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Things to do in Amsterdam, The Pig Newsletter
issue#29 November / December 2009

Pig Amsterdam News

Trip to Amsterdam?

The new   Uptown Bar

Looking to hang out in Amsterdam?
Wherever you are, you’re able to travel to Amsterdam for around €30,-!

Mind you, we’re NOT talking about boring long bus rides, but traveling by plane or train!

Here some examples to make it easy for you to find tickets:

To Amsterdam from:
-Berlin €39,78 (Transavia)
-London €31,99 (Easyjet)
-Paris €35,- (Thalys)
-Edinburgh €74,99 (Easyjet)
-Prague €29,- (International Train)
-Rome €27,90 (Ryan Air to Eindhoven)
-Barcelona €34,57 (Transavia)
-Dublin €39,36 (Ryan Air to Eindhoven)

Cheap ass! But why would it be more then that, since the Dutch autumn weather isn’t exactly the very best.
Time to hang out at the hostels, coffeeshops, museums, bars and clubs (which is great anyways).

Beds @ the Flying Pig from €11,90! back to   toptop

Play this game and win free nights @ the Pig!

Flying Pig WintergamePlay our yearly winter game and win 2 free nights. This is your chance to stay at the Flying Pig for free; just practice your old Packman skills again!

Play the Flying Pigman Game and try to get as many points as you can. You can play as often as you like; the person with the highest score (before the 1st of January 2010) wins 2 free nights at the Flying Pig Backpackers Hostel of your choice (which you can use anytime in 2010, but only if there is availability of course)!!

You can find the rules in the 'How to Play' section and make sure you fill out your email address on the scoreboard, so that we can contact you!



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Champs-ElyséesAs far as Christmas markets go: the best of the Parisian bunch can be found on the Champs Elysées, with amazing lights everywhere and over 170 stalls!

So if you need your yearly dose of trees, markets and lights, maybe combine your Amsterdam trip with a bit of Paris.

BrugesThe Thalys (high speed train) takes you there for €35,- and our friends @ St. Christopher’s have a great deal at the moment:

So if you had the Eiffel Tower & Louvre on your list, this is the time to do it! And after sightseeing, time to taste the best wine ever in a cozy cafe!
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Europe's Famous Hostels

Check out the best bits of the Europe's most famous hostels with one click!

You might know the Flying Pig Backpacker hostels are (proud) members of the ‘EFH’ – Europe’s Famous Hostels.

This association is often recognized as ‘the best hostels in the European travel world’. If you book any of these hostels, you will be guaranteed with a memorable stay, while still keeping yourself on a cheap and reasonable budget! Each of Europe’s Famous Hostels is independently & locally owned, assuring a local traGet to know our friends in Europevel experiEurope Famous   Hostelsence. They all must adhere to the highest level of safety, & quality while preserving a local flair.

The hostels are located in Amsterdam, Bad Gastein, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Cardiff, Corfu, Dublin, Edinburgh, Interlaken, Lisbon, Loch Ness, London, Munich, Nice, Prague, Riga, Rome, Salzburg,Valencia, Vienna, and in the future, more hostels more hostels will join.

Now, they have a great new feature: each hostel has made new videos showcasing the best bits about their locations so that you guys can see where you’re heading to. All you have to do is pick out the hostel you’re interested in from and drop the name & 'famous hostels' into a YouTube search bar!

Check out 'St Christopher's Inn' in Paris (since we where talking about them earlier). They are voted as the Best Hostel in France for 2008 at Hostelworld which we totally understand. Friendly, funny, cool staff, spacious and clean rooms, super service, loads of breakfast, a bar AND club, great drink specials; they got it all!

St. Christophers Hostel in Paris

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Column: The life of a Piggy

Saying goodbye to the Flying Pig

by Aly Coy
Aly Coy

Leaving The Pig is always difficult to do. 

It's so easy to become comfortable with the velvet drapes, oddly matched chandeliers and red glowing candles. Lounging on pillows, smoking joints and talking of your travels. 

Since time doesn't seem to exist at The Pig, it drifts on, and quickly disappears out of sight. 

No one can stay at The Pig forever, and even though it's hard, at one point in your Pig career, you have to accept it's time to go. You've given your month's notice, which has been postponed three times for various reasons. It has been talked about then planned. Flights are booked, other jobs lined up. 

When the last weeks turn into the last days, that is when it starts to set in. You pause to take in the friendly faces and places around you. You start to think in 'lasts.' Last staff dinner, last bike ride, last shift. 

You reflect over the year and the landmarks in time

 Being here for my second Cannabis Cup reminds me of rationing Whapper days, finding endless weed samples discarded throughout the hostel. 

The connoisseurs of marijuana, all having routine with their judging lung. Papers, grinders, bongs, and vaporizers, all lined up in front of them with perfect percision. These judges who've paid the €250 judge's pass, are the hard core enthusiasts who have travelled across the world  in search for the best of the best. 

The usual sense of a smoker's community is heightened with the scent of professionals. 

Sinterklaas is walking around the week before with his somewhat politically incorrect helpers covered in soot from the fireplaces. 

The Sinterklaas Parade is coincidentally (or not) on the same weekend as the Santa Claus Parade in Canada, November 15th. Santa Claus originates from the Dutch Sinterklaas, substituting the North Pole for Spain, Christmas stocking for shoes, a pope-like hat instead of the red and white tuque, and the presents come 20 days earlier. 

You'll eat lots of pepernoten, little round ginger cookies, and chocolates in the shape of your first initial. 

Christmas isn't as corny here as at home. People's lawns aren't bombarded with plastic reindeer and elves. There are more delicate white lighting in people's windows with a small picture of Saint Nicolaas. Dam Square is lit up with a giant tree, which has a night in jail and a hefty fine if mounted. 

Christmas at The Pig is cozy, with special pastries, turkey dinner, and a feeling of togetherness with the staff and the guests. 

Soon, after a crazy New Years has gone by, people start talking of Queen's Day, April 30th. Collecting orange gear and regaling stories of past years. A sea of orange costumes meandering along the canals, eyeing the allowed-one-day-a-year personal flea markets at your feet and parade of partying boats at your side. 

There are free festivals provided by the city and roads blocked off for the crowds of walking people. 

Carnaval, 40 days before Easter,is one of the only other days the Dutch get into costume, all heading South and partying harder than Mardigras and North America's Halloween put together. Different towns have different themes and traditions, all littered with floats blaring music. 

If you're looking for more parties, Utrecht is a mini Amsterdam, but with another layer of cafe's, stores, and clubs down at canal level, and replace the hoards of tourists with all Dutch students. 

The young people who do reside there, start partying Thursday night and end on a Sunday. Attend any festival you hear of in Utrecht, specifically Source or Stekker Fest. The students who attend these all day parties unleash their strange, creative side wearing costumes, getting into character, and having funny props. 

Because of living in international Amsterdam, it's refreshing to be the only native English speaker in the all Dutch crowd. People assume you are a local and you are forced to communicate as best you can before they revert to their fluent English. 

Another festival to look for this summer is Pink Pop. If you're looking for an all Dutch experience, this is as local as it gets. The musical festival is located in a village surrounded by lots of fields, cows, pancakes and clogs. Most locals will look in curiosity when you speak English and will ask how you ended up in that tiny town in The Netherlands. 

The bands that were headlining last year were Bruce Springsteen, Snow Patrol, Pendulum and The Killers. The 'people watching' alone is to go for and the festival is incredibly well organized after their 40th year. If you collect 25 plastic cups you get two free drink tickets. People comb the grounds, which makes for a fun game and clean surroundings. 

Gay Pride is also a huge day for Amsterdam held in August. Men in tight shirts and glitter, flaunt themselves about the city with acceptance and delight.  A parade of floats blaring R.E.S.P.E.C.T dance down the canals to the supporting onlookers above. Note: When planning a trip, this day is to not be confused with Queen's Day. 

It's interesting to see the different type of people which each occasion brings in. After working at The Pig for a year you see returning guests, which also helps grasp your time here. Hearing that it had been eight months since their last visit, can come as quite a shock. 

Deciding that it's your time to go is also a feat. A lot of piggies don't realize it's there time and put management in the position to sometimes decide for them. 

A lot of ex piggies come back from the cruel harsh world of reality to open arms of the still comforted few. Many have stories of fun, but not the same experience as at The Pig. 

The Piggies who are still away, look in from the outside through pictures or videos, and visit whenever they can. The fact that is seems no one can really get over The Pig, makes me nervous as the one now leaving. It feels like the end of summer camp, but I'm the only one moving on. 

It's hard to think it won't be the same with my other jobs, because The Flying Pig is a magical place, and that magic stays with the piggies to each of their destinations. 

You learn a lot about who you are over the course of your Pig experience. It has a non-judging environment for growth and learning how to truly show yourself to other people. Some pigs feel that acceptance can only happen here, but it's not true. It's something that is inside you no matter what. Like one of The Pig's sayings, 'home is in your head.' The Pig philosophies can always be present in your surroundings if you want them to be.

People even physically have trouble leaving The Flying Pig. Guests, ninety percent of the time, try to leave first through the turn style they entered from, and even with the most coaching from reception they can't seem to find the exit door to their right. Thankfully there's another fire exit close by.

No matter how long or short your stay is at The Pig, it's always difficult to leave. The important thing to remember when saying goodbye, and what everyone promises when the leave, is that they are definitely, one day, coming back. 

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