Friday, January 13, 2012

{New Years Eve in Amsterdam}

Corey and I flew back from the States just in time to celebrate New Years Eve in Amsterdam. We had plans to join friends for a house party, but realized upon arriving that we were way too jet lagged and exhausted to do much, plus we had a terrified pup to attend to. You see, fireworks are illegal in the Netherlands every other day of the year, so people go nuts on NYE. From the time we woke up we started hearing them go off. As the day progressed the cracks and booms got louder and louder, and once we even thought our windows would blow out (seriously). We spent much of our day staying inside consoling Henry, who's not a fan of fireworks. In the evening we sat around and drank strong Belgian beers (out of champagne flutes) and talked about our wishes for 2012. Around 11:30 we decided we should at least go out for a bit and experience the commotion and smooch under the colorful bursts of fire at midnight. 

We walked about three blocks to Nieuwmarkt (where we also bought our Christmas tree!) and as soon as we stepped outside we were surrounded by thousands of people, crowded streets and terrifyingly close firecrackers being lit all around us. I saw a girl chugging whiskey out of a nearly-empty bottle of Jack Daniels, and the smell of marijuana surrounded us. It was clear that people had come from all over the world to celebrate the beginning of the New Year here - and they wanted to bring it in with a bang. We stood together for a while in awe of all the chaos and couldn't help but feel like we were in the middle of a war zone. We had to dodge fireworks more than once as people threw them off their balconies down onto the congested streets. The whole scene was like nothing I'd seen before. It was 4th of July on steroids - and with no rules. Drunken people lighting off fireworks wherever and whenever they wanted - regardless of how many people were around.

At midnight things really went crazy. We kissed at midnight, took a few photos, and then realized that by now Henry must be having a mild heart attack and we'd better get back. Plus, I was scared for my life and was more than happy to go back and seek refuge in our apartment. I figured our quiet street would be saved from the madness, but when we finally turned onto it we found some drunken men lighting off huge fireworks right in front of our door. They were so big you could feel their vibrations deep in your chest. We ran up to our apartment to find Henry shaking uncontrollably. We quickly consoled him and turned some music up loud to try (naively) to drown out the noises coming from outside. We were glad we decided to stay home with him that night (save for 30 minutes)! The fireworks didn't stop until around 4AM, so our jet lag woes continued into the next day. All in all we were happy to be here and experience the craziness that is Amsterdam on NYE, but I have to say that next year you'll probably find us holed up in a cabin in the country - far, far away from it all. 

{Fun with Photo Booth}

{Heading out into the madness...}
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}
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