Friends&Family

Mickey time (Or: More photos from Disneyland Paris)

I have so many photos to show, and not enough blog posts…

First, a few photos of Marco, Roger and I’s trip to Disneyland Paris with Dutch influence:

Disneyland Paris - It's a small world (Dutch)

A look at the Dutch section of the “It’s a small world” attraction – windmills, tulips and clogs of course!

Disneyland Paris - It's a small world, outside

Outside, the various translations of “It’s a small world!”. The Dutch translation is off to the right, in blue. “De wereld is maar klein, hoor!”

Silver Spur Disneyland Paris menu cover in Dutch

Restaurant menu from “Silver Spur” – a steakhouse we ate at on our last night at the park. 

(above) They had asked what country we were from. When we got to the table we were handed Dutch menus. A thoughtful gesture, but we weren’t sure how the wait staff would understand what we wanted to order. Perhaps it would be done on the “point with your finger” system.

The only confusing thing was that the dessert section read “Coffee or tea, 11 euros” in Dutch. We were very confused. How could coffee or tea cost 11 euros? We later got our hands on an English menu which read “Coffee or tea, plus a selection of desserts, 11 euros”. Okay, that makes more sense!

Continue reading

Advertisements
Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: | Leave a comment

Weekendje weg (Or: Disneyland Paris, 25th anniversary)

Weekendje weg = a short weekend trip. A bit ironic here, since our trip was five days…

Last weekend (Thurs-Mon), Marco, Roger and I went to Disneyland Paris. This was my second time – the first was during our honeymoon in 2013. And this time we splurged a bit, booking a suite in Sequoia Lodge, a hotel themed after the American northwest. The excuse was that we were with three adults, so this way everyone has plenty of room! And little did we know that the complimentary VIP fast passes (unlimited use) would quickly come in handy when we realized we arrived in the middle of a French school holiday…

We went by train, taking the Thalys from Rotterdam. First class! So free breakfast when you board at 7am. That got us to Gare du Nord, the train station in Paris. Then we had to take the metro (45 minutes to an hour) to get to Disneyland itself. It’s east of the city. We booked “Disneyland express” which meant that when you arrive at the Disney train station you can drop off your luggage and collect your park entrance tickets and VIP fast passes right then and there. They deliver your luggage to the hotel while you go straight to the park. We ended up not getting to the hotel until around 8 or 9pm that night.

Another perk of the room type – separate registration area! It was like opening a new bank account – you went to a desk, with two chairs for the guests. You have a seat while they get the last formalities squared away. There was a bowl of 25th anniversary golden coins (dark chocolate), free for the taking. We took a few, not knowing just how many we’d get during this five day trip…

At this point the worker called someone to let them know what our room number was so they could deliver the luggage to the room and open the sofa bed for Roger. We didn’t go to the room right away, but instead headed over to the “Golden Forest” lounge (for anyone with a Golden Forest room or better). It was a strange experience – there was no one else there! Unfortunately that was the only time we would see the place empty again.

Sequoia Lodge Golden Forest lounge

The advantage of the Golden Forest lounge – it is also a breakfast area, and you can get breakfast whenever you want between 7 and 11am. During breakfast they open both rooms. The first time Marco and I went to Disneyland together, we stayed at the New York hotel and had to pick half hour slots when we wanted to have breakfast (first come first serve at hotel checkin). This was much more relaxed.

Continue reading

Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: | 2 Comments

Soccer? Football? (Or: My first ADO Den Haag game)

Of course – it is called football (or voetbal) over here. Roger bought some tickets for the ADO Den Haag game a few weeks back, against Sparta Rotterdam. So Marco and I met up with Roger and his mother – although our first stop was the Rrrollend Foodtruck festival. The last one of the year in The Hague! We are already looking forward to the return of the festival in 2018.

Here is the ADO Den Haag stadium – reachable by tram 3 or 4 from the city centre (Forepark station).

ADO Den Haag football stadium

Unfortunately it is about a 10 minute walk from the station, but at least you don’t have to take the train.

Before the ADO Den Haag football game

Before the game – people filing in and the grass being watered. It is hard to tell from this photo, but the seats are elevated, with fans needing to climb a flight of metal stairs to get to this level. The field is separated by a high wall to prevent rioters from reaching the field.

The section on the other side with the team logo is where the fans with season cards sit.

More flag waving before ADO Den Haag football game

At the beginning of the game they passed out a lot of large flags to our section. If you sit here your flag waving skills better be good!

Flag waving before the ADO Den Haag game

Above is one very energetic fan. He first passed this flag to another spectator, asking if the man wanted to wave the flag. When this didn’t really happen (the guy just held it in his hands), the guy took it back and began to wave it frantically. And note the back of his shirt – 070 is the area code of The Hague.

1-0 score between ADO Den Haag and Sparta

We ended up winning the game 1-0. It would have been 2-0 but there was a goal called off for being offside.

The best part: we were sitting right behind the goal so we had a great view.

Blue Army graffiti by the stands at ADO Den Haag football game

Here’s a look at the graffiti-filled wall that separates the fans from the field. The stairs to go up to the stands are off to the left.

All in all it was a fun game. Though I have to admit that my favorite moment was when ADO Den Haag had a goal chance that the Sparta goalkeeper blocked – four times! The ball kept being hit back to the ADO Den Haag player, who had little choice but to kick it back in the same direction. it was like a game of pong.

Categories: Friends&Family, Sports, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Wednesday evenings (Or: Food and fun by Milu)

Last Wednesday I went out for dinner and cocktails with a friend of mine. We went to Milu, a restaurant in the centre of The Hague near the Grote Kerk (literally “the big church”). It was my second time visiting – the first time was with coworkers. The restaurant’s premise is sharing dishes; we ended up having three “rounds” of food and drink.

Round #1:

Bruschetta bread and beef teriyaki with Chinese pancakes. With a green tea mojito for me.

Bruschetta bread, Milu, The Hague

Beef teriyaki and Chinese pancakes, Milu, The Hague

Continue reading

Categories: Food, Friends&Family, The Hague | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

I say Heyyy Ohhh (Or: Green Day at the Ziggo Dome)

On Tuesday night Marco, Roger and I went to the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam to see the punk rock band Green Day perform.

green-day-concert-jan-2017-amterdam-ziggo-dome

The setlist for the night is available at setlist.fm. They played for at least 2 1/2 hours (they were scheduled for 3, but even 2 1/2 seemed like a decent amount).

green-day-concert-jan-2017-amterdam-ziggo-dome-mike-dirnt

guitarist Mike Dirnt graces our corner (he came over frequently)

My favorite song that they played was Are We The Waiting (YouTube). From the new album I only wish they had played Say Goodbye (YouTube again), although they don’t seem to play that one on tour. Oh well – can’t have it all!

green-day-concert-jan-2017-amterdam-ziggo-dome-flames

Instant wall of heat. It felt nice, since it was so brief…

It was a really good show. I definitely woke up sore in the morning, but it was still worth it.

Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: | Leave a comment

Be the first to defuse an exploding kitten (Or: Fun card games)

For Christmas Marco and I got Roger a copy of Exploding Kittens, a card game “for people who are into kittens and explosions. And laser beams. And sometimes goats”. In this case we got the NSFW version, but they also have a normal version.

exploding-kittens-card-game

A look at the card game

It’s an interesting card game. The goal is to not get an exploding kitten card (the black card at right). If you do, you are out of the game unless you also have a green defuse card like the one on the left. Two interesting twists:

  • You end your turn by picking up a card, rather than starting your turn by doing so.
  • There is no need to reshuffle the current deck because the game will definitely end by the last card. This is because you the number of exploding kittens and defuse cards is based on the size of the group playing, and you always have one less defuse card than exploding kitten card.

We also played a game of Skip-Bo, another card game. That game has the advantage of time management – the number of cards you deal at the beginning of the game to each player is your choice. If you deal less cards, the game ends quicker than if you had dealt more cards.

skip-bo-card-game

Finally, a shoutout to a friend living in Japan who sent over some nice snacks. In this case, the Japanese snacks are the larger pieces in the upper right:

various-salty-snacks-while-playing-skip-bo

Not quite sure what they are made of, but they were good! Thanks again!

The other snacks are sour cream and chive pretzels as well as Dutch borrelnootjes (“party nuts”) – Dutch Wikipedia. They are peanuts surrounded by a salty, spiced layer. A bit hard to describe, but tasty in moderation.

Categories: Food, Friends&Family | Tags: | Leave a comment

Not so Christmasy Christmas (Or: San Francisco for the holidays)

Last week Marco and I were in San Francisco for the holidays with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. It was a short trip, but a lot of fun! I didn’t take too many pictures this time, but here is a small sampling:

san-francisco-pier

One of the piers at San Francisco

bridge-in-san-francisco

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (not to be confused with the Golden Gate bridge which everyone photographs)

powell-and-market-cable-car-san-francisco-wooden-platform

Powell and Market cable car

This cable car is positioned at the turnaround point – the cable car stops on a wooden platform before being rotated to head back in the same direction it came. See a demonstration at YouTube.

holiday-sugar-castle-in-westin-hotel-san-francisco-2016

Sugar castle at Westin St. Hotel lobby, San Francisco (free to view, donations optional)

We also visited the Exploratorium, an interactive exhibit hall for both kids and adults. It was a lot of fun and I can highly recommend it. One of the exhibits was the Curious Contraptions exhibit. Clicking the link will show a short 47 second video of what made them so curious…

swimmers-at-exploratorium-curious-contraptions-exhibit

Turn a crank and watch the item move (or in this case, press a button on the outside of the glass since these items are too delicate to be touched directly).

Another example of automata are the Dutch Strandbeest creatures created by Theo Jansen, born in nearby Scheveningen. Those were also referenced in the Exploratorium.

Finally, here is a fun workout for you:

manual-counter-at-exploritorium-in-san-francisco

“Your turn counts” exhibit

Read more about it at the exhibit page – basically if you turn the lever at the right, the wooden wheel spins. Turn that ten times and the grey wheel (currently at 0, though the 9 can also be seen) turns once. Turn THAT once (so the wooden wheel 100 times) and the next wheel turns, the black one currently at 0, and so on. Patience…

All in all a fun trip. And you better believe we raided a few grocery stores for some American snacks!

Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tapas at the Mezze (Or: Dinner out in Scheveningen)

Amazingly my birthday celebrations are still going strong a week and a half later! My taalcoach (language coach, Den Haag SamenSpraak) invited Marco and I to dinner at the Mezze, an Arabic/Moroccan tapas bar in Schveningen. It’s actually right next to the Kurhaus, on the side facing away from the beach.

The food was great – we did the all you can eat buffet which meant everyone could choose what they wanted. And go back multiple times for the same item, in my case…  Below is a look at some of my food (bottom plate) and Marco’s food (top plate). A mix of cold and warm items.

Buffet at Mezze Arabische Tapasbar

Quite simple but the thing I kept going back for was the soup and bread. Did I ever mention I love bread? Yum. Actually, in the picture above you also see the bread (the slightly darker pieces on the plate itself) – it’s just been cooked for another day and is much crispier. I prefer the softer bread at the far right above or in the picture below, though.

Soup at Mezze Arabische Tapasbar

The area where we ate was in the glass enclosed terrace. Even though it was a cold day outside, it was warm enough inside, thanks to a healthy fire in the middle of the table.

Rocks and fire at Mezze Arabische Tapasbar

The restaurant also has belly dancers on the weekends. I didn’t get a picture of it, but she had a very pretty navel piercing – a blue jewel.

Dancer at Mezze Arabische Tapasbar

And because I just like colorful plates, here’s a look at the choices for the soup bowls. One of these does not belong…

Bowls at Mezze Arabische Tapasbar

Afterwards we had dessert and coffee back at their house. Check out the desserts! Of course I went for the chocolate one. 🙂

Dessert cakes

But check out the design at the bottom of this one. Very cool!

Dessert cake

Categories: Food, Friends&Family, Scheveningen | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Birthday presents (Or: A year wiser?)

Last week I celebrated another birthday. Here’s a look at some (but unfortunately not all) of the highlights…

First, a bouquet of paper flowers made by my father-in-law and his wife. Still wrapped:

Paper flower bouquet (still wrapped)

Unwrapped:

Paper flower bouquet

A close up of the butterfly. Do you see what the roses are made of? Wrapped chocolate and the best paper you could make flowers out of — 5 euro notes!

Continue reading

Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Nature (Or: Peace in contemplation)

A few weeks ago Marco, his mom and I visited Marco’s uncle and aunt again. The occasion? A photo session with the extended family. And what do I do during a photo session? Take my own photos of course! Here are some of the best I took:

Buddha statue through pine trees

Peace in contemplation

Continue reading

Categories: Friends&Family | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.