Amsterdam Gay Pride 2008

2 Aug 08: A unique event only found in Amstedam. For the uninitiated, this is a parade where the floats are actual boats going through the canals, featuring gays… mostly. Link to the event site is here.

Well given that my orientation within the city is still bad, I decided not to take a bike out and took a tram instead. It was challenging first to find a tram stop which is close enough to the canal route of the pardade. What I did was to ride all the way to Central Station and then double back. It was an odd stop which I did not think much about it until later. While it was very crowded, there is still room to worm your way to find a decent spot to see.

Photography in total convenience

Photography in total convenience

Viewing from rooftop

Viewing from rooftop

   

Lots of confetti, smoke, music, cheering, singing, dancing, struting…. the list goes on. This is the time where having a boat is great, you get very good vantage up close. The bridges side roads along the canal are all jam packed with people. And typical of Amsterdam, lots of beer going around in cans, bottles and glasses.

The aftermath was litter everywhere, buildings decorated (unintentionally) with confetti, it looks like there will be a massive clean up project to put the city back to clean and green.

Heading home, that’s a real challenge. I realised I was close to Town Hall (het Stadhuis) and the Opera House so I headed to the tram stop there. After like a 15 minute wait, I started to be more aware of my surroundings….. no cars passing by, 2 bicycles parked in the middle of the road, a police car parked in the middle as well. Peeking inside the notice of the tram stop, I saw a paper notice…. in Dutch 😦 Looking at the numbers and lots of wild guessing, I concluded that my usual tram had detoured due to the festivites until perhaps 7pm.

Before I hiked back to where I alighted earlier, I grabbed a hot dog from one of the many vans selling. Filled up, I tried to backtrack which I did not quite suceed. Lost at one point, I aimed for a main road where I saw many trams going by and hoped that’s where my detoured tram will stop. And I ended up at Weesperplein Metro station. Realising I was in the wrong direction, I walked to the opposite tram stop and had to run for it as I saw my tram arriving. Well not really running but more of a limping gait since my knee from the last bike fall had not fully recovered.

And it was a packed tram which I managed to squeeze myself in. Unknowingly till later, my housemate was on the very same tram too. I was in the back and they were in front. And so we walked back to the house together.

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