I hope you all had a safe, enjoyable New Year’s Eve celebration. As is the Dutch tradition, fireworks and firecrackers were going off all day yesterday and at midnight the real show began. We went out to enjoy some of the displays. It’s all amateur fireworks, rather than official programs, which makes it all even more impressive at times.
That’s the Domtoren in the center distance, next to the fireworks. Next is a group of guys preparing to set off a long string of firecrackers. Video of the actual firecrackers follows. Check your volume first!
And this is a video to give you an idea of how loud and crazy it can all be. One seemed to go a bit wayward, which is what lead to a bit of the wobbly camera and lots of laughing afterward.
Last night, about a quarter to midnight, we headed out toward the Oudegracht to watch the fireworks that would be going off all over the city. Taking a somewhat circuitous route, despite the rain, we made it to the Stadhuis just in time for midnight, hearing crowds of people counting down the last few seconds. New Year’s Eve is rarely my favourite celebration, but it gained appeal last night as we stood there with the Stadhuis next to us, the Oudegracht running beneath us, and the Domtoren rising up above us. The fireworks were the icing on the cake, or the sparklers in the ice cream, as I’ve seen restaurants do here for special birthday treats.
We saw some great fireworks over by the Visbrug. I was staring up at the sky with a huge grin on my face, despite the frequent rain drops in the eye! We then went over to the Domplein to watch some of the smaller rockets being set off right in front of the Domtoren. Looking back the other way we could see more fireworks rising up over Mariaplaats.
Some of the best views came from the Maartensbrug, which gave us multiple views, both north to the Stadhuis and south toward the Donkere Gaard. While we were there, we were even offered oliebollen by someone going around with a big bowl of them. He may have been trying to get rid of them before they got too soggy from the rain.
Despite staying out until after 1 am and not getting to bed until after 2 am, I was still up early this morning at 8:30. So much for my hopes of sleeping in. The day was dark and rainy, but surprised us with sunshine this afternoon. We decided to take advantage of the nice shift in the weather and went out to take a little walk around town. We were one of many couples and families out for a promenade. I forgot to check if the Bacchus fountain at Janskerkhof was sporting a wine bottle again, but we did see the remains of the many fireworks. Empty containers and spent casings were everywhere.
Tonight we’re sticking with the Southern tradition of some sort of pork, some greens, and black-eye peas, all meant to bring luck, wealth, and general prosperity. Let’s hope it works this year; we could use some!