Monday, 28 April 2014

Koningsdag - King's day

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If you decided to leave in the Netherlands, you should celebrate at least once the Koningsdag, the King's day.

It is an easy way to get closer to Dutch people and to their habits.
It is an incredible party, and celebrating it from a boat could be great fun if you're with the right company.

In our first year in the Netherlands, we decided to celebrate it in Amsterdam.
Since I left my house in the morning I noticed something different: many houses had a dutch and an orange flag, doesn't matter if small or big.

And while going to the station was funny to see that everyone was wearing at least something orange: kids with a t-shirt, old ladies with a scurf, or maybe with small details like ear-rings. It doesn't matter using what,  the important thing is bringing to life "orange-ness" in some way!

Once we arrived in Amsterdam, we jumped on a boat, to live the party from the canals.
At the beginning I was even scared: I couldn't believe our boat could handle all the people that was waiting to jump on. And actually... it could not!
After a smooth starting, our boat had to stop for technical reasons, no better identified!

But despite the technical stop.... it was anyway amazing. Sun was shining, music was loud, and beer was fresh. So no worries!

And after a while we were finally able to leave again.

There were sooo many boats in the canals....
It was like being in a huge dancing party. All the boats with music, and people dancing and cheering from one boat to the others. Music everywhere.
There was a feeling of joy and sharing. People was looking at the boats from the bridges, and waving at people on board. Everything around painted orange.
And from the boats, we were watching at people from balconies also celebrating. Was nice to see people from the house-boats also participating to the party.

Again, a nice day lived in the Netherlands.

Tot ziens.




Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Visiting Keukenhof - the botanic garden close to Amsterdam

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Finally is the time to talk about Keukenhof.

What to do in the Netherlands
Spring at Keukenhof
I was looking forward for spring to come, to be able to visit this wonderful botanic garden.

And finally we've got the opportunity to go there. We were waiting for the nicest and warmest weekend of the month!

We went there by car - not really Dutch style! - but you can also go there by train and then there's a bus from Schipol to the garden (see Keukenhof website for more infos on how to get there).

Some of us bought theticket on line, to avoid cueing at the entrance. But we discovered that even the Dutch efficiency from time to time can fail: the ones who bought the ticket on line had to wait more than the ones who have bought the ticket at the entrance.

Despite initial difficulties, we manage to get inside, and we have been welcomed by a funny music and a nice water fountain.

Keukenhof is open from 20 March until 18 May 2014. Every single day! That also means every Sunday and public holidays throughout this period, including Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, King's Day and Liberation Day!

What to do in the Netherlands
Flowers in Keukenhof

So, Sara, how did you find it?

Sara: I liked it a lot. It was nice to walk in this garden, surrounded by tulips, narcissus and hyacinths.

Simona: What always strikes me, is that here despite you are in a place with so many people, it is always silent around.

Sa: it is amazing to see all these flowers forming nice figures with different colors and types.

Si: I have to be honest: now I understand why many dutch don't like to come here, as they consider this place too touristic. Actually it is extremely touristic. But in the end, we're also tourist in some way, right?

Sa: yes! Absolutely, let's get the most out of being tourist while here!

Si: what I like here is that, as in many other parks I visited in the Netherlands, you can choose if either buying your food here, with many different alternatives - not really the cheapest solution! - or eating something you bring from home. There are always nice picnic areas.

What to do in the Netherlands
Spring in Keukenhof

Sa: and it is amazing to see that Dutch always think about family with kids, and always find a way to include a playground area for the smallest one. The area here was really cool.

Kids enjoyed a lot the games, and also the small animals present here: sheeps, goats, hens, cocks, pigs....

Si: I think kids also enjoyed the labyrinth!

Sa: You're right...

Si: I enjoyed the windmill. It's a pity though we didn't manage to go for the boat tour.

Sa: we have to come back! Next time we do the field trip on a bike (it is also possible to rent the bikes directly here), and maybe even the boat tour.

Si: Yep. Let's see also if we will be able to make the Amaryllis bulb we bought growing.

Sa: otherwise we come back to complain! :) But also to see more tulips, like the amazing and huge ones we saw in the green house.

All in all, despite not cheap entrance (15 euro)  - but we're getting that here, it's not easy to find something cheap! - I think it worth, and we spent a nice day surrounded by the beauty of wonderful flowers.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Ready for the World Pillow Fight Day?

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What to do in Amsterdam
Wordl Pillow Fight Day

Are you going to be in Amsterdam next weekend?

Don't know what to do? Maybe you need to let off some tension from the week.

Then you may want to join a crazy event, and see how Dutch can turns into happy kids and have good fun when they are free of rules.

On April 5th Amsterdam will be one of the city celebrating World Pillow Fight Day

The event will take also place in many other city around the world: Italy will also be represented with Rome and Milan. And then Paris, London, New York, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Saigon, and any other cities (find out more here). 
Everyone is invited to grab its own pillow and join, bringing all it's right to have fun.

"The Amsterdam Pillow Fight is a free event that's devoted to freedom, creativity and happiness. Today's world is increasingly dominated by regulations, security and commercialism. That’s why we must reclaim the streets as a place where we can simply have fun - free of regulating authorities and corporate sponsors."

Here the rules to join the Pillow Fight Day:

0. Invite all your fluffy friends 
Friends. Lovers. Kids. Neighbours. Grandmas.
1. Dress for press and mess 
Wear something fun and feather-proof.
2. Bring your own pillow 
We recommend soft pillows with feathers!
3. Get there in time 
Arrive before 3pm and wait for the signal.
4. Fight fluffy 
Don’t hit anyone without a pillow and swing subtly.
5. Clean up after yourself 
Treat public space with respect. It is not ours only.

The importance of cleaning up our fluffy mess can not be overstated. The pillow fight happens around our War Monument, so we have a big responsibility to clean up as good as we can. Please bring rubber gloves, brooms and garbage bags. Join the cleaning crew, so that we deserve to return next year.

See you on April 5th. Enjoy the fun fight and... may the best win!

Check out this website for beautiful pictures of previous events, and get inspired!

What to do in Amsterdam
World Pillow Fight in Amsterdam

Join the event on facebook as well.


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