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Published: July 10th 2011
It was the day I got to go and fetch my mother and sister from the airport. I wanted to spend the night prior to ‘fetching’ in Amsterdam, as it would be less of a mission to travel the next day. However, prices are really high and I didn’t have the urge to just rock up in the city and find a place. So I left nice and early in the morning, only to find that the train to Schiphol was delayed by just over a half-hour. This then sent me on a blur of getting on and off at various stations throughout the day. I was late for the ladies and I think every member of the Dutch family had received a worried call from my mom already. Relief on the faces of my mom and sister is an understatement. After a crap-long flight I know how it feels!
It just wasn’t a good day for the railroads and the three of us had an equally confusing time getting back. The only day I’ve ever had trouble with the trains! We eventually made it back to Eindhoven where Opa picked us up at the Station.
I let J&C relax the rest of the day and spent an evening with Wout.
I took J&C out shopping in Eindhoven. We cycled there, and my mother’s legs got a frightful awakening at how far it was. Looks like muscle-memory doesn’t last as long as the brain’s. Jess and I got a running commentary from Mum about where what used to be and how things had changed.
It was fantastic having my mom in town and I quickly sorted myself out with a new jacket and shirt; which were both on summer-special. Score. The girls then drifted between the shops as I popped home to fetch my tent. The idea behind fetching my tent was to hand it to a colleague at De-V, thereby not having to set my tent up the next day at Rock-W. I’d bought a cheaper ticket than them, allowing me to only be able to arrive one day later, missing out on possibly a very special camping spot (har-har).
Then it turned out I might not be able to even go into the same camping as them, due to there being around 20 campsites (I forgot +60 000 people take up a lot of space) and specific wristbands for each site. Luckily another girl from JMW had to take the train the next morning early too and I could at least tag along with her to the festival.
A visit to the Efteling with D&D. It was amazing! Every. Single. Ride. Some queues were ridiculously long, but we had plenty of patience and endured mangy little kids, restless parents and drunken teens to make it onto the roller coasters. We were even allowed to ride the last rollercoaster twice in a row at the end of the day. It was really fun to spend the day with Daniel and Desiree. We left the Efteling late and as I wiped the little-kiddies drool off of my trousers (at around knee-height) the only thing I couldn’t wipe off was the smile on my face.
Thursday (30/06/11) – Monday (04/07/11)
I had to wake at 5am to take a taxi to the train station. I find it really silly the bus-service begins later than the first trains. How are you then supposed to get to the train, always a taxi?! Argh. After dragging Maartje’s (the girl from JMW) excess luggage on and off at various stops we finally made it to Leuven where busses would take us to the campings.
It turned out that my ticket could get me into anywhere, and that everybody else had paid a bundle extra just to be able to camp one night before. Haha. So I arrived, met up with De-V gang and had a perfect spot for my tent already! With a cold beer in hand, sunglasses on and topless my begin to RW couldn’t have been better. That evening I had Seasick Steve, The Hives, QOTSA, Linkin Park and Chemical Brothers to look forward to. For the full weekend lineup: http://www.rockwerchter.be/nl/lineup/index.aspx
Queens of the Stone Age were amazing that first day. No acts disappointed really. Where some lacked in crowd-participation they made up for in pure musical talent. Others gave more of a show, such as The National’s lead singer who waded through the front rows with the microphone cable being passed by the public. The Arctic Monkey’s arrogance was a pity, but I still really enjoyed all the well-known numbers and made sure to sms Philipp when our favourite song was played.
The only disappointment (for me) during the festival was Iron Maiden. I just found them a bunch of old dudes screaming and desperately clinging to old fame. It was sad to see so many people wandering off during their act, and someone even began shining a laser in the singer’s eyes. He went off on a crazy swearing bout and vowed to gouge out the laser-man’s eyes if he could get to him. The most entertaining part of their 2-hour slot. I was lucky that Fleet Foxes were playing on the other stage, where I could go rest my ears and legs.
During magnetic man, the singer climbed down into the front crowds and sang a number whilst literally standing on a sea of hands holding him up. Ke$ha drunk something which looked like blood halfway through a number whilst her cross-dressing backup dancers tried to avoid the massive penis jostling around on stage. The Kaiser Chiefs always give a good show and Ricky Wilson climbed the marquee in the middle of the crowd for a number. KOL and Coldplay were even better than at Pink Pop and I had the feeling both bands had far more interest in RW. I can’t listen to either bands anymore without feeling “kippen-vel”. Stunning.
I’m really enjoying White Lies after seeing them twice and Bruno Mars gave a rock-themed set which I think earned him a lot of respect. I’m glad I made the effort to see as many bands as possible and didn’t laze around the campsite. The trek back was thankfully in someone’s car and I let the weekend’s exhaustion catch up to me in the form of zonking out solidly.
A beer cost R25 and most decent meals again around the R75. That was the only setback of arriving nice and early each day on the festival-terrain. I made sure I worked some food into me prior to the marathon-music-afternoons, but you can’t avoid the hunger after dancing and shouting like a Mitchells Plain Mommy realizing naartjies are on sale at Fruit & Veg City.
After a good night’s sleep it turned out that I was invited to Martijn’s birthday in Waalre. We had a really fun evening, and I got to meet more Waalre boys to add to my growing friends-list there. They’re a sincere group of young guys who are very open and honest, which is the best combination to make a good friend in a short time.
Wednesday (06/07/11) – Sunday (10/07/11)
The rest of this week’s spare-time has been filled by visiting people before I leave. I’ve had really memorable evenings especially with Habib, who has become a really good friend to me here. It’s nice to have found someone I click with.
I went to Maastricht for an afternoon with Karl Wienand and his friend Sophie (sp?). We wandered around the city, grabbed a drink (iced-coffee) and some Chinese food Sophie’s parents really wanted. I have to say it was pretty awesomely random meeting up with one of my good-friend’s brothers.
I also went to see an outdoor-movie and got the chance to visit a beautiful student house. I spent an evening with Dirk swapping music and after receiving an sms from Ruud (another band-member from Waalre) we decided to head into EHV to meet him at his fitness-studio. Ruud was closing and we waited around whilst he did his final-rounds. “Waited-around” is an unfair term for the luxury we experienced when Ruud showed us two massage-chairs that gave us each a 15 minute full-body treatment while we waited. Amazing.
On the way home Ruud and Dirk showed me, what I first thought was a playground, a Parkour route; where one has to make it from one side of the jungle-gym to the other in as fast a time as possible. Ridiculously fun, but really disappointing I’ve discovered it just before I leave. And on that note…
My sister and mother arrived back from France with tales of loving couples, people screaming out of hotel windows and expensive drinks. Tonight I’m going to chill with Jess and the rest of the week is more of a steady preparation before I leave for Switzerland. First stop, Jemma’s place. Horse-riding, chocolate-eating, braaing, lake-swimming and mountain exploration are on my list of things to do! Then skating, sampling European beer and spending time with a few awesome people out of South Africa. I really miss home sometimes, my friends there and the familiarity of things. However, the new adventures that lie ahead will hopefully mask this nostalgia and give me something else to think about! We’ll see…
This is the last blog for a while, I’ll be writing in my diary during my travels and will try form some kind of summary when I’m back.
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