Turned up to The Netherlands and it’s The Kings birthday

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21 miles till Eindhoven in The Netherlands. I didn’t enjoy my first experience of AirBnB. I found it weird that we were literally staying in someones room. It felt dodgy, but James didn’t care less. He still stripped and slept fine, I decided to sleep in my sleeping bag on the bed and woke up through out the night. I forgot how much I loved sleeping bags though, oh God it’s so comforting. I shuffled right down to the bottom like I used to do as a kid and looked up at the opening like I was in my own cocoon or cave. I had a hoot, as you can tell, while James was being an adult in his duvet watching BBC news – the only English channel. I had anxiety yesterday and I swear that the sleeping bag helped.

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James’s day started with a cigarette outside as usual. He said he was leaning on the wall outside the apartment in his drowsy state that I know all too well. Well, well, unbeknown to him be was leaning on all the buzzers to the building – so an old man came to open the door.

5 days we were in Germany, that’s the most in one country so far – and seeing as we have 5 days left it’ll be the most we spent in one country on this trip. Europe seems like such a community. The freedom of travel is amazing, just popping to Belgium to buy a sleeping bag or going down a hill in Luxembourg and up in Germany. It’s such a shame England are leaving the EU. I believe in unity.

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Turns out we have arrived on the day of The Kings birthday. Looks like there will be parties going on, but we are still oblivious to how they will celebrate other than with bright orange balloons and posters. Nindhoven is decked out. I feel like we’re detectives piecing together all the clues. Call me Harriet The Spy – bloody loved that film.

It’s a bit misleading really – do they clean their shops and streets everyday at 10:17 or is it for the King? It’s amazing. We literally turned up to The Netherlands to this. Maybe the festivities were last night because I just trod in sick. More clues.

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Cat calling is disgusting in all countries, fun fact.

Found a stage covered in orange balloons and DJs setting up, street vendors, bars opening. Definitely today. Definitely a party. ‘Kings Day’ a local said, ‘they get crazy’. Another said last night was Kings night and today is Kings day, but turns into another Kings night and the bars stay open till 4am. The streets are filling up with people dressed all in orange.

We watched some sort of birthday presentation on the TV. It made no sense but we were still entertained. The Kings daughters less so. Maybe they should forget the language and see it from our point of view.

It all rings a bell actually, the Dutch couple in Duppach was saying about Kings Day and the kids have time off school and everyone celebrates. Like the Queens jubilee. Except that wasn’t her birthday but loads of people at her concert thing kept saying ‘Happy Birthday’, and everyone watching on TV was like ‘what?!’. Remember that?

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The little town where we are staying are also celebrating. Roads closed so had to walk our suitcase to the hotel which was in the middle of it all. I joked to the receptionist that we would be disappointed if it wasn’t like this next time we come.

The time when we always check in, about 3, is when we have a little rest and I write up a post from the day before from my notes, but ladies and gentlemen we are wild creatures, I tell you, that took off into the..day.. and went straight out.

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The whole town has come out, and we are part of it. A stage, beer, stools (which seems to be more of a boot fair rather than a market). They said they don’t get a lot of tourists in these parts, but here we are, two English tourists joining in the celebration for The King. We both said we felt like we got into a festival for free.

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I would have liked to of gotten an orange hat or crown that people were wearing. Luckily I was wearing my bleach dyed jumper, so I was a little orange. I think subconscious I must have known.

We went to a pub which had such a friendly, joyous vibe. It was another moment when I felt so lucky to be on this road trip. Random as fuck. People merry on something were dancing around singing Dutch songs. One old guy put my hood up up and started to sing to me and another bloke stroked James’s beard. I even put on makeup for The King. Didn’t wash my hair though, he’s not my King. Then we went for a Chinese. Just amazing.

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James’s words of wisdom for the day;

‘I’m the only one wearing joggers. Maybe you don’t wear joggers on Kings day.’

‘They haven’t cottoned onto the whole beard thing.’

*Looked up articles whether a beard is acceptable in Europe, and read something about usually only artists have them*
‘I’ll take the photo, I’m the artist here.’

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