There are few cities as picturesque as Amsterdam, the canals, the buildings, the people. A few times during the year things get crazy. One of those days is April 27, King’s Day, the celebration of the king’s birthday, aka a time to close down the city and party. A quick photo essay about my time during this magical day.
With thousands of people expected, the urinors come out in full force. The highlight are of course the color schemes and lines into the sewer.
I opted for indoor plumbing. This may be my favorite tree ever.
The Hare Krishnas starting their march. Admittedly all I know about them comes from the movie Airplane.
A boat heading down the canal.
An even bigger boat heading down the canal.
Trying to get a picture of the craziness of the street, I got a great photobomb instead.
I can’t be sure, but this may be the Dutch version of The Fonz.
I’m stumped. Feel free to send me a caption for this one.
A couple of wooden bikes and an ass.
And then there’s the aftermath. After a hard day of partying some didn’t fare as well as others.
They came to Amsterdam as innocent musicians looking to ply their trade. After a crazy day, the town had eaten them up and like many others, they wound up in a trash heap.
April 28, yet another successful King’s Day, at least for some, is done.
5:00PM Last night in Amsterdam. Raining, but it’s supposed to stop. Choices – Order in food, watch movies and get up at 6:00AM for the flight or hope the rain stops, ride over to Winston’s and hang out. Last night in Amsterdam, I’m heading out to Winston’s.
6:00PM Arrival at Winston’s Tavern, Warmoesstraat 129, Amsterdam. The amazing thing about Winston’s isn’t the Mick Jagger urinal, the two for one drink specials all day or the MLB baseball that plays on the TV, the best thing about it, is the outdoor cafe where meet people from all over the world who stay at the hostel attached to the bar. This trip I had already met people from England, Australia, Israel, Portugal, Germany, and even some guy from Texas, but honestly, I think he was lost and was checking out soon after checking in. It’s like a college dorm and frat house rolled into one. Spotted my friend from England and we once again began chatting about the insanity of Trump and the late night antics of her two roommates at the hostel.
7:45PM. It’s raining, hard. There’s no way I could ride home. With a 9:00AM flight, I can stay here and wait it out or abandon my beloved bike of ten years. Time to get some food.
8:00PM Having the one table under cover, other people begin to fill in the remaining spaces. Seated around me is the woman from England, her two Finnish hostel roommates, two college aged girlfriends from Amsterdam who were Winston’s regulars, and two guys, one from Germany, one from Finland, also in college. I’m the oldest one here by over 20 years, these poor kids.
8:15PM Everyone chatting like a model UN session. It turned out the college guys and the Finnish girls had met on a bar crawl the night before. The girls from Amsterdam were just out for a night of partying. When they asked me my story I elaborated about living in Vegas, certainly slightly more interesting than the nightlife of New City, the kids going off to college and my 50th birthday. Drinks flowing, the smell of colitas and the rain kept coming. At this point, they either think I’m some quirky American with interesting opinions, or they’re just fucking with me.
9:30PM Rain lets up. For me, a perfect time to ride home, for my crew a perfect opportunity to go to another bar. They decide on the Sky Lounge and I decide to pee one last time because there’s no way I could hold it in during 13 minute ride home, certainly not after the four gin and tonics they had bought me. I held it longer than normal because I already went five times and if they really did for some reason think I was cool, I didn’t want my kid sized bladder to shatter that image. Peeing into the Mick Jagger lipped urinal one more time, I came back down to say goodbye to my international friends and get their snapchat names so we could stay in touch. Then the impossible happened, they insisted I continue to go party with them. I’m not sure what kind of parallel universe I was in, but reminding them of my flight did nothing. I was assured they would make sure my ass was on the plane at 9:00AM. Let’s face it, I would most likely never thought of as being this cool again. Off down Warmoesstraat to the Sky Lounge.
10:00PM Sky Lounge Amsterdam Surprisingly, with some more drunk than others, we made it to the Sky Lounge, an amazing rooftop bar near Central Station. More drinks and still no one telling me its time to go. How I wish I could go back in time and convince my 20 year old self that one day, well at least for a night, people actually thought I was cool…although writing this last sentence proves how false this statement really is.
10:45PM I can confirm, after my second trip, that the bathrooms here are much nicer than Winston’s.
11:30PM For someone who normally goes to bed at around 9:00PM I’m up way later than normal. Starting to feel sleepy and feeling whatever perceived coolness I have left draining from my body, I hear the following:
“Lets go to an all night dance club.
Yeah, lets do it.
I know where there’s one.
It’s not like the black out party I went to in Berlin, but it will be great.
Sounds good, let’s get a cab.”
The moment of truth. What would I do? What would I say?
“I can’t, I’ll never make my flight.
Are you kidding you have to come.
Don’t worry we’ll get you to your bike by 5AM.
You’ll have the time of your life.”
Do I dare continue this adventure? Was I some part of a social experiment gone bad? I can’t believe I have to go to the bathroom again? There was no way I was going to press my luck. I was going out on top. So despite the protests, and my immediate self-doubt, we finally parted ways, them to dance and me to pee one last time before the ride home in the rain.