Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday proto-Carnival

The main parade is not until Sunday, but the festivities really get going on Friday ight when work closes down and the bars open up for the long weekend. At 5 pm, I was still beavering away in my working garret: friends were leaving notes that they were heading on without me.  I pressed through hurried phone calls back t0 the US:  a budget, a clinical trial approval, a note to my Dutch administrator about the Taal-toets scheduled for next week.  Dusk fell, the music rose, and I fled the workroom.

There were bands outside the Pothuiske and crowds inside; everywhere music, color, laughter, beer.  The costumes aren’t really out in force until Sunday (when more snow is predicted), but there were already a few souls showing their creativity to set the mood.

This really is one of my favorite celebrations in Maastricht: the midwinter timing is a perfect antidote to February blues and work overloads.  It’s well worth a trip down if the weekend permits.

 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Counting down to Carnival

The annual pre-Lent revelry of Carnival hits town this weekend, lasting from parade Sunday through Fat Tuesday, punctuated by the raising and lowering of the Mooswief at the Vrijthof Square.  The local paper carries the daily news about events here (Google will do a rough translation if you are using Chrome).  There have been a lot of articles discussing the cost of it all, but that will fade as the party gets underway.

At street level, the stages are going up and the toilets are being distributed.  Street sweepers have cleared all of the walkways along Kesselskade, and cafĂ©’s have moved their tables indoors to give space for crowd along the parade route.  The beer trucks have crowded the streets all week.

 

The bands have been dressing up and (sometimes) tuning up inside local bars each evening, occasionally taking to the streets for a practice run across the bridge.  The camel has been hung.

  

It should be fun – No calls until Wednesday, please.