Upon hearing that there would be people riding horses and playing with long spears in the middle of town today, I was hoping for some good old fashioned blood and guts gladiator-type entertainment. The lack of such gore was made up by the sheer skill of the local heroes ‘spearing’ their lances through impossibly small rings at full gallop.
There were hundreds of horses in the open square, and as many riders. Only one person can be crowned champion, so as each group of riders completes a round, the rings get progressively smaller, with the best riders aiming their lances at rings as small as 15mm in diameter.
The event seemed like an important happening on the local calendar, and attracts a big audience. The winners of each age and skill category were awarded with a trophy, and a bit of good old fashioned life threatening throwing and catching, done by highly skilled riders, their strength augemented by a good dosage of beer which was consumed in as large a quantity as their control over their lance would allow during the course of the competition.
We rode the few kilometers from the Harwig’s place to town on bicycles. Wim and I on recumbents. It was a great feeling to be on a recumbent again. Wim is on his lowrider that he uses to commute to work – a solid 20km each way commute. The bike is stainless steel with a spacious fairing at the back made from plywood. Great for the flat cycle paths of Holland.
Topping off the afternoon out was another delicious Dutch delight – Olieballs. The dictionary translation is ‘donut balls’. Donut dough cooked in a ball. No wonder the Dutch are so fond of their bicycles – you need a good dose of exercise after some of their food.