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Halloween in Amsterdam

10/28/2012

I know that Halloween is supposed to be a festival of Celtic origin that has been commercialised into an American one, however with mid-terms over the students here decided that we had to celebrate.  I think it is fair to say that the essays and exams were harder than we expected, so everyone was in a party mood.  Our resident associates did some sterling work in organising a party in the living room, prior to many of the residents going off to paint the town red in true Halloween fashion.  It was a little slow in getting off the crowd, but by ten it was absolutely rocking, as the photographs will attest.

There were some very interesting costumes, including one native of Montana dressed as God.  I decided not to ask any further questions…..A number of Catwomen were also in appearance, but no complaints there, and one of the residents assistants put on an excellent display as a gangster.  The Three Amigos were also in attendance, and proved to be the life and soul of the party.  I have to confess being exhausted by midnight when everyone headed off to the main event, and took some fresh air before turning in.

This morning it was another bright sunny autumn day, which I decided was too good to waste indoors and headed off for a novel experience.  I headed to Het Amsterdamse Bos, or the Amsterdam forest, which was planted during the Depression to create some much needed employment (Irish government take note).  It does look very natural though, with many mature trees and parkland interspersed with cycle tracks and walking paths.  The relative peace and quiet was lovely, although it is in the flight path of Schipol airport, so a number of low flying aircraft were in evidence.  The autumn colours and crisp air were gorgeous, even the mud seemed to have a charming squelch underfoot.

The tram journey back across the city was a treat as well, watching the city slide by as the trams rumbled along was exactly the tonic I needed after such a bracing walk in the outdoors.  It seems to change with the seasons in a more intense way than many other cities I have visited, perhaps due to the proliferation of trees throughout.  For those readers who wish to experience a similar scene to Amsterdam Forest I can recommend the demesne of Malahide Castle in Dublin, or Newlands Forest in Cape Town.  It really is a luxury to have such a natural setting within easy reach of city life.  The strain and stress of city life can really intensify, and one often does not realize how much one is affected until one can escape from that environment, if even for a while.

 

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