Last updated: September 12, 2014
Haul on the Bowline The Mermaid Tomorrow
We had an absolutely fantastic time in Rotterdam at this very well organised Shantyfestival and it was worth the travelling to get there to enjoy the people, the place and all the singing. We left Waterford early on Friday morning and flew from Dublin to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, from where we got a fast train for Rotterdam. We arrived in good time to have a relaxing drink and something to eat before our first performance just before 10 on Friday night in the Tent. This was a great venue both to sing in and also where we were able to hear some of the other groups and engage with fellow singers. We made sure we had a reasonably early night and so we didn't overstretch ourselves on our first night (which we normally do!). After a good nights rest in our floating hotel (another first for us – sleeping on water!), we were up bright and early and we had three more performances during the day and three more again on Sunday at various locations. Ineke looked after us on the Saturday and Frieda did likewise on Sunday, and what a job they had trying to keep us from wandering and becoming too engrossed in all the other activities that were taking place in Rotterdam over the weekend. There were boats and barges of all sizes, all wonderfully decked out, and there were steam engines and cranes, superb model boats and various other stall offering all sorts of the maritime pariphenalia. The Maritime Museum nearby was also a fine attraction. It was great too to meet again with Janet and Hilda and the two Jans from the group Seyl and Treyl.
On Sunday morning, having missed a tour of the harbour area by about 10 minutes, we took a trip in a small boat and that was a revelation, bringing us to parts of the river system that we wouldn't have otherwise visited, and aging there were boats of all shapes and sizes, most of them now in use as living areas by their owners.
We had only finished our last song on the Sunday afternoon and we had to rush for the train and plane back to Dublin. That song was a rousing version of the Wild Rover, and it echoed all over the centre of Rotterdam as we were joined in song by our audience, who knew every word, as indeed they knew the words of the Fields of Athenry and Molly Malone, which we included in some of our sessions for a bit of variety. In fact the Fields of Athenry was a particular favourite and some of the groups included this song in their repertoire. Shantykoor Barend Fox even invited us up onstage to sing with them when they were singing it. Wonderful.
Time moves too fast on weekends like this, especially when the weather was as good as it was and the people were so friendly. It was all over before we knew it but we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Rotterdam. We are especially grateful to Simon and Hans, Ineke and her sister Ellie and Frieda for all their help and assistance over the weekend. It was a wonderful weekend and thank you ever so much for having us!
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