17/6/10 Drove to Ashford, stayed in Travelodge, watched France heavily defeated by Mexico – we know what mood to expect!
18/6/10 Up at 5:00 am and drove through the tunnel to Calais, confusing roadworks but clear easy roads to Reims. SatNav went a strange route after that and on arriving in the Ferrette area the road closures had us going round in circles. We arrived ca. 15:45, too late to dance at the school, but IW men travelling by ‘plane joined up with Kennet and a few Ferrette guys. Pete & Sharon, Graham & Laura, Sarah & Ali all arrived at about the same time as us by car; Martin, Lynn & Ray ca. 18:30. As our hotel was “closed” we went down the hill to Restaurant Colin for a beer.
We stayed at Le Felseneck, a Hotel/Auberge in a pleasant spot but the evening was damp. We got some dancing underway by 19:30 and then went in to eat at about 20:15. The locals did not flock to watch us. One couple from Switzerland and morris Mums.
An excellent meal was served in Le Felseneck, followed by much drinking and singing from the party of ca. 65-70 people.
19/6/10 A leisurely breakfast with the 6 Kennet couples sharing the hotel with us (bread & croissons – the same every day!). We shared the mattress with a colony of somethings that enjoyed nibbling our legs (also the same every day). It rained like Niagra Falls during the night. There was serious flooding earlier in the week down south with many people killed.
We were bussed into Freiburg at 10:00, arriving ca. 12:00 in the pouring rain. The bus park was full and it was all a bit chaotic. Not a good first impression, but we found a covered area near the Cathedral for a dancing spot, then moved on to a covered area on the Kaiser-Josef Strasse. A few people braved the rain to watch.
Up to Martin’s Brewery for lunch but it was full and we redirected to the café next door for a beer and sandwich. Talked to Jonathon, the Ferrette muso who has lived near Basel most of his life but is English and a biologist.
IWMM were the largest side on this tour with 12; Kennet had 10 and Ferrette had 8. The latter are all ex-pats working around Basel, and include 2 Ipswich Town FC supporters.
Over lunch the weather cleared up and by restart on the Kaiser-Josef Strasse the sun was shining and at last a respectable number of folks stopped to watch with interest. We went over to the Feierling Brewery for a beer; both Graham and I have visited previously but the black beer has disappeared from the beer list.
We return to Martin’s Brewery and enjoyed a cracking meal with jugs of Dunkel Weiss Export down in the cellar. A great German rowdy bier-keller. Don’t remember much after that.
20/6/10 Bussed to one of Europe’s most beautiful cities; Colmar. A crowd assembled as soon as we started outside the Museeé de Unterlinden. We moved on to the Place des Matyrs de la Resistance and Place des Dominicains, entertaining the Sunday lunch diners and family of storks nesting high up on St. Martin’s Cathedral.
We had lunch by distributing ourselves around the many cafes in the Cathedral area and w re joined by a first class jazz group. Richard can’t resist the urge to start jitterbugging with Claudi, one of our guest dancers from Germany (Hamburg and Berkeley Calif.). The sax player is ace.
After lunch we danced a longish spot outside the Old Customs House (Ancienne Douane) with a good size audience and then ambled back to the bus.
The evening meal was served at the Jura restaurant comprising the local version of fish and chips. The “fish” was carp, which is a collection of small annoying bones inseparable from small fibres of flavourless fishy stuff. The Alsatian beer was excellent and went down well starting a session that ended in vintage Icknield style, doubtless egged on by Kennet’s après-morris routine. We did them all, Sunshine Mountain, The English are Best, The Phantom Flasher. Etc. Magic moments were Sarah & Laura singing “Shoes” whilst unseen by them, their father did an entire hand signal/mime routine back and forth across the door behind them. Followed closely by the Adderbury Chair dance, we though we might have to get an ambulance for Peter Sandbach, the Ferrette Squire who was crying with laughter.
I think it finished after midnight and I’m sure sorting the bill out must have been a problem, but it certainly gave Ferrette an evening to remember.
21/6/10 Bussed to Basel for dancing on a day when everyone else in Switzerland was busy working (and making money, which is what they’re good at here. Boy, do you feel like the poor relations from across the ditch!). Passers by stopped and watched in the Market Place, after which a helpful fan in the audience took us to a pleasant café for lunch.
After lunch we danced at the Münsterplatz way above the Rhine. We then descended to the precarious ferry (hooked onto a wire and driven across by the Rhine’s torrent). We danced on the other side and posed for pics with the Münster in the background. Thence we made way to the brewery where 3 barrels of different ale had been purchased in advance. Attempts to finish the barrels led to interesting results. I distinctly remember Ian saying to me as I lent against a wall, “Stand still when I’m talking to you!”
Back to Ferrette for the street festival. There were a number of stages set up for bands playing jazz, R&B, R&R, a Highland Pipe Band (from Switzerland?), and stalls selling bratwürst, burgers, beer, etc. We danced at various locations finishing on the main stage with a 12 man Shepherd’s Hey – Jon Holmes of Kennet playing.
We had a quick look in the church where a choir from Slovakia were doing their stuff and then on to a beer tent where we talked in the drizzling rain until bedtime.
The next day folks went homeward their separate ways as they had arrived. It was unfortunate that the concluding climax of a very enjoyable weekend came half way through (viz. Sunday evening) but it was a first class piece of organisation and Ferrette, who were generous hosts, seemed well pleased with the result.
No doubt about IWMM’s second trip abroad (excluding Cornwall & Ireland) being a great success. Well done everyone – I don’t think we repeated one dance.
Sem Seaborne 29/6/10