Hello. Friday I took the girls to West Amsterdam to a college building, that we were advised to go to . the receptionist just asked who’d told us to go there, said it was wrong, and gave us a leaflet. Another wasted journey! This sort of thing can be very dispiriting. Then I had to rush away to meet Fred at Amstelveen Busstation for his Dr appointment. He looked at the arm and said, Fred doesn’t need any more physiotherapy sessions, but he did try to interest Fred in doing a sport!
Lola was sent to see a woman on Thursday afternoon, advised by the therapy Dr. She enjoyed herself, so that’s good.
Saturday. Lee and I went to Breukelen. We looked at this old castle, but it’s now a privately owned university, so we couldn’t get very close.
In the Limburg cafe, over a coffee we were discussing the arrival into Amsterdam (and Uithoorn) on Saturday 18th Nov, of Sint & his jolly/controversial accomplices the Zwarte Piets. I was in UK so we missed it. Lee hadn’t realised it was on, and we thought we’d missed out on this culturally different, Dutch phenomenon. Oh well, hopefully next year!
As we excited the cafe we saw this fella, who gave out handfuls of Pepernoten from his sack and happily got photoed by people.
Our 1st Zwarte Piet!
We had a good look around Breukelen, then got on the 526, the little bus mum & I had seen in the film “Soof”. Which is just a minibus from Breukelen to Uithoorn, but it passed through some very small villages and we saw oodles of cute detailed cottages and such.
Then! We were passing through De Hoef, which was a small village on the right, the river “Kromme Mijdrecht” was on the left, and on a single carriage road. There was a big crowd filling the road of spectators, kids dressed up as Zwarte Piet – colourful satiny renaissance type outfits & blackface. There was a small brass band all in Piet costume too, all waiting excitedly for the arrival of Sint.
There were some negotiations between our driver & the crowd, and we had to inch through the crowd, and plenty of people thought Sint might be in the bus, but no. It was just me & Lee!
A bit strange!
Then a couple of minutes down the road, we spotted the boat approaching, with Sint and his companion Piets, who throw sweets to the kids & frolic a bit.
So that was that. Obviously the blackface thing is very strange to us coming from PC Britain. But the occasion itself was quite exciting and fun.