Thursday, May 10, 2007


okay, sorry it's been a while. we've been crazybusy and are finally just getting around to blogging about koninginnenacht. (try saying that 5 times fast! ko-ning-in-ne-nacht. whew! it's just easier to say "queen's night."

as i understand it, queen juliana (the previous queen of holland) had a birthday on 30 april. and, being that she was a queen, she decided to have the entire country throw her a fabulous birthday party and granted everyone the day off. which means that the night before her birthday, since everyone has the day off the next day, all of holland goes out and gets crazy. iedereen gaan gek! it's one of the biggest party nights of the year, and they go all.night.long. insane.

adam's colleague, hans, has been trying to get us to come out to utrecht (where he lives) for quite some time. but since my job has very little flexibility (read: i can't "work from home") it's difficult to find the time. anyway, he invited us to come out and spend the night at his and his wife's place in downtown utrecht on koninginnenacht. it was a chance we couldn't pass up! but seeing as how i was supposed to work the next day, i didn't know if we'd be able to make it out. i ended up getting the day off by explaining to my supervisor that experiencing queen's night and queen's day would be a great way for me to learn more about dutch culture and history. (the dutch LOVE IT when you say things like that. it worked.)

so, on sunday we took the train out to utrecht to meet hans and tiny (pronounced teenie) at their gorgeous home just minutes from the center of utrecht, one of the prettiest towns in holland.

we went out to eat at a fun little indian place that was right on the canal. how cool! the canal used to be part of the rhine river and the romans used it as a major trading route. about 1000 years ago they just apparently moved the river. we don't quite know what that means, but the dutch are always moving rivers, and they just decided to move the rhine. so the canal was left over. it still drains into the rhine, but isn't considered part of the rhine anymore. whatever. that's so weird.

after dinner we walked through the city to experience the vrijmarkt, which means literally "free market." it's the only time of year that anyone can sell anything on nearly any street. it's a veritable yard sale, with everyone in the country selling just about anything you can imagine. shoes, hats, furniture, handmade jewelry, broken old toys, glasses of wine, electronics, crap, junk, and miscellani. it was so weird/fun/cool. the streets were PACKED, as in sometimes you were walking down the street and then all of a sudden you'd just be stopped cuz the crowd couldn't move anymore and then there you were, just waiting for there to be some sort of surge again. exhausting, but for only a couple of hours it was kinda cool. i was really impressed with tiny, who would just barrel through the crowds as if she owned the place. she'd say, "okay! i'm crossing the street to see that church! follow me!" and we'd all think she was insane and about to get crushed by the crowd, and then you'd see the back of her head charging ahead, not being pushy, but not being pushed around either. and then she'd be on the other side, a big smile on her face, just waiting patiently for the rest of us paranoid people to join her. she's so cool.

we made it back around 11 or midnight i think and crashed hard. we slept really comfortably in their ginormous library filled from floor to ceiling with philosophy books and pictures of grandbabies. the next day we took off to s' hertogenbosch to see the queen on koninginnedag.

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