The sun was out and about pretty good last weekend despite the chilly and windy fall this October. Sunny enough for a nice day out for a little walkabout adventure down at the Camping Ground of “The Golden Spot” for the West-Friesland Halloween Fair.
If you are reading Friesland as Fries (as in French Fries)-Land (as in Land Rover) then you’ve got the pronunciation all wrong. Try reading that again, and this time, say it out loud with “Frees-Land”. Pronounce the “a“ in “land” as how you would read the “u” in the word “sun“. Got it?
Now, as for the word “The Golden Spot” mentioned above, that has been literally translated from “De Gouwe Stek“ in local Dutch dialect. I was told that the word “Gouwe“ is a word play of:
Gouden means gold in Dutch, but in local dialect, it is “Gouwe”
“De Gouw” also happens to be the name of the street of where the camping ground is
The “G” there, needs to be pronounced with the typical Dutch “G” as in “ch” where you suddenly will find that you actually do have a lot of phlegm. The word “stek“ is pronounced as “stack”. Easy right?!
Now, using what I said above as reference, say the words again below with the Dutch pronunciation:
De Gouwe Stek
If you miss your “Gs”, go back and try again. Remember, it has to be phlegm-ish thick.
But I digress; I was talking about the Halloween Fair we went to last weekend which was held 2 weeks before Halloween itself and what I thought was an occasion not celebrated here in the Netherlands. There would be no fair that we know of (so far, to date) for the 31st October. Hmmm…excuse me if I was a little confused.
Confusion of pronunciation, timing and celebration-no-celebration aside, we all had some fun moseying about. The entire atmosphere was lively, fun and well-organised. And for a small town, I’d say it was quite an event too! I even thought I saw a media vehicle driving out of the venue and my MIL later confirmed that there was a coverage of the event on TV.
The little critters were playing games at almost every booth we stopped at, and every single booth would offer them candies after candies after candies. Oh yeah! Those imps were on sugar high alright.
They especially loved the Toverstokje Poepen (Magic Wand Pooping) where with a string tied around their waist, they’d have to get the stick inside the glass jar without touching the string; the Slang Happen (Snake Biting) where they’d have to eat that fat and long (and I mean fat and looong!) gummy worms on the string using only their mouth along with other throwing games.
These Halloween Theme games were versions of Old Dutch games:
Spijker Poepen: Nail Pooping – as the name suggests, it would be using a large nail
Koek Happen: Cake Biting – using a piece of cake
Then there were the must-haves “Spookhuis” (Haunted House), a make-shift eerie-looking graveyard with one of the tombstones bearing “Schoonmoeders” (Mother-in-Laws) as a marked grave, a Poppenkast (Puppet Show) along with a pumpkin-carving booth for kids to get their parents to make the traditional Halloween lantern for them amongst other novelties. Like food (my kind of likes!)
It was a good family fun. We did a bit of walking, the weather was nice, the kids behaved (somewhat!) and we all got the unnecessary sugar high.It was our first family festival since the move.
As if that was not enough, we went back home, I baked then picked up our bikes from the shed and cycled along for the very first time, together all four of us. We each biked on our own bikes to our parents’ several blocks away just to pop by ask for a tea-light so;we could light up that carved-out pumpkin.
One day of several first there! And for me, my very first bike ride on a Dutch road. Yay, me!