Thursday, July 18, 2013

Somewhere in the Netherlands

After rearranging the end of our trip, we found that we had a few extra days.  We wanted to find somewhere off the beaten path in the Netherlands (our 10th country of the trip!) - somewhere that would be good for outdoorsy adventures.  While in Germany, we ran into folks from Holland (which actually just refers to a small part of the Netherlands, although people seem to use it interchangeably with "Netherlands" as well, which was confusing), and one of the places they recommended was Nijmegen.

While researching Nijmegen, we learned that it is the location for the Netherlands' biggest festival (a Wikipedia article calls it the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen), which would start the day we planned to leave Nijmegen (July 13).  Apparently, the city swells from 160,000 people to 1.6 million people or more for this marching festival during which people walk anywhere from 30-50 km per day.  We thought it could be interesting to see a city setting up for such a huge influx of people, so off we went.

The first thing we discovered was that our fancy-sounding room was not so fancy.  The online description said it included a spiral staircase.  It did, they weren't lying, but it didn't go anywhere.  It just took up space in the room:
As we wandered around, we learned that the Netherlands apparently has a problem with drunk men peeing all over the place during large festivals.  To combat this, they had these plastic urinals set up everywhere (the sign on the right warns people not to pee in public... and is located rather close to the urinals?):
We also noticed they were making great use of existing structures - using this old ruin to set up a stage:
I also finally took a picture of a Doner kebab.  These are all over Europe, and we've eaten at several:
Our main goal for Nijmegen was to get out and enjoy nature.  To this end, we took a long walk past some interesting sites.  These permanent houseboats lined one of the rivers we passed:
We also saw some horses:
and fields of wildflowers:
and some really big plants:
Lastly, to kill time one evening, we wandered around looking in shop windows.  This particular fashion statement caught our attention:

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