Last Wednesday was Saint Peter’s Day. In North-Frisia they celebrate this day by lighting beacons with the so-called Biikebrennen. Does the tradition declare the end of winter with fire or are the beacons relics of lighthouses? Nobody knows the origin exactly, but since it’s a bit of a happening and it’s traditional for North-Frisia we went over there for the fire, the theatre afterwards and a bit of sightseeing the next day.
This time I did not go by myself as you’ve noticed since I used ‘we’. The ‘we’ were thirteen people and we didn’t go by bicycle, but by car. Two vans to be precise.
What I want to state here, is that it was again affirmed for me how relaxing it is just to get on your bike and cycle wherever you want to go. You can stop whenever you please, you have no time schedules, nothing planned, nor have an appointment with anyone. You know exactly what you need to take along. You pack the stuff, check if your tyres need a bit of air and then you go. You’re whistling and rolling along with the sun on your head and the wind in your back. For the organisation of this trip however, you need to do more preparing, and yet you’re still dependent on many factors. It is quite some work even before you have left for the trip: you have to buy groceries, hire transport, make all appointments for the visits, and to plan the whole schedule, make sure that everybody is on schedule to the next point on the program.
Now a bit more about that program we had. The walk to the beacon was a bit further than I thought. But my co-organiser and me made it up by getting the van. In that way we missed out a bit of the fire, but that’s how it is. The walk was nice, fresh and wintery after driving whole day. In the evening there was North-Frisian theatre, which was fun although we didn’t understand everything. The drinks and talks afterwards made thát up.
The next day we visited the school where we stayed (we slept in the gym room) and got a nice presentation by some older pupils after we did a lot of singing with the younger ones. Afterwards off to Friedrichstadt where we had a tour guide, who spoke Platt, which most of us could better understand than High German. Ilse Johanna recommanded that we would go to Husum as well. It was on the route back. First stop was the Biike, which was still burning. We got a stripe of charcoal for good luck. In Husum itself we had some free time to go shopping or having a Fischbrötchen or just a cup of coffee. After dinner a selected few wanted to go the evening organised by Et Nordfriisk Teooter. We were a bit late, but still very welcome. Had a few chats and returned back to the gym for a bearenburch and a card game.
The children of the school wanted to say goodbye with a round of handball. It was lovely in the morning sun. On our way homewards we had a talk by Claas Riecken of the Nordfriisk Instituut in Bräist/Bredstedt. He told us more about the instution and Fraschlönj itself. The sun accompanied us all the way safely back to Ljouwert.
Although the organisation took a heavier place on my mind than I had wanted, we had a lot of fun. And everything went well, apart from two broken jars and a cup. Now I know better what to expect would there be a next time. The important thing is that people enjoyed themselves, learned many things and that we got home safely. It’s of course also satisfying that everything worked out just well. But for now, I’m looking for a trip of my own. Funnily enough, organised by someone else who will take care of the stress. Next stop, St Andrews. Stanza Poetry Festival!