The Limburg 10th Spider Weekend June 29 - July 1 in 2001
Could there be too many Alfa Romeo Spiders.
Could there be too many Alfa Romeo Spiders out there in the rain? Actually, I don't care as long as there is enough beer! If you wonder why Erwin is so distressed, you may find the reason among the photos.
The badge, the people and the spirit
A11 over the world, people rally around their national flag to express their sense of pride and unity.
The Alfisti sneer at public manifestations of patriotism centred around bits of cloth, the flag with the serpent and the cross. They conveniently forget that they themselves are probably the most flag- flaunting bunch on earth, for the Alfa Romeo flag is everywhere to be seen - at the top of garden flagpoles, on postcards, on birthday cakes, on the branches of Christmas trees. The colours of the flag are echoed on candies and napkins, on bottle labels and biscuit tins - even on clothes and company logos.
The true Alfisti are not patriots in the usual sense. Victory monuments come in the form of an immaculate Spider rather than statues. Ask them what links them together and you will get it all in one word, -Spidermania-.
If you ask the Vikings about their native country, and they will hold forth, not about government, history- or culture, but about deep forests, smiling archipelagos, crayfish served with aquavit, and flower-wrapped maypoles. For Swedes the national flag is -primarily an eye-pleasing backdrop. Rather than rallying people to war, it invites them to a picnic in the meadow.
Visitors and tourists in Sweden are often surprised that there are no queues in Sweden. In banks, post offices, pharmacies and bakeries people with expressionless faces wander around aimlessly as if trying to remember where they are. From time to me a loud buzz is transmitted from a box under the ling. The buzz has the effect of jogging the memory of one of the customers and launching him towards one of e service counters.
The box under the ceiling is in fact a numeric display -which changes with every buzz. The change is triggered hen a clerk presses an electric button, prompting each customer to compare the new number with a kind of lottery ticket in his hand. The winner is the next to be served.
In Sweden, unlike in other countries, strangers who head straight from the entrance to the counter risk neither insult -or injury from waiting customers. Without a lottery ticket, stranger simply will not be served by the clerk. The real challenge is to find the ticket dispenser who is usually cleverly hidden behind a pillar, a notice board or an urn with man-eating plants. Finding the dispenser is a national sport; a stranger asking for clues is met with a smug grin and a toss of the head, usually in the wrong direction.
This was not the case in Limburg. Just enjoying the Spiders and the friendly people from France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Holland and all other nations represented gave us all a memorable weekend. We will be back next year, but maybe we will see all again next year in Scandinavia if things work out as planned. Stay tune for further information about this tour to Scandinavia 2002.
Being from Scandinavia, I would like to give some background about the strange people form the North. When the Vikings took time off, they used to gather around the campfire to down a horn of mead.
Though their thirst was great after all their exertions, it became a their thirst was great after all their exertions it became a matter of honour for each warrior to ration his intake so that the horn didn't run dry before everyone had had a swig. In other words, one had to drink team-wise, or "laget om", later shortened to "Lagom". In modern Swedish the word lagom has taken on the meaning of "just enough" or `with moderation'.
Lagom permeates Swedish life. It makes round pegs fit into square holes. Economically, it has enabled the nation to find the middle ground between Progress and Humanity, i.e. between Capitalism and Socialism. In manufacturing, lagom discards gold-plated designs in favour of optimum solutions. Socially lagom puts conformity before excellence, tempers extreme personal wealth-and poverty, and leaves the Swedes irksomely at peace with themselves. In short, lagom underpins The Swedish Model - not the curvaceous Playboy centrefold variety but a contourless nirvana of uniform bliss.
However, the word lagom expresses more than just a measure of moderation: it also serves to glorify through understatement. When something is said to be `lagom good', it actually means it's the best. The Swedes firmly believe their country is lagom in a variety of skills ranging from invention and training to quality, performance and safety. This strong sense of national invincibility goes back to medieval times when generations of imported bishops were commissioned to invent the history of Sweden. Citing Plato and ancient Icelandic sagas, they proved that Sweden was nothing less -than the `Island of the Gods', i.e. the sunken Atlantis risen again from the ocean floor after the Ice Age with its rich culture surprisingly intact. Not Hebrew but Swedish was the Mother of all languages, and the runes (ancient carved letters) constituted the very first alphabet.
Moving from fiction to fact, it is true that the Swedish warriors brought down the Roman Empire, ruled the whole of Northern Europe, and in the 17th century braved the Atlantic to conquer uninhabited Delaware. The backwardness of the indigenous Swedish population, which consisted mainly of battlefield gunfodder and illiterate farmers, was overcome by importing Walloon Belgians, Hansa Germans and Bernadotte Frenchmen, in whose hands industry, commerce and administration thrived. Between 1840 and 1920 things became so wonderful in Sweden that most able-bodied people could stand it no longer and went to America. Those left behind proceeded, by hook and by crook, to build today's cradle-to-grave welfare paradise. No challenge is too great for the lagom perfect people.
Except going to the Limburg Alfa Romeo Spider Meeting. Thanx a bunch to , Cobi, Erwin and the Dutch Spider Register. Enjoy the photos.