So we didn’t know about this King’s Day thing in the Netherlands. Now we do!
King’s Day in the park
We both did nice work preparing ahead of time with bookings for the sites likely to fill up, especially when we were hosting four extra travelers. The one big exception was the Van Gogh Museum, though I held out hope because as recent as two weeks ago I was seeing same day and next day tickets pop up. That changed as our visit to Amsterdam approached - nothing at all was showing up. Then one of us noted that the King’s Day holiday was coming up - maybe that was the reason?
I was also astonished at the hotel prices, easily 40% higher than any of our previous cities (including Venice, though maybe this is just Amsterdam now?). And the Indonesian restaurant I sent a reservation request too for dinner for that holiday evening was ghosting me.
We finally started using our web search skills and comprehension set in. Looks like this is going to be a big party. And it was! It started the night before with live music and DJs setup on just about every plaza we encountered in town.
On King’s Day proper we had Rijksmuseum tickets and decided to stroll our way through the nearby Vondelpark on our way to my backup Indonesian food plan: a takeaway lunch spot. It was not an easy stroll, as all the major paths were congested with families and kids running carnival games, playing music, selling used toys and clothing.
So cute and so much fun! No drunken revelry, sunny but cool weather, and families enjoying their celebration together. It was slow going through the park, but fun nonetheless. We returned to our hotel for an afternoon rest, with a plan to wander around a bit and maybe check off a few more Amsterdam locations we were hoping to see.
Boats are slightly involved
Things really started hopping in the mid afternoon. Remember the DJs and bands in the plazas? Now there were DJs at just about every canal and main road intersection, and the crowds were becoming dense. I felt like I was back at a fraternity party, and the folks around us mostly appeared to be in the college age range. We could anticipate that there were going to be a lot of bad decisions made that night in Amsterdam.
Little bit crowded
After pushing through a few crowds, working our way to the center of town only to see that most everything was going to be closed, we committed to finding our way back to the hotel for an early retirement. Food was scarce as even the groceries were closing down, so we grabbed some street veggie samosas and called it a night.