Lead Article: Cucumber Time in Amsterdam
If you’re not familiar with the term cucumber time, pull up a pew and fill your eyes with an explanation of this odd, and yet intriguing Dutch phrase. Between the parties of New Year’s Eve and the fun times of Spring, Amsterdam like many cities around the world, experiences a lull on the event calendar – with fewer goings on to fill your busy travel diaries.
You might consider such a lull dull, and even a little lacking in taste – just like Cucumber. Hence the name! Fortunately for you guys, we never stop partying at the Pigs so if you’re looking to fill your time – here’s what we’ve going on in the hostel, and further afield – across our lush Dutch city.
Combating Cucumber Time: What to See and Do in Winter and Spring
Keukenhof Gardens: Tip-toe through the tulips, admire the amaryllis and cruise past the crocuses at the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the world’s largest flower gardens. Once a year the Keukenhof Gardens burst into a kaleidoscope of colours as the gently rolling grounds are carpeted with blooming flowers. There’s a different theme each year with patterns planted in the flowers that you won’t believe.
5 Days Off Festival: At the beginning of March every year, 5 Days Off storms into Amsterdam to present an entrancing cross-section of the latest in electronic music. You’ll surely hear this one before you see it!
Valentine’s Day: For Valentines who wish to celebrate in the dam, there are plenty of opportunities and venues to do so. Check out the Belushi’s bar and the Flying Pig hostels for events themed for backpackers.
Still Hungry For More? If you don’t take want to our word for it that there’s a whole lot going down in Amsterdam town, then take a trip to our most trusted city bloggers who dedicate their lives to the sourcing of fun things, to see and do in Amsterdam.
The Guardian: www.theguardian.com/travel/series/amsterdam-city-guide
The Blonde Abroad: theblondeabroad.com/2013/08/01/amsterdam-travel-tips
The Huffington Post: www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/amsterdam-travel
In April 2014 the Flying Pig Hostels will be an epic 20-years-old! To celebrate this right of passage we’ll be throwing a party that anyone in town will never forget. Keep you eyes peeled for news about the upcoming good times on the front page!
In the last Flying Pig E-zine, we ran the Christmas Pigman game - an epic challenge that tests the skill and might of any gamer. We're super happy to announce that the winner with the highest score was 24-year-old Ricardo Elias - over in England.
Ricardo, awesomely enough, has been staying at the Flying Pig in Amsterdam ever since he turned 18-years-old. He's been here nine-times, loved every visit and has told all of his mates about it. That's music to our ears and we can't wait to welcome you for visit number ten. Congrats Ricardo!
Music Reviews From The Flying Pig
New Band: SquawkaboutMusic often helps me escape and lose myself from feeling how I don't want to feel. It takes me into a new, improved and magically better world. In short, when I sat down to listen to Squawkabouts offering I was in a mood … and now I am one happy piggie!
This unsigned band made up off three young music lovers from a little town called Wexford in Ireland, have caught my attention through their interest in playing at our beloved Downtown hostel. Having not yet produced an album, the band are still in the early stages of growth - with a few select demos for me to listen to and share with you! However, but with a voice like that of lead singer Doireann on their side, I am positive they are set for life.
When you strip music back to the bare bones, take away the electro enhancers, remove the vocal auto-tune and forgo the fancy music video, what you get is real music. It’s pure and let’s face it – that’s what music is really all about.
Wake Me Up was the song that had me hooked. I did that annoying thing where you listen to it over and over again, and never get bored of it. That is until your roomies come home and tell you to shut the duck up. The lyric “Dance with dark and sing with the skylark.” It’s extremely warming. Their music will say it all and leave you feeling joyous, blissful and spirited - all at once.
Their songs have that country influence that we all know and love. That influence that produced the likes of James T and Carly Simon. You can just picture lead singer Doireann with flowers in her hair, sitting on a barrel of hay and wearing a flowing skirt …
Squawkabout are playing at the The Downtown Flying Pig on Monday February 17, 2014 so come on down and join us for some live music - like no other!
Where you with us for New Year's Eve?
Where you with us for New Year's Eve? Check out the pics, see if you spot yourself and just look how much fun we had!
Europe’s Famous Hostels: ArkaBarka Floating Belgrade Hostel
ArkaBarka Belgrade Hostel is an amazing floating hostel, docked right next to the central park in Belgrade, Serbia! From the moment you step onboard you’ll feel chilled out with both nature next door, and the buzzing centre - a short walk away.
The close by Usce Park is a favourite with cyclists, roller bladers and nature lovers. A short 20-minute walk away is the very centre of Belgrade where you can enjoy everything that this awe-inspiring city has to offer.
All of the rooms at the ArkaBarka Hostel come with a splendid panoramic view of the Kalemegdan fortress - one of the city's main attractions. Staff are always on hand to help out 24/7, plus there’s free WiFi, a laundry service, river boat trips, an information point, a café, and a chill out area - included. The cosy cafe here is also open to Belgradians, giving you the opportunity to mingle with the locals.
When you book, you can chose between a dorm room or a private double, twin or triple room. Every private room has an en-suite bathroom too! Better still, breakfast is included in the price of your bed.
Add to the mix our friendly staff who are local experts and travellers themselves, and we’re left with one question. What are you waiting for? Book your bed now and get involved with one of the hippest cities on the planet.
More info and free booking at www.famoushostels.com
Flying Pig Beach Hostel : New Year – New Parties
News From the Beach Hostel
Photo Time – Can You Spot Yourself?
We’ve had an awesome start to 2014 with some super-mega parties at the beach hostel. From the Mad Hatters Tea Party and Pirate Night to the Beer and Pie drive, and the Naughty Noughties night, we’ve done it all. Take a look back at our party pictures to see if you can spot yourself!
Events coming up at the Beach Hostel …
Movie Night: Pink Floyd The Wall – February 12, 2014: Pink Floyd's the Wall is one of the most intriguing and imaginative albums in the history of rock music, and for one night only you can enjoy it on the big screen at the hostel.
Valentine Masquerade Ball: February 14, 2014: Whether you attend with a lover or come along for the hunt, our Valentine’s Day Masquerade Ball will be a night to remember. Immerse yourself in the fantasy of another time, dress-up in your finest gear and don’t forget your mask. You can bring your own or buy one from us on the night!
Piggy Un-Plugged – February 20, 2014: The Pig have found the best local talent whilst providing a platform for budding amateurs to take a shot at the spotlight, so come along and support them. Our stage is the perfect place to take a mid-week break with a drink in a relaxed atmosphere with some great music.
Movie Quiz Night – February 26, 2014: If you think you’re a quiz buff then give our monthly quiz a try. This month you can see how much you really know about famous films, quotes and actors. Noisette and The Rudolfs – February 28, 2014: Forget the cold, grab a drink and enjoy performances from Noisette and The Rudolfs. www.thewallanalysis.com
Things to do around Noordwijk
Keukenhof also known as the Garden of Europe, is the world's largest flower garden. Approximately 7,000,000 flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares. Keukenhof is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam. It is accessible by bus – which you can catch from the train stations of Haarlem, Leiden Central Station and Schiphol Airport. It is located in an area called the Dune and Bulb Region. Keukenhof is open annually from mid-March to mid-May. The best time to view the tulips is around mid-April, depending on the weather. From March 20, 2014 until May 18, 2014 Keukenhof will be open daily. Opening hours: 08: 00 – 19:30. www.keukenhof.nl
Bike Hire The varying landscapes of woods, rugged dunes and (in spring) colourful tulip bulb fields are great for wonderful walks or biking - for hours on end. Of course you can venture out yourself, but you have a choice of several biking routes, which you can find out more about at the Visitor Centre Noordwijk. www.fietsverhuur-noordwijk.nl/en
Amsterdam Light Show Centred on a theme of Building with Light, the second edition of the event features a canal cruise and walking route - taking in this year’s selection of spectacular and illuminated artworks. An extensive side programme will also see a host of activities and events take place at museums, theatres, restaurants, shops and other locations in Amsterdam. (w) www.amsterdamlightfestival.com/programma