As you could read in my last post, I will now write some things about the places-to-chill that I've visited this past week at the "4Daagsefeesten". If you're unfamiliar with this event, read my last post to learn more :)
Everyone loves De Kaaij. This little bar and stage at the beach pops up every year a little before the "4Daagse" starts off, and remains there a few weeks afterwards as well. During the 4Daagse, it's even more spectacular: besides "De Kaaij"'s own bar, they invite plenty of food trucks, together turning this space under the bridge into a fun, slightly hippie-ish place to hang around, eat, drink cocktails at, listen to music, and sit near the water. Lovely spot to spend a summer day. Come early, as from dinner time and on it's usually packed!
SMKMRKT has different food truck events throughout the year, and I've visted a few (you can read about the winter's edition here). During the 4Daagse, SMKMRKT occupies a large part of the Waal boulevard (around this artwork that's called the labyrinth), where many food trucks are lined up at the waterfront. After you've picked your meal from one of the tucks, you can sit down and ahve a nice view over the river while you enjoy these culinary delights :) One of my favorite trucks that is there this year and was there last year as well, is this coffee-truck that brings along a caravan that's been turned into a stage, leaving just enough space to cram a band into it to play music. Pretty fun thing to see.
Festival Op 'T Eiland
This place is actually located across the Waal river, so you have to either walk up there by crossing the biker's lane on the railway bridge, or take the ferry that leaves from De Kaaij (although they charge high fees). Once you've reached the beach, circus and theater vibes will immediately be observable. During the day there is plenty of stuff to do for kids, but for others it's fun to be at the beach as well, as many adult-ish people like to sit there and maybe even have a swim... I even saw people swimming in the artifical river right behind Festival Op 'T Eiland, that they just finished building to prevent the Waal river from overflowing - it took a while to get it finished but it already turns out the prevention leads to fun for everyone.
Located near the Central Station is Ramblas, a streetlike place that looks like a huge outdoor living room. Here you can enjoy music and beers while sitting back in one of their couches that are scattered over the place. When you pass this place very early in the morning, you may even find some drunk guy sleeping in one of these same couches. Ramblas also has an outdoor cinema this year, where you can sit back in a fatboy and watch. There are foodtrucks as well, and the chicken wrap was delicious!
If this one sounds familiar, that may be because I've written an article on The Fuzz before. The Fuzz is actually a coffee bar but they have an outdoor one in the Valkhof park during the 4Daagse as well. This outdoor thing is located in the middle of the ruins of an old chapel, a place where you are usually not allowed to enter - which makes it extra fun to be there. Funny enough they don't serve coffee here, just juices, wines and beers, but that's perfectly fine this time of the year.
I know I mentioned this one in my last article, as Valkhof Festival consists out of multiple stages where you can party at. Even so, during the day you can chill here too: there's a super small stage in the middle of the park, where a band plays during daytime, together with some tables where you can have the bbq food they sell there. Somewhere else in the park there is a ncie tent where they sell vinyls.
From my memory I get that Kronenburger Park, during the 4Daagse called "Otis Park", used to have a large stage in the middle of the park, but this year all I found was a smaller and more intimate stage surrounded by food trucks, which makes it the perfect spot for a day at the park. Otis Park leaves enough empty space for people to chill, have a picknick, smoke marijuhana and that kind of stuff, and at the same time providing nice background sounds while you chill.
Even though this is not an official 4Daagse location, everyone knows "Waalstrandje" is our little beachy and people like to come down here and bring their disposable barbecue, make a campfire or just chill. It's really nice to spend a day here before going into the crowded city center to enjoy another 4Daagse party night.
While I was so busy describing all these party spots and chill spots that you should absolutely visit if you ever visit the 4Daagse in Nijmegen, that I totally forgot to mention what really matters at the 4Daagse: this ambiance that is not tied to a specific place or specific time, but that you can find in every street, even if this street is not particularly set up for the 4Daagse. It's the thousands of people that stroll down the streets, the thousands of memories they make during this week, all the highlights, laughter and drunken cries.
One of the best things during this week is something everyone should do at least once: going straight from the club to the Wedren, the place where thousands (50.000 this year instead of the usual 40.000, since this year is the 100st time the 4Daagse takes place!) of walkers take off super early in the morning to walk another 40-50 (and this year there is even a 55 option for the same reason as the extra participants) kilometers, and function, together with a bunch of other drunk people, as a farewall committee, waving and cheering and wishing good luck to the walking crowd. We clap, cheer, sing songs, give high fives that are happily received by the walkers, do the wave, and make gateways with our arms for the walkers to walk through. The greatest thing about this all is that this is the very unique place where the 4Daagse feasts and the 4Daagse marches come together. While some just woke up and start their day, others just end theirs and are ready to get into bed, but this is the very place where their paths cross. I think it's incredible. I usually go on the first day, in the night between Monday and Tuesday, when spirits are extra high. It's best to be there around 4 in the morning, when it'll be crowdest and most fun.
Something else that I liked about the 4Daagse feasts, was cycling back to my parents' house when I still lived there, the sun already rising, and meeting walkers who are on their way to enter the city while I was on my way out, yelling "good luck" to random walkers as you pass by. Even though I don't have to cycle back home (and it's a lot more convenient), I now realize that this cycling back every single morning, when night was literally over, was some stupid detail that actually made my 4Daagse week great.
Tonight will be the last 4Daagse night and then this week will be over once again, and I'm already looking forward to next year...and I hope that you do too after reading my articles about the 4Daagse ;-)