Looking south across Taormina to Mt. Etna, smoking ahead of it’s recent eruption.
The current view, above, and my morning’s-eye view a week ago, below.
Each morning, the streets are quiet, littered with confetti, glasses, and paper. By 9:00 the Zambonis appear a platoon of street sweeper that scoop up all the trash before people start drifting back in at noon.
They arrive in miniature versions of Sunday’s parade, pushing floats through the Wyck and playing polkas and Sousa marches as bands cross the Maas. Some set up on street corners to perform, while others cross the city, posing for pictures.
It’s a wonderful event, one I look forward to and that has no real counterpart in the US. I’m not sure why: maybe a country has to pass through it’s period as a world economic and military power, emerging with a more relaxed sense of itself.
And on Tuesday evening, it all ends. The bier is discounted one final time; the Moeswijf drops at midnight.
There was a lot of creativity and color in the Maastricht Carnival celebration this year, despite frightfully cold weather and occasional rain. I think that everyone just layered on the padding and drank more bier to get by.
I was a pirate. Okay, an old pirate, with spectacles and a flowing black mane. I’d forgotten how dynamic really long hair is when I walk, and how itchy. My friend are threatening to make sure the Internet never forgets that I once looked like this.
The Moeswijf was raised just after noon to speeches and fireworks and the taps opened across the city. There were a lot of clever costumes, Shades of Grey and nautical themes were prevalent alongside the feathers, the face paint, and the Crown Prince and Maxima.
And, as dusk fell, the floats dispersed into the sides streets, the crowds filled the squares and alleys, and the music swelled. There were reports the next morning of riots in the main squares in the wee hours, but we didn’t see any of it. We swayed to a group mimicking ABBA, flowed with the drumbeats of Segura, and darted into the crowded bars.
More pictures, as always, at my Flickr page.