Wednesday, May 21, 2014

April 26th: King's Day!

Zach and I slept in a bit, then eventually dragged ourselves out of bed and went downstairs for some breakfast. We didn't dawdle too was King's Day, the weather was beautiful, and we had some exploring to do!

Orange is the national color, so there were Dutch flags and all sorts of orange things everywhere. The city turns into a big open air market/party, so there were all sorts of stuff on the streets. We wandered past the Pancake Bakery, then kept heading north.

To say that the canals were just a little busier than normal would be an understatement. There were LOTS of boats!

Every once in a while you'd find a quiet spot, though. I kept stopping to look at all the neat cars. I have no idea what this one is!

We eventually wound up at the Royal Palace near Dam Square. It's a lot quieter than it was last year during the abdication! This whole area was full of thousands of people when Mark and I were here last year.

But we rounded the corner, passed Magna Plaza, and found...

...a carnival set up in Dam Square! There were rides, games, all sorts of carnival food, and people everywhere. We walked around for a while then made our way down a side street.

I couldn't help it...the city is so good for carspotting! This one was hilarious.

Even though the streets were busy, it didn't seem as crazy as last year. You could actually walk through most of the streets; last year, a few of the spots were so packed that you could barely move through the crowd. We found out later that most of the big parties had been moved to the outer edges of the city, hence the extra walking space.

We did come across a Hare Krishna parade at one point, though.

After a while Zach and I decided it was time for a break, so we stopped at a bar near a canal and had a beer. I honestly have no idea where this was! We had fun watching all the people and boats passing by.

We eventually wound up where the Amstel and Prinsengracht canals meet. It was amazing to see how many boats came through this intersection without crashing into each other...there were coming from every possible direction but all managed to blend together. This was my favorite was basically a flat barge with couches on top. We hung out here for a while, then walked back to the hotel along Prinsengracht. We made a quick stop at the hotel, then headed back out.

We were pretty hungry, so we went to the Pancake Bakery for dinner. I found my new favorite pancake: the Norwegian Pancake. It's filled with sour cream, cream cheese, and salmon, and comes with a salad. AMAZING. I hope Norway is this delicious when I go there in the fall.

We grabbed a six pack of Heineken, hung out on our canal for a little while, then grabbed another beer and walked down to Prinsengracht. There were tons of people there! There was a band playing on the stage to the right and the canal was full of boats cruising past.

One of the boats had an orange smoke canister and set it off as it drifted by. At one point a few Dutch guys were standing behind us and one of them was waving around some weird little tube with wires hanging out of it and dangling it in people's faces (including mine). We talked to them for a few minutes...turns out he randomly found the tube on the side of the street, picked it up, and was having fun messing with people. It was pretty funny when he accidentally dropped it in the canal and tried to get someone in one of the boats to hand it back up to him.

After a little while we were getting a little tired, so we grabbed a pretzel from a stand on the street and went back to the hotel to finish off the beer. It was only 7pm but we were beat!

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