I spent a month living on the Greek island of Syros with three friends in a house of a friend of a friend's. The house was whitewashed and had a courtyard with bougainvillea. It was cool inside and had views over the village to the sea, with thyme-covered mountains hugging us. The village was small and perfect for walking from bakery to taverna to the beach. It was quiet, the sea was warm, the local people were lovely and the food was sublime - bliss.


Going to a festival in Bilbao, Spain, where the official campsite was just the side of a hill up against a police dog training facility. No toilets, no water and rather intimidating dogs with morning toiletry routines. We were locked out of the festival site most of the day and the nearest town was miles away. The music was great though.

Claire Mabey is director of the books and ideas-focused Escape! Festival (June 3-6) in Tauranga.