April 28 – 30, 2013
Unbeknownst to me, a very monumental event was happening in the Netherlands at the end of April – the Coronation of a new King! When I heard that Sarah and Chris were returning to Europe to spend a few days in Amsterdam to celebrate the occasion, my arms turned into rubber and before I knew it I had a flight booked to join them for the party. It didn’t hurt that Jon, another good friend, had been living in Amsterdam for the past 2 years, so I was anxious to see him too. Unfortunately Paul had to work, so I was flying solo on this mission. Here are some highlights from my 2 days there.
The last time I was in Amsterdam was over New Years Eve, so it was quite different to see it during the spring. Upon my arrival Sarah and I decided to check out beautiful Vondelpark, and spent the afternoon sitting on patios, sipping beer and catching up.
We met up with Chris and walked around the city centre to checked out some of the decorations that were put up to celebrate the Corontation - including some oversized crowns and A LOT of orange decorations, as well as those of the Netherlands flag - red, blue and white. The city was buzzing as more and more people arrived.
The Netherlands hasn’t had a King in over a hundred years. So although Queen's day is typically a huge annual celebration, this year would be especially BIG to mark the beginning of a new era. Here is the Royal Palace, where the new king will spend his days plotting his global take over... that's what all King's do, right?? Or have I been watching too much Game of Thrones?
We headed over to Jon and Kala's apartment for Sunday night dinner. After a delicious traditional Dutch meal, some more friends came over and we had a fairly epic nail painting party using all of the King's Day colours, care of Jon!
We headed out for a few brews with the crew and ended up at a super fun karaoke bar. Luckily my worst nightmare was NOT realized as no one forced me up on stage to sing!
The next day we headed to Chris' friends' company "E-Buddy" where we got a tour of the growing mobile tech company's headquarters. While Chris worked from the office for the afternoon, Sarah and I took the company bikes for a stroll around the canals of Amsterdam.
No trip to the Netherlands would be complete without seeing a windmill. We rode our bikes to the De Gooyer Mill, the tallest wooden windmill in the Netherlands, where there is also a local brewery and restaurant. We spent another afternoon sipping organic beers in the sun and talking up a storm.
That evening we headed out on E-Buddy's company boat for a cruise around the canals. This is the vessel where Sarah and Chris would be spending actual King's Day. Not a bad place to be for an all-day celebration!
It's very cool seeing Amsterdam from the water, with the rows of classic low rise buildings winding along the canals.
After a delicious dinner with some of Chris's friends, we headed out to the Moustache Bar where the party was really getting going, as it was the eve of King's Day. The streets were filled with people ready to PAR-TAY! So many people in fact that we ended up taking a Thai-style Tuk-Tuk home, pulled by a local dutchman on a bike, since it was impossible to get a cab!
I sadly had to leave first thing in the morning, so missed the official King’s Day celebration. But I had such an amazing time with Sarah and Chris and Jon and Kala that I didn’t even mind! It was a whirlwind 2 days but I came to know and love Amsterdam a little bit more, and reconnect with a few of my absolute favorite people!
See the rest of the photos here!