February 16, 2020

Brooklyn. Named after the village of Breukelen in the Netherlands. But its original Frisian name was Attingahem. With only a little twist of history Brooklyn would have been named Attingahem today and the Brooklyn Bridge, the Attingahem Bridge. The streets of Brooklyn,...

February 11, 2020

Rex illiteratus est quasi asinus coronatus ‘an illiterate king is like a crowned donkey’ or, if you prefer the alternative translation, ‘is like a crowned arse’. These are almost thousand-year-old words of the bishop-philosopher-diplomat-etc John of Salisbury, expressi...

December 1, 2019

Tidal marshlands and the Frisians are a dual entity. It's on these treeless salt marshes the Chauci and the Frisii (Frisians) dwelled when the Romans arrived around the year of Christ. People lived on terps (artificial settlement mounds) and would continue to do so til...

November 16, 2019

Master blacksmith Wayland is well-known from Germanic mythology. The smith who was kept captive on a small island in the sea and escaped from it with selfmade wings. The Saxons, Anglo-Saxons, Norwegians, Icelanders, in fact all the old Germanic peoples had their own me...

October 25, 2019

The hearth was in pre- and early-medieval times the holy of holies, the heart of the family. Where you would lay back and groove. Groove on the sound of the rain on the roof. Or the sound of the sea below, sloshing against the grassy slopes of your house-platform. A pl...

October 6, 2019

This year one of the Frisian bastards hiked the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in south-western Wales (Cymru), a 290 kilometres long trail. As every walker knows, hiking, pilgrimage and spiritual peace are one and the same thing. The Coast Path takes you after nine days of w...

September 23, 2019

According to medieval legends around AD 800 Charlemagne and Pope Leo came into conflict with the city of Rome. The Pope was attacked and had to flee the city. It was an army of 'naked' Frisians headed by Magnus that retook the citadel and the eternal city. In return Ch...

July 27, 2019

In the year AD 516 King Hygelac of the Geats, a tribe in south-east Sweden, raided western Frisia. Back then, this part of the Netherlands was impenetrable land with big rivers, little streams, swamps, peat, bog and damping forests covered with moss. Hygelac's expediti...

July 21, 2019

Who hasn't dined at least once in a '80s Chinese restaurant that carried the name 'The Great Wall'? At least you've been at one for a take-away. Yes, you do! Besides the big orange and white goldfish, of course also a painting of the magnificant wall gliding through re...

July 19, 2019

Monk Ecgberht of Ripon was the driving force behind the Christianization of the heathen Frisians. From the influential monastery Rath Melsigi in Ireland he released salvo after salvo of monks, priests and other clergymen on Frisia. Monks Willibrord and Adalbert were ye...

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Two Frisian bastards

Wut? Did you just call yourselves bastards? Yes, we did. And we don't mean the basters of Namibia. No it's bastards, because that is the best summary for this hike, the Frisia Coast Trail.

This hike covers the coast of four countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

This stretch of Europe always has been a rough and dangerous place to live. Land and sea have been rolling dices for ages... 

Lakes emerge, rivers change course, islands walk in the sea, dunes vanish to emerge somewhere else, villages wash away overnight like Atlantis, dykes break through.

Living at sea level isn't easy. Certainly not when sea levels have the tendency to drop and rise over time. The sea is such a diva.

This hike will bring over 2,500 years of coastal history in 1,000 miles. Trust us, not one century this landscape has stayed the same.

In that period many people settled in this rough coastal area. Others were just passing by, e.g. the Celts, the Romans, the Suevi, the Cannifates. the Bataves, the Marcii, the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes, the Geats, the Danes, the Vikings, the Salian Franks, the French, the Spanish etc. And some setlled too, especially the Saxons and Angles.

Oh yes, and the Frisians. 

Many joined the Roman ranks to fight in Britannia and Tunisia. Later the Frisians settled with the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes in southern and eastern England and degraded the Britons. Centuries later they joined their cousin's war bands -the Vikings- and ransacked the coasts of Europe. And it cannot be denied, many Frisian fighters took the Cross and went berserk during the Crusades. More recently many moved to Texas, Canada and Australia looking for land without milk quota restrictions. Others, like the Mennonites, sought religious, not economic freedom.

Other Frisians stayed at this coastline and the river lands behind it and mingled with the ones passing by. The so-called 'stayers'.

Since the two of us are part of the 'stayers', we are 100% pure bastards, having drops of blood from all of the peoples named above.

As we cover 4 countries we decided to write the blogs in English. But feel free to give us feedback in Deutsch, English, Español, Nederlands, Oostfreesk, Vlaams, Westfries and all 3 versions of the Frisian language: Friisk, Satersk and Westerlauwersk Frysk.

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February 16, 2020

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October 25, 2019

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