balboa castle camp part I

Let's get the sad bits out of the way first: All in all, I didn't love my week at Balboa Castle Camp.

First reason: I got ill. "Just" a cold, but it was a bad one; I had a fever and the cough kept me awake at night, I was bedridden for several days and missed several of the social nights (some I didn't go to at all, some I went to without dancing, just to not be bored out of my senses).

Second reason: I had forgotten what an insane privliege I have in blues. Everyone knows that if you're at an event where you don't know that many people, you have to take classes, so that you meet people that you then can ask to dance during the social nights. At European blues events, I don't have to do that anymore. I already know "everyone". And when I want to dance with new people, I don't have to ask them to dance; they ask me. I know, it's crazy! I'm not writing this because I want to brag about it; I write it because I think it's potentially harmful when in-group people pretend like the hierarchies don't exist; that they don't have privilege. You know what I always say: If you can't see the in-group in any situation, it means you're in it.

However, in the balboa world, I am very much not the in-group. And I had forgotten that this is how it works: I had forgotten that I need to take classes to have good, rich social nights. So that was my own stupidity, but I've learned my lesson now.

Third reason: It didn't feel like a great event for meeting new people (except for in classes, of course, which as I said, we weren't part of). It seemed a lot of people showed up in groups, and stuck to their group. Having seen events that do so much to facilitate the social side of things, that made me a little sad. The social nights were a bit weird in that the main floor, where they played mostly swing, felt mostly empty, whereas the second dance floor had a lot more party feel to it? I would have thought that music for balboa would be the more popular choice ... And to be honest, I also expected there to be more people dancing in general ...?

Okay. Now that I got all of that off my chest, I'm ready to show you all the fabulous, beautiful and interesting things I experienced at the castle. Because there were so many fabulous, beautiful and interesting things, too!

I got to spend the whole week with my favourite person.

On our first day there, we went exploring the castle. It's the strangest place; slightly derelict, mouldy in places, at the same time grandiose and neglected ... It's the perfect place for a dance event, really. This is the view from one of the balconies.

This is the entrance hall; would have been a great place to sit down and change into dance shoes, unless people had been smoking right outside the open door (and sometimes even in here?! What were they thinking?!) day and night.

Liam and I had a room to ourselves (which I forgot to take a photo of), but it was possible to stay in a dorm as well - not your everyday dorm, though.

The whole place was like this: Full of piles of old stuff, some of it useful, some of it broken, all of it strange.

We had lunch outdoors in the backyard everyday. The weather was lovely, like a good Swedish summer, all week.

And this is where we had breakfast and dinner.

The first two nights were my favourites (partly because I got ill after that, partly because, as I said, the castle and dance floors got quite empty after the weekend visitors left, sadly).

All night felt like a wonderful, glittering party.

And I really enjoyed the music of Professor Cunningham and His Old School.

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