After finishing my degree last summer, a few friends and I decided to go interrailing through Europe to celebrate the end of our studies.
We planned our trip for July, starting in Italy and moving through France and Spain to arrive in time for FIB 2016, a music festival held in Bénicassim. We tried to keep our spending down to a minimum, staying in hostels and using AirBnB for our accommodation along the way, except for one rough night spent outside the train station in Nice waiting for it to open!
The first few days were spent in Italy, exploring the beautiful cities of Rome and Florence. I wished we could have stayed longer here - there was so much to see and do, there was no way we could fit it all in in just 3 short days!
My favourite part of this leg of the trip was climbing the tower of Palazzo Vecchio and seeing one of the most breathtaking views I have ever experienced. If you ever have the opportunity to go to either of these cities, please go. You will not regret it!
We did not spend long in France, mostly passing through on our way to Spain. However, we stayed in a beautiful flat in Montpellier - much better than our awful night outside the Nice train station on the night of the Euro 2016 finals (where France lost, by the way).
If I had the chance, I would like to go back to France and explore more of the country. It was unfortunate that most of our experiences of France were out of the train windows.
The final destination of our trip was the music festival in Bénicassim, 4 days of music on the Spanish coast with headline acts like Chemical Brothers, Kendrick Lamar, Muse and so many more playing. This was my first ever festival and I loved it. I tried to watch as many acts as I could, discovering new artists and finally getting to see some of my favourite acts live. The Chemical Brothers in particular put on an incredible show with lights, lasers, giant robots and incredible visuals. The atmosphere in the crowd was amazing! I would do anything to go back to that night and relive it again.
The way home
Once the festival was over, my friends and I flew back from Madrid and made our way back to Plymouth. The trip was over and we were exhausted - almost two weeks of travel ending in a 4 day festival wiped us out! This was the last summer that we would be living together after our course had finished and it was a great way to say goodbye. It wasn't long after the trip that we all moved out and on to our post-university lives, taking our first steps into the outside world as Plymouth University graduates.
I will always look back on this trip with fond memories and I think about it often. It wasn't an easy trip - there were a lot of challenges getting to each train we needed on time, some language barriers making it difficult to understand and of course the intense heat throughout the entire trip did not help (I managed to avoid sunburn until the very last day!). Even though the trip had its downsides, the experience was incredible and I am so glad I went.
Now, how to top this for Summer 2017?