Copyright: Markus Baertschi
My personal report of Maritxu Kajoi:
On 9 a.m. I got up, took a shower, started straightening my hair. When Markus got up to take his shower, I let him overtake the bathroom for a while and made myself comfortable on the breakfast table. I started the day with “Vogelheu”, a very simple meal consisting of onions, bread, cream and eggs, which you all fry in a pan and tastes delicious. It used to be the meal of farmers in Switzerland, because this was a way of using the old bread and they naturally had eggs and cream or milk around. My friend Silke showed me how to do it late at night once, as her mother was the child of a farmer and passed the simple recipe to her. But today wouldn’t be about Swiss meals! No, today it would all be Basque – especially the food. Nevertheless, it would turn out to be a good decision to have eaten something before leaving the house, as anticipated lunch wouldn’t be served for a long time.
Where to find the perfect dress
So when the bathroom was my empire again, I continued putting on some make up, finished my hair, and finally slipped in my long, black dress. I especially enjoyed this moment as the search for a dress had been long and hard. The dresses I saw in the stores were all either too short, too coloured, with too much fuss around – I looked for a classically long, black dress without success. Until it suddenly came to my mind: I already had the perfect one at home. So in the last week before Maritxu Kajoi I let my mother send it to me from home. It came by mail just in time.
One last glance in the mirror, and I was ready to go. Ready to go to Maritxu Kajoi. The day that everybody had been speaking of for weeks had finally arrived.
We left the house with our huge umbrellas, which we especially went to Eroski for one day before as the weather had changed from sunny and warm to rainy. Markus already started clicking with his beloved Canon 7D. We then met friends of our hosts in the street and the spectacle could begin. A small martini here, a little beer there. We headed from bar to bar, met new people, left or lost others, chatted, laughed and socialised. The streets were full of girls with long, short, classical or extraordinary dresses in all colours. It was like an unspoken competition – which is the most beautiful one this year?
At first I was hungry
After three p.m. we went back to our cars to drive to the Restaurant of a friend’s uncle, where we would have lunch. We was at the moment around 20 people from Mondragon and surroundings and even some from Madrid.
Soon, the first glasses of red wine were filled and the first plate, Jamòn and Chorizo served. It would be followed by delicious Croquetas with sauce Bejamel inside – which I will miss incredibly after this stay – and fried Calamari. After that, the first challenge came: Gambas. I really like the taste of them, but as they were fresh, everybody had to turn the head off and skin them, which was a rather bloody thing. From this course on, I was actually quite full. But of course we would have more: For example a fish with small faked eels on top, a common meal in this region, not so common to me. I was happier with the piece of meat that would follow, along with some French fries and red peppers. Now I was hardly able to get anything into my stomach anymore, but fought myself trough the tasty dessert, anyway. And we were done.
Back on the road
Around 7 p.m. we were back in the streets. Chatting, laughing, socialising. The highlight would come soon – at 8.30 the miracle would be revealed. At this time, a big crowd gathered on the main square of Mondragon, excitedly waiting for what was to come. Suddenly, a big bang. The first tone hit the silent crowd. And everybody started singing the familiar phrases, first in Basque, then in Spanish. But: This year something was different. Instead of the known melody that had been played for decades, it was a newly interpreted one, played by a Punk Rock Band of Mondragon. I didn’t really understand the miracle, as my hosts had been talking about this subject for weeks, but for some it sure was. Besides that, it was the core of a heated debate of supporters and opponents of this modern interpretation.
Anyways, all discussions would be forgotten in the next bar. Now everybody was dancing and cheering, the evening on his top. Personally, I started to feel the long day in my legs and started to say goodbye at around 2 p.m. I finished the day at home, in a comfortable trainer and some “Vogelheu”.