It’s the fourth day of Blogtober and I have published a blog only once (but this will be two, as soon as I press the button).
A bad start? Maybe.
But I have a good excuse. I live in a Dutch town called Leiden, which explodes every year around the 3rd of October, when the siege and relief of the city is commemorated and celebrated. It’s a actually a very interesting history that you can read more about here.
The 3 October festival is something kids and grownups from Leiden and surroundings save up for all year in every sense. People go CRAZY!
There is a huge funfair with rides and activities throughout the city center. Several parades take place, food of all shapes and sizes are on sale and a big fireworks show signals the end. The traditional dishes, for historical reasons, are herring on white bread and “hutspot”, which is a dish made of mashed potatoes, carrots, onions and a sort of beef stew.
This year we celebrated by eating hutspot in our new neighborhood. About a dozen volunteers had made their take on the meal and a jury of local restaurant chefs decided which version would take home the golden “masher”. The winner ended up being an adventurous neighbor that decided to flavor the hutspot up with some asian spices. Yummy!
Besides being a super handsome and historically interesting city, Leiden also has the oldest University of the country, which the city was gifted by Prince William of Orange for the city’s perseverance, suffering and bravery during the Spanish sieges in the 16th century.
For students and outsiders, the 3 October festival is something they love to hate and hate to love. Most straight out hate it and flee the city, as the University closes its doors during these days anyhow.
After having learned the hard way that trying to get from A to B was futile during these two days of local insanity, I embraced the celebration and am now a big fan, which is actually surprising considering I am not a drinker and the whole city is completely WASTEDDDDD for two whole days.
So, I am in doubt if I should recommend coming to Leiden during the beginning of October or not… In the end it’s actually about personal preferences. You have to be able to see and hear the beauty of it all, amidst rowdy crowds, flashing lights, annoyingly repetitive funfair music (and all other types of music) and stale beer. I love it!