Happy Tulip Day on Nationale Tulpendag 2016!

As one of my Dutch friends says, the most important Dutch word is: ‘Gratis‘ which means ‘Free‘. I know everyone loves free stuff, but for Dutch people gratis holds an extra special spot in their hearts. This is why, when you also add to the equation the most famous Dutch flower, the tulip, you start an amazingly colorful event, loved by everyone.

Nationale Tulpendag is a celebration taking place every year, on the third Saturday of January, dedicated to tulips and color, when everyone is invited to pick their own tulips, from Amsterdam’s Dam Square.

National Tulip Day Jan 16 2016 - Dam Square Amsterdam

Dam Square is turned into a temporary garden, for one day, filled with over 200,000 tulips, waiting to find a good home. Even if still winter, this event marks the opening of the tulip season.

More than 10,000 people, in only 4 hours, go pick their favorite flower, every year, and obviously this year it was no different. And the best part is that it’s free!

In case you want to join the event, remember that the even if the opening hour is 1 o’clock, is better to arrive there one hour early, because you’ll have to wait in line to get in. Later in the day, the waiting becomes only longer, as more and more people want to enter the temporary garden.

As tulips are my favorite flowers, I just had to go pick a few. What can be better than spending some time between so many gorgeous tulips, in the middle of winter? Even better, coming home with the bike’s basket full of colorful flowers is a perfect way to brighten your day! If that doesn’t make you feel fabulous, I don’t know what does 🙂

National Tulip Day Jan 16 2016 Picking flowers and Bike basket

Even if there’s a long way to go until spring arrives, I’m extremely happy to be in garden full of flowers, even if only for a short while. Tulips definitely bring their own sunshine, and put a smile on everyone’s face.

Happy Tulip Day everyone!

National Tulip Day Jan 16 2016 Tulips


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Happy Dutch Pancake Goes Romanian!

Making new friends is always fun, and is nothing better than joining a group of people from all over the world, to exchange opinions, ideas and bring incredible experiences into the same room.

Only a few weeks ago I heard about the tradition of Dutch Pancake Party, which started in Hong Kong, a while back, as a thank you dinner, for the hosts of a group of Dutch students.

Starting with a nice gesture, the party became more of a tradition for Robin Vogelaar, who travels every week to a new city around the world, and organizes a new party. Meeting people through CouchSurfing and social networks, Robin finds a place to stay, someone willing to provide a location for the Pancake Night, invites as many people as possible, and gets busy cooking and making new friends.

Photo Credit – Aida Ivan

With over 90 such parties already taking place all over the world, from Europe to Asia, between 30 and 150 people present at every party, the Dutch Pancake Night became a phenomena.

When I met Robin, he told me about his idea to organize such a party in Bucharest, so I just had to join in. It was quite impressive to see so many people of all nationalities (Netherlands, Mauritius, Greece, Belgium, Albania, UK, Brazil, China, Romania), going into the kitchen, helping with the snacks, ingredients and cooking the pancakes.

Even if we had great plans in mind (making a lot of pancakes, for everyone present), with only a few pancakes going out of the kitchen door, we had to put an end to it sooner, as the neighbors got irritated with the noise. From what I understand, this happens all the time, in every location, so we really fast came up with a backup plan, and moved to a nearby pub, to continue the celebration. No one puts a stop to a determined group! 🙂

Photo Credit – Aida Ivan

The best part about such events is the cultural exchange. I always love to meet people with similar passions, skills and interests, and find out more about other cultures and traditions. Even better is to meet fascinating adventurous world travelers and start new friendships.

With the next location already in mind, so many amazing people and a few new wonderful friendships, I’m pretty sure the end of the party is only a see you later, not a goodbye. Looking forward to the next meeting!

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Special thanks to Aida Ivan for the event pictures