Surprise surprise – this blog post is ON TIME!! This blog is dedicated to Scott Ballantine, a dedicated fan who continually encourages (gives me abuse during Facebook video calls to Erin) me to get these blogs up and not give up on them hahahaha.
Also apologies for the poor blog name… Was really stumped this week!
So, this week our holocaust class lecturers kindly invited us to come along to the Anne Frank House (even though we have finished that module). Unfortunately, we had to leave at 7.15 which meant a very early start for us, so we were lazy and took the bus (oops). We arrived to the train station to find our very punctual Dutch friends who had told us early bus times so we would be there at 7.45 for our 8.15 train… I think they know us too well! So, with a Starbucks in hand we set off for Amsterdam (no train delays this time thankfully) and made our way to the Anne Frank House. There we did some group exercises about the holocaust to learn how to teach it in the future, which was very good but unfortunately we will probably never teach history … (Hopefully not Rachel anyway, remember the Belfast murals comment from way back?) We also got to see around the Anne Frank House, which I have actually already seen but there were things I noticed the second time that I hadn’t the first time.
But of course the real fun started after the trip, when we finally got out into the sun to chill out by the canals. After most of the Dutch students left to go home and Erin was off to the airport to pick up Elliott for the weekend, we were down to five – Rachel, Rik, Sanne, Sem and myself.
So, off we headed to a steakhouse for burgers all round before we started walking to Museumplein to watch the Europa League Final between Manchester United and Amsterdam Ajax. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a football fan AT ALL, but seeing as we were in the city and it was FULL of supporters heading to watch it we thought we might as well! There were supporters in red and white EVERYWHERE, holding up red flames, setting off red colour powders (for want of a better description) and fireworks. The fireworks were not at all appreciated, considering the recent terror attacks in Manchester had really set us on edge about being in large crowds at big events and large bangs didn’t help towards this, they were setting them off everywhere, in the streets, canals… Ugh!
Anyway, we wandered around for ages trying to find somewhere to watch the match as Museumplein and Leidseplein were both apparently full. We found a spot to watch it at Rembrandt Square, however we realised about 30 minutes before the game started that the big screen we had plonked ourselves in front of, was actually just a commercial screen. We didn’t fancy watching the same Amsterdam nightclub commercial all night so we decided to ditch that idea and find a sports bar with a tv to watch it. But of course the entire population of the Netherlands had the same thought and people were actually queued out onto the street trying to catch a glimpse! But, we eventually found somewhere and the atmosphere was fantastic, even I was getting into it!!
However, by the second half it was clear things weren’t in the favour of Ajax, and the boys had seen warnings online not to take the last train home, so we decided to ditch the game 10 minutes early and leg it to the station! This is the result of a selfie Sanne tried to take on the move haha!!
We managed to make it there with plenty of time to spare (the Dutch are a good influence on our timekeeping), however so had half the city, so the train was CRAZY crowded.. Like no words to describe, except maybe that I was swaying between two strangers hips for around 30 minutes with another guy at my feet making signals that he felt really ill and was going to be sick on my shoes (forgot to mention it in my last blog but something similar happened in Paris and I didn’t fancy a repeat). This situation paired with piles of drunk football supporters didn’t make for a pleasant situation! We made our first stop in Utrecht, where an announcement was made in Dutch (thankfully we had good translators with us) that there wasn’t enough oxygen on the train for everyone so they would have to open the doors for a while… Reassuring… About 5 minutes later they made another announcement that the train wouldn’t be leaving any time soon and they were waiting on another train to divide the number of people up as the train couldn’t cope with it… Absolute nightmare! We were so glad to have the guys with us as there were a lot of drunken revellers, and poor Sem even witnessed a guy taking a line of cocaine and a joint in the space of 10 minutes… Casual as you like! We made it back to Nijmegen Centraal at around 1am, and our very kind dutch friend Rik (who is coming to visit NI in August with Sem – WOOP WOOP!!) drove us home, stopping at McDonalds for chicken nuggets on route… Friends who buy chicken nuggets are friends for life I say.
This photo doesn’t even do the train situation justice… Although this guy’s face sums up everyone’s thoughts!
After an eventful evening, we had a fairly uneventful couple of days after that, as we were all separated with Rachel going to meet her family in Amsterdam and Erin having Elliott over for a few days.. I thought I would use this weekend to work hard and get all my work done, but nooooo, a little rascal named Ellis Read persuaded me to go along to the beach on Saturday.
After a late start due to skyping home to organise not one but two events for the candy cart (my wee business) happening on Saturday, I eventually got into town to do some general bits and pieces and then met Ellis to go down to the beach. It was SO HOT in Nijmegen on Saturday, at one point it was 33 degrees… Poor Valantia was devastated when she reached into her bag for her beloved chocolate donuts and realised they were now just donuts swimming in melted chocolate. Valantia is addicted to chocolate and anything that will ‘put on the kgs’ so she ate them anyway – waste not want not, especially when it comes to chocolate!!
We would never have imagined in February when we arrived in the freezing cold weather wearing about 4 layers that we would be lying on the beach in May soaking up the sun in bikinis! As Ellis said yesterday – “If I’d known we would end up at the beach I might have taken the whole gym thing more seriously!”
There were several men at the beach though who didn’t appear to be as self-conscious as they stripped off in front of us to go skinny dipping …. At 5pm in the afternoon !!! The Dutch have no shame.
Aside from the unnecessary nudity, it was a perfect afternoon finished off with Ellis, Tomini and myself heading over to the Trek food festival which is a collection of vintage food trucks selling great quality food – right up my street!! I wonder could I get the candy cart booked in for next year?
We were chatting the other day and we discovered that (after this one) there will only be five more blogs and then we will be home … I don’t even want to think about that! I was so determined to get this blog up on time this week that I went over to Ellis’ flat to get it written, which worked for about 5 minutes and then we were watching carpool karaoke, travel vlogs and funny sunburn Facebook videos. Then at around 12am, we heard a lot of banging and were so excited to see a fireworks display on the other side of the river! So, we grabbed poor Valantia who was in sweats and had spot cream on her ‘little friends’ to go down to the river and watch. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any good photos, but it was just one of those little moments I was enjoying so much that I didn’t even get a photo!
Anyway, have a fantastic week,