Day 3 Sunday 31/12/06 – New Year’s Eve!
Today was museum day. It had to be as they are all shut tomorrow. We all started in the van Gogh museum with it’s fascinating “van Gogh and the expressionists” exhibition. However it soon became apparent that most of our group were philistines and went off to do other things. Kat and I remained in the van Gogh most of the day and then went to the Rijksmuseum for dessert. Unfortunately a large part of this museum is closed for refurbishment. The art is on display elsewhere in the city. since we only had a limited amount of time to look round, it is probably a good thing.
We all met up back at the hostel just before dinner time and then headed out to the Tibetan restaurant we had booked for dinner. The food was excellent and plentiful and this is where my pictures start again.
Kat amused by Lisa and Helen’s attempts to eat soup(?)
Lisa and Helen attempt to eat soup.
After dinner we headed to Dam Square for the official party. We were confused on arrival to find a 10 second count down in progress but quickly confirmed that it was 11 and not 12; we never did find out what that was all about.
The mad crowds in Dam Square. Despite having had to battle against a huge flow of people going away from the square to get there, the place was very crowded. Kat, Josie and I soon got separated from the others in the press and once we had established where they were, the crowd was too thick to get to them. You can see in some of the pictures the traditional Dutch habit of completely ignoring firework safety instructions, a practice that was to become the main theme for the rest of the evening. Every one in the square was very friendly and cheerful and there was a great atmosphere of anticipation.
After reuniting in Dam Square we headed to Nieuw Markt where several bonfires had been lit on the square. This is right by where out hostel is so I feel sorry for anyone who was trying to get a decent night’s sleep there as this is where the majority of the fireworks were.
Everyone appears a little drunk in these pictures, although you will notice from the last one that Josie is hogging most of the bottles!
The crowds are starting to thin out now but there is little let up in the party atmosphere.
The fire brigade turned up to put out the bonfires, causing no small amount of distraction among the girls of our group.
For some reason they did not put this one out though. A drunken man did turn up a little later and attempt to put it out using his own personal “hose”, a very brave thing to do to a fire that is composed almost entirely of fireworks!
What a mess.
Many of the fireworks set off were the huge multi shot type and all of the above pictures were taken of one single firework just by holding down the trigger on the camera. These are the only pictures I bothered to take of fireworks really. There was so much going on that my usual “document everything” attitude disappeared.
A firework like this once chased my mother down a street (in Amstelveen I think) on New Year many moons ago.
The Christmas decorations
The aftermath. The red stuff on the streets is the paper from the outside of bangers.
Looking cool in the bar after the madness outside. We briefly considered staying there past the curfew and just staying up until 7am when the hostel would let us in. How did we manage to find a hostel in Amsterdam that does not permit smoking, drugs, alcohol or sex and locks its doors at 3am (2am normal days)? That’s what you get for choosing a Christian hostel I suppose. I’m disappointed that I forgot to take a picture of the enormous “Jesus is Lord” sign on the first floor.
We got back to the hostel 10 minutes before lockdown and collapsed into bed.