Monthly Archives: January 2012

Snowfall (Or: Crazy weather this winter)

Compared to last year’s weather, this winter has been remarkably mild. So far New York has averaged about 4-5″ of snow total — nothing to write home about. In fact, last year during the snowstorm that dumped 2 feet of snow on my town, I was thankfully in the Netherlands spending Christmas with Marco and his family.

Today it was about 60F (15.5C) in my town, whereas Monday night it seems to have snowed in the Hague! A bit . . .

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

A chance meeting (Or: American present, Dutch future)

I met my fiancé Marco in October 2006. We first knew of each other for some years before that through an online game called Avatar MUD, a text-based medieval fantasy game similar to Zork.

But the first time we met in real life was at a gaming convention in New Jersey, USA. I was working the help desk at the time. To be honest, to me he seemed a bit unapproachable online, playing a character that tended more towards evil than good.. yet I had no idea that that night would change everything.

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Categories: Marco&Niki | 5 Comments

Albert Heijn (Or: Glad I don’t need to ship yellow mustard in)

The grocery store of choice near where I will be living is Albert Heijn. Although it’s nowhere near the typical size of an American grocery store (maybe 12 or so aisles) it works for most things. The store itself is on the lower level, with escalators allowing access from street level. When the escalators are functioning of course; one time they were broken for about 5 weeks straight. I considered taking a picture of the negative comments a customer left on the official “We’re sorry” note but didn’t…

Entrance to Albert Heijn via escalators

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Categories: Shopping, The Hague | Tags: | 5 Comments

Streets (Or: The hustle and bustle of a foreign world)

My short time in Amsterdam was accentuated by the sheer amount of tourists that clustered in the streets. Of course, being a tourist myself, this meant that my friends and I were mostly doing touristy things as well, from taking a canal boat ride to visiting the Rijksmuseum.

The comparison (in my mind) between Amsterdam and the Hague is striking. By my third trip to the Netherlands, I began to feel more at home in the Hague for many reasons, not the least of which because I found myself with some time alone during the day when my fiancé had to work the first week. Thankfully I was able to maneuver around without too much trouble thanks to a phone with Google Maps, though I did find myself glancing at the screen a lot – Must not get lost, must not get lost . . .

Near the Restaurant de Roode Leeuw (Restaurant of the Red Lion), Amsterdam street

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Categories: Amsterdam, Foto's | Tags: | 3 Comments

Watching (Or: A man and his dog guard Delft)

The last remaining gate of Delft, Oostpoort (Eastern Gate) was built in the 1400s. The other seven gates have long since disappeared. The official Delft website has a nice drawing of what the city looked like when it was surrounded by walls.

The view from entering the city through the eastern gate

Note especially the dog at the feet of the watchman. This is what you would see if you entered Delft from this city gate — two very imposing figures watching your every move, judging you.

View of the Eastern gate from the inside

Here is the gate from the inside looking out. This shot is actually close to the lake where I took the picture of the ducks. Interestingly, the structure also seems to partly be a private residence — and there is also an art gallery inside. The two shots don’t do justice to how big it is – more like a castle.

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Fridges (Or: The first major purchase)

My fiancé decided to take advantage of the tax free weekend at MediaMarkt. Apparently this weekend (Thursday through Sunday) there are no taxes on most of the items at MediaMarkt. Of course this doesn’t include Apple products!

The fridge in his apartment has been on the fritz lately. My fiancé  decided to hold off purchasing one until after the holidays because of a tax free deal at MediaMarkt — which will save him about 19% in tax. And of course it is a sweet deal because it is increases the size of both the fridge and the freezer drastically. More information about the deal (in Dutch) is available.

And here is the fridge that he ended up buying. Of course he was nice enough to warn them about the two flights of stairs the movers would have to go up…

 

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Stepping back (Or: Images from the Hague)

Grote Kerk, Den Haag

A random picture of the plaza surrounding the Grote Kerk (lit: big church). Note the cobblestone paths and the barely visible tram rails behind the gentleman. I’ve been told that tram rails tend to be just the right width to get your bike wheels caught in…

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Categories: The Hague | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Hooligans (Or: Voetbal or soccer, it’s all serious in the Netherlands)

Imagine the scene: dining out in Amsterdam, when all the sudden a bunch of tourists run in from outside, scrambling to the back to get away from something unknown. And all the sudden, shouting can be heard outside . . .

Eek! It’s voetbal fans from another country! July 28, 2010

Turns out Ajax was hosting a team from Greece – PAOK Salonika.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Sports | Tags: | 2 Comments

Canals (Or: Just how many bikes fall in, anyway?)

A journey to the canals of Delft begins here.

Houses along a Delft canal... too close for comfort!

Look at how close the houses are to the edge of the canal. It’s amazing to realize that some (unpictured) houses have doors which face out into the canal. Open up and jump in!

And it makes me cringe a bit. In my hometown, Hurricane Irene decimated a local bar/eatery when it came through in August. The barely four foot wide stream overflowed 7 foot high retention walls, leaving the surrounding area under a foot of water, and their basement completely flooded. It took until Christmas for restaurant to reopen.

Delft canal, with obligatory bikes

I was also amused to see that there really are not any guard rails to prevent the cars from driving in, either. And I found this blog post about bikes being thrown in to be an interesting read, with cool pictures of “bike rescues”.

Father and his sons, feet dangling into the canal

Ignoring the port-o-potty behind them, I focused this picture on the family, curious to see if the father’s feet would ever touch the water — they did not. Just a simple moment, captured forever.

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Music (Or: A scene carefully sketched out)

Near the train station in Delft, you might find yourself near this mural, on the side of a random building, in a random place.

A musical mural found in Delft

Although most of the mural is done in black and white, accentuated by the shadowy tree limbs, one can also find rare glimpses of yellow. The most predominant encircles the lamp on the left side, but the glow of night can be seen from most of the windows on the left side of the mural. A figure (Charlie Chaplin-esque) hangs from the middle street lamp. Three lions in the lower right – one with a paraplu* (umbrella), one coming from the garbage can, and another on top of the garbage can lid.

Note also the rider on their fiets (bike) talking to someone else.

* = I love the Dutch word paraplu. I have heard about the Paraplu restaurant in the Hague, but have not yet visited it. Soon…

Categories: Culture, Delft | Tags: | 3 Comments

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