reach the castle.

Alpsee Bavaria Germany

Alpsee by Nicholas Even

The close proximity to Munich enables visitors to reach the castle on a coach as a day tour from Bavaria’s capital city. My first visit to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles was on a coach trip from Munich. There are many pros and cons to this type of trip and while I thoroughly enjoyed my bus tour and could recommend it if you only had one day to experience King Ludwig’s castle, it’s not my preferred way to visit Neuschwanstein and her environs.

My favorite way to visit Kind Ludwig’s castle is by personal car spending multiple days in the area to fully experience the Bavarian Alpine countryside.

Why? Let me tell you just some of the reasons you should explore the region!

Oberammergau Bavaria Germany

Oberammergau by Oberau-Online, on Flickr

  • Visit villages that are famous for their painted buildings, violin making (Mittenwald), wood carving (Oberammergau) and organ music (Ottobeuren)
  • Fresh air, green meadows and National parks
    The Alpspitze and Waxenstein as seen from Garmisch Germany

    The Alpspitze and Waxenstein near Garmisch by Octagon

  • Enjoy a picnic in one of the meadows listening to lovely Alpine music from the bells around local Cows necks
  • Make cheese from the milk produced by these Happy Cows!
  • See storybook villages complete with chalets and window boxes overflowing with color
  • Hike up the Tegelberg mountain or around Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze
  • Swim, sail, canoe or walk around the many lakes in the area including Alpsee, Forggensee or Obersee
  • Drive along the Alpine Road stopping to visit other castles like Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee
  • Visit beautiful Wieskirche or the Baroque Abbey in Ettal which dates back to 1330 and is famous for its beer and schnapps
  • Ettal Abbey Bavaria Germany

    Ettal Abbey from wikimedia

    What do you think? Would the Alpine Scenery make for a wonderful holiday?

     
    While I did receive a copy of Neuschwanstein Castle 2013: An ‘Exploring Castles’ Travel Guide for free, all opinions are mine.