Monday 30 September 2019

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Chapter 2, Day 8

Next stop Zagreb

So Punk Rock Holiday was over for another year, being surrounded by so many incredible countries though why go home yet? From Tolmin we caught a taxi to Most na Soci station. A train then took us to Jesenice where we changed to another train that took us all the way to Zagreb. Quite a straightforward journey really but buying a ticket wasn't so easy. I'd tried numerous times over the past week to find out how to buy a train ticket to Zagreb but nobody seemed to know for sure. We managed to buy a ticket to Jesenice but on the next train the conductor could only sell us a ticket that took us as far as the Slovenian border. As it turned out we got from Tolmin to Zagreb for just €14 each.

The scenery along the way is breathtaking. 

By mid afternoon we'd arrived in Zagreb where we'd be spending the next couple of days. 

Tonight we'd be staying at Apartment Red Bike in the centre of the city. A really cool apartment which cost us just £60 for the night. This place had everything you could possibly need and more, there was a kitchen, laundry room, laptop and even bowls of sweets on the tables. 

At last a proper double bed!!

In the sweltering heat I decided to cool down with a lemon radler. Something we were fast becoming aware of is how cheap everything is in Croatia, your money definitely goes a long way here.

As we explored the Historical Centre of Zagreb a newly wed couple passed us in this stunning car.

I'm guessing they had just got married at St Mark's Church. It's one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb, located on St.Mark's Square and easily recognisable by its colourful tiled roof.

Not far from St Mark's Church we found a walkway with incredible views across the city. Lining it were street food vendors and cafes, this particular place caught our eye as knickers were hanging out to dry above the tables!

To be honest it was pretty touristy along here but we didn't care, it was a really nice place to stroll along and take in the views.

Cathedral of Zagreb perfectly framed in the distance.

Something which really stood out as we made our way around Zagreb was the incredible street art. There was so much of it to be found and in this small park the walls featured paintings of famous inventors from Croatia. David Schwarz, a Zagreb Jew invented the steerable metal airship.

The first of many beers and Ozujsko is the main one you'll find here. A great lager and so reasonably priced too, just £3 a pint! We decided to eat and this restaurant close to the main square in the city seemed like a good place to stop.

I just had to try a cevapi, grilled seasoned minced meat sausages served with onions in a warm lepinja bread. This was so delicious and really big too, adding ajvar (a red pepper based sauce) takes it to a whole new level. Afterwards we took a slow walk back to our apartment to make the most of the comfy bed. Tomorrow we had a very long day ahead and we'd be spending the night sleeping on a train.

Click here for Day 9
More from Zagreb

Friday 27 September 2019

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Chapter 2, Day 7

Final day of PRH

Ok, so Friday had arrived and it was the final day of the festival. We'd spent each morning at the campsite bar picking up the wifi signal so my wife could work and I could update my instagram stories. The coffee vending machine had served us well all week and this morning a panini was just what was needed. 

Later we walked to the beach stage area for the final time. We caught up with the Norwich crew and chatted for a couple of hours in the sunshine, making the most of this stunning location.

I forget the name of this band but can recall the singer loving to telling quite a few joke between songs. Great band whoever they were though.

Again the name escapes me!

I'm usually totally on top of buying things before they sell out but this time I failed twice. Missing out on the festival beer I could cope with but I was pretty gutted at leaving it too late to buy an early bird festival ticket costing just €90 for next years event. When we went to buy both things they had sold out completely.

Even though I'd probably never stay here in a tent (I need electricity) there was no doubt it was a stunning place to camp. Quite a few of the Norwich crew went paragliding off these mountains and absolutely loved it.

This ham and cheese pie from a bakers in Tolmin was delicious and cost just €1.20. I enjoyed it on the way back to the camp site where we prepared ourselves for the final visit to the festival.

It was still late afternoon so the beach stage was still going strong. We managed to catch the last 2 bands to play here which were Sidewalk Surfers from North Carolina and...

Hit the switch from California.

Loved the beach stage and so glad we spent much more time there this year!

My food highlight of the festival was the chilli chicken and noodles. I decided to enjoy it one last time and as before it was incredible. The week of partying was catching up with us though and my wife and I were feeling pretty tired by now.

American hardcore punk band Pears were the last band of the festival we saw. The wall of tiredness had defeated us so we returned to the camp to the soundtrack of PUP booming out in the distance. By the time we arrived back at the campsite we listened to Teenage Bottle Rocket and Propagandhi closing the festival, both sets sounded incredible. A shame we didn't catch the end of the festival but we'd caught so many great bands each day so we were happy. Once again Punk Rock Holiday had proved to be an incredible festival. We already have our tickets and flights book for next year, can't wait!!

Click here for Day 8
Next stop Zagreb

Thursday 26 September 2019

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Chapter 2, Day 6

Buffet breakfast and NOFX

This morning we ventured into Tolmin for breakfast and decided to check out the buffet breakfast at Hotel Dvorec. Just €10 allowed you to join the masses in helping yourself to anything you could reach and the selection was vast. We certainly got our moneys worth here and rehydrated with endless glasses of fresh orange juice. Just for good measure we took a few cakes with us for later too. The food here was surprisingly good and as is always the case at buffet breakfasts I returned to the table with a completely random selection.

At the local Hofer supermarket we stocked up on some vodka and Red bull. Some buskers outside kept shoppers entertained whilst earning more beer money.

These potato sticks ended up travelling with me back to the UK, just never got around to eating them!

Some friends had recommended Polish band CF98 who were playing the beach stage this afternoon. I'm so glad we managed to catch them playing, really fucking great band! Halfway through their set the heavens opened so we watched them huddled underneath an umbrella, yep not very punk rock but I met a few new friends in a matter of minutes.

The clouds soon passed and the sun was shining again. We caught a glimpse of the paddle boat which had travelled up river from nearby Most Na Soci. We didn't go on it this year but had done so last year, a highly recommended daytime activity if you're nursing a hangover.

Resolutions from Germany gave it everything with their set which kept us glued until the end.

There's always at least one band you see at a festival that you know you must see again as soon as possible. For us that was London street punk band Booze & Glory, we didn't know any of their songs but when a band is this catchy it just didn't matter.  We'll be seeing them in London in November, can't wait!

The crowd loved them as much as we did and joined them (with my wife) on stage towards the end of their set. Top stuff and amazing band, go check them out.

A quick pit stop for a slice of pizza before returning to the main stage.

We didn't quite make it though as we joined the Norwich crew for a beer, it was really nice to sit down for a bit and catch up with everyone.

The final band of the night was NOFX. I'd seen them once before at Boomtown Fair many years ago but couldn't really remember much about that. This time though I took everything in and enjoyed the show, a great end to the night. Four nights down, just one more to go!

Click here for Day 7
Final day of PRH

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Chapter 2, Day 5

An unexpected visitor and more from PRH

Feeling slightly hungover we prepared to eat ourselves better at the camp site bar. My wife enjoyed some fresh bread with tomatoes and I chose another pizza sarnie. 

Our plan for the day was to return to the restaurant on the mountainside. We wanted some peace and quiet away from the crowds and my wife was keen to sketch the views from up there. This time we took a countryside path behind Tolmin where we met these friendly cows grazing.

The path led us to the back entrance of Tolmin Gorge which we explored for a while. Not for too long though as it was really busy so we made our way up the mountainside again.

After such a long hike in the blazing sunshine a cold beer was definitely needed! Just as we sat down to enjoy the peace and quiet a voice could be heard beside us saying "Are you here for the festival too?" A festival visitor from Australia then announced he would join us for a beer and wait for us to leave so he could walk back down the mountain with us. Our plan of relaxing for a few hours was shattered as we politely listened to the chap talk at us for what seemed like an eternity. Whenever we talked to him his response was "yeah, yeah, yeah" as he waited for a pause so he could continue talking. He really had no interest in anything we told him! 

We mentioned we were here to eat but he wasn't going anywhere. He told us he'd eaten a huge breakfast and wasn't hungry so we ordered a Cheese frika with polenta. The food arrived with an extra plate as the waitress must have thought he was eating too. He decided to have some and remarked on the food being a bit bland. I was telepathically willing him to go and finally he left, seeing him finally walk off and leave us in peace was a wonderful moment. Sadly we didn't have time to relax now though as we had a festival to get back to.

We paid the bill and necked the Jagermeister shot that came with it before heading back down to Tolmin.

Londoners Buster Shuffle were first on the main stage tonight opening the night with a catchy ska/punk set. A great opening band that the kids at the front of the stage clearly enjoyed too.

Masked Intruder from Wisconsin were next up, loved these guys! Their fast paced set went down a storm with a sea of beach balls being bounced above the crowd.

My second highlight of the festival had to be Pennywise, a totally mesmerising set and a band I've waited a long time to see. The crowd went nuts for these guys and red flares glowed from the crowd as they made their way towards the stage.

Although I prefer viewing close to the stage sometimes it's good to take a step back to see the entire event in full force, Pennywise were incredible!

New York hardcore legends Sick of it all were next on stage. We were feeling so tired by now though so after a few songs we listened to the rest of their set on the walk back to the camp site. Was gutted to have also missed Less than Jake though who were on after these guys. We heard them from the camp site and they sounded amazing.

Click here for Day 6
Buffet breakfast and NOFX

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Chapter 2, Day 4

Second day of Punk Rock Holiday

Another day, another breakfast! The camp site bar had run out of paninis this morning but did have these pizza sandwiches which were rather tasty. 

Beside the camp site was the Tolminca river which joins the Soca river at the festival site. It looks very inviting, especially on a really hot day like today was. The reality though is that it's bloody freezing as the water flows from the surrounding snow topped mountains of the Julian Alps. This didn't stop us from paddling across to the other side though, it certainly woke me up!!

We walked through the festival site where people were just beginning to surface and back out on the other side in Tolmin. I noticed a vending machine selling what appeared to be a yogurt drink. Quite refreshing I thought but it turned out to be thick strawberry yogurt. It tasted great though so I necked the entire bottle convincing myself it was a healthy decision.

A lunchtime beer was definitely needed so we sat down for some lunch at a pizzeria.

The salami mix pizza was great but trying to get a decent photo underneath a red canopy was impossible.

Filled with pizza we headed to the beach stage area which was a hive of activity now the festival had officially opened.

I've never seen so many food based inflatables in one place before!

I was feeling much more awake today and thoroughly enjoyed Blowfuse from Barcelona. A fast paced set with a constant flow of stage divers appearing throughout.

A quick pit stop at the campsite and we returned back to the festival ready for the main stage shows. A mist had appeared over the river as we made our way there.

Australian Ska/Punk band The Bennies where the perfect band to open the main stage!

Before long the crowd joined them on stage.

My first melonball cocktail off the festival and this one was pretty strong! 

I was so delighted to see the Indian food stall was back again this year. The chilli chicken and noodles from here is exceptional, especially after a few beers.

We arrived back at the stage just in time to catch Good Riddance from California. A quick dash to the bar after these guys finished though as the band I was most excited to see were on next.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls! I'm a huge fan and I can remember first seeing Frank Turner play in front of about 60 people at Refreshers in Norwich many moons ago. I was glued to the entire set as was my wife, an excellent choice of songs and well received by the crowd. Towards the end Frank stage dived and continued signing as he was passed along the crowd. An absolute pleasure to see him perform at Punk Rock Holiday and my personal highlight of the entire week!

Finally closing the night was a band I've always wanted to see, Descendents from California. The heavens may have opened but the rain certainly didn't dampen the spirit, a great end to the night!

Click here for Day 5
An unexpected visitor and more from PRH