Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's that time of year again...

It's that time of year again in Nijmegen - the Vierdaagse is now in it's third day. Known as the 'International Four Day Marches' in English, our neighbourhood will once again become transformed tomorrow into the finishing line of this huge event. Unlike last year, we haven't actually seen much of the festivities - mostly because the thought of going out late (especially while it's cold and raining!) at 35 weeks pregnant and listening to extremely loud music while everyone around me gets to drink tasty Dutch beer, is the least appealing thing right now.

Even without going to any of the parties, it's been very easy to tell what time of year it is. The official vierdaagse flag (or at least, that's what I'm assuming it is?!?!) is proudly displayed on the flagpole of many houses in our neighbourhood and our usually quiet little town is covered in orange & green bunting and overrun with people.

I took a little trip into the centre yesterday and it was actually quite refreshing hearing some many people speaking English - there are Aussies, Americans and British everywhere!!!! I was amused though at an elderly American couple commenting on how cold it is and wondering how the locals don't appear to be freezing - their answer to their own question being that this weather is probably 'hot' for the Europeans!!!! (and I was thinking no! no! no!!!! It's so cold here at the moment - this isn't summer!!!).

The most amusing thing for me about the vierdaagse is how early the Dutch like to claim their viewing spot for the finale. Last year, the couches and chairs on our street started appearing mid week and I thought that was pretty organised. This year however - the couches and chairs started appearing on SUNDAY!!!! Almost a week in advance and yet, no-one steals them. They just sit out there all week on the footpath, and it doesn't seem to bother anyone. One of the things I've noticed in the time we've been living here is just how organised and efficient the Dutch as a whole are, but still - getting your spot claimed this far in advance still amazes me.

I'm looking forward to watching the festivities tomorrow - from the comfort of our dining room windows, of course. There is no way this pregnant belly is pushing through the crowds of people!!!!

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