Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dancing Along the Danube: Folklore Videos from the Tour International Danubien

Today's post features a Bulgarian folklore show from an annual event: the Tour International Danubien or TID for short.

In 2014 the TID will begin in Ingolstadt on the 21st of June and ends in Sfantu Gheorghe in Romania on the 5th of September.  It includes the following countries: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.

The Tour is in its 59th year and the intent of the trip is to foster good will and friendship amongst the people who live in the countries along the Danube River. I had never heard about it despite having lived in Germany for four years. There was no mention of it on the news programs nor was I able to find anything on Deutsche Welle, the German news service.

I found out about the TID via the Bulgarian National Radio affiliate in Vidin, about two years ago.

The TID is a demanding undertaking; it involves 2 1/2 months of paddling canoes/kayaks (no motorboats are allowed). They cover an average of 30-50 kilometers per day (and sometimes more) with rest days.  The participants sleep in tents, sometimes at primitive campsites, and have to deal with hazards such as thunderstorms, high water, strong currents, wind, and large ships.  Some sections can be compared to riding a bicycle on a highway while being surrounded by large trucks. The Slovak TID website describes some of the dangers. There have been a few casualties in the past; their advice was that if you pay attention, you'll be fine.

The TID paddlers also have a lot of fun on their journey, get to explore different countries and cultures and have an enjoyable time out on the water.  It's not all work.  (If it were no one would go!)

They have to be self-sufficient, which means carrying tents, sleeping bags, personal gear, etc. in their boats. At each town where they stop for the night they are welcomed, fed, and entertained, sometimes with folk music.  The participants pay a fee for each section of the Tour and the money goes towards providing food, a place to camp, sanitary facilities and entertainment.

I have a feel for what they do because I have canoed and kayaked rivers here in the States (the largest was the Connecticut River in Massachusetts).  My husband and I went on a canoe camping trip many years ago on our own for seven days, in Pennsylvania. I don't know if I could do a trip like the TID at this point in my life, one section would probably be plenty for me. It is something you have to train for; and you have to be prepared for anything.

Note:  As of March 2015, the videos originally posted here are no longer online.  I have replaced them with a video from the 2014 TID, taken by Bulgarian Nikolay Dandanov, of a folk dance in Vetren. The group is the Ensemble Dobrudja from Silistra. They perform a medley of dances from different regions of Bulgaria.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

Two Varations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Opas

The River of Many Names Parts Two, Four, and Five (Danube music from Bulgaria and Serbia)

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa: Part One and Part Two

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