Stoke Travel’s Hits, Wins, Fails and Disasters 2017
That’s it! Oktoberfest is wrapped, folded, washed and hung out to dry, and along with it Stoke summer 2017. What a blast! A record-breaking summer of atmospheric highs very often followed immediately by brief, soul-crushing lows.
So as the accumulated hangover of three months’ worth of solid boozing washes over us like a fog made of regret, anxiety and FOMO, we’ve decided to look back on some of the biggest hits, wins, fails and disasters of the 2017 Stoke Travel summer. We’ve never tried to be perfect, all we hope is that you have darn swell time while you’re with us. Got any hits, wins, fails or disasters of your own? Light them up in the comments below, and we’ll see you in 2018, or even sooner for some wintery fun.
The “purple-stained miracle” never fails to knock our socks off, and in 2017 it was no different. This Spanish fiesta hosted high in the winemaking region of La Rioja is the supreme way to kick off our summer, a late-June pickling in wine that sets the tone for everything that’s to come. We have so much fun wetting-up with wine that soaking each other in the gods’ grape juice has become a tradition at every festival we go to, even though we’re the only ones doing it. It’s just so much fun, and we can’t be trusted with nice things.
We always knew the Ibiza Beach Camp would be a hit — a chilled out, beachfront, budget all-inclusive camping on the very expensive, much hedonistic, always wild, party island of Ibiza. It was a no-brainer combining our loves of affordable accommodation that goes above and beyond with inclusions, combined with a shit-tonne of sun and a beautiful sea with a mind-melting party every goddamned night. But this year the IBC exceeded our expectations and then some, selling out for the entirety of August, most of July, and with big crowds for May, June and September. It was literally never quiet out there and 99.69% of travellers had the time of their lives. Hot damn.
From start to finish the Barcelona team, in the face of a massive independence movement, a terrorist attack and anti-tourist protests, have stayed true to their love of this city and the good times it coughs up and consistently sold out their wild-boys-and-girl- afloat party-boat tours. We adore this city, through the good times and the bad, and we love it when our BCN crew take some party monsters off the streets for two hours and get them well-and-truly sozzled on the sea, before throwing the pickled mariners back into the disco mix. Ahoy!
From humble beginnings less than a decade ago (biggest night — 30 travellers!) we have grown into the largest gathering of Bavaria-bound beer goblins looking for a pre-and-post-party, somewhere to lay our soggy heads and a hot breakfast and dinner to soak up the good times. We tapped out at seven-thousand-and-something this year, smashing through 56,000 litres of beer at our campsite alone, and provided all the elements for the assembled grog monsters to have a helluva grand old time. What’s next? Millions? If you spread the word it just might happen.
Moving the surf camp away from the sea and into the mountains seemed on paper like an unwinnable gamble. When you think about surf holidays do rolling green hills, flocks of sheep cheese makers and apple cider enter into your thoughts? Ours either, we imagine long days on the beach, hot sand and ancient titties. But then we said, Why can’t we have both? And now we have both and we sit at our house and gaze across the hills over to the sea and listen to the farm animals go about their days and drink all the cider and then drive 10 minutes and enter and water and fucking shred it up under the Basque sky, in the Bay of Biscay. Have we found paradise? Yes.
Oh man, people had to wait, sometimes hours, in a bus station while the world’s biggest street party was going down (may not be world’s biggest, but she big). It wasn’t ideal, people were sad and we fixed the problem. Unfortunately some travellers held grudges and gave us some pretty heinous reviews, and it kind of overwhelmed all the other awesome stuff that came with our new campsite, like the river and the pool party and the grass and the shade and the almost-all-night bar. Anyway, soz about the buses, they’ll be on-time next time and the party will continue to rage.
You couldn’t script it, because if you did it would be a pretty shitty story, but Europe sweltered through summer like it always does, and then, just as Oktoberfest was about to kick off, a dirty, great big cold snap came through and froze everybody’s chesticles. Every year we get a cold snap, usually around the second weekend, sometimes third, but to get one before the event had even kicked off! Now that’s a slap in the guts with a cold fraulein.
Continuing with the weather theme, you ever heard of rain in Valencia in August? Neither had we! And days and days of it at that, torrential, driving, lukewarm rain. It was completely out of the norm and turned our usually dusty dance-hole into an orgy of mud and people who probably want to have an orgy in mud. It was an absolute shoe destroyer, a fucker of jeans’ cuffs and we spent days scrubbing it from tents. Lucky we had a giant tomato fight to clean ourselves off.
That’s our new thing. With our new campsite allowing us to do just about anything party wise, and interest in bull-play running low for us, the locals and most generally everybody in the world, we’ve really started to move away from putting ourselves in front of horns in favour for focusing on the fiesta side of Sanfermines. While the bull run is controversial, the street party is out of this world! Many young locals attend just to party, going all through the night and then to bed when the bull run starts. At our campsite we can party all day in the pool and then all night in town, or hang in town all day and party all night at our camp. It’s up to you, but just know that if you want to party, but not participate in animal cruelty, then there’s still place for you in Pamplona.
In the village that houses our Surf House every year they have an olympiad of sorts. While they don’t run and jump and throw like the traditional olympics, they do lift heavy stuff and lift heavy stuff and walk and lift heavy stuff and then slam it down and then lift it again. Oh and they also do this running-while-stuffing-a-basket-full-of-wooden-sticks thing and some wood saw thing. Anyway, it’s very traditional, extremely enjoyable and just a little strange, and this year for the first time in the games’ history a team of foreigners entered, us, and while we didn’t win we sure earned the million ciders, beers, wines and rum colas we drank that morning. Yep, morning.
Everybody who had the pleasure of joining us in Munich this year will know just how damn beautiful our camp looked. The design team went nuts and pulled off a party space that was like nothing we’d seen in Munich before, and so much more than we could have expected. And then as if that wasn’t enough, the nights were filled with bands and burlesque shows and drag queens and wheel of misfortune getting people to take their clothes off, etc. What a gosh-darn fine time, definitely makes up for the cold, see above.
Apparently not quite up to unexpected cold-snap-in-Germany standards, but nothing that a couple of layers or a snuggle buddy couldn’t fix (see: DISASTERS, above).
This year we’ve started supporting refugee charities working in Greece. The way we see it, they’re travellers, just like us, and they need a little help. What’s better than helping fellow travellers? Anyway, to get more people involved we pledged to donate all unclaimed cup-deposits to our partners in Greece, meaning that we’d front the cost of the cup and then with the deposit there should be a nice little win for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Well, some people came to claim their deposit back! They’d rather have the extra €2 rather than help people who are fleeing literal war. It takes all kinds, we guess.
From video guides to unfiltered Snapchats, travel-lust-worthy Instagram images and a Facebook feed full of fun and informative articles (like this one, wow!), our social media is off the charts. But still some of our treasured travellers don’t follow us. What, you don’t like semi-nude party people getting loose year ‘round in some of the world’s most beautiful locations? Of course you do, so give us a follow. It’s @StokeTravel on all platforms. We’re taking our pants off in anticipation of seeing you there.