koninginnedag 2009

I promise myself not to go to Amsterdam on Queen’s Day ever again.

It was just too crowded. Too damn crowded.

It wasn’t as crowded as I thought thou, but still, the mass number of people in one place at the same time never seemed to fail to make me dizzy.

And people had already told me that Amsterdam would be too crowded that you couldn’t even walk, etc., but my friends were going there and I just couldn’t say no. I wanted to see the ‘real’ celebration of the Koninginnendag anyway.

So we took the 10.30 train from Leiden, and we had to stand all the way from Leiden to Amsterdam Centraal. The train was full of people wearing orange, the national colour of the Netherlands. I didn’t wear orange thou, since I don’t really like wearing a bright orange clothes and I felt that I am always a mere spectator so I just not into taking part of some events. Especially if it’s related to some (sometimes rather silly) dress code.

As we arrived at Amsterdam Centraal, it was already jam-packed with people all over the country (or even some other people from the neighbouring countries), wearing orange, blowing whistles and horns, and shouting some Dutch chants.

We were in a small group: me, Petya, Ebru, Gaelle, Charlene, Roxanne, Nina, Roxanne’s boyfriend Charlie, Roxanne’s sisters, and 3 more other Roxanne’s friends.

So we were walking down the road to the Centrum and all the way there we saw lots of people selling stuff. Btw, Petya and I planned to sell some of our handmade stuff, but we just didn’t know where and how.

Anyway, most of those people were selling various orange ‘products’. No, neither the fruit nor the mobile operator (ha-ha). Orange stuff like hats and scarves and t-shirts, and almost everything that you can wear, they sell it in orange colours.

I was told that Amsterdam on Queen’s Day would be so crowded that you could barely walk. But when we reached there at about 11, we could still walk and it was not THAT crowded. Yet.

It turned out that we came so early that the people hadn’t yet started flocking the capital. At about two, we realised that “you can barely walk in Amsterdam on Queen’s Day” was very much true.

As far as our eyes could see, there was nothing but people, people, people. The streets were transformed into a sea of orange. (No, not the sea of oranges the fruit – and I was actually imagining what it would be like when the streets were full of oranges, ha-ha).

Luckily before we were trapped into the sea of monstrous number of people, we had had a great time walking from the station to the centrum, then Petya and I even tried to sell our handmade crafts (which unfortunately no one bought 😦 ), and we had a little rest at Wester Park, looking at the boats passing by. Some people were actually making parties on the boat, dancing to the crazy dance tunes played on large speakers.

Anyway if you think that Europeans are so cool, you might want to reconsider your point of view after listening to their music when they party on festivals. Honestly, I think it wasn’t much better than the “disko pantura” or “dangdut koplo”. OK, a bit better. But not much :p . And they danced as if they were the coolest people in the world.. haha.. gaya lo gw beli dua juta!

Hungry in the middle of the people, we decided to find some food. There was no way we could go into some fast food restaurants like McDonald’s or Burger King, we looked for some more traditional restaurants. We finally went to a Spanish restaurant as we looked on the menu and there were some food that was only around 4 and 5 euros. It turned out that those were the price for tapas, appetizers in Spanish food. The main course cost at least 14 euros. Yikes! And I felt really guilty since I was one of the persons who suggested the others to have lunch at that restaurant, thinking that it would only cost us below 10 euros. Sorry!

Despite that we were still a bit hungry, we continued our journey (hey, that rhymes!). Nina went back to Leiden since she already had a dinner appointment with her friend. Then we had a little look of what happened around Museumplein. It seemed that there was a huge stage there (honestly, despite the stage was so huge I still couldn’t see it since the people were too many) and Tiesto would perform later that day. But I got too dizzy in the middle of the crowd, and since I was small I couldn’t get enough oxygen and I felt like I would just passed out if I stayed there much longer.

So finally the rest of the group also escaped from the crowd and we walked to Vondel Park. We finally found the park (phew!).. And not only that, we also found.. ice cream.. :d

We also met Duygu there, and then we walked to look for a space to sit. There were fences on both sides of the park entrance. All the way to the middle of the park. But we finally found how to get around the fence and had some rest. Duygu brought a really nice Turkish food which tasted a bit like mochi. And it tasted really good!

At about eight, we continued our journey. This time, it was the last journey all the way to Central Station. Luckily, Duygu had a map in her hand so with her guide we finally reached the station (thou we made some more few stops here and there) at about nine. Anyway, on our way back to the station Petya met some of her friends who told us about the tragedy in Apeldoorn. There was a car which ran through a group of people when the bus which carried the Royal family passed the street. Four people were killed in the incident. So that night, everybody was told to go home early. Running texts on the streets said: Our deepest respect to those who died in Appeldorn. Please go home immediately. Well sort of like that I think.

Going back to Leiden was not as easy as going to Amsterdam. People were flocking the station, almost everywhere. Stoptreins looked very much the same like the Jakarta’s city train or KRL (pepes pindang, mepet abiiiiiesss!!), and even the doors of the trains could not be closed since there were too many people.

We finally got ourselves on a sneltrein, and we could sit and stretch our legs a little bit. I fell asleep on the last 20 minutes of the journey btw.

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