There is nothing like being able to explore the Netherlands like I have in the past several weeks. So far, I’ve been to Volendam and Zaanse Schans, but this weekend I went to see Bladel and Eindhoven too. Most people are only familiar with Amsterdam so it’s great to know that on top of getting to know my own city, I have the opportunity to familiarize myself with other cities in the Netherlands as well.
We visited Bladel and Eindhoven because Emily’s family is from there and to celebrate Carnaval. Carnaval is a traditionally Catholic celebration before lent that lasts four days. Everyone dresses up in silly costumes to celebrate. We took the train down to Eindhoven, then the bus to Bladel, and got picked up from there. Bladel is actually the cutest little village. It was insanely quiet and small, in comparison to Amsterdam. Right away, we got dressed up in our Where’s Waldo (“Wally”) gear and headed down to the village’s most popular and maybe only club, Ambiani for a pre-Carnaval celebration. We got to the club at 6:00PM. That was an absolute first for me. It wasn’t empty either– it was actually really full. Everybody in this village either grew up with each other or knows each other because of some reason so we were the odd ones out. We always got asked: “What brings you here?”, every time and when we said we were from Los Angeles, they responded with: “What the hell are you doing here?!” The floors were absolutely filthy with beer spilled and cups thrown everywhere. I wore my white converse. Yeah. Rest in peace. They’re going in the wash. On top of that, we reeked of smoke. I probably had enough second hand smoke to just about kill me. Anyway, we didn’t last too long and ended up next door a couple of times for pizza and ice cream/milkshakes to hang out and talk for the rest of the night.
The next day was Day 1 of Carnaval. We took the bus back to Eindhoven and started our day there around 1:00PM. The amount of creative costumes and drunken people were insane. As the day progressed, Eindhoven filled with more and more people. Soon, we weren’t able to walk through a crowd without pushing past people around us. We ended up talking to a lot of people and even hung out with some of our new friends (shout out to you, card guy). It is great that we experienced Carnaval in Eindhoven, since it isn’t celebrated up in Northern Holland. It was a super cool, super fun experience but I was insanely pooped and felt dirty. People threw beer everywhere, spilling it on you and just like Ambiani, but worse, the floors were sticky from beer and cups were everywhere!
Over the weekend, I kept feeling homesick for Amsterdam. Being in the village made me realize I could never live in such a small area. Although it was a great experience, I actually ended up missing the city and was super excited to be home in Amsterdam!Oh! Emily and I also found ice cream today. It was great.