Posts Tagged ‘ Amsterdam ’

Koninginnedag in Amsterdam

Netherland’s most popular holiday is Queen’s Day locally known as Koninginnedag. And what better time (or not if you hate crowds) to visit Amsterdam for the first time! Street parties, everyone in a chill party mood and orange all around! Crazy fun that’s for sure! :D

Admittedly, I had no idea what the celebration was for. I just booked a ticket on impulse coz somebody brought to my attention the insanely cheap ticket price going there and I wanted to do some partying! ;)

The country’s monarchy before was unpopular to the public but they loved their princess, Wilhelmina. To gain national unity, it was decided that they’ll celebrate the princess’ birthday. It was then called Prinsessedag and fell on the last day of school making it popular with children. When she ascended the throne, it was renamed Koninginnedag.

When Juliana, Wilhelmina’s daughter, became the queen, they moved the date of celebration to her birthdate, April 30. Juliana’s daughter, Beatrix, married Claus (a German who served the German army during the war) causing anti-German riots during the holiday. In a bid to disrupt these riots, officials decided to open the city of Amsterdam to flea markets that are normally held outside the city so there won’t be space for the protesters, starting a new custom.

When Beatrix succeeded the throne, she retained the celebration on the 30th of April as a tribute to her mother and also because her birthday is on January, too cold for a celebration. The queen makes it a point to visit a different town each year and to honour notable citizens of Netherlands.

Some pictures taken during Koninginnedag 2012:

Amsterdam’s canals and bicycles!

Flea markets abound!

The city turns into one big market where you can buy anything from books to (Rembrandt) paintings!

There are lots of good finds. :)

Sellers are anyone from little tykes to these classy ladies ;)

Aside from turning into one big market, the city is bathed in orange! Netherland’s colours :)

People from all over come to celebrate with the locals :D

There just might be as many boats as there are bikes! Haha

Joining the fun with newly made friends! :D

Cheers from Amsterdam! x

This is my entry for Carnival of Europe hosted by DJ Yabis at Dream Euro Trip. :)

Related posts:
DIY: Schengen Visa Application
Getting around in Europe
Practical tips for Paris

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Getting around in Europe :)

I know I wanna travel all over Europe but I was clueless as to how to go about booking my trips. I’ve asked friends, read websites and based from my experience, it’s quite easy. As easy as booking crazy cheap fares within the Philippines! :D

Travelling within the UK:

There are various modes of transportation within the country. You can either travel by plane, bus or coach which is almost the same, I can’t differentiate one from the other -_-; or train. Buses are the cheapest mode of transportation but it’s where you’ll spend the most hours on the road. Trains are way more convenient but pricier. Planes on the other hand are affordable but the airport/s are outside of London.

Megabus is a popular choice for bus travel because they’re very cheap! And with cheap, something like £1 to go to Oxford or £8 to go to Paris! Because it’s very affordable, many tend to choose this one. I would have to say that their buses aren’t the most comfy but at least you saved some money. National Express coaches on the other hand are almost double the price of Megabus (their one-way trip for Amsterdam can cost £20) but definitely a more comfortable choice. The seats can be reclined unlike the former and you can charge your gadgets which is a big plus for people with an iPhone whose battery life totally sucks! haha :) But I recently took a National Express coach to go to Cambridge and I didn’t find any plug for chargers. Maybe they only them have on selected buses?

I am yet to travel by train within UK. Though options include National Rail, Virgin, Southwest, East Midlands and The Train Line amongst others.

Traveling within Europe:

Visiting other European countries is easy as well once you have the appropriate papers (ie. Schengen visa).  You can do it by bus, train, plane, ferry, your own car, even hitch hike if you want to. I’ve had guests who got to London via hitchhiking.

Aboard the Eurostar enroute to Paris! :D

For my first Eurotrip, I went to Paris via Eurostar. I got it for£84 return trip which according to people I know here is very cheap. I checked the prices there and it’s normally around £100+ so I guess it’s better to book in advance and it also help to travel on weekdays rather than weekends, way cheaper fares! There are several train lines to choose from when you are crossing borders within mainland Europe: TGV, Thalys; and much more if you’re traveling within a European country (ie. Italy’s Tren Italia).

Note: If traveling within mainland Europe, it’s perfectly alright to get to your train at least 10minutes before it departs because they would only check your ticket. But please arrive earlier if you’re traveling between UK and  any other European country. They have border control. I totally forgot this and got to the train station at almost the time of departure that’s why I had to miss my train back to London! T_T Disaster was avoided when they allowed me to board the next train at no extra charge. hehehe (And there I was hoping that I could stay longer in Paris! Oh well! lol)

In Brussel’s Central Station :)

Flying is cheap IF you’re going with low cost carries such as Easy Jet and Ryan Air. A one way ticket between Venice and London cost me £30. There are cheaper flights to other countries. Just be patient in looking for those cheap fares and besides, they always have promos. ;) But just with what I’ve said from the start of this post, these airlines tend to operate in airports outside of London so you have to take into consideration that you’ll travel another hour to get to them (Luton, Gatwick or Stansted) and that you’ll need to buy a bus or train ticket to get there.

On the other hand, if you really wanna travel cheap, go to mainland Europe by bus. I paid £10 (one way) for a Megabus ticket between London and Amsterdam. It entails having to sit for 10hours straight though but I guess it won’t be so bad since I’ll be with other couchsurfers! Eurolines also have cheap fares. ;)

There! Hope that helps you out in deciding on how to travel within this part of the world! ;)

Bon voyage!

ps: If you’ll notice, I’ve already bought many tickets to many countries here. Old habits die hard I guess. hehe

Related posts:

DIY: Schengen Visa Application

Practical tips for Paris
Paris Must See(s)
Inside: Louvre Museum
Le French Riviera

Koninginnedag in Amsterdam

Londres! Londra! London!

Bella Italia!
Rome, the Eternal City!
Rome: Must See(s)
Amalfi Coast
Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

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