A Travellerspoint blog

EXIT Festival - Novi Sad

Serbia


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What happens at EXIT, stays at EXIT... Just kidding, I'll tell you! 

A bit of a background on the festival first. Starting in 2000, the festival is held within the walls of the Petrovian Fortress in Novi Sad, which overlooks the Danube River. Originally, the concept was to help unite the younger generation in their fight to become its own country once again. In 2006 instead of tickets, they issued all festival goers a passport to "The State of EXIT". Due to this background the festival has a different vibe, over the four days the festival pumps over 14 different stages in all sorts of nooks and cranys till after the sun comes up. The party then continues for those hardcore party animals on the 'beach' along the banks of the Danube River.... Which we attended after our sleep from 7am-2pm-ish..... Along the stretch of beach are bars, cafes, food vans, and lots of sunshine and happy people.

Katie, the deserving recipient of our free ticket, stayed in the same uni dorm as us. Mark and Emma stayed in a room closer to town. With anticipation high, we had some pre-game drinks at Mark and Emma's then headed into the festival. The venue was unreal and we had an amazing first night watching a bit of Duran Duran at the main stage and then got our first taste of the incredible Dance Arena. We saw Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (amazing), Jacques Lu Cont, Avicii (way better then I expected) and Felix Da Housecat at 5am. The sun was well up by the time we were leaving, so sunnies were put on the list for things to take for the next night!

Day 2 began at around 3pm after we started to rise. Kate, Katie and I went to check out the beach. There were thousands of people lining the shore either up on the grass, at the bars or on the sand (yes sand, just dirty sand). Most the people weren't even festival goers around us as here weren't many tell-tale wristbands. We sun baked, slept and had a few cocktails then went to get ready to do it all again. After pre-game drinks, we got to the festival around midnight to catch some of  New Order on the main stage, then Netsky ft MC Dynamite who were unreal! We moved once again to the Dance Arena to check out Luciano,  who was a bit shit so we grabbed a bit more MC Dynamite Drumsound & Bassline Smith on the Main Stage before calling it a day.

Day 3 was much the same as day two... I dragged Kate out of bed so we could go hang at the beach. Katie, Mark and Emma met us there later and we just chilled under a tree and had a few cocktails. The cocktails were €3 so they were hard to refuse. Then it was pre-game time again at Mark and Emma's, before making our way to the festival grounds which was thankfully only a 5min walk from their room. We caught the end of Plan B, we were spewing that we missed that rest of his performance. We got too carried away with drinking at Mark and Emma's... Then cruised over to the Fusion Stage for some Hate Breed which was a little heavy. Then went to the trusty Dance Arena where we partied the night away till 8am with Miss Kittin, Richie Hawtin, Claude VonStroke and Tobi Neumann & Geddes. 

Day 4 we were all running out of steam and Kate was running out of bandaids. We didn't manage to get to the beach but we did get to pre-game at Mark and Emma's, but we were all putting on a brave face. At the festival, Kate, Emma and I caught the first hour of the three our performance by Guns n Roses but then had to bail out because there were so many people pushing and shoving, then a guy behind Brad pee'd on the ground which inevitably went on Brads leg... This was the final straw. Plus for the whole first hour they only played one song that we recognized so it didn't really seem worth the pain. Mark and Katie said that after we left, it was awesome... That's always the way but we went to see Knife Party which is a favorite of ours and Emma's so we didn't mind. After meeting back up with Katie and Mark, we all decided to call it a night because we had buses to catch the next day, and it was 3.30am! The sun was still coming up by the time we got to bed so this was still a pretty solid effect. Good job team!

Mark, Kate and I were destined for Budapest. Emma was to make her way back to Greece, and Katie had a 10 hr bus ride to Split in Croatia which actually took 18hours!! Yes, 18! Not ideal after 4 days of partying. This was a sad day for our little family as we were beginning to split after traveling together for over three weeks :o(

Photos here - plus others tagged on fb

Posted by KPad 06:32 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

Belgrade

Serbia


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After a bumpy flight, we arrived in Belgrade. Mark and I were a little suspicious of the hostel that we had booked as it only had a handful of reviews and they were all pretty much 100%. This turned out to be the case for us too! Nikola, the guy who ran the hostel was very helpful, a lot of fun, and is a heavy metal dude who calls all his guests his kids. So he was very hospitable. We didn't do much the first night, just grabbed some amazing falafel sandwiches from a shop; as recommended by Nikola, had a few beers and went to bed.

Kate woke up with swollen eyes from conjunctivitis so Nikola kindly took her to the pharmacy to get some antibiotic cream. We were very thankful for his advice and help, when we said thank you, he said "well I've gotta look after my kids!" haha 
While we waited for Kate's eyes to improve, Mark's friend Emma arrived because they were going to EXIT Festival too! Hence us traveling with Mark for the last few weeks. And cos he's a top bloke!

While there are many things to see and do in Belgrade, we didn't achieve a whole lot. We walked around the huge fortress for about 20 min then treated ourselves to a cocktail in a bar within the fortress, looking over the Danube River. This was all the sightseeing we managed because we were all spent and needed to buy supplies for the festival the next day. 

Belgrade has a great nightlife so we had a few drinks in the hostel with Nikola and a few other Aussies who were also going to EXIT. We all partied down by the Danube River on the barges and house boats which are tied up on the banks and used as bars. 
Nikola arranged a private transfer to Novi Sad in a mini-bus with the other Aussies for midday, which was a lot easier than getting a normal crappy bus. Especially because some of us were feeling a little seedy from partying the night before.... And thankfully Kate's eyes had cleared up just in time for EXIT! 

A few photos of the fortress

Posted by KPad 06:29 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

Ohrid

Macedonia

The bus dropped us on the Macedonian side of the border from Albania where some taxi drivers were waiting to rip us off. Like usual. As there was 5 of us, we had to take two taxis and both went different routes. Our taxi dropped us at the town centre, but the other taxi dropped the other guys on the other side of town on a dark secluded street... We had some struggles finding our hostel... One lady told us to go up the street and right, a guy at the other end told us to go back to where we started and go left! Arrggh! We eventually found it and our mates were no where to be seen. Some dude on a scooter picked up Thomas and dropped him at the hostel so he could walk back to grab Katie and Mark. The three of us went on foot to find where Katie and Mark has been left, only Thomas lost his bearings and it took us ages to find them... The guy on the scooter went back to Katie and Mark and told them that he'd sold our friend and if they wanted any weed, to give him a call! So as you can imagine, they were stressing and were stoked when they saw Thomas and us walk around the corner. 
The next day, we took some advice on the best beach around the lake. We had to catch a taxi a few km up the road, but the rewards were awesome. Lake Ohrid is one of the biggest, oldest lakes in all of Europe and it also goes into northern Albania. The water is unbelievably crystal clear and the beach that we went to was packed with people. You can walk around a four other coves, each with its own beach lounge bar. We treated ourselves to cocktails in the sun of course! Macedonia is almost as cheap as Albania and cocktails were only about €3.
On the second night, the hostel owner was heading out so we tagged along with him and other people from the hostel. We ended up at a bar called Havana Bar which was really cool and playing really fun music so we were all super excited and danced our feet off until 4am. 

Brad and I felt like a mission early in the morning, the others not so much, so we went for a walk to check out the town and grab some lunch before heading to the airport for our flight to Belgrade. 

We had to say goodbye to Thomas here, which was sad - he was a great addition to the team for a few days!

PHOTOS

Posted by KPad 00:58 Archived in Macedonia Comments (0)

Tirana

Albania


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The bus dropped us off and after a little debate and confusion about which direction to go, we made it to our hostel! The Dancing Monkey is a new hostel in the main street so it was pretty nice and we pretty much had the whole hostel to ourselves! Our shower didn't have any hot water and only trickled out, and the sheets were for a single bed a not double so those things were kinda annoying. But the owner and his employee came at 9pm to pick us up and take us for some traditional Albanian food and pub crawl. We were the first to go on their pub crawl so we were the test run. The food was so cheap and the beers were €1 each! Then we went to an 'illegal' bar which is one of their friends place which is being renovated into a bar... So it's illegal because they dont have a liquor license yet. This place was really cool and kinda dodgy so we were so happy to be going off the beaten track.  It was Friday night and really dead so we didn't have a huge one. 

The next day, we found the local pool and were told to go VIP for a few extra dollars where they had pumping tunes and a bar. We hung out for the arvo then had a go on the slippery slide...well three goes cos it was awesome fun. We had some dinner and then one of the friends of the pub crawl leader came to get us to take us to an underground bar where the pub crawl guy was dj-ing dub-step and reggae. He was terrible! And the bar was full of smoke that burnt through our eyeballs. We retreated out the front and hung out on the steps chatting to the locals...until 1am and 10 police turned up and lined up across the top of the stairs because the bar was supposed to close at midnight. We were semi shitting ourselves so we swiftly bailed. 

On the way to the bus to Macedonia, we were hassled by little Gypsy kids sticking their hands in our pockets and following us down the street. They were really annoying but very cute. There are a tonne of Gypsies in Albania. We were sitting in a group with all our bags and a little Gypsy kid walked past and picked up Marks bag and tried to walk away with it. They've got game. 

We were happy to have our authentic Albanian experiences, especially because we would've never gone there by ourselves. It was so cheap too! We were also happy to get the hell outta there. Sometimes it seemed like we were the first ever tourists there.

Photos!

Posted by KPad 00:57 Archived in Albania Comments (0)

Budva

Montenegro


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In Dubrovnik, we decided to not book any accommodation in Budva because when you arrive anywhere, there are always people offering really cheap apartments. What we didn't know was that they couldn't speak a word of English. Katie had been to Budva before and developed a great relationship with the hostel owners so we made our way there. They didn't have a room for us but organised an apartment around the corner and allowed us to use the hostel wifi and kitchen. The ladies were so lovely and even cooked us dinner both nights so that made us feel very special and made us all miss our mums. 

I called it an early night because I wasn't feeling very good so Katie, Brad and Mark went to explore the night life, which involves a mini Eiffel Tower, beach bars and carnival rides! The next day we chilled on the beach, treated ourselves to massages and then got ready for a night out. We met up with Thomas again, who was staying elsewhere. While we were out for the night, he decided he would join us on our journey for the next week or so.

The ladies from the hostel organized a transfer to Albania for 8am so it was another tough bus ride, particularly for Katie with a couple of emergency stops... 

Check out the photos

Posted by KPad 00:55 Archived in Montenegro Comments (0)

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