The Five Senses of the Rolling Circus

A sneak peak into each stop on Stoke Travel’s European Bus Tour ‘The Rolling Circus

Q: What do you get when you mix a New Zealand rock band, a red headed magician from NYC, a peace-loving rapper from Cincinnati and a sexy tattooed contortionist with a bus full of Stokies, guests and a whole lotta booze?

A: Twenty-eight days of bus riding, tour guiding, city hopping, beat dropping, sight seeing, Emily weeing (soz Em, I had to), cuddle puddling, drug smuggling (just kidding…), bike hiring, foreigner-admiring, sickness battling, bunk-bed rattling… Okay I think you get the gist. If not, keep reading because I’m about to take you on the wild, wet and weird journey we at Stoke like to call The Rolling Circus.

Oh the places we did go…

Stop 1: Barcelona
Where the Stokies, guests and performers all came together like one big, infectious disease.

See – Gaudi’s beautifully diverse architecture, the madness of Las Ramblas, La Boqueria Markets
Hear – “beer-cerveza-agua-water-beer”, The Rubics rocking their first on-tour gig at City Hall
Taste – leche (Panther’s milk) and sidra from our mates at Leche de Pantera
Smell – either the waft of delicious chocolate crepes or piss in the streets, it’s one or the other in ol’ Barca
Feel – rearing and ready to kick off the tour around Europe!

Banana suit: unfortunately for el panana (given to those who f**k up in each city), nobody did anything ridiculous in Barcelona… Must have been too busy getting to know each other and choosing their tour crushes.

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Stop 2: Valencia
Where we got saucy with the rest of Stoke at the world’s biggest food fight festival, La Tomatina.

See – tomatoes flying towards your face from the trucks in the streets
Hear – girls screaming because there’s tomatoes flying towards their faces
Taste – tomatoes mixed with all sorts of other juices and bodily fluids, mmhmm
Smell – tomatoes… Seriously the stuff manages to get into every crevice, including up the schnozza
Feel – random people’s boobs and butts as we all squished together in the streets (see pic below)

Banana suit: Shannon (aka Franklin) for taking the wrong bus home from the La Tom after-party and ending up a $100 taxi ride away from the campsite… One too many Bloody Marys we think.
*Edit: he also cock blocked himself when he got back to the campsite as there was a girl in his tent who he’d been making out with earlier but because he didn’t remember that he slept on the ground well away from her… how considerate.

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Stop 3: San Sebastian
Where we washed the sauce and sins away in the beautiful oceans of San Seb.

See – surfers, surfboards, surf gear and the statue of Jono/Jesus/Saint Sebastian/whoever the heck it is
Hear – Lia’s scream when she walked into her tent and two of the other guests (who shall remain nameless) were in there having a little smooch. Awks.
Taste – the best pintxos and tapas in España (although San Seb isn’t technically in Spain, it’s Basque Country, and when you get here you’ll notice that it’s realllll different).
Smell – fresh, beachy air and Reuben’s cheesy feet
Feel – nice and cosy at our little Zarautz campsite (shout out to Billie, Jono, Jai and the rest of the Zarautz crew for looking after us)

Banana suit: Rob (aka King Cobra aka lead singer of The Rubics) for asking his band members where the second microphone was and making them all search for it then discovering it was in his bag the whole time. *Note: Rob did not wear the banana suit at all in Moliets, tut tut.

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Stop 4: Moliets
Where we stayed in a hippie surf camp and played volleyball, ping pong and various other games such as how to wiggle your way into sexy German’s tents for warmth… I mean what.

See – never ending beaches with not even 1/4 the amount of tourists as Barcelona or San Seb.
Hear – the beautiful sounds of The Free Wind acoustic set (along with other musos staying at the camp)
Taste – hearty vego meals cooked by the champs at Star Surf Camp
Smell – this smell section is really quite hard, I got nothing
Feel – peaceful AF

Banana suit: Te Wehi (aka Mantis) for spewing on the dancefloor in the club in Moliets… then acting like nothing happened while we all continued dancing around it.

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Stop 5: Paris

Where we had way too much fun playing a game of duck duck goose / never have I ever on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower… And discovered that half the group had already hooked up with each other.

See – love in the air and baguettes in our mouths.. as well as the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc, etc.
Hear – The squeal of excitement from Reuben’s mouth when he entered Disneyland’s gates
Taste – slimy, slippery snails and each other’s saliva (that’s right, I know exactly who hooked up in this city because you were all in my bloody hostel room)
Smell – freshly baked bread and pastries
Feel – loooove all around us

Banana suit: Lia (aka Sam Cane’s sister) for getting scammed by one of the gypsies who wanted to “play a game” with her. She handed over 40 euros with high hopes of winning only to watch the guy take a break for it the second he got a hold of it. She did, however, yell and scream and hunt him down to get her money back so that’s a win.

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Stop 6: Amsterdam
Where we stayed in a hostel with the tiniest staircase known to man and a smokers’ room opposite the bar. Also where Shannon finally got laid.

See – beautiful rivers, cyclists and Eliza trying to escape from the sun after downing a box of truffles (not the choc kind)
Hear – catcalls from prostitutes in the red light district, Sophie having a mild panic attack in the Dungeons
Taste – all of the traditional Dutch delicacies. Like space cake and cannabis milkshakes.
Smell – I’ll give you one guess…
Feel – the wind in our hair as we clumsily cycled around the city

Banana suit: Nobody could remember who had or hadn’t fucked up here… not sure why.

No group shot here that’s not a blur of lights and trees… not sure why.

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Stop 7: Berlin
Where we sat in a park across from the hostel and had a good ol’ fashioned jam session. Also where Dean lost his virginity.

See – Berlin Wall & East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, the Yaams
Hear – for some of the guests, the sounds of 12-year-old female squeals at the Justin Bieber concert (coming from the stage)
Taste – bratwurst, currywurst and bier
Smell – bier, currywurst and bratwurst
Feel – saddened by the memorial of the murdered Jews & Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Banana suit: Zara (aka nut thief) for going all the way to Sachsenhausen, eager to check it out, then passing out on the grass in front and not waking until the rest of the crew found her on their way home.

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Stop 8: Prague
Where we got down and diggidy to 70s classics inside Prague’s five-storey disco club, Karlovy Lázně

See – beautiful gothic architecture, the John Lennon Wall, the Astronomical Clock, the Castle
Hear – five different eras of music at the disco club
Taste – cheap, cheap Czech beers
Smell – delicious waffles and sweets at the farmers’ markets in the old town square
Feel – like we never wanted to leave this beautiful, inexpensive city

Banana suit: no one did anything exciting enough for the banana here so Zara continued to wear it… We think she really enjoyed the attention 😉

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Stop 9: Budapest
Where we cruised down the Danube river drinking beers and seeing the beautiful buildings of Budapest lit up against the night sky (sounds a lot tamer than it was).

See – so apparently every time you go under a bridge on the aforementioned boat, you have to kiss someone. And a few people took this game very seriously… cough Emily/Leo cough
Hear – too many wild stories from the guys at Retox Party Hostel
Taste – almost a little too much (if there is such a thing) free beer and wine
Smell – that bitter-sweet odour that only too many too wild parties can produce, at Retox
Feel – super keen to get on the bus to Oktoberfest!

Banana suit: Emily (aka Emi-wee) for getting royally f**ked up on the boat party and stacking it on the cement and passing out in the toilets THEN, once back at the hostel, waking up in the middle of the night and wandering into the room next door, squatting down without taking her shorts off and pissing all over a random dude’s bag. And not remembering any of it the next morning.

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Stop 10: Munich
Where we dragged our tired, sleepless bodies off the 22-hour overnight bus from Budapest and excitedly entered the festival we’d been psyched for all trip… Stoketoberfest!

See – beer
Hear – beer
Taste – beer
Smell – beer
Feel – sangria… and beer!

And what a way that was to conclude our month-long bus tour around Europe!

For any of the Rolling Circus fam reading this, feel free to comment any other wild, wet or weird stories I missed out.

Keep on rolling, travellers!

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Written by Sophie Winter




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