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tisdag 6 oktober 2009

A trip to the land of stroopwafels, episode 1

We went to Nijmegen. It was time for a new trip to the land of beer and stroopwafels. We missed it last year, so we were really looking forward to it. At first we were supposed to be enough people to fill up at least two cars. We ended up with three adults and one toddler.

We wanted to leave early, but because of life being as it is, we didn't leave Sweden until 2 in the afternoon. The trip south was kind of alright, although we went into a traffic queue, plus it was raining a lot. We arrived in Nijmegen at night, about half past 12, and put up our tent plagued by stormwinds and heavy rain. Thomas Schatek from MiM was up using the "bathroom", and greeted us as we tried to negotiate the canvas against the wind. He offered his help, we said thanks but no thanks, and he went quickly to bed - a smart man!

There were three of us, but we still managed to get the tent up alright. That was so good, as we usually need at least four to fix it. We pegged one part to the ground before stretching it out on three sides. In 37 minutes we managed to put up the tent and make straw beds for all of us - it must be a new record. Eli and Isolde were dead tired, so they instantly went to bed. The rain whipped the tent, but they kept dry and warm between the blankets. Lunda and I wiped the rain from our faces and went over the square to our favourite pub - Camelot ( Our camp is situated by the church in the background, by the way - this is a map of the surroundings:

Visa större karta

As you can see, we camped in the middle of the town!

Camelot gave us the warmth we needed. We tried a couple of different brews (and realized that they no longer serve the delicious/disgusting Duchesse de Bourgogne; with each sip you have to decide whether it's utterly excellent or magnificently gross) and had a chat about life, before heading home to our tent. We went to bed abou 2 in the morning.

Morning light woke us up, and we rose to have breakfast with the Schateks - Thomas and Franziska. They had bread, coffee and tasty German sausages - a good start on the weekend. I planned the food for the weekend with Franziska - a way to practice my bad German - and then we went to shop food at the market. Thomas, fluent in Dutch, accompanied us to help us with interpretation - especially the names of different spice should prove difficult to figure out, although I managed to work it out in the end, with the help of Thomas and friendly bypassers, interested in my strange clothes.

We shopped a lot. We bought sausages and delicious cheese along with dried ham - we have found that it is a good idea to have food you don't need to use pots and pans for when it is intended for the last meal of the event. It is heaven not having to do the dishes just before leaving. Once again I planned the cooking from En sås av ringa värde and hence, the shopping was aimed at chickens and some vegetables, plus bread, wine and beer. And stroopwafels! If you don't know what that is - go to the Netherlands. You haven't lived until you tried them! An I found Duchesse de Bourgogne (or however it's spelled)! Our usual outlet didn't carry them anymore, so I had to scour Nijmegen for them. I eventually found them in a really nice wine store and bought ten of them. You can never decide whether they taste divine or utterly disgustning; each sip you have to ask yourself *yuk* or *yum*. This makes drinking Duchesse kind of fun - I never really stop being fascinated by it.

It was very windy during the Saturday. It was windy enough to blow plates off the tables. The wind made it nigh impossible to do any crafting at all. I cooked instead, and that worked alright. It is lovely to work with fine ingredients, and I cooked great food as well. This time I got to try out the recipe for En sås av ringa värde - "a sauce of lesser value" - a broth, really, served with bread, parsley and red onions. I also tried the so called Vitt mos - a porridge, more or less, made by eggs, milk, bread, sugar, cinnamon and saffron. It was a lovely change from porridge, and it let us use the old bread, which otherwise had been thrown away.

Two English scribes who were really nice (and really quite old - in their 60's and 70's!) also camped at the square, and during the day a happy few from the Deventer Burgerscap showed up: Lea, Isis, Marisca (with Oriande and Zenaïde), Laurens, Nijso and Bertus. I might have forgotten someone. Sorry.

As we were really few, we consorted a lot more than we usually do; we shared kitchen with the Schateks and had the Dutch about five metres across the square. This gave rise to a very familiar feeling that I really enjoyed, and we constantly "visited" each other.

Isolde kept busy with Oriande, Marisca's daughter. They kept holding hands and ran around the camp site to everyone's enjoyment, while us grown ups did this and that. As the day went to evening, we had our evening meal, and something to drink. As it grew late, we (the men) decided to have a boy's night out. Franziska didn't like this at all - she wanted to be a part of it, but you can't have a girl tagging along on a boy's night out. So we named her Bertus instead, as the real Bertus was stayiung behind anyway. We called her Bertus and made her drink like Bertus.

We went to a pub called In de blauwe hand. It is many centuries old, and if I understand it correctly, it was the hangout for indigo dyers. Now it's just a great pub; it's crammed, warm, murky and comfy. And they have great beer. I got a bit tipsy. But Franziska - sorry - Bertus got drunk, so we asked him if she wanted to leave. We didn't want to press him into drink anymore. But then she got a little sour:
"That's what you want, isn't it? You want me to leave! You didn't want me to come along from the beginning!" There, there Bertus...

She/he and Thomas left eventually. Me, Laurens and Lunda stayed for a bit, and when Lunda went to the loo, me and Laurens decided we wanted to teach him a lesson for being tardy. We rolled up our hoods into hard knots, and held them in the end of the liripipes. This way they resembled flails. We waited outside until he came out, and then we gave him the thrashing of his life. He tried to defend himself of course, and soon we were running through the backstreets and alley-ways, having an all-out war all against each other, stealing each others caps, smacking each other with our liripipe flails and having a grand time.

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