Now that it’s over; The First Ever King’s Day

I wandered around the neighbourhood, I didn’t sell any of the junk I need to get rid off, but on the upside I did not buy any new junk to take over my house. I did sample some of the food and drink on offer from some of the restaurants along Harlemmerstraat – the Tandoori chicken from Rangoli was good. I saw lots of people wearing lots of orange, utterly unconcerned for the tackiness factor of orange sunglasses in the shape of bicycles.

“The Blaffende Vis”, a cafe on Westerstraat, always puts a big display up on the front of the cafe, usually having a little dig at the royal family. It is after all, in the unruly and traditionally working class Jordaan. This year’s image shows King Willem Alexander changing the name and it is playing on the fact that it’s the first “Koningsdag”, as last year we had a Queen, and therefore a “Koninginnedag”. One great advantage of having a king is that all this stuff got a lot easier to spell.

The canals were packed with boats, all the crews wore orange and some even had orange drinks. I witnessed a couple of “near” accidents as the boats jostled to get around. The usual scenic boats with the glass tops were also running tours and the skippers earnt their money that day – those boats are long and not easy to manoeuver in Amsterdam’s narrow canals at the best of times, it was 10 times more challenging on Saturday in the crowded waters.

Later we went to visit a friend in another part of town, there were parties all over town, and we walked dodging the most dense crowds wherever we could, weaving our way along Herengracht, turning south to avoid the overspill from Rembrandtplein, and dodging parties on many of the intersections and bridges. For a city full of rather drunk people the atmosphere was happy and friendly.

And walking home again after midnight when the parties had mostly ended the atmosphere was still good; pretty sure lots of people had a very very slow Sunday.

 

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