March 03, 2003

Limburgers and carnivals

No, this entry has nothing to do with food. A Limburger is a person from Limburg, the southernmost tip of Dutch-land. I like to call it the Dutch scrotum, for reasons that can only be understood by looking at a map. Limburgers are fiercly loyal to their little province. It is seen almost as an autonomous state, and this is shown on the section of the border between Germany and Holland in Limburg.

Despite these quirks, Limburg is a lovely place. It has hills, something lacking in the rest of Holland, and some quite great little old towns with old ruins. Plus, there are plenty of breweries around. It's a must on any visitors timetable.

Once a year, some of the towns in and around Limburg hold a traditional carnival. This is in the true spirit of one, and features a streat parade with floats, plenty of colour, music, dancing and lots of alcohol. I think it's really a drinking festival with a parade thrown in foor good measure.

So, this weekend I hopped on a train down to Maastricht where the largest one is held. With a 7:30 wakeup, and a 3 hour journey, you can't say I wasn't keen! After arriving at Amsterdam central station, I hopped on the Intercity train and settled in for the journey. I hoped I was going to get a good vantage point, as I wanted to give my camera another spin.

Somewhere around Den Bosch, a couple of guys got on, all dressed up in orange (the Dutch national colour), and sat down in my compartment. A few stations later almost a dozen other guys and gals, also dressed in orange, hopped on the train (to a whooping screaming greeting) to meet the guys in my compartment. With all their excitement about the parade, I couldnt resist and joined in their fun! As it turned out, they were walking in the parade with their own float, and did I want to join them? How could I resist!

The whole parade just went off!! Aside from a bit of a delay, we had a great time heading down the route, dancing around the float. Much alcohol was consumed, and I got plenty of photos of the day. I met plenty of great people, got a little drunk (Drop Shot is fucking harsh!), and got to really be a part of this tradition. Thanks guys!

I'll do it again next year if I can!

Posted by Ben at March 3, 2003 11:24 PM
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