Hemelvaartsdag (Or: Visiting Zoetermeer on a day off)

This past Thursday was a national holiday here in the Netherlands – Hemelvaartsdag, or Ascension Day, a Christian holiday. Marco and I decided to take the tram to Zoetermeer and do some shopping. Well, I decided to do some shopping and Marco begrudgingly came along… I kid, I kid.

We visited the Stadshart (City’s heart) to do our shopping. I did manage to find a new pair of pants for work – harder than one might think as the Netherlands seems to discriminate against short folks like me! Here’s a view of the indoor part of the shopping area:

Zoetemeer shopping center

One interesting thing about this area was the lack of proper protection against wind in the beginning. Not long after it opened it became clear that this area was really nothing more than a huge wind tunnel. I found an old article in Dutch about the issue (article) but I mostly know about it from the stories Marco told me.

As usual we stopped at Bagels & beans for a coffee and an apple crumble. The weather wasn’t as good as it was a few weeks ago in Leiden but it wasn’t too cold. For the Netherlands anyway…


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Zoetermeer (Or: Easter tree displays and restaurants)

A few week ago I went with Marco’s mother to Zoetermeer. We went to the shopping area (Stadshart) near Zoetermeer Centrum, mostly to shop and have lunch. We ended up having lunch at Napoleon Brasserie where I had the bal gehakt, which is mainly a meatball sandwich – of sorts. It was pretty decent, although I was expecting there to be some juice alongside. But no, just the meat and the bread (and some mustard packets).

menu at Napoleon Brasserie in Zoetermeer

What can I say – I liked the candles!

I also took a picture of an Easter tree display in one of the stores (maybe Blokker, not sure). You can buy little birds, butterflies, and similar to hang on an Easter tree as decoration.

Easter tree display in the Netherlands

Now if only Spring would come for good. It snowed a little bit yesterday! Though not for long and nothing stuck.

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BRAD concert (Or: At the Boerderij in Zoetermeer)

As I mentioned earlier, we went to a BRAD concert on Thursday night. This concert featured Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam. The opening art was the New Killer Shoes (why don’t they have a Wikipedia page yet?!)

setup for the New Killer Shoes band

setting up for the opening act (New Killer Shoes)

A piano solo (YouTube)- “Crown of Thorns” – from the night we went. The singer/player is Shawn Smith from BRAD. Much different from the rest of the songs which had the guitars and drums you would expect. 😉 There’s some history to the song – it used to be sung by Mother Love Bone until the frontman Andy Wood passed away. Most of the band’s members went on to form Pearl Jam.

soundboard at BRAD concert

The crazy soundboard from the concert. I never know how they know what button to tinker with. Maybe they just tinker randomly to make it look like they know what they are doing. 😉 Oh wait. That would be me.

And on the way home, in the tram…

Dutch tram door with smiley face

Do you see the smiley face?

Two different designs for the check-in/out machines. The one in the back has the phrase kaart hier, with a hand holding the card and two arrows pointing where the card should be placed. But still, it’s easy to forget where the card goes. (In my defense, I haven’t had any trouble in the last 3-4 weeks.)

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