Monday, February 11, 2013

Gorinchem's Dutch Carnaval, 2013

Two months after moving to the Netherlands in 2009, I experienced my first European carnaval, coinciding with America's Mardi Gras, and I blogged about it here.  That was in 2010, 3 years ago.

After 2 years of not going outside the apartment to witness the same ol' thing, I had a hankering this year to see it all over again...the kids!  Astrid still has nothing with carnaval but in conjunction with our Saturday café date, she agreed to a spot where we could see the parade march by while we were eating.

Lucky for me, two of the biggest cuties of them all were inside the cafe, waiting with us:

This little princess sat with her g'pa up at the bar before and after.
See the confetti on his jacket?
I'm not sure who was prouder.  She really wanted me to know this was her opa!
And later, the lady of the café made sure we knew opa was not in costume.
He's one of their regulars.

Not to be outdone, this little cowboy was at the table next to us.
A real gun-slinger!

Once we finshed eating and paid our bill, we stood outside the café and watched.  The best way I can descibe carnaval here in our city is American Halloween without the floats.  I guess that's why I didn't take pictures of the floats!

I started taking pictures of the kids across the street from us...
when suddenly a pushy lady was in my face saying "GINNIE!"
She probably had been yelling at me across the street but I hadn't noticed.
It was dear Gerrie, one of my Rummikub co-players at our senior complex.
And yes, I then took pictures of her and all her kids...2 sons and 3 g'kids!
Wake up, Ginnie!

See what I mean?  How can you resist these cutie-pies!

They were having so much fun, scooping up the confetti and throwing it like snow.
All the boys against the one girl.  HA!  Go get 'em, Girl!

I think I've told you before how much I love family togetherness in these events.
Sometimes it's the Daddy who does the care-giving, which I love to see.
This one spent a lot of time looking at the real-estate ads in the window.  Hmmmm.

Daddy's and g'pas are so proud of their little girls...
and boys, even it they're little devils!

Don't you just want to eat them up!  Well, some of them.

What do YOU want to be when you grow up????
(He sure reminds me of Sean Astin!)

Maybe you'd like to be the Prince of the Carnaval?  Prins Jacobus, in fact.
That's the man with the pheasant feathers...head of the parade this year.
Who knows who the other diplomats were!
It's all big stuff...that's all I know.

 Like in most of Europe, the festivities span 5 days, Friday - Fat Tuesday!
But the actual parade was on Saturday.

  We didn't stay long but long enough to catch those still arriving..
Kids really do wait for this...well, like for Halloween!
Remember those days as a kid?

No pumpkins or spider webs...but lots of confetti and plastic spray everywhere.
What a mess!

I'll try to pay attention to how long it takes to clean the place up...just a couple blocks from where we live.  But as far as I'm converned, it's totally worth it!  I might not even wait 3 years before I head outside again to take a peek.


  1. My little guy LOVED this carnaval. He said he would be a cowboy - imagine that :)

    1. HAHAHA! Not that he's ever seen a horse in his life, Margaret! :D

  2. how cute is that little cowboy! does this parade attract many tourists?

  3. Good question, Maria. Astrid says Gorinchem does not attract tourists like the bigger cities in the Netherlands do, like Breda, Tilburg, and Maastricht. Ours is for the locals and is just perfect for us.

  4. Too cute!

    I can't wait to see what James will be for Halloween each year. :-)

    1. Believe it or not, Ruth, I thought of you and James almost the entire time! :)

  5. I have to admit, it was fun. To me, Gorinchem is not the best place to celebrate carnaval. Most people will say, Carnaval is for people 'below the big rivers' and remember Gorinchem is above the big rivers (seen on the map of the Netherlands.
    Those kids were great. You did a wonderful job again. I think I love that fire-man and the cowboy.......
    One day James will be like that with Halloween..... :)

    1. I can understand your aversion to carnaval, MLMA, especially since you grew up with it year after year. Some people have that same aversion to Halloween in America. But for me it's all still new and is definitely about the children. I'm so glad you were such a good sport! :) Thanks.

  6. Oh I love it! I know Cam would eat this up too.. She'd have so much fun saying "hi" to everyone... And dressing up.. the kids are so adorable!

    1. Yes, definitely, Jen. Your precious Cam would be the hit of the parade. :)

  7. Oh my! How fun!! And YES, I could just eat them up! Fab captures my dear, as always!! So happy to be back and checking on all that I've missed! xoxo

    1. You would have a heyday here during carnaval, Robin. :) Thank you. It's good to have you back.

  8. Those little kids are so colorful – it certainly was good for your camera! And you had fun on top of that!

    By the way I think I heard that Queen Beatrix is going to abdicate in April? In favor of her son Willem Alexander? I would think that there will be a great party when all this is happening? I hope you can take some photos.

    1. Carnaval is for the kids here in our city, Vagabonde. Totally worth going out for with the camera!

      And yes, Queen Beatrix just turned 75 and wants her son to now carry the mantle. The country LOVES Willem Alexander and his Argentinian wife. It'll be good for the country. We won't go anywhere near the party because we'll see it all better here on TV. That'll be a fun day.

  9. Love all those adorable children... especially the princess and the fireman. (a good title for a children's book?) I'm so far behind that I'm just going to keep on glancing through and hit or miss with comments! :-)

    1. You have more than caught up, dear Victoria. You amaze me! You've gone waaaay beyond the call of duty, believe me. THANK YOU.