A peek into my life for my friends all over the world!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A long weekend in Austria

And again we had another long weekend in the Netherlands...quite some lately huh? Well actually this is the last national holiday there is until Christmas, so stop saying that we have too many holidays!

Anyway, I decided to make the most out of it and about a month ago I managed to find a good deal with one of the cheap airlines and I decided to visit my friend Martin who lives in Vienna. However the interesting thing is that my flight was not going to Vienna but to Bratislava (Slovakia) which is a 55km drive (about 45 mins) to Martin's place.

Martin is one of my best friends in Europe. I met him back in 2001 and he lived in London while I lived there and then in Amsterdam until last year. So we've always been rather good friends and somehow he's been now away over a year and I still hadn't managed to come and visit him. So I was rather happy. As I have already been in Vienna about 1.5 years ago I suggested doing a little travelling around and Martin was very happy to go along!

I landed in Bratislava on Friday at 22:30 and Martin picked me up and we went into town to park the car. We did a very quick tour around the city centre where I saw some really beautiful buildings...it was really nice and cozy. After that we went to have some cocktails and to catch up.
We drove back to Vienna at 1am and we made it back by 2am.

Next morning Martin took me up in the mountains to this really nice place to have brunch and to enjoy a really nice view of Vienna. The weather was REALLY nice. It was over 30 degrees...and as I was coming from shitty weather I was extremely happy. So we decided to go to the Viennese beach. What is that? The old bank of the Danube river has been separated from the main flowing river and it looks like a nice lake in a small island inside the city. People go to this huge park to enjoy the weather and the water. It was rather pleasing to be there enjoying the weather and swimming in the "Blue Danube" :-)

That evening we went into the centre of Vienna for a really nice dinner and a nice walk. It is always nice to see a city in different seasons. I had seen Vienna during Christmas time and I have to say it's one of most beautiful (or the most) cities I've ever seen. So elegant, cozy and Christmasy. And during the summer...it's just stunning. All those imposing empire like buildings,w ith that magnificent lighting. It was really beautiful.

The next morning we woke up at dawn (actually not really because the days are getting so long that dawn it's before 5am ;-s so it was more 7am) and we made our way to Salzburg. The plan was to eventually end there but make a couple of stops on the way. We drove all the way to the area of "Salzakammergut" which is about 50kms before from Salzburg. We had a really nice picnic by a nice lake. Everything was so beautiful...all those green mountains, all that nature, birds singing, ducks with their babies (also of course lots of annoying mosquitoes but I guess it's part of the package).

After our picnic we drove a little further and we went to this small cute little town called St Wolfgang where we found a tiny private piece of "beach" where for €4 we could get in and for €2.50 we got a parasol and some very comfortable lying chairs. We stayed there for about 4 hours and Martin and me hardly spoke to each other...we were both lost in our own thoughts, gazing the view, enjoying the sun, the fresh and transparent water of the lake and of course Martin his Newsweek and me a brand new book bought at the airport.

We liked it so much that after that we decided to look for a Bed and Breakfast in town. We found again a really cozy one ran by this sweet pensioner couple. That evening we walked into town and saw a little of the rest of the town, we had a really delicious meal by the lake and we watched a wonderful show of fireworks. We walked back when it was fully dark at about 11pm and it was such a nice feeling to walk with the sound of the crickets...I'm just not used to this me being a city girl.

The next morning after a nice breakfast we headed towards Salzburg. For me this was something VERY special. My all time most favourite movie is "The Sound of Music" I can't recall how many times I've seen it but if I say that over 300 I'm not exagerating...I know all the songs, the dances, the words in both Spanish and English...you get the point. That movie is based in Salzburg and since I was a little girl I always dreamt about going there. And I WAS there!!! Of course I was extremely disappointed that Martin had NO clue about what I was talking about (he must be one of the weird people who don't know about this movie)...I wanted a singing partner ;-) But it was still rather nice to see all those places that you can see in the movie, includding the house of the Von Trapp family (from far away) and the places where they sang the songs.

Salzburg was BEAUTIFUL It was really breathtaking. The city divided in 2 by the river Salzbach, the castle or rather fortress up on a hill, all those beautiful churches, squares, statues, the really cute streets, the picturesque alleys, the gardens, the fountains. I have to say that it is now on the top 5 of my favourite sities!!! You'll see this and more on the photos.

Right before heading back to Vienna we made a stop in the Sacher hotel so I could have the famous Sachertorte which was really yummy. And then righ after we got ourselves into the car a big storm started- so I REALLY have to thank mother nature for being so nice to me this past weekend.

This morning Martin was SO nice that he drove me ALL the way to Bratislava and then he had to drive all the way back to Vienna to catch a flight to Warsaw. Martin THANK you SO much!!! After a 3-hour flight delay, a rather "entertainining" flight with the whole Dutch Volleyball team sitting in front, behind and next to me (boy are those guys tall!) I managed to arrive safely to Amsterdam and managed to be behind my desk before 3pm.

Now you can click here for the photos. I warn you there are quite A LOT! But the places are just too beautiful not to photograph...and I tried to write some entertaining captions...

All in all a WONDERFUL weekend and one of the reasons why I love living in Europe...a flight a way, a 45 mins drive to another city to catch another flight....different culture, different language...I just love to get away for the weekend and be able to be part of that ;-)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ascension weekend: Spring cleaning and some fun!

(And some rather interesting facts and photos about my shoes- way at the bottom!) ;-)

April and May are great in the Netherlands! There are several days off due to holidays and it's always nice to have a small break from work. Of course what I still don't understand is why do we have Christian holidays considering that I still have to meet a Dutch person who is really religious...still, this is not the purpose of this entry ;-) so I'll proceed to share with you what I did during Ascension weekend.

The real day off was on Thursday and at Canon we had an extra day off...this meant a nice long weekend :) For this occasion I decided to stay in Amsterdam, take some time to relax at home, go to the gym and do something productive and maybe have some fun in the evenings.

Well I have to say that it all worked out wonderfully!


I managed to do something fun each of the evenings. And you will be able to see some photos with some descriptions here.

However I wanted to tell you a little more about Friday evening. Aissa and me decided to go to the 80s party in Hotel Arena. Hotel Arena is a disco in Amsterdam and the third Friday of every month they organise an 80s party with all the old songs...it's always so much fun. People dancing, singing, the 3 big screens showing the videos of the songs or old TV commercials of those years. It's always a blast! You will see some of the photos of the evening and you can also see a video of Push It from Salt n Pepa and Like a Virgin from Madonna. Something interesting for the non Amsterdammers: Hotel Arena is one of the many old churches that is now a disco. Considering that not that many people go to church anymore, they had to do something useful with those big contructions...discos or concert halls is the perfect use for these old churches, the accoustic is great! If you look close enough at some of the photos you will see a Fresco with Jesus and his disciples...just on top of the DJ. In Peru that would be considered a sacrilege...but hey, this is the Netherlands!

Spring Cleaning

I decided to be productive this weekend by doing some Spring Cleaning. Don't even think that it was in the whole house...it was just in my bedroom. And if you think that I finished...you are well mistaken...oh Lord, do I have a lot of crap!

I have realised that before settling down in Amsterdam the moving around countries and houses was not that bad...it was the perfect opportunity to get rid of useless stuff and to sort out belongings. Well, I've been living on my house for over 3.5 years now...and the amount of stuff I have managed to accumulate is unbelievable.

Ok if you know me very well (and maybe even if you don't know me that well) you know that I'm rather girly and I just LOVE accessories...the amount of jewellery, scarves, hats, gloves, hand bags, make up and such other paraphernalia was rather amazing. And of course lets not talk about the amount of bags full of clothes and shoes that will go to charity...so I entertained myself during the day doing that....and I need another long weekend to finish :-s

I don't have photos of me in the mess this weekend. However I think that you will find rather amusing (or shocking...up to each one of you) some photos that Laurent took of me last year when I was organising my shoes on a day I was rather bored as I had been ill for over 2 months...yes I was shocked! After throwing away about 10 pairs of shoes I was left with 69 pairs...and that was last September...there are some new in the collection ;-)

What can I say: I'm Caterina and I'm a "shoeaholic" ;-)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Feliz Dia Mamma!

Spanish version below/Version en español debajo
Second Sunday of May it's Mother's day in several countries. I know for a fact that it is in the Netherlands. However, just like some other holidays, it's not really known, some people think it's a commercial day and it's not really celebrated. Well, let me tell you that at the time I'm writing this, being 14:30 Peruvian time on Mother's day...your call won't be able to go through at this moment if you want to call to Peru. Mother's day in Peru is almost as important as Christmas celebrations! All kids (youngs or adults) will try to do their best to celebrate that woman who brought them to this world: their mother.

As this is the case, I decided to dedicate this week's blog to my mom. Just wanted to share with you some few photos I found in a box here in Amsterdam (most photos are in Peru as you can understand) and to tell you a little about my mom :)

My mom's name is Lupe and I call her by the Italian word: Mamma. My mom, being a cancer is totally devoted to her family and her 3 girls: Francesca, Antonella and me. She's the typical "mother hen" who has always been there for us, doing her outmost for us.

I remember when the 3 of us where still at school my mom would drive us around Lima (huge, chaotic, lots of traffic) taking us to all our activities: ballet, gym, English lessons, French lessons, gymnastics, piano,swimming, dancing....you name it! She would pick us up from school and take us to our friends. When we were even younger she would dress us in matching clothes!

We are all grown up and 2 of us live abroad...but you would be amazed at how close we are. Regardless of the distance she is still there for us, ready to give us sound advice and just a phone call away with her motherly voice and concern.

Mamma, happy mother's day, I really miss you! Thank you so much for always being there!

Version en español (sin acentos a proposito)
Segundo Domingo de mayo es el dia de la madre en varios paises. Se que es definitivamente en Holanda. Sin embargo, al igual que otros feriados, no se conoce realmente, algunas personas dicen que es un dia comercial y no es realmente celebrado. Bueno, dejenme decirles que en el preciso momento donde escribo esto, las 2:30pm hora peruana en el dia de la madre…su llamada no entraria si quiesiesen llamar al Peru. El dia de la madre en Peru es casi tan importante como la Navidad. Todo los hijos (jovenes y adultos) siempre trataran de hacer todo lo posible para celebrar a la mujer que los trajo al mundo: su mama.

Como este es el caso, decidi dedicarle el blog de esta semana a mi mama. Solo quiero compartir con ustedes algunas fotos que encontre en una caja aca en Amsterdam (la mayoria de fotos estan en Peru como pueden entender) y de contarles un poquito sobre mi mama :)

El nombre de mi mama es Lupe y yo la llamo con la palabra en italiano: Mamma. My mama, al ser cancer es una persona totalmente dedicada a su familia y a sus tres hijas: Francesca, Antonella y yo. Es la tipica “mama gallina” que siempre ha estado alli para nosotras, dando siempre lo major de ella por nosotras.

Recuerdo cuando nosotras 3 estabamos todavia en el colegio, mi mama nos paseaba por toda Lima (enorme, caotica y con mucho trafico) y nos llevaba a todas nuestras actividades: ballet, gimnasio, clases de ingles, clases de frances, acrobacia, piano, natacion, baile…y muchas mas! Nos recogia del colegio, nos llevaba donde nuestras amigas. Cuando eramos incluso mas pequegnas nos vestia siempre con ropa que hacia juego!

Somos ya adultas y 2 de nosotras vivimos en el extranjero…pero se sorprenderian si supieesen lo cercanas que somos. A pesar de la distancia siempre esta alli para nosotras, lista para darnos un consejos a tan solo una llamada de distancia con su voz y preocupacion de “mama”.

Mamma, feliz dia de la madre. Realmente te extraño! Muchas gracias por estar siempre alli. Ti voglio tanto bene mammina! Caty

Monday, May 7, 2007

Weekend in London

I'm currently involved on a big project at work that involves working with an English agency based in London. We needed a 2-day meeting with our Account manager and it was held in the Canon office in London. As it was on Thursday and Friday (ok, I conveniently planned them close to the weekend ;-) ) I decided to stay there to enjoy a little of London and to visit some friends.
The meeting was rather successful and packed with lots of information. Unfortunately I was getting a cold which got worse while sitting on the plane for almost for almost 3 hours on the plane on the way there. It's a joke sometimes how those annoying delays on planes make a 40 minute flight become such an long trip.

However, regardless of the bad cold, on Friday at 15:30 I bid good bye to Christiaan (my boss) in Terminal 4 at Heathrow airport and made my way to catch the Heathrow express that would take me to Paddington station in the centre of London!

Most of you know that I lived in London for 9 months in 2002 and that I absolutely love it. And of course I have been to London many times after that either for business or to visit friends (or a combination of both) and of course for shopping ;-) However I hadn't been to London since the end of 2005- I don't count the business trips to Canon UK because when I do that I even stay in the Sofitel hotel in the North Terminal of Gatwick airport!

I know my way very well in London, but was I in for some surprises! I remember that the first day I was in London back in 2002 I was in the supermarket and I was amazed to see that the prices had the same "numbers" but they were Pounds instead of Euros. Everybody knows that London is one of the most expensive cities of the world...but God it feels like inflation hit them in about 50%!!!

When I lived in London a Tube single ticket (for the ones who don't know "The tube" is the way the London underground is referred as) costed £1.90. Well, I was horrified to see that it now costs £4.00 !!!! (that is about US$ 8.00). Of course they now also have another system with the "Oyster Cards"...but I won't bother you into the details. Lets just say that just making my way from Heathrow into town I had some incidents and shocks with the prices...the 15 minute ride from Heathrow to Paddington was £15 (US$30)...anyway, I won't go on, but you get the picture.

As I had some time to kill until 17:30 when I was going to meet Carla in Liverpool Street Station, I decided to get off in Oxford Circus so I could do a little window shopping in Oxford Street where I didn't lose ANY time and bought the most beautiful pair of white sandals ;-) ...ok, I'm getting sidetracked again. By the time I was back in the Tube on the Central line going only about 5 stops from Oxford Circus to Liverpool Street...it was rush hour on a Friday. Oh MY GOD!!!! Had I forgotten how crowded the tube can get. The amount of people, all squeezed like tuna in a can, the door opening, then closing, the "mind the gap" voice in every station, everybody with their iPODs and reading their books or newspapers, nobody looking into anybody's eyes. And then when leaving the carriage walking with a pack of people, everybody looking for the long escalators: stand on the right, walk on the left, people walking and just walking and wanting to go home!!

I remember that I have always heard that some people like London but they feel overwhelmed by it. I always said that that was nonsense for me. After all I come from Lima, a massive, over 8-million-inhabitants, chaotic and noisy city...so I felt pretty much at home in London. But I guess that back in 2002 I had only been in Europe for a couple of years. After being over 4 years in a row in Amsterdam...where I cycle to go everywhere, where it takes not even one hour by bike to cross the city, where I don't have to fight with anyone to get a seat in the bus in the morning on my way to work, which is outside Amsterdam and it takes me half an hour (I guess it's also because I go to work rather early and I miss the rush hour)....I was REALLY overwhelmed by the whole chaos!!! I really missed my bike! ;-)

Of course on the other hand...London is London. And I was positively overwhelmed in the shops with the choice of things....so many nice things, so many things to choose from....too expensive though ;-)...and of course the amount of things to do: concerts, theatres, musicals, opera, ballet, museums. So as you see London and me have some kind of love-hate relationship, which is great because it's a "long distance" love affair anyway ;-)

I eventually found Carla and we made our ways to Chelmsfort, Essex just half an hour by train outside of London where she lives. We had a very nice evening the 2 of us, Julien (her husband) and Italo who joined us after work all the way from Kingston (about 1.5 hour away).

The next day we had already made our plans for the day. After breakfast Italo, Carla and me decided that the 3 of us would head into town. It was rather nice to be among Peruvian friends, speaking Peruvian slang, catching up and remembering our time at university. Of course Carla and my plan was to go shopping...Italo was happy to come along. I guess Julien was very smart as he went to play golf...and I have the feeling that Italo must have thought why on earth did he go shopping in London with 2 women!

On my defense, I did exactly what I said I wanted to do. I only went to 2 shops that I really like and that I had planned on going. Of course I won't forget Italo's shocked face when I came out of the second shop with only a tiny little carrier bag: "Over an hour for only THAT?????"...hey, doesn't he know that we women have to try everything before choosing the first thing we tried on?

After an afternoon of shopping we went for some coffee and rest in Starbucks while we waited for 19:30. We had tickets for a concert in St. Martin in the Fields, the church in Trafalgar square. While I lived in London I used to go a lot to that church on Saturday evenings as they always had lovely concerts. Just on Monday last week I received their newsletter and I saw that that the Belmont Ensemble was having a Candle night concert of Vivaldi's 4 Seasons...so I proposed Carla and Italo to get tickets.

Just as I expected it was beautiful. Nothing really fancy just this really talented musicians playing delicious music. Just some easy listening Barocque: some Vivaldi, some Mozart and some Bach...perfect 2 hours! I would have loved to take photos or to film, but it wasn't allowed. However I sneaked out my camera and covered it with my scarf just for the audio...so you can hear a little of the concert by clicking in any of the following links: Mozart - Salzburg Symphony No 2; Bach - Air on G string and Vivaldi - The 4 Seasons, Spring.

After the concert Julien joined us for dinner and eventually we headed back to Chelmsford after midnight on the last train. On the walk from the station to Carla's house I was reminded again of what surprised me back in 2002 about British people...my God why do they drink SO much? I know that I have already told this to several of you but I need to document it on my blog: First of all, I have never in my live have seen as many people being drunk at the same time in the street as in Britain- but when I say DRUNK I mean TOTALLY wasted! Second of all...British define how much fun they have according to how drunk they get...I take it as still an interesting cultural aspect. And of course, another typical characteristic: what kind of super genes do English girls have to be able to walk with tiny clothes, no jacket, no socks and sandals when it's bloody cold is entirely beyond me! Another interesting aspect ;-)

On Sunday I was positively surprised by a lunch invitation from Marco van den Berg and his girlfriend, Annette. I met Marco in a seminar in Mannheim, Germany back in 1998 just before he went to Peru for an AIESEC project. We've met some other times includding New Year's 2002 in Peru again and the last time we saw each other was in Paolo's farewell party in Zurich...I was really very happy to see him and Annette again. It was a very enjoyable lunch!

After lunch Marco drove me to Heathrow and after only about 45 mins delay I managed to land at Schiphol airport a little before 20:00. All in all, regardless of the cold (and cough I caught on Saturday) and regardless of the weather (it seems that spring is gone and rain is here to stay this week :-s...good for the plants though...) it was a really, really nice weekend. Met some old friends, did some shopping, went to an excellent concert, went down memory lane (Arnaud, Martin and David...I kept thinking of our time in London!) and as I said before, that's the way to keep the love on this long-distance relationship with London...lets see each other only every once in a while to keep the "honey-moon" period!
For a few photos of the weekend click here, can you tell that the weather is crap again? :-s ...so much for my new sandals ;-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Queen's Day

April 30th is a little like the Dutch National holiday as it is "Koninginnedag", which means Queen's day. It is the day the whole country dresses in Orange and celebrates the Queen...at least that's how it should be...if you click here and read below you will find out more about this popular festivity in the Netherlands.

This is actually my 7th Queen's day. My first was back in 98 when I did my traineeship in Mannheim Germany and that was my first time EVER in Amsterdam...little did I know then that I was going to end up living in this city.

This Queen's day has actually felt more like a Queen's week. As the day itself was on a Monday, we had a long weekend to celebrate and as the weather is still really nice to us, lets say that the anticipation of the long weekend and the wonderful weather made it all more special.

Warmondstraat 148hs' maiden 2007 BBQ

After checking the weather forecast earlier last week, Laurent (my flatmate for the ones that don't know) decided that it was about time for us to do the first BBQ of the year. We first decided to have something small but somehow we ended up being 12 persons as apparently everybody was excited about being able to have a BBQ.
We had an interesting combination of people: 3 Spaniards, 4 Dutch, 3 Peruvians, 1 French and 1 Mexican...everybody except 2 knew how to speak Spanish...so that language was widely spoken through that nice evening.

Ruben, my really good Spanish friend, decided to make Sangria for the occasion. Little did I know that he was going to get so carried away. He made about 7 liters of Sangria...but as we were all really responsible people who had to be at work the next day. We only drank half of it...without counting the wine of course.

If you keep reading, you will find the link for the photos of that really nice evening!

The Start of the weekend: Farewell, Beach and another BBQ

The long waited Friday came and it started with some nice drinks in the bar of the "Hotel Arena" where Ruben hosted his farewell drinks as he will be moving to the South of the Netherlands where he will start working in some weeks. We had a really nice time, sitting outside, having a nice chat and having some drinks.
After 1am some of the guys went to the disco but I decided I wanted to take it easy that evening as I had an important date the next morning: me and the sun in the beach ;-)

Indeed at about 9:30am Aissa sent me an SMS letting me know that she and a friend who was over for the weekend were already getting ready for the beach...so I jumped out of bed and got ready for it. This time we decided to go by train and not by bike as I had to be back not that late that day- Italo was landing about about 6pm and I had to be home to welcome him.

We had a really beautiful day in the beach. It was not as warm as the last time but it was warm enough for us to enjoy a beautiful time lying and getting tanned and just relaxing. And it was not that hot that it was too crowded. This time we went to Zandvoort which is a little closer than Bloemendaal.

What to do that evening? That was the question that everybody was making themselves...my phone kept rining the whole day. It was Saturday but everyone wanted to take it easy as we still had 2 whole days ahead of partying. So finally we decided to have a BBQ at my place. As I was at the beach Joost and Geert Jan were really nice and bought all the stuff for the evening. We spent a really enjoyable evening in my garden with Joost, Geert Jan, Aleks, Italo, Johannes (a friend that was visiting Aleks) and me of course.

The other interesting thing is that we still had the Sangria left from the previous BBQ...you can imagine that after 3 days in the fridge the fruit had absorved all the alcohol and the Pisco that Ruben added for an "extra taste" did the thing to it...otherwise ask either Geert Jan or Italo who became very healthy and finished all the fruit ;-)

For a video of that evening click here and for the photos of the 2 BBQs and some of the beach click here.

Queen's Night - DAY and NIGHT

Queen's night is the start of the Queen's day celebrations, however, as it was Sunday we started celebrating early that day. Joost invited us to go with his boat around Amsterdam once more. And we were more than happy to come along. There's not much to say as you can just see it for yourself in the photos.

I will add though that we had quite some beers and wine...and we were almost 4 hours under the sun...so you can imagine the results. By the time we were back on steady floor Italo and me actually still had to visit some people in the Vondelpark. Our first stop was by the "Picasso fish" where Petter and some friends were also enjoying the sun with some more wine and beers and finally by the exit of the Amstelveenseweg where Stephi and some friends were doing the same.

When we got back home at around 18:30 we were rather tired...even though I hadn't had as much alcohol as Italo (you must have seen his photos) ;-) haha we just had time to get ready (Italo managed to have a power nap) and we headed off in our bikes into town.

We met Joost, Aleks and Johannes in an Indian restaurant close to Nieuwmarkt for dinner and then we headed in to the stage in that area where we met some more friends. There was a really cool group playing 70s music, for a taste click here. There were 2 main singers a girl and a guy...the way was an unbelievable showman...he made us laugh with his dances, movements, the way he sang. We had a blast until after 1am. You can view the photos here.

When the music finished we had quite some discussions whether we should go ahead and keep partying. However after the confussion, the people, the beer, the bikes, the amount of people and the fact we wanted to enjoy Queen's Day...we decided to get home. Which was a good thing cause we only got to bed at about 2:30am

D Day: Queen's Day!
And we made it to the climax of the weekend!!! It was Queen's day! Queen's day is a very particular celebration and even though I'll describe it here, you will see the pictures and the videos you won't be able to get a full grasp of it unless you live it...so all the ones that have never had the chance to live this are very welcome to come and visit me on April 30th 08!

First of all there's the market. This is the only day of the year where everybody can sell whatever they want. Dutch people sometimes even sleep on the floor in the streets to make sure that they get good spots where they can sell their stuff the next day. You can find some rather interesting things, like old books or CDs, but you can also find SO much crap. And the most amazing thing is that things are sold!!! One of my Dutch colleagues even told me yesterday that the guy selling next to her sold a bike for €5 and she bought it and then sold it for €15! It's really funny to see all these things.

Then there's the amount of activities going on. Every single bar, pub, restaurant has a big party in the street. Everybody wears orange which is the national colour (as the Dutch royal family is from the House "van Oranje"). There are stages almost every block with musicians, bands, singers, DJs...it's very hard to describe that a whole city becomes like a big fair.

It is not only the streets and every single square that are really crowded. The canals are impossible. People organise parties in big boats that cruise the canals throughout the days with drinks and DJs.

I read on the news that 500,000 people attended the celebrations in Amsterdam. 215,000 of them actually got to Amsterdam by train...so you can imagine the mobilisation. However it is also unbelievable how well behaved and how peaceful Dutch people are, I also read on the news that they only arrested over 100 people which is the average in a normal weekend in Amsterdam.

I started the day by cycling to Joost's place with Italo and there we met some more people and we made our way to Westerstraat and the Nordermarkt in the Jordaan area. We then walked along the Prinsengracht following the big crowd and stopping in almost all the stages to finish in the Amstelveldt close to Rembrandtplein where there was the "Chemistry" party where about 8 different DJs played from noon until 9pm. We really had a blast!

We somehow walked all the way back to Joost's (it took us about 1.5 hours with a small stop for some food) and there we picked up our bikes and we cycled back home.

Another Queen's day, another wonderful celebration. You should definitely try it sometime!

View the photos and a video of the party!