Thursday, August 19, 2010

El Cid Week

Leiden University has an orientation for new students this week. They call it El Cid Week. For other residents of the town this means seeing perky teenagers everywhere, and therefore feeling old and slightly crowded. Also, it means having to listen to techno music at 9am or stepping around drunk frat students reclining on blow up couches sponsored by the local bank. I managed to take a few photos and every day I discover a new blow up couch set up or stumble upon more ridiculous frat stunts.
I fear it will never end.

The day before it begins, students of Webster start building a giant 'castle' out of Bavaria beer crates. It has been pointed out to me that these students are most likely American. Classy! The party I walked through yesterday was sponsored by Bavaria, surprise.

First day, Monday... blasting techno at 9am in the main town square, the Beestenmarkt. Students find their assigned number and stand around listening to the music and watching the frogs dance on stage.

Frogs. People dressed as frogs at the Centraal train station, directing students to the town square. (As if they can't hear it.) The bus is sponsored by about 10 different private companies.

I was nearly run over by a mini cart from the Rabo Bank, carrying students to and from the town square. Also, I was handed two different business cards on my way there.

Basically, the town is full of crass commericalization, sponsored drinking and pandering to baby faced youths.

All in all, this seems extremely American, minus the techno.

Except for this.
Bicycle usage! Hundreds and hundreds more cyclists.
Welcome students.


  1. I LOVE the frogs.

    It's reassuring to see Americans don't hold the monopoly on tacky commercial celebrations. :)

    Go frogs!

  2. Frogs. They read your blog, obviously, or they would have dressed them up as dwarves.

  3. I made a video of all the bikes parked at the LEF information fair on Thursday. Didn't manage to get all of them, the entire west side of Leidse Hout was swamped with bikes. I should have sped up the video, but I didn't have a video editor.