Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer of Darkness in Utrecht

What an apt festival to have this summer.

It's a yearly festival (I'm told) in summer, where goths and the like can come out and parade to their heart's content.

I had decided to go to Utrecht for some canoeing that weekend, without knowing about this festival, and when I was walking from the train station to the city centre, I saw this guy with a long cape flowing in the wind just turning the corner. And I was making an excited note to myself: "I must tell Diederik that I just saw a man wearing a cape!"

And of course, a few streets later, I saw many more men wearing capes and leather and chains and all that. And I knew there must be something up.

I suppose the highlight of the festival for me was hearing them play Conjure One's Oligarch on the speakers. It wasn't very loud, but it was nice enough to hear my favourite music being appreciated in public.

I also liked some of the clothes I saw. And the effort and the extent to which these people go to for their costumes is really inspiring. Some of them looked really nice. I don't know the concept of being a goth (and all their subgenres), but it seems that whichever era they're dressed up for, they always have to be the lowlifes, the rejects, the outcasts.

I took some pictures with Diederik's camera -

Diederik: I have a camera, do you want to use it?
Me: Yeah, sure... but why don't you take the photos?
Diederik: I'm kinda shy. I feel like I'm intruding on their privacy.
Me: (thinking that if they dress up like that in public, they would actually want people to admire their costumes)... Okay... and you're letting me do it because I'm smaller than them and they wouldn't beat me up, right?

Even the girls following the Lolita subgenre were giants. Yeah, they were helped by their 10-inch platforms, but still. It crossed my mind not for the first time that the clothes they imported from Japan (they had a fashion show) must have been the largest sizes made. Hehe. Not saying that people here are giants... just that they are so much bigger than the cute, Lolita-type Japanese girls.

Among the Lolitas (which were my personal favourite Goth subgenre), were also 19th-century people-from-the-streets costumes and futuristic alien neon cyber costumes. Those were VERY cool too.

Jack the Ripper would have so gone for her. The red lady. Not the normal-looking one eating.

See what I mean by giant Lolitas?

I took way more photos than this and also a couple of videos, but Diederik said they weren't good :( I'm glad I got a photo of my favourite Lolita and her costume though. The black and dark blue dress! On her dress is a city skyline illustration. I don't know if it was printed or embroidered (didn't get up that close!), but it looks so amazing! And her hair/wig and even her face was so perfect for it!

After the fashion show, it got a little boring, so we took a couple of bikes and biked 15-20 minutes out of the centre to Rijnstroom (I think) to canoe.

In the beginning, we both got rather wet from the oars, being inexperienced and all, but after 20 minutes, I think we really got the hang of it and even took turns (because he kept knocking my oar) paddling.

The scenery was really nice and it was really peaceful. Everyone who passed said Hi.

We eventually stopped and parked on the riverbank and took a walk to get some chocolate cake. Unfortunately, the cafe was already closed, but further up was a pancake house which sells every kind of pancake imaginable, apparently. We weren't that hungry so we skipped it, but we did find chocolate cake at the restaurant/cafe of the youth hostel next door. I say youth hostel, but it really is in one of those big country mansions, surrounded by greenery and of course, the river. So it's a really beautiful youth hostel. I would recommend it to anyone visiting Utrecht and who doesn't need to stay in the city centre and wouldn't mind biking.

After that little break, we canoed back, and it was much faster because we were now paddling downstream and we managed to make it back right on time so we didn't get fined, hehehe.

All in all, I would really recommend canoeing at Rijnstroom in Utrecht for the nature lover. It's only 15 minutes out of the city and is a really nice alternative activity to windmills, tulips and shopping.

1 comment:

Mumsy said...

not for the ones with motion sickness tho, but it sounds nice, esp if someone else is handling the oars :)