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New Year's Eve in the Dam

Amsterdam

overcast -10 °C

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New Year's Eve was great fun. We went in early to hire some bikes as all the public transport grounds to a halt at 8pm on New Year's and our bus didn't start up again until 7am the next morning. We took our leftover bottles of champagne from Christmas and some Heineken's with us. We chained our bikes up near the museum area so we'd be on the right track getting home and headed off. We wandered around a couple of pretty squares and canals and made our way over the check out the Skinny Bridge, which was very pretty particularly with all the lights.

We stopped at a lovely park bench beside the canal to have some picnic dinner and share our first bottle of champagne. It was lovely looking out over the water with the light reflected and all the gorgeous buildings and bridges up and down the canal. If it hadn't been totally freezing we probably would have stayed even longer. Once we were almost numb from sitting still outside we headed to our second coffee shop to soak up some of the warmth.
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After my second failed attempt and Matt getting another lovely buzz (lucky bugger) we hit the streets for a stroll. It was all really beautiful, we had a couple of Heinekens at Rembrandtpleins which seemed to have stalls going for New Years, but ultimately the bone chilling cold was too much and we decided to find a pub. We headed back towards Neuemarkt as there seemed to have been quite a few nice spots there the night before. As it happened we came across the same little pub, and just as we walked in two girls on stools at the window were getting up to leave. We got a great spot!
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We had a few hours to kill before the fireworks so we set ourselves up at the window and ordered some beers. We had a lovely few hours watching people walk buy and enjoying our Amstels and each other's company. There was also a slightly mean spirited piece of me that quite enjoyed being snug and warm watching a much colder world go by. We enjoyed it so much that we almost missed the fireworks. Luckily Matt checked his watch at 11.50pm and we hurried down to the Oosterdock just in time. If we'd realised earlier we would have made our way much closer but as it was we wandered down and found a great spot on a pontoon jutting out into the water just as the fireworks started. The official ones were by far the most spectacular but there were fireworks going off everywhere as hotels and other businesses set off their own at the same time. We had a blast.
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After the fireworks we headed back into the city and being concious of the fact that we had to ride home decided shortly after to head back to the bikes. What ensued was a comedy of errors. We set off with our google map directions which were great until we got to our first bike path and what looked on the map like a medium sized park. You see, google maps didn't seem to make any clear distinction between roads and bike paths, and as bike paths have their own street names I suppose that's reasonable. The problem was we were looking for roads that didn't exist and when we did make it to the park, expecting a large road to be circling it to the right we came to a very dark looking woods with no roads or street lamps, just bike paths disappearing into the dark. We were convinced we'd come the wrong way and subsequently road around in circles until a very lovely Dutch girl stopped us arguing on a corner to point us in the right direction. We ended up following the main roads and the big signs to Uithoorn, and when we got close, we flagged down a couple of fellow cyclers, who couldn't have been more than 16, to point us in the right direction. As it turned out luck was on our side and they were heading in the same direction. They took pity on us (by now it was probably around 4:30am) and escorted us to our door. They got us home via obscure bikepaths we never would have found on our own and at 5am we finally crawled into bed. It was an adventure all right. We may have been a bit ambitious thinking we could ride 20kms at 1am, drunk, to a place we'd only ever seen from a bus window.

Needless to say, New Year's Day we spent relaxing, watching TV, staying warm and eating.

Posted by Addy21 00:26 Archived in Netherlands Tagged amsterdam new fireworks eve year's Comments (0)

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