Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 4 - Queen's Day "The last Koninginnedag"

Today is the last Queen's Day or Koninginnedag as Queen Beatrix has abdicated the throne to his son, Willem-Alexander. So going forward, it will be Koningsdag or King's Day.
There were a lot of different events going on around Amsterdam, especially with concerts in the major parks in the city. The one concert I wish I had tickets to was the Armin van Buuren one on Java-eiland, it would have been especially more awesome considering the new king and his family visited the concert and even shook van Buren's hand! (Saw it on TV!)

Lots of freebies in the city today, including free cream puffs down in our hotel-apartment lobby. The whole city is dressed/coloured in orange, orange crazy or oranjegekte as a tribute to the royal family/house of Orange. Most of the groep also tried to stay in spirit and also dress in orange or at least be wearing an article of orange.

We started by exploring the Apollolaan where we got to see one of the most distinct features of Koninginnedag which is the vrijmarkt or free market where the Dutch people are allowed on this one day of the year to sell on the street without payment of VAT. It is a type of nationwide flea market where Dutch people try to sell old goods that they don't need anymore. There was a lot of people selling things, and plenty of people shopping around for a good deal. (Though I didn't really find any)

At an estimated 800, 000 visitors into the city, Amsterdam is a very packed city during this holiday slash celebration slash festival slash PARTAYYYYY. As we exited the other end of the Apollolaan, we found ourselves wandering towards music at the King's Land festival in Amsterdam RAI. We didn't have any tickets so we just listened to some of the music from outside until we decided to find somewhere else to go.

Next stop, Sarphatipark. There was some music playing, but there wasn't much going on other than the flea markets we had already seen before so we just passed through looking at all the people and their wares.

Next stop. De Pijp! NOW WE ARE TALKING. A few of us have been looking for the signature pickled herring and we finally found the stall. (It's a little weird because we were at the bar beside it a few days ago and didn't even notice the stall beside it somehow). MMMMM. Yum. Pickled Herring with fresh raw onions and pickles on a bun.

There was a party in the triangular area of De Pijp and a party bus playing music and as we wandered over, Joanne and I got some delicious sorbets of Mango and Blood Orange flavor from IJscuypje ice cream store. Mmmmm! Moving onwards we found another party with a better DJ and dance area at the Marie Heinekenplein area. After a bit, Joanne and I decided to leave early and head back home while the rest of the groep decided to stay in the city and party a bit more.

Broodje Haring

Me eating the herring

Joanne eating the herring

Kenneth eating the herring

GELATO from ijscuypje! Mango + Blood Orange sorbets

Partying in De Pijp - Marie Heinekenplein

The new royal family attending the Armin van Buuren concert on tv

Food Notes
Pickled Herring - YUM from De Pijp
Blood Orange sorbet - YUM from Ijscuypje

-The crowds
-The sea of orange
-It was an awesome experience to enjoy what it's like to be in Amsterdam on Queen's day (especially the last one for now as it changes over to a king), but seeing how a city can come alive at such a scale is amazing
-wicked house music playing everywhere in the city
-that Broodje Haring was DELICIOUS
-the Blood Orange sorbet was an awesome treat on a sunny day

Dutch Design - Day 3 - Neighbourhood Scout "We saw the Prince!"

We had a late start today as we all took some time to re-group from the previous intense touring days. My neighbourhood team is the De Pijp/Oosterpark area with Vivian H., Kenneth, and √Član. We started our day off just doing a walkthrough of the neighbourhoods to get a feel for what they are.

Entrance to Albert Cuypmarkt
We visited one of the busiest street markets in Europe, the Albert Cuyp Market or Albert Cuypmarkt, in De Pijp, which is on Albert Cuyp street between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat in the Oud-Zuid district. There were a variety of products on sale ranging from food products such as cheese, meats, fish, snacks to clothing, bedclothes, pans, plants, SO MANY THINGS!

Our first stop was a dried fruit and nuts stand. Vivian and Elan got some dried mangoes and I got a pack of the dried kiwi. They were a bit sweet but SO GOOD.

We were getting a bit overwhelmed with the crowds so we went into a cafe, De Koffie Salon to do a short de-brief. I got an iced latte (icekoffie verkeerd) and a black current cake (zwarte besson koek). Elan got a nice slice of cinnamon-y apple pie (applespicecake).

We came up with a strategy for our narrative and decided to continue our neighbourhood walkthrough by checking out the Oosterpark area. Of course, being in De Pijp in the market, we had to stop and get some fresh stroopwaffel. Elan got a plain stroopwaffel and Vivian got a half hazelnut stroopwaffel. As we were heading down there via Sarphatistraat, we saw a bunch of guards at the InterContinental Hotel Amstel. We joined the small crowd gathering at the front entrance and shortly after a motorcade came in and got to see Prince Charles and Camilla.

Hazelnut Stroopwaffel

Walking through Oosterpark, something bad kinda happened and we stopped to take a look. We definitely noticed a difference in the diversity of culture in the area as most of the people were of African, middle-Eastern, and Asian descent. The pace of life in the Indische district was definitely more slow, or at least different than the rest of Amsterdam. There was a weird incident where I saw a bottle flying through the air thrown down at the sidewalk across the street from one of the apartments. I'm not sure if this was intentional but it was definitely jarring.

Tired post-exploration

Food Notes
For dinner, I cooked up roasted chicken and mixed vegetables

-yummy dried fruits