40. Europeade 2003 in Nuoro, Sardegna
The merry circle of Bergisch-Gladbach
For this Europeade we share a bus with Silesian groups
from Braunschweig, Schwalmstadt and Munich, which collects the groups on its
way from Braunschweig. We meet the bus in Schwalmstadt.
|On the ferry
Around 5.00 a.m. the group from Munich is picked up.
Sometime during the drive Martin starts playing the accordion, Vera finds
her violin, Anna the guitar and there is even a flute. Despite the music and
singing it is a long way, but finally, at half past five in the afternoon
we arrive at the ferry in Genoa. Genoa has an impressive skyline. The sun
is still strong, some Spanish groups are already dancing and we enjoy the
shade while we wait for the ferry. After 8 p.m. we can board the ferry
and find our seats. Our group decides to eat dinner on deck, where we slaughter
a watermelon and witness the sundown. Most of the passengers are participants
of the Europeade and a good part of the night is spent with talking and planning
Arrival in Sardegna at 7 a.m. For breakfast we have a coffee from the machine
near the stairs with the sandwiches that we brought along.
One hour later the bus takes us towards Nuoro where we
arrive after two hours drive. A blue sunny sky, ocean breeze, summer. The
landscape is very poor and dry. After two hours we arrive in Nuoro, check
in and go to our quarters. Some visit the neighbouring supermarket first,
to replenish our provisions of water, wine, fruit etc. Afterwards we explore
the quarters: unfortunately the showers are not yet connected, but our hosts
are working on the problem. All available hooks are hung with the historical
costumes and the beds get tested: very comfortable.
The group decides to get rid of all the provisions first of all with everybody
contributing something. We invite the Bretons from the next room to join
in, who then return our sung welcome with Breton music.
The afternoon is at our disposal, and since the city centre is said to be
quite close by we actually venture there for a cappuccino. Afterwards it is
time to meet the others for the ride to the place where dinner is served.
A lot of people are already gathered in the gym when we arrive. Some nasty
pushing and shoving ensues, with some old Danes between 50 and 80 featuring
as the worst pushers and conducting themselves intolerably.
The evening programme has been postponed due to the heat.
It starts at 9 p.m.: the region Sardegna introduces itself with orchestras,
dance groups and choirs. This evening is a pleasure for both ears and eyes.
It is shortly before midnight when all the performers gather on the stage
to dance all together and our departure approaches.
In the corridor in our quarters we get to know the other groups living there.
Breakfast. Well – there is one juice carton and one sweet
roll. Obviously the Sardinian population does not eat any breakfast at all,
so what we get is actually quite a big breakfast. We urgently need to buy
Some of us walk to the forum to look around and sample the offered specialities.
The groups performing now are not to be envied: while they have the full attention
of the media, there is a lot of sun as well, and it is very warm.
At 1 p.m. we have a lunch date with the rest of our team. Today the queue
is much more orderly, and soon we see the reason: carabinieri have taken post
at the gates, and it is their presence that prevents the mob from pushing
and shoving. Strictly speaking it reflects poorly on the participants that
our hosts have to take such drastic measures.
We hold a siesta before walking into town to have a cappuccino, visit the
forum and do some sightseeing. In the forum groups are dancing again, among
them the fabulous Hungarians – awesome! We enjoy many good dancers and colourful
costumes. After this stroll we meet in the school again.
After supper, where eventually we are joined by the finally
arrived rest of the Silesian members, we dress in our costumes and ride to
the stadium. The opening evening is beautiful as usual, and especially those
of us who are new to the Europeade are thrilled. There is a sad moment when
the committee-member Zarko Gakovic is commemorated, but the Europeade goes
on. After this fantastic programme we return to the quarters and spent another
long night with the French group.
After breakfast on the sunny terrace we meet at the school
in the city where the other Silesian groups are staying. In the big schoolyard
a rehearsal is held for the communal programme, followed by a short, slightly
non-sensical birthday serenade for one of the boys.
|Waiting for spectators
After lunch we put on our traditional costumes and meet
at 2 p.m. at the official location of our performance. A small arena in a
tiny park is where we are told to dance. We are the first group – nobody there
except us. The sun is scorching and everybody seeks refuge below the trees.
A little bewildered all of us regard the site as inappropriate for longer
dances. Dutifully we carry out two dances.
|Performing in Nuoro
The owner of a nearby store of traditional Sardinian
costumes invites us into her street and treats us to water and wine. As a
thank-you we dance another dance and sing “Tourdion”.
At a café in the city centre a group from Brno is winding up their
performance. The spot is nice, in the shade and attractive for dancing, so
we dance here as well and are rewarded by offers of water and beer. By now
we are all sweating again.
We are invited to visit Gavoi, a Sardinian village, after
the official performance, so we quickly sort out our belongings, put the
white aprons and shawls away safely for the journey and are collected by
a bus. Travelling time is approximately 75 minutes towards the mountains in
the surroundings of Nuoro. This area is appealing for holidays, with plenty
of forests and rocks. A lake glitters in the sun near Gavoi.
|The traditional costumes
In the city hall we are already expected.
Since we are not sure what exactly to expect we dress in the shawls and aprons
again. Our attire is very much appreciated and we take some nice pictures.
Our hosts offer water, wine and lemonade with baiser-cookies, a typical sweet.
Afterwards we set off for the guided tour around the twisted streets of the
hamlet with their typical houses. Besides the big church there is a chapel,
a horse museum, a builder of instruments and a toy museum. Of special interest
is the instrument-builder, naturally.
|At the Instrumentbuilder´s
In the meantime the second invited group, Latvians, has
arrived, and together we take a second walk through the village. The guided
tour ends in an ice-cream bar where we are all treated to ice-cream or a soft
drink. On the festival site a stage has been erected and many spectators are
gathering there. The whole village is up and about. The “Ballo Sardo” begins.
By now our stomachs are grumbling quite audibly, but there is nothing to
be done about it at the moment. The Sardinians dance first, the Latvians
next and then it is our turn. After that the cycle starts again. Now, in
their Latvian costumes, we finally recognise these dancers as our neighbours
from the school .
Everybody has a lot of fun and a lovely time. The separate
performances are followed by a joint dance of all participants on the stage.
By car we are then taken to the restaurant where the banquet is held. Our
hosts conjure up magnificent foodstuffs. Phew, this is a veritable feast.
Everyone is thrilled. After dinner all gather at the bar, the Sardinian group
dances and we join in. We express thanks for the lovely experience, the excellent
food, and the hospitality. The Gavoians bid us a hearty farewell, then we
are ushered into cars that take us back to Nuoro. For all of us it was a great
The official programme for the evening consisted of the “European Choir
and Music Festival” in the amphitheatre where we had experienced the Sardinian
The official reception of the groups is in the Museo
ethnografico in Nuoro at 10.30. A spoken preamble is followed by the introduction
of all officials, then president Bruno Peeters expresses gratitude towards
all participants for the excellent running of the Europeade so far. Afterwards
the separate groups are summoned and introduced, gifts are exchanged.
|At the Bal Europe
Tonight’s programme is the “Bal Europe” starting at 10 p.m. On the large
central square in Nuoro all participants meet for dancing. Various orchestras
take turns playing. Everyone is enjoying themselves, and we are right in the
middle of things. In front of the stage we meet the girls from the Provence
that we had danced with last year in Antwerp after the parade. That was a
special pleasure. At half past midnight the bus arrives. Some are already
tired and go back to the quarters, the others organize alternative transport
and return later. I am among the first group and drop into bed gratefully.
Coffee, today only coffee will help. At 10 a.m.
the festive service starts in the cathedral. We are lucky and obtain good
seats half an hour before the beginning. Quickly the cathedral is overcrowded
with people standing in the aisles and outside. A speaker system transmits
the service there. The cathedral choir, the Milan orchestra, alphorns and
a fantastic Sardinian male choir take part in the mass, which is held by the
archbishop of Nuoro in person. Afterwards we meet the other Silesians and
treat ourselves to a nice cappucino.
|Our musicians and flags
After lunch and a pleasant afternoon in the town we meet
the rest of our group for dinner. This is the night of our performance in
the stadium. The musicians are somewhat apprehensive and we are all anxious
about the outcome. Since we are going to dance in the first third of the evening
it is not worthwhile to find seats yet. From a position behind the scenes
we watch the presentations of the other groups.
|After the presentation
And suddenly it is our turn – strange how long three minutes can be. Everything
is going well, the musicians play as beautifully as the dancers dance. All
is well. Returned to our former position we are greatly relieved. We toast
to our success and are happy about the good performance. Now we can enjoy
the remaining dances of the other Europeade-groups. After the official end
of the programme everyone rushes onto the lawn and into the general commotion
ensuing there. There is singing, dancing and celebration of friendships. Eventually
we have to go to the bus that takes us to our accommodation. We change our
clothes and gather at the main entrance. By and by the other musicians and
dancers join in and together we sing and dance. What a night.
| Breton friends
Not much leisure today. We pack our costumes and other belongings and bid
the other Europeade-participants farewell. There is even a farewell committee:
when we are in the bus one of the other musicians from last night appears
with his bagpipe to play us a tune. This leaves nobody unaffected. It has
been a great time, after all.
Since our ferry does not leave till evening we go to the beach. The sea
is fantastic, and swimming there is a pleasure. But ultimately we have to
get to the ferry.
The sun sinks as we leave Sardinia to return to Genoa. Probably there are
only musicians and dancers onboard. The whole ship is playing music, some
even try to dance on the slippery deck. Fabulous. Especially the Hungarians,
Slovaks and Czechs playing in the corridor are remarkable. Double bass, violin
and viola strike up Czardas and Kerezel. The girls are singing along – fantastic.
We would not mind listening for hours, and thankfully the groups actually
do us the favour of playing for hours with relentless energy and obvious
Arrival in Genoa. The city looks beautiful. Our bus makes its tortuous way
up the mountains and then we are finally on our way north. After a big farewell
in Munich we continue the journey. The bus is noticeably emptier now that
the first are gone. Towards midnight we arrive in Schwalmstadt. To go on home
now would be too exhausting, so we gladly take up Helga and Friedrich´s
offer of spending the night in their house. The next morning brings an excellent
breakfast with fresh rolls and coffee in Helga and Friedrich´s garden.
|Farewell in Munich
After the last good-bye the Europeade is finally over.
Now that we have met so many likable Latvians we are more determined to
go to Riga for the 41. Europeade next year than ever.