Day 5: Swindon to Willebroek

Welcome

Yesterday we drove from Swindon to Dover and caught a ferry to Calais. From there we drove up the French coast into Belgium and stayed in the town of Willebroek.


Swindon’s Jury’s Inn put on an impressive breakfast spread and I indulged myself. I had fried egg on toast, baked beans on toast, marmelade on toast, hash brown, tomato, sausage, bacon, fruit with yoghurt, croissant, and pain au chocolate.

On the way to Dover we stopped at Heathrow where Liz scored a plus one for picking up her guitar that had thankfully resurfaced.

The ferry was a pleasant change from the Eurotunnel, taking slightly longer but giving us much more scenery.

The highlight of the crossing was discovering that a half pint of beer cost exactly half the price of a full pint of beer, allowing me to lightly indulge without the sore feeling of losing out on a deal.

We disembarked at Calais and drove up the E40 to Ostend where I scored a point for a good dinner recommendation.

Once we arrived at Willebroek and settled into the hotel it was just after midnight and we headed to the hotel bar to toast Jonathan’s 30th birthday with some delicious Belgian beer.

Beth of the day goes to Jonathan for buying some really good olives to eat in the van, and for turning thirty.

Congratulations Jono, it feels good not being the only Beth living their fourth decade.

Day 4: Crickhowell

Welcome

Yesterday we flew from Norway to England and then drove to Wales to play at Green Man festival.


We left our hotel at 3.45am and took a taxi to Trondheim airport where we had arguably our best airport experience of the tour. The self-check-in kiosks had an easy and efficient user interface and the self-operated bag drop had a fool proof hand-held scanner that Jono used to full effect.

Liz forgot to empty her water bottle before going through security but one of the officers was so nice that they took it away and emptied it for her. To top it off the terminal was small and quiet and contained ample public seating.

For breakfast I had muesli with yoghurt and a berry smoothie.

Jono scans.

We arrived at Heathrow at 9am and had a smooth passage through immigration. Upon reaching baggage claim though we were struck with the tragic news that Liz’s guitar was still in Oslo, which according to Beth of the day rules means that she unfortunately gets a minus one.

We had to get to Wales though so we set off in our freshly hired Volkswagen Crafter that we soon named Alexvander The Great.

Alexvander is powered by a 2.0 litre turbo diesel that boasts twice the fuel efficiency of our last van, and effortlessly drives the 2.5 tonne van along at up to moderate speeds.

This is also the first van we’ve had that features a table and rear facing seats, as modelled here by Liz and Tristan.

Parkers.co.uk gave the Crafter 4 stars so we hope that Alexvander will live up to that on this tour.

Liz got her score back up to zero with a plus one for plugging a powerstrip with a NZ plug into an EU adaptor into a UK adaptor, and a USA usb charger into a NZ adaptor, to charge her phone.

Despite some rough traffic we made it to Green Man just in time for a quick soundcheck and then a performance to 2000 odd people packed inside a giant blue tent.

Our friends from the band Peaness were also playing the festival and were generous enough to lend Liz a guitar. They will also be supporting us on all of our headline shows this tour.

We were all completely exhausted after the set but we summoned our remaining energy to watch Marika Hackman’s excellent performance.

Afterwards we drove a couple of hours to our hotel in Swindon where Tristan and I finished the night with our first pints of guiness of the tour.

Beth of the day goes to Ben for getting a wave from a houseboat, and having a Guiness nightcap.

Well done Ben, you look happy to be back in the UK.

The results of yesterday’s poll are in and the Skansen Rail Bridge is the winner with six votes! Congratulations Skansen and my condolences to of the losers of this competition.

Day 3: Trondheim

Welcome

Yesterday we played at Pstereo festival in the beautiful town of Trondheim, Norway.


We arrived at Trondheim station at 6.30am, sore and sleep-deprived. Luckily we were able to check straight in to our hotel and grab a few extra hours of sleep before the festival.

Unluckily the hotel didn’t let us have the complimentary breakfast so I ended up eating instant noodles and brown bread.

I went for a run and spotted several great bridges.

Verfstbrua (yard bridge) also know as Blomsterbrua (flower bridge) is a steel girder bridge with a retractable middle span. It was designed by Narudde Stokke Wiig and constructed in 2003. It carries two bike lanes and one pedestrian footpath 125m across the Nidelva River.

Gamle Bybro is an 82m wooden bridge designed by Trondheim City Engineer Carl Adolf Dahl and built in 1861. It connects the Old Town of Trondheim with Baaklandet on the Eastern bank of the Nidelva river. It contained a pair of flaps that could be raised to allow the passage of boats, however in the mid 19th century the bridge was reinforced with concrete and they no longer operate.

The Skansen Bridge is a 52m Bascule Railway Bridge that crosses Trondheim Canal. A Bascule Bridge works like a see-saw, using a counterweight to balance the main span as it swings around an axle. In this particular design the span is constructed from iron truss, and the counterweight is suspended in a parallelogram as seen in the far right of the picture. The bridge was designed by Joseph Strauss (Golden Gate Bridge) and completed in 1918.

How the parallelogram operates.

We reluctantly woke up from our naps in the early afternoon and headed to the festival. After a couple of coffees and a great lunch spread we perked right up and managed to pull off a fairly energetic and cohesive performance.

The Pstereo festival grounds as seen from the Eastern bank of the Nidelva River.

I saw a couple of great performances one of which was Oslo band Mall Girl, the other Chicago band Whitney.

Mall Girl.

Whitney.

Beth of the day goes to Liz for a good Instagram story.

I would also like to give Trent Boult an honorable mention for scoring 18 runs and providing an entertaining moment near the end of New Zealand’s innings.

Congratulations to both of you for each finding your own special way to help those around you.

I couldn’t decide on my bridge of the day so I thought I would try opening it up to a poll.

Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t seem to have any polling functionality (at least in the mobile app) so I think the easiest way is if you just leave a comment with your answer and I will tally them at the end of the day.

Day 2: Oslo

Welcome

Yesterday we slept a lot, and in the evening played a gig at Parkteatret, in central Oslo.


I accidentally woke at 5am so I watched a movie and waited for the hotel breakfast to open.

It was a ripper of a spread and I tried to eat some of everything. On my plate you can see cucumber, capsicum, bacon, small sausage, yellow rice, scrambled egg, egg tortilla, smoked salmon, cured salmon, smoked mackerel, pickled onions, and bread with butter. On the side I had a smoothie and berries with yoghurt. I followed it up with a second course of pancakes and a fruit plate.

After breakfast we watched some of the Black Caps – Sri Lanka test and then napped for a couple of hours. In the afternoon we took a high speed taxi into the city for our soundcheck.

The show was at Parktreatret, an old theatre that has been converted into a live music venue. We were supported by an excellent local band Wingdings who were kind enough to lend their cymbals since Tristan’s are still lost in transit.

Wingdings.

If you spot Tristan’s suitcase ‘Big Bluey’ please get in touch with us right away: tristan@breakfastandtravelupdates.com

We had to rush to the train station as soon as the show finished to catch an overnight train to Trondheim. Tristan watched Blade Runner 2049.

Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling.

Beth of the day goes to Liz for waking up earlier than everyone else to do a radio interview, and for eating instant noodles with a spoon.

Nice one Liz, if you keep approaching life like you approach instant ramen you will be unstoppable.

Season 5, Day 1: Los Angeles to Oslo

Welcome back my loyal readers.

Yesterday we flew aboard a cramped Boeing 787 from LAX to Copenhagen, and after a three hour layover in the seemingly seat-less terminal we caught a 737 to Oslo.


We started of the journey by passing through the TSA checkpoint miraculously unscathed which gave us each our first point on the board. We spent a couple of hours relaxing in the sunniest and most comfortable spot in the Tom Bradley International Terminal before boarding our Norwegian Air flight.

During the flight I gave the person in front of me a minus one for immediately reclining after takeoff and not straightening up during the dinner service. I also gave the person behind me a minus one for kicking my chair a lot and for tapping his feet on my ankle. Tristan also gave him a minus one for the amount of rubbish he accumulated on the floor.

My in-flight breakfast was a Turkey sandwich and a Sara Lee pound cake.

I only managed to watch two movies on the flight which were Mona Lisa Smile and The Aviator.

Mona Lisa Smile starring Julia Roberts.

The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio supported by an incredible Cate Blanchett.

Copenhagen Airport is well known for having almost no public seating so we sat in a restaurant and ordered a $15 beer.

We arrived in Oslo after a nice short connecting flight and Tristan immediately bumbled into a minus one by having a piece of his luggage lost by the airline. After being assured that it would turn up on one of the later flights we headed to the hotel where we were pleasantly surprised with a complimentary meal that we enjoyed before collapsing exhausted into bed.

Beth of the day goes to Jonathan for finding a free luggage trolley at the airport, and for doing some great work at the check-in desk after we didn’t book ourselves enough luggage allowance.

Congratulations Jon on being so quick off the mark 🏃

Liz enjoys some of the sunniest and most comfortable public seating in the Tom Bradley Terminal, LAX.

Tom Bradley was the 21st mayor of Los Angeles; a role he held for twenty years. Some of his achievements include the introduction of light rail, the expansion of LAX, the building of skyscrapers in the downtown area, and hosting the first ever profitable Olympics. He introduced environmental reforms and anti-discrimination legislation and helped to transform Los Angeles into one of the most diverse cities in the world.

Day 41: Portland, pt 2

Welcome

Yesterday we spent the day in the Happy Valley at Pickathon festival. We played our last show of the tour and enjoyed having an evening off to watch some music.


We arrived at Pickathon late in the morning and were taken straight to our stage to get ready. We arrived too late for breakfast so we ended up playing the our hangriest set of the tour. Luckily the festival staff brought us a fresh urn of coffee and had food waiting for us right after we finished.

The delicious meal was fried bread, chickpea salad, and a turkey sandwich.

Garett T Caps and his band played a ripping set right before us on the Woods stage.

Liz scored a point for returning the spent coffee urn to the kitchen.

Pickathon is a three day festival that takes place at Pendarvis Farm in the Happy Valley, outside Portland, Oregon. It is staffed by 1500 volunteers who receive a ticket in exchange for 18 hours of their time.

It focusus on sustainability and all of the cups/plates/cutlery are reusable. They use a low-emision diesel fuel and there is an on-site solar array that offsets energy used over the weekend. They also have a team of volunteers working full-time throughout the festival composting and recycling a large part of the waste.

Tristan picks wild blackberries from one of the many bushes found around the farm.

Our last task of the day was playing a couple of songs for a live video shoot, which was a nice wind-down for what has been a long tour.

We caught up with our wonderful friend Dave Depper who had arrived fresh off the plane from the Deathcab For Cutie show in Chicago. He wanted to stay out of the limelight so I don’t have any photos of him but he took a couple of nice shots of us at the videoshoot.

📸 Dave Depper

📸 Dave Depper

In the evening we watched Julia Jacklin perform a breathtakingly beautiful set at the Treeline stage.

Beth of the day goes to Liz for packing our gear into the buggy by herself, for a coffee urn return, and for doing a great job of remembering people’s names.

Great job Liz, ending the tour on a high!


We are now on vacation for a couple of weeks before we head to Europe for a few more weeks of touring.

If anything interesting happens I will do a travel update before we leave the US. Otherwise, catch you all on the next one!

Thanks for reading,

Ben

Day 40: Portland

Welcome

Yesterday we drove the utterly hopeless I-5 from Seattle to Portland to play at Pickathon Festival.


Jono scored an early point for having a secret stockpile of merch items that we had run out of, to give to our host as a gift.

We headed to Ooink for a ramen breakfast and I ordered a Kotteri, which featured a pork broth with a black garlic tare.

Tristan scored a point at breakfast by ordering Gyuoza for the table.

It took us about five hours to get to Portland, the bulk of which was spent getting out of the Seattle city limits.

Throughout the drive we attempted to finish this 1.3kg bag of Tortilla strips that we had been working on since our show in Bend.

I lost a point for missing the exit with a Starbucks and Tristan missed out on his iced coffee with salted cream.

We arrived at Pickathon and checked-in just in time to enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner from the festival kitchen.

Tristan lost a point for losing his festival-issue cup within the first couple of hours of arriving.

Tristan’s replacement cup.

Our back stage area had a UV light.

We played a really fun set at the Galaxy Bar stage and afterwards headed back to the hotel and watched Wallace & Gromit.

Beth of the day goes to Jono for his merch stockpile, and for negotiating with the festival staff so we could park our van in a good spot.

Well done Jono, it’s good to see someone playing the long game.