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BRANd-new - the EWoT news!!!

Picture this:

Itís the first day of your long awaited vacation, and still the alarm goes of at 6:20 am!! I looked at the alarm clock as if it was crazy, and really thought about throwing it out the window, until I realized why it was waking me up at this hour!

It was because I had to get up in time to catch the train to the city close to the airport from where I would be flying to first London and then Dublin to meet those people Iíve gotten to know via my German friend know as Asha (even at the gathering where everybody else was called their real name)

Yes I know itís a bit crazy, to go on a weekís vacation with a group of people you have never really talked with, except for a few times in a chatroom. Well thatís not really true, I have talked quite a bit with Asha for more than a year. But she had assured me that it was a great bunch of people that I was going to meet, since she knew a few of them already from their gathering last year in the Netherlands.

So with an open mind I shower and get ready at this unholy hour of the day, pack the last few items into my suitcase, grab it and my backpack with a book for the plane, and the bottle of liquor (didnít want to put in into my suitcase, since you never know how itíll get handles) Iím bringing to the gathering. The start the process of hauling the 20 kg (44 lbs for those who arenít comfortable with the metric system) suitcase down 72 steps to the street, where the taxi that I ordered yesterday hopefully will be shortly. Luckily the taxi was there, and it brought me to the train station in plenty of time for me to catch my train.

The train ride to Aarhus (in Denmark), the bus ride to the airport, and then the flight to London all happened without any problems at all. I didnít get to read on the plane as planned, since I got to talk with the man sitting next to me, who was going to England with his wife to visit a friend there for a week. Thanks to his company the flight passed by rather quickly, and before I knew it, I had gotten my suitcase in London (so it wasnít late as it was for another going to EWoT!!) and was strolling through the nothing to declare line in the customs area, even though I did have this bottle of liquor that I was in doubt about with me. Once I got through it, I was looking around for Ulrike, another EWoTíer that was supposed to meet there. I had never met her before, but I had seen her on some of the pictures from the EWoT gathering in Amsterdam, so I was looking around for a familiar face. I was so concentrated on looking at faces that I almost didnít notice that she was standing in the front row holding a EWoT sign! Now wouldnít it have been embarrassing, if I had missed that!!

After we had walked around for a bit with looking for a place to sit until they would open the check in for our flight from London to Dublin, we finally decided to seat in the smoking area, which wasnít very popular to any of us, since we were both non smokers. For those that havenít experienced it, I can assure you that the waiting area in Stansted airport isnít very exciting at all!! The 2 hours I had there before check in started was plenty of time to get a good look at it all, and still have time to spare! And I think most of the time I used to look around, was spent in the book stores there, which probably isnít a big surprise to the other EWoTíers, since it seems like we all have quite a liking for bookstores!

Finally the time arrived when Ryan Air opened for check in to our flight, and we were among the first in line, so we could get rid of our suitcases rather quickly. Once that was accomplished we moved toward the zone where you had to have a boarding card to enter, and quickly got in there. Now it was very easy to find a place to sit, even in a non smoking area, and soon we again took turns to walk around a little to see what the shops there had to offer, but once again nothing really did fall into our taste.

The time passed by rather quickly, and it didnít take long before we took the small train out to the terminal where our plane were departing from, and boarded the plane. It seemed like the flight from London to Dublin was rather quick, and it didnít take long before we had collected our bags and was exiting from the customs area in Dublin airport. There I mainly followed Ulrike, since she had met Ulrica before. We actually almost ran Ulrica over with our luggage trolley in the arrival section, so it wasnít hard to find her at all.

Once we had met Ulrica she led us to the other EWoTíers there, which were Wishy and Demon. Again we started a quest to find a place where we all could sit together until Yorrick would arrive a couple or so hours later. Our quest leads us to the Mezzanine in the airport, where there very conveniently was several fast food outlets, so we could at least attempt to satisfy any hunger we might have. As we all sat and ate and chatted a bit, I was thinking about my first impressions off the other EWoTíers, and I thought I would share them with you, so here goes;

Wishy: man heís tall !!!

Ulrike: she isnít very tall !!

Ulrica: wow does she have long hair !!

Demon: Hmm I wonder if Iíll learn to understand his accent during the week, and does he ever stop talking??

But otherwise they were all very nice people. And I had the feeling that the awkwardness between us would disappear within to long time, once we got comfortable around each other. After we had finished eating we went back to the arrival floor, not because we had found a place to sit, oh no, but because Louis was supposed to be joining us there, after having picked up the keys at the place we should stay. But neither Ulrica nor Demon had much luck finding him, not even after having had him paged for I donít know how many times during the time we were there!! So finally we agreed that he had just stayed at the houses, not wanting to ride the busses more than necessary that day (which I donít blame him!!). But the of course still kept paging him, just to be sure of course Ė even though I was starting to suspect that Demon was enjoying going to the information desk over and over again!!

After one of our unsuccessful pages of Louis, we decided to do the sensible thing, and that was to start drinking!! So we headed towards ďThe Green RoomĒ which the pub was named in the airport, I really donít know why, since I never thought about asking about that strange name! After a little time, we actual managed to find a place where we could all sit, and soon we all had a drink to relax with. Even though I donít think Demon was very happy with how his Bacardi and Coke tasted, but then again, he had just started to drink, so that might explain it!!

After having waited a while, and yes paged Louis a few times, it was time to go and pick up Yorrick. After having waited a while, he also materialized through the doors, so now we were only one down (well two if you count Louis) before we would be heading to the Irish EWoT site for year 2001. Luckily we didnít have to wait that long for Asha to arrive, and again we ventured into the bar to wait, we might as well try to get into the habit of drinking since it was very possible that we would be doing that quite often while we were there anyway!!

After having checked a few times, we saw that Ashaís plane had finally arrived, and headed to magic gates that delivers the EWoT members again to greet her. After having waited for about Ĺ an hour she finally appeared, and greeted us all. So finally we could head out of the airport, which I think most of us have had enough of for a while, and head into Dublin on the bus.

After riding on two different busses we arrive to a dark bus station in the middle of the night in what seems like in the middle of nowhere. We stand around for a bit wondering if Louis is going to show up and lead us the rest of the way to camp EWoT. After having waited for about 15 minutes, and he havenít shown up, we send Demon off to find a phone and call a taxi for us, so we can continue our quest to find camp EWoT. Shortly after Demon start to appear in sight again, walking towards the bus station, two taxiís show up, and we figure that he found a phone box and called them. Happy to be on the road again, we load the taxis with our bags and start the final leg of our journey to EWoT 2001. After about 15 minutes of driving, we arrive at the gates to the holiday village, and find that Louis (damn another of those people whoís accent is hard to understand!!) is waiting there for us.

After we have settled in the two housed that are camp EWoT for the week, we all gather in what was quickly chosen as the main house for the stay and talk for a bit, before we all rather quickly head off to bed. Ulrica and Louis had to get up very early the day after to go and pick up Falkon in Dublin, since he had decided to be strange and not arrive on Friday as the rest of us! But heís English, so what else can you expect!!

Asha and I, who were staying in the same house as Ulrica and Louis, both got up around 8:00, and sat down and started to talk, and to get to know each other in real life, after having spend a lot of time together on-line itís interesting to spend time together in real life. After about 1 hour Yorrick came and joined us, and since we were all a bit hungry we started to go trough the cupboards and the refrigerator to see if we could find something to eat. We were lucky that we found both toast and some ham to put on it, and there were even a toaster in the house!! There was also some tea so we could even make a cup of tea to go with it!! Wow what luxury!!

Around noon or so the EWoT 2001 gang got complete when Ulrica, Louis and Falkon arrived from the airport. So after we had talked for a bit and figured out what we needed to shop, we had started a list shortly after getting up, about Ĺ of the gang went to shop. It didnít take long before we found the supposed super market in Multyfarnham, which was rather a little shop that didnít have much of the supplies we needed. So we found a phone box and called a cab and went to shop in a supermarket in the town where we had arrived yesterday evening, and shopped so the cashier was looking a bit weird at us, wondering what the heck we were going to do with all the food!!

Ok I promise Iíll try to cut it a bit short now! So far Iíve used around 2000 words to cover almost 2 days worth! And Iím usually the quiet type!!

Saturday evening was the first evening we were all together, and the fun started early thatís for sure! Pretty soon after we got back from shopping, we started doing something we did every evening while we were there, and that was DRINKING!! And on I donít mean water or soda! Well we did have some soda, but it for sure was mixed with the one or other kind of liquor! This there seemed like being enough off, since everybody had bought a bottle of some kind!! Some of it I liked more than others I have to admit that!! The cook for the evening was Yorrick (did I mention that my first thought of him was that his voice is very low?)  And this meal, as the others he and Ulrica (which were our chefs for the duration of EWoT) cooked was simply delicious!! After the meal we continued to talk and yes drink! Generally thatís what we did on our evenings, talked, had loads of fun, and drinking!! Now thatís a vacation!!! (Ok that sums up all the activities in the evenings for the rest of the week, a good way to save words and keep this a bit shorter!)

The last of us finally went to bed late that night, some went to bed a bit earlier since they had to get up and in church in the morning! We were a few that had decided it probably wasnít a good idea if we went along with them, because once we would walk through the door, there was a big chance that the walls would come tumbling down, since our minds are filled with sinful thoughts, and this was of course one of Ashaís statements!

Otherwise the Sunday was spent watching the Formula 1 race (which of course didnít have the right winner, no matter what Asha andYorrick are saying!), reading, eating and talking (oh my I almost forgot drinking!!). Since we had to get up early in the morning to go to Dublin, we didnít stay up drinking to late at all, but it probably still was at the wrong side of midnight before we went to bed.

Monday we went up way to early, and more or less crawled into the cabs that were ordered to bring us to Mullingar where we could catch the bus to Dublin. Strangely enough most people napped a bit in the bus, so it must have been late before we went to sleep after all!

Speaking of taxis, I donít think Iíve ever ridden as much in taxis as I did in that week! And it of course was so that when we, well mostly Louis, called to order a cab, and he mentioned Multyfarnham, they already knew it was to house number 6 in the holiday village!! We sure were good business for them that week!

When we arrived it Dublin, it turned out that the day was going to be a beautiful one with lots of sun from a blue sky (and the only one of that kind as well while we were there of course) and none of us had been smart enough to wear shorts that day! We then started the day of sightseeing in Dublin, and I wonít bore you with what we saw, except mention that we went to ďDubliviniaĒ, and we also went to visit Dublin Castle, which Asha wasnít very pleased with! She actually said once we were there ďthatís not a castle, I want a castle, I ORDERED a castle!!Ē So after that disappointment for Asha, we went back to the center of Dublin, and started to visit the book shops that were on the agenda! We spent quite an amount of time in 3 different bookshops, and Iím pretty sure everybody got a couple of books home with them!!

After the last book shop, Asha and I split up from the rest of the group, and while they went to the Arlington Bar, we went and explored the Temple Bar Area, which is a section of Dublin where there are quite a few small novelty shops, bars and restaurants. And itís also the place of the main nightlife in Dublin.

After we had walked around there for about an hour or so, we started to head back to the Arlington bar where we had dinner that night, while we listened to a rather good band, and just before we left we also got to watch some Irish Folk Dance, which looks quite hard for the feet and legs! After a splendid meal, where we didnít eat as much as Ulrica thought we would, so we saved quite a bit on our budget there as well, which of course is great, we walked back to the bus station, to catch yet another late night bus to Mullingar. Strangely enough almost all of us napped on the way back, so itís a good thing that the last stop was Mullingar, or itís not easy to say where we would have ended up!

Once we arrived in Mullingar, we found a couple of taxis, this time we did get a hold of them ourselves, and soon we were in camp EWoT again. Strangely enough people were rather tired, so it didnít take long before everybody were in bed that night, and sleeping soundly.

Tuesday morning almost all of us slept in quite a bit, all the fresh air and walking the day before had really worn us out, so lot of sleep was needed! The next couple of days were rather uneventful, we didnít do much else than read, eat (again my compliments to the chefs, dinner were great all days!), drink, talk, play cards, go to bed late, visited one of the pubs close to Camp EWoT once, being lazy, and just generally had a great time!

Thursday we went on a sightseeing trip to Athlone, so Asha could get the castle she wanted, and yet again we had rather good weather during our trip away from our Camp, amazing how it went that way. While we were in Athlone we also walked around some more, had lunch in a little cafť, which Asha were so kind to pay for us!! Among the other sights there were a couple of nice churches, a very nice view over a river and an off license store!! Once we had seen all that, we headed back to the parking lot in front of the church, and after having waited a few minutes the taxis Louis had called and ordered came and picked us up.

Once we returned to Camp EWoT we sat down and relaxed before Asha got us started on the quiz and different assignments, but that I wonít tell about at all, youíll just have to join us next year to find out what weíre doing there!! 

The rest of the Thursday and the Friday we spent doing pretty much the same as the other evening, except that we didnít stay up to late Friday, since we had to get up in the middle of the night on Saturday, so we could be in Dublin Airport in time to catch the flight that Asha was leaving on. 

There isnít much more to add to this tale of mine, except to say that I enjoyed it a lot, even though Iíve only read one WoT book so far (Iím working on the 2nd one now) and all the people there were truly great company, even though it seemed like I spent most of my time with Asha, and I do plan to attend next year as well! I also want to apologize for any grammatical errors in my tale, but since English isnít my first language, youíll just have to live with it!! ;-)