The Revival in Rotterdam

Emily and I decided to go to Rotterdam for the weekend to check out the Revival premiere. Well actually, I’d already seen the film three times but thought it would be fun to hang out the the Vancouver crew, Laura and the Dutchies for the weekend.

Emily and I took the coach all the way there and back as flights and the train were looking really expensive as we were booking last minute. The coach was only £4o return but that meant we had to endure 12 hours each way.  It started off pretty badly when we had to give the drivers a twenty quid backhander EACH just so they would let us take our bikes with us. It was that or go straight back home (or leave our bikes in the middle of Victoria coach station, which was not an option). The coach was not fun at all – no light in the toilet meant that there was piss everywhere and we didn’t stop once so had to starve for 12 hours. Also, I’m sorry if your Mum, Dad or friend is a coach driver but I have to say that I have never met a meaner or stupider bunch.The shit these guys was coming out with was absolutely unreal. I think they must literally have been retarded.

When we arrived in Rotterdam Saskia was there to meet us with a couple of beers which was ace. Saskia  was an awesome tour guide the whole weekend plus her and John were kind enough to put Emily and I up. Thanks guys!

Friday morning, Emily and I went for a ride and checked out a couple of sites including this lovely gnome holding…. erm…….?

Rotterdam is really cycle friendly with cycle lanes everywhere plus amazingly, the drivers let you go first rather than turning into you like they do in England. It’s so mellow that it gets a bit boring at times!

We got some breakfast at 101 Pancakes. Loving that chandelier!

Later Wayne, Korey, Kati and Laura turned up. Tyler stayed in Paris and I heard he was having a great time riding with Rodolpe. The film went down really well and the evening was predictable messy. Emily and I missed the tricks comp as we went to get burgers.

Here is the calm before the storm –  Kati, Laura, Emily and me:

Things got good and rowdy later. Laura was in top form! We got told off for drinking on the streets which is illegal in Holland. The police were very polite about it though.

Unfortunately we were treated to torrential rain and freezing temperatures for most of the trip which meant that not a lot of riding went down but we had a great time! Met a lot of nice people and hung out with the guys from Rotterdam Fixed. We even went back to the pancake house where we witnessed a wierd Dutch tradition. At the beginning of December in Holland, Santa comes with his black helpers to give out gifts. So every year, people get blacked up and dressed up! I think some people try and claim that the helpers are black because they just came down the chimney but considering the Dutch’s colonial history I suspect that may not be the true reason…

Me and Em confused:

Santa liked Laura:

Comments (2)
  1. laura December 2, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I love the group picture!!!
    …still thinking about Santa tho….

  2. stijn December 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    it’s not santa thou
    he’s called “sinterklaas”
    he comes every year around december 6th
    bringing the kids presents and sweets (if you were nice and polite the year before)

    stolen from wikipedia:

    Celebration in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Lower Rhineland (Germany)
    Main article: Sinterklaas

    Sinterklaas in the Netherlands in 2007.In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ Eve (December 5) is the primary occasion for gift-giving, when his reputed birthday is celebrated. In this case, roles are reversed, though, in that Sinterklaas is the one who gives the presents. In Belgium, presents are generally given only to children on that day.

    In the days leading up to December 5 (starting when Saint Nicholas has arrived in the Netherlands by steamboat in late November), young children put their shoes in front of the chimneys and sing Sinterklaas songs. Often the shoe is filled with a carrot or some hay for the horse of St. Nicholas ( who in recent years has been named Amerigo). On the next morning they will find a small present in their shoe, ranging from a bag of chocolate coins to a bag of marbles or some other small toy. On the evening of December 5, Sinterklaas brings presents to every child that has been good in the past year (in practise, just like with santa claus all children get gifts). This is often done by placing a sack with presents outside the house or living room, after which a neighbour or parent bangs the door or window, pretending to be Sinterklaas’ assistant. Another option is to hire or ask someone to dress up as Sinterklaas and deliver the presents personally. Sinterklaas wears a bishop’s robes including a red cape and mitre, rides a white horse over the rooftops and is assisted by many mischievous helpers with black faces and colourful Moorish dress, dating back two centuries. These helpers are called ‘Zwarte Pieten’ (“Black Petes”) or “Père Fouettard” in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

    The myth is, if a child had been naughty, the Zwarte Pieten put all the naughty children in sacks, and Sinterklaas took them to Spain (it is believed that Sinterklaas comes from Spain, where he returns at the end of the night). Today, this is usually considered unpaedagogical and parents have ceased to tell their children this story in earnest. Nevertheless, many Sinterklaas songs still allude to a watching Zwarte Piet and a judging Sinterklaas.

    In the past number of years, there has been a recurrent discussion about the politically incorrect nature of the Moorish helper. In particular Dutch citizens with backgrounds from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles might feel offended by the Dutch slavery history connected to this emblem and regard the Zwarte Pieten to be racist. Others state that the black skin color of Zwarte Piet originates in his profession as a chimneysweep, hence the delivery of packages though the chimney.[citation needed]

    In recent years, Christmas (along with Santa Claus) has been pushed by shopkeepers as another gift-giving festival, with some success; although, especially for young children, Saint Nicholas’ Eve is still much more important than Christmas. The rise of Father Christmas (known in Dutch as de Kerstman) is often cited as an example of globalisation and Americanisation.[5]

    On the Frisian islands (Waddeneilanden), the Sinterklaas feast has developed independently into traditions very different from the one on the mainland.[6]

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