New Year’s Eve (Or: Waiting in line for oliebollen)

Similar to a post I did last year – here’s a look at the line of people waiting for oliebollen on New Year’s Eve. Oliebollen is a sort of doughnut covered in powdered sugar.


Waiting for Godot (and oliebollen)

And be a look at the stand itself (voted #1 this year in The Hague):


This was around 12pm – Marco said the line was about twice as long (by the library) around 2pm. Crazy. This year they even had a street organ playing music for those waiting, which was a nice touch.

Fine jaarwisseling! Happy New Year!

Categories: Food, Holidays, News, The Hague | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Dr Anton Philipszaal (Or: Tearing it down)

This afternoon I was out and about in the Centrum I noticed that the tearing down of Dr. Anton Philipszaal (a concert hall and theatre) was beginning in earnest. They have begun to tear down the red part of the roof:

Dr Anton Philipszaal being torn down 2015

The hall was first built in 1987 and is slated to be replaced in 2019 with a new culture center. Until then the theatre has moved to a temporary location on the Scheveningen beach, Zuidstrandtheatre.

And of course you have the tram work in the foreground. That project started in April of last year and will hopefully be done this summer. Once done the newer trams should be able to ride over the rails.

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Time to party! (Or: A tram ride through The Hague)

Get ready for the party tram…!

Party tram in The Hague

Unfortunately the party tram isn’t able to prevent me from taking blurry pictures, but it was moving at the time so there is that.

This was taken around the Centrum tram stop (Centrum=city center). You can rent the trams out for a group and enjoy a festive ride through the city. You also have a similar type of tram where you can ride around while you enjoy a meal. It’s seems interesting, but I haven’t riden on one yet.

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Blue and green (Or: Greetings from the Irish countryside)

On Saturday Marco and I visited a friend who lives in the Wicklow Mountains, just south of Dublin. It was nice to see another side of Dublin, rather than just the city center…

Irish countryside - Wicklow Mountains 2

Apparently the lake is man-made, having been filled in the 1930s or thereabouts.

Irish countryside - Wicklow Mountains

The lake through the trees…

And a bonus photo of the Samuel Beckett bridge (designed to look like a harp lying on its side, an iconic Irish icon) and behind it the Dublin convention center with its tilted glass atrium (54 meters high).

Samuel Beckett bridge in Dublin

Samuel Beckett bridge, with the Dublin convention center directly behind it.

And this (probably) concludes my Dublin related posts. Probably. I hope you enjoyed them!

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Patio chair destruction (Or: Squirrel entertainment)

While Marco, Roger and I were staying with family in Chicago, we encountered a most peculiar sight. A very hungry squirrel!

Enter Mr. Patio chair killer:

Squirrel patio chair killer 1

Squirrel patio chair killer 2How is that fluff tasting Mr. Squirrel? You’ve got quite the appetite there.

Squirrel patio chair killer 3

Yep, that’s right. Pose for the camera now!

Actually in all honesty he was gathering materials for a nest probably, not eating it. But he took so much he must have been eating it on the side…

Final destruction of patio chairs

Here is a final look at the damage. You can see the top of the chair being molested, but it is nothing compared to the bottom of the chair where the guy really dug in. At some points he was actually *inside* the chair. We watched the cushion bounce around a bit as he dug into it.

Unfortunately I missed out on the opportunity to get the best picture of all — at some point he was on the sliding glass door itself, hanging upside down on the screen showing his furry chest at us.

It goes without saying that after the screen incident, the chair cushions were removed and thrown in the trash. And of course they filled up a large trash can all by themselves…

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Tangerine Dream (Or: The Cheesecake Company)

Yesterday Marco and I had cheesecake at The Cheesecake Company in The Hague (by the Grote Kerk). We sampled Tangerine Dream…

Tangerine Dream from The Cheesecake Company in The Hague

The tangerine part of the cheesecake was definitely subtler then I expected but still quite tasty. The bottom part of the cheesecake is chocolate, of course accentuated by the two syrups on the plate as well. Lekker!

And of course you have my usual coffee on the left and Marco’s cappuccino on the right.

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Just a little nervous (Or: Test day 1 of 2 at ROC Mondriaan)

Last night was the speaking and writing test for the Dutch B1 course. I ended up doing the speaking test first and I was definitely a bit nervous… Which I found funny because I can talk in Dutch for two or three hours at times without too much trouble.

If course that depends on who I am speaking with (their accent, how much we have in common) and the topic. But last night I was definitely nervous. Not sure why, except that I want to do really good so I start to worry about failing. :p There was 8 or 9 questions, with only a few sentences required for each answer. For the most part I did fine, except two questions. One where I had to give advice (I wasn’t sure if I should use third or first person, and I used third person. Should have been first, but my grammar was correct anyway.)

The other issue was a question where we had to describe some form of nature where we had lived – flowers, trees, mountains, rivers or etc. I had no idea what to say! I just drew a blank. I did manage something but it wasn’t quite what I was asked for. My teacher did give me a chance to add something else so I did. So in both cases it was probably ‘okay’ though I did fine on the other 7 or so questions.

The other part was writing. No problems there really – perhaps a point or two lost somewhere – but I did end up using almost the entire time and I erased A LOT. I second guess myself sometimes!

Next Tuesday is listening and reading and then it’s done. Almost there.

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Parades (Or: Veteran’s Day in The Hague)

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day in the Netherlands. Marco and I went and checked out the local parade after hearing dozens of helicopters flying over on their way to Maliveld (where they had a lot of activities going on – we ended up not going there).

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 5

‘Veteranen, ingezet in dienst van de vrede’ – veterans deployed in the service of peace

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 4

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 3

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 2

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 6

Veterans Day parade in The Hague

People standing on benches trying to get a better view (it’s normally a well populated bus stop)

Categories: Holidays, News, The Hague | 3 Comments

Twelfth day (Or: Some keys of my own)

One of the trips that Marco and I made this week was to the key shop to make copies of his keys (apartment entrance key, apartment door key, and mailbox key). 🙂

my own Dutch apartment keys

In my defense, I did not ask for the kitty design. It was just the one that they currently had available. ;p (But it does make it easier to tell the three keys apart, that’s for sure!)

Marco, Roger and I also went to Sumo (sushi and grilled restaurant) for dinner. In that restaurant, you are served in rounds, and it is all you can eat (if you arrive at 5PM like we did, you can eat until 7:30PM).

sake at a sushi restaurant

A drink of sake!

You can have up to 6 rounds of food, and you can have 5 items per person per round (so really it’s just a maximum of 15 total).

food at a sushi restaurant

round 1 of 4 (the first few dishes – probably about 6 or 7 more to arrive). Mostly sushi, with some chicken on the left and some mixed fruit in coconut sauce on the bottom (the last being sooo delicious)

We got to round 4, though we took it slow and ended at 7:30PM.

Dessert is your choice of an ice cream scoop. I had green tea, Marco had mango, and Roger had red bean ice cream. Good stuff! Next time I definitely need to try the mango ice cream, as it definitely had a kick to it.

ice cream at a sushi restaurant

Mango ice cream on the left, red bean above, and my green tea ice cream on the bottom

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Sandy (Or: Dutch marathoners help out)

Marco pointed me to a news story where a group of Dutch runners decided to help with the relief efforts after finding out that the New York marathon would be canceled. Here was a tweet from the Newark, New Jersey mayor:

News article (Dutch | English)

As reports had stated that 40,000 of the 47,000 expected runners were already in the city when the marathon was canceled by Mayor Bloomberg, it does make sense. (Although the logistics of moving around that many helpers is something you would need to tackle as well.)

The title sponsor of the marathon, ING, said it would donate half a million dollars to the relief effort, while Poland Spring (a bottled water company) said it would donate the 200,000 bottles of water which were to be used during the marathon itself.

Other stories of New York marathon runners helping out:

Running Staten Island to deliver essentials (their Facebook page)

World Vision marathoners distribute food

Race2Recover – Donating hotel rooms for the relief effort (and requesting a hotel room)

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