Earlier in the year I upgraded my library card to the ‘Sterpas’ (Star pass) and decided to start reading more Dutch fiction. The upgrade wasn’t required but I do like keeping a book for four weeks instead of three. I am pleased to say I have read 2,468 pages since the beginning of the year, at a rate of around 13 and a half pages per day. I tend to prefer psychological novels (at least in Dutch). For this type the emphasis is on inner thought and reflection rather than on outward dialogue (Wikipedia: Dutch | English).
Here are the books I read in the first six months of the year, in order:
Vonne van der Meer, De avondboot – 302 pages. It’s actually book two of the Eilandgasten trilogy.
Vonne van der Meer, Laatste seizoen – 192 pages. This is book three of the Eilandgasten trilogy (I’ve linked to the entire work above). I don’t believe it’s been translated into English — only into German, unfortunately.
Robbert Welagen – Het verdwijnen van Robbert, 160 pages. A pretty intriguing read – a man decides one day to get up and leave his old life, without warning. The title translates to “The disappearance of Robbert”.
This is a friend’s other cat (the first one making her way to my blog last month). Happily lying in the sun…
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I recently signed up at Sanquin to donate blood (read more about the company here). In the last blog post I covered what the differences were between donating in America and donating here in the Netherlands, but I will just add that after going through the full experience (not jut giving a bit of blood for them to run safety checks on), the actual process of drawing blood is exactly the same. And painless, though I do get the needle phobia!
One fun thing though – since it was my first time donating I received a cute little gift. A card with some more information and a key chain with my blood group on it.
And here’s a better look at the key chain:
Oh, and this time I did everything in Dutch, because I rule. From the questionnaire to the short visit with the nurse to a 20 minute conversation with the person drawing my blood. NOTE: When I went in the first time to draw a bit of blood for the tests, I did ask for a questionnaire in English to confirm the questions were pretty much the same as what they ask in America. If you’re new to blood donation and Dutch isn’t your first language, I’d definitely recommend going with English the first time around. But still, go me!
A few weeks back Marco, Roger and I went to Pathé Spuimarkt (the local movie theater) to see X-Men: Apocalypse. Marco was pleasantly surprised to see a newly installed frozen Fanta machine.
One of his favorite treats when visiting America is ICEEs (a type of frozen slushie). Of course ICEEs are even better than Fanta’s frozen drinks, but when you’re not in America you take what you can get!
On Monday and I had a team building event with work colleagues. We decided to go to Amaze Escape, an Escape room. You can read more about them at Wikipedia (English | Dutch). In short, you and the rest of your group (coworkers, friends, etc.) are locked up in a room for an hour or an hour and a half and you have to solve puzzles to get out. Each room has a different theme.
In our case we had 9 people so we went with the two competition rooms (Black and White). Whichever team gets out first wins! You are both solving the same puzzles. The best part was that halfway through you realized you could hear (and see, a little bit) the other team so it got pretty tense. My team ended up winning, but only with about two minutes to spare.
It is a great team building exercise – everyone brings something to the table. I’m proud of the fact that I figured out the last clue to unlock the trophy (and others, of course) – there wasn’t much time left and we were starting to panic. All in all a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend trying an escape room near you!
A few sights on the walk back – a windmill:
And a sign for a restaurant on the side of a building:
Some weeks ago Marco and I visited Bram Ladage, a small takeout place that serves mainly french fries and milkshakes. Once you have had those fries it is hard to go back to McDonald’s.
On top you have pindasaus (peanut sauce in English).
The best part about Bram Ladage is there is “free” seating nearby on the Grondwetbank (a loose translation would be “Constitution bench” – it’s a very, very long bench which is inscribed with the first few lines of the Dutch constitution).
It’s not something we get very often, but when we do it is always very tasty!
Yesterday HTM had a promotion to ride free with tram 11 so that you could experience the new Avenio trams. So far tram 2, 11, and 17 ride with the new model. 11 has had the new model for a while, but considering the route is from Station Holland Spoor to the beach (stop Strandweg), perhaps they were waiting for better weather. And we definitely had awesome weather!
Tram 11 coming around the corner (actually at the beach, so this photo was taken on the way back):
A promotional cover over the machine you normally use to check in and out. It says ‘Travel today for free’.
Last month Marco was feeling creative. He knows I like the color blue so he decided to make me a blue lemonade + tequila + orange juice concoction. Originally he was going for a layered look but I think this result was much, much more awesome…
The glasses were actually a promotion from Baileys – buy a bottle of Baileys and get two glasses free. They are quite beautiful actually.
This will be a very coffee-themed post… It’s almost summer (maybe) so it is a lot more fun to drink iced coffees. First up we have a frappé from the library café, Bibliotheek Den Haag. I found it so tasty I had to struggle not to drink it all up within 30 seconds.
Second we have a Starbucks drink from a coworker (her blog and her Instagram). After a while it gets old just writing your name on the side, so these days the Starbucks workers write random messages on the side. It’s raining men… and coffee!
Next we have a summery mural from the Eat Company from the artist Sophia den Breems. I’ve previously blogged about the Spring 2016 mural here.
Finally, the latest discovery… iced chai tea by Kaldi! It’s hidden away in the Haagsche Bluf. It’s the drink on the left, next to Marco’s iced cappuccino. It was delicious, a slightly thicker concoction with the chai tea taste at the end.