It is almost time for the European football championship 2020 (Wikipedia). No – you are not going back in time; it’s the European football championship that was supposed to be held last year but was delayed by corona.
The Grote Marktstraat is a very busy shopping street in city centre of The Hague – I blog about it sometimes. It is actually somewhat contentious because the city added a lane down the middle back in 2014 when this area was re-paved. The “street” was intended for emergency vehicles or local business vehicles (re-stocking the shops), although the later is restricted to the early morning hours. The “street” is a bit lower than the rest of the area, so bikers have used it as a bike path as well. Which makes sense. On the plus side it also meant that you only had to worry about getting run over when you were crossing this “street” since bikers and vehicles would stick to this area only.
Here is a photo of the area when it was under construction back in 2014 (but after the “bike path” was finished):
Even though the lane wasn’t painted red (what usually signals that it is a bike path in the Netherlands) it was definitely used as a bike path as soon as it opened.
Flash forward to this week, when the city has decided that “yes, it is a bike path (…for now), but pedestrians still have right of way”. (Yeah right, I don’t want to risk my life seeing if that is true!)
As you can see above, the notice that pedestrians have right of way has been painted into the area where bikes ride, in at least 5 spots. It’s actually a bit of an obstacle course until the paint dries, really…
It finally happened! This is the first time this year I was outside without a jacket on. Temperatures are around 27C (mid to high 70s) with 100% sun. It is positively lovely to feel the sun on your skin. Unfortunately I was not able to take any photos for the blog as I was on a quick trip to the grocery store between meetings. You will have to trust me that it was sunny with blue skies all around.
Speaking of the weather, here is a care package I received from my work last week or the week before, with lots of sugary goodness:
You can tell the note is old because it reads “Spring has been a bit shy this year and not quite as warm as could be expected. We are also aware that it is a busy time for most of us. This is why we decided to invite you to take a well deserved warm break. We hope you’ll enjoy this little treat.”
There’s two pieces of chocolate from Tony’s chocolonely (milk and dark), a packet of instant coffee, a packet of hot chocolate, two tiny stroopwafels, a piece of fudge and a bit of nougat.
Tasty! Oddly enough most of it still remains uneaten. Although we did use the hot chocolate mix to make chocolate waffels on Sunday (yum yum).
Marco and I checked out the exhibition that it is going on right now over on the Lange Voorhout. The exhibition, from Pulchri Studio (official website in Dutch), will be available through 14 September. Since it is on public ground you can visit it whenever you want, day or night.
This sculpture is near the beginning of the exhibition (depending on where you enter the Lange Voorhout, of course).
This sculpture is topical – it is someone balancing upside down on a coronavirus.
Recently I took a few photos of the back terrace of the FOAM restaurant in The Hague. It’s a tiny splash of nature, only 5 tables or so. On the other side of the foliage is a playground, so you constantly hear the murmur of kids playing.
And a look at the upper level (on the other side is the playground):
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the flowers, either. These were s a vibrant shade of purple.
For this visit Marco and I just had a hot drink (cappuccino for me, matcha latte for Marco) before we took home our “Foam@home” meal. This time it was a very delicious Sri Lankan coconut curry.
And if you have stuck around this long, I will treat you to a photo of a very, very plump (and slow) pigeon that was waddling around in the garden.
It is perhaps a bit hard to tell how plump it was, but it was probably about 50% larger than it needed to be. In the photo its chest extends just past the chair leg. I was surprised it was able to fly away in the end… but it did.
On my way back from my hair dresser’s appointment yesterday I stopped to take a picture of an ice cream sculpture. The sculpture is from Mado, a Turkish restaurant right by the Holland Spoor train station. Apparently this restaurant gets horrible ratings on TripAdvisor, but it is still a photo opportunity…
Last weekend Marco and I stopped by FOAM restaurant here in The Hague to have a coffee. I would say we were also trying to grab a few moments of sunshine, but to be honest it was pretty cloudy and quite windy the whole time we were there. Hopefully next time will be better?
I ordered a chai latte (plus extra espresso!) and Marco ordered a matcha latte. I really liked my chai latte – it was sweet but still had a nice kick of coffee behind it.
Tomorrow Marco and I both have the day off. I have an appointment at the hair dresser for a touch up. Someone please remind me why I scheduled it so early? There is no opportunity to sleep in at all. But that also means I have more of the day to enjoy after my hair is done… so that is good, right?
I am looking forward to the change in weather, as it should start warming up a bit tomorrow. Perhaps it won’t be full sunshine yet, but at least it won’t be cold like it was this morning. How could it almost be June but still be so windy and cold?
In other (slightly crazy news): the police in Zwolle arrested a driver who was in possession of 550kg (1,200 pounds) of laughing gas (!). The article is from nos.nl in Dutch. If you want to transport more than 2 kilos of laughing gas you need to have a special permit. It is considered a party drug in the Netherlands; every few weeks there is a car crash reported in the news where the driver had laughing gas in the car.
It looks like better weather will be coming later this week, although of course the best weather falls on Monday and Tuesday next week (24C or 75F). Still, bring it on! It will be nice to be outside again without a jacket on, and feel the sun’s warmth on my skin.
The Hague’s police department held another “turn in your weapons” action in the last week. This one was under the hashtag #dropit. They received more than 650 weapons, including 30 firearms. Th firearms were picked up at home by plain clothed officers in unmarked cars. The rest could be brought to the police station Check out the photo (there are more in the linked article):
What struck me with the photos–especially in the linked article–was how structured the weapons are placed on the table. Someone with a design-forward mind was definitely thinking about how to place the weapons to make the best photographs. My second thought was just how many weapons that actually is! Every corner of that table is covered, plus more weapons on the ground. The police also said they were happy with the action even though they were not expecting to get so many.
In other news: Digitisation project answers questions about Dutch colonial trade in minutes from dutchnews.nl. The project will digitize 25 million handwritten documents from the business administration of the Dutch East Indies company. This will allow researchers to search the documents within minutes. The only problem, of course, is that the handwritten documents are from the 17th and 18th centuries, which means the search results will also be in 17th/18th century Dutch and will thus need to be translated.
Some good news: anyone with a birth year of 1969 or 1970 can make an appointment for a corona vaccine. It is looking better in the Netherlands. However we are still in the top 5 for number of cases in Europe, so as always – patience is required. See also: Dutch Covid hospitalizations 53% below peak; ICU total near 10-week low from nltimes.nl in English.