Ambling around in Amsterdam – 3

Posted by Jay in Travel on April 29th, 2015

The next day must have been the chillest day I’ve ever had while on holiday. I usually try to pack as much into my days as possible which ends with me being quite tired by the end as I’ve been walking around for ages. Waking up the following morning in Jacq’s flat, I meandered and got some water and caught up with my various social media.

Upon opening my Facebook, I saw that I’d been tagged in a post. It was by Danny Flood who is the editor of Openworld Magazine. I had been nominated, and added to the list of 30 under 30 travellers. I was beyond ecstatic to have been included in a list of people that were essentially professional travellers. It is an interesting read that details the countries that they’d been to and what led them onto the path of travelling for years on end. Unable to contain my excitement, I made a goofy video to say thanks for the nomination and inclusion. I was assisted by the very cute ‘Billy the orangutan’, who joined me in celebration.

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After Jacq had returned from the gym, we went back to talking and listening to the pop songs, how very mainstream of us. Getting a text that pancakes were being made back at my friend’s flat lead to a made dash to figure out when the next bus would be going to Rotterdam Blaak and hopping on a train back to Amsterdam.

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As I didn’t want to pay the extra surcharge for the intercity direct, it took a while to get back. But the pancakes were definitely worth it. In the meantime, I had been in touch with two other friends from Nottingham about meeting up for dinner and a catch up. So I couldn’t go too crazy on the delicious (and quite fancy) pancakes. I slowly got ready to go out, catching up with random nonsense online and watching the TV show ‘Girlfriends’.

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Making my way over to Albert Cuypstraat, the famous market that was usually there wasn’t present because it was Sunday. But there were many people gathered around a stage for the beginning of Koningsnacht celebrations, with the street slowly filling up.

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Once again, being in the company of my two friends felt like we hadn’t spent more than a day apart. We regaled one another of our lives since we saw each other last. We were in a very large Turkish restaurant called ‘The Bazaar’ that had the look of what you’d expect from the country, but lacked a certain authenticity. Which was not helped by the loud bumping music below us.

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With dinner finished, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. I went back to my friends flat and awaited the arrival of Koningsdag, the main reason for my trip in late April.

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The sun was shining and I was ready to get all oranje’d up. But first breakfast to start things off right, including Koningsdag cupcakes! With food out of the way, it was time to get ready. Orange dress, orange nails and orange lips, with the latter being courtesy of the super talented Florence Adepoju aka MDMFlow. Even though I knew I’d regret it later (and I did), I only took my thin cardigan and scarf with me for the day. I could not risk the fabulousness of my very orange dress being overshadowed, no matter how cold it got. In case you couldn’t tell, I was on my Kim K and really feeling my look. Let me live, okay?

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We walked from Bos en Lommer to the various gracht’s along the way, but that wasn’t before we (and lots of others) were stopped by the boats passing by which meant we had to wait for the bridge to come back down. Until this point, it had seemed like nobody had told Amsterdam that Koningsdag was coming.

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Nothing and no one was orange, but come the big day, it looked like Irn Bru and Fanta had spilled over every corner of the city and I was absolutely reveling in it. Music blasting, people selling old clothes and knick knacks, and the ubiquitous ‘Nacho King’ who seemed to follow us wherever we went. It reminded me of an orange version of the Notting Hill carnival, chaos and madness that was enjoyed by all involved.

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Stepping away from the crowds at Prinsengracht, I made my way to Dam Square. Before I got there I had to contend with pieces of litter that had been thrown about, especially glass that could cut through the rubber at the bottom of my crutches. Or god forbid, I fell and landed on one of the jagged pieces. I was making my way to a restaurant that I knew had free access to wifi. I would name the place, but I don’t want to risk them banning me (and others) by beefing up their security!

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Unfortunately, where the restaurant was located had no direct sun and it was quite windy that day. Once I’d finished siphoning their great wifi, I went across the road to a tram stop shelter and asked the two guys sitting there if I could join them. One of them got up and went to stand with his neighbour that was selling drinks to passersby. Myself and Jurg struck up a conversation and got talking about Koningsdag and all things Amsterdam.

He received a call from a friend, Joost, that later joined us. Jurg grabbed another chair so all 3 of us could sit, talk and people watch. As the sun was slowly moving away from us, we moved further back towards the canal. Making sure not to take a dip in the water.

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The chance meeting it reminded me of why I really enjoy travelling by myself. It’s all the people you meet along the way and make a connection with, plus a possibility of meeting them again somewhere else in the world. Plus we were the Triple J! Weaving easily from big talks to little talks, we all went up to Jurg’s apartment to continue talking and most importantly, for me to use the restroom! Plus look at the cool view from his place, very sweet!

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After we parted ways, I tried to retrace my steps back to Prinsengracht to maybe find my camera cover that I’d lost along the way. Unfortunately, I had no such luck. But I did find a Pentax camera cover that someone else had lost, maybe they had mine?

Giving up on the search, I started walking back to my friends place in Bos en Lommer. Or so I’d hoped. Unless you’re in the middle of the city, it would appear that Amsterdam is allergic to putting up signs of where things are. So this lead to me wondering around aimlessly for ages, and getting colder and colder. While this was incredibly frustrating, I was rewarded with a near empty IAmsterdam sign.

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Heading towards the tram stop that was thankfully running the tram I needed, I went back to the warmth of my friends apartment. And as she so eloquently called it ‘some ghetto chicken pho’. As it’d taken me so long to get back, the pho had been sucked up by the noodles. But that was exactly what I needed while I warmed up and watched more Chopped!

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about Jayon UPDATE: As of 25/09/2015 Nigeria has been removed from the WHO's Polio Endemic List! Having been born in Nigeria, I hail from one of three countries where polio is still unfortunately endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. I had contracted the poliovirus before my ...Read More

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