Marco&Niki

5th wedding anniversary (Or: A trip to Breda)

My oh my, how time flies. It’s been five years since Marco and I got married! This year we went to Breda for a few days. Marco chose the location and hotel secretly. I must say – he chose well!

Breda is a city relatively close to the border with Belgium, with about 180,00 inhabitants. The only times I had been there was to transfer from one train to another, so it was new to me.

We stayed at the lovely Bliss Boutique hotel in the city centre. I can highly recommend it! Marco booked through booking.com, and thus didn’t have a chance to select a specific suite. However, it worked out wonderfully as we were placed in the Long Island suite.

It was perfect for us, as it comes with a separate sitting area (pictured below), an eating area, a king-size bed, a bath and double shower… the list goes on and on. The location was also great, being right next to the Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) in the heart of the city.

We also got complimentary prosecco and chocolates upon arrival, a welcome surprise as we hadn’t mentioned anything about it being our anniversary!

Bliss Boutique hotel, Long Island Suite, Breda

sitting area

Window at Bliss Boutique hotel, Long Island Suite, Breda

Yes, there was even a wooden boat hanging from the ceiling. And beautiful windows which let the gorgeous sky in…

While walking to the hotel, we went through Valkenburg park. It was beautiful, and luckily we had gorgeous weather for the mini-trip. We were in Breda from Tuesday to Thursday last week. Thursday was coincidentally the last day of summer-like weather in the Netherlands. Friday the weather suddenly changed and brought cold, wind and rain. We didn’t even need our jackets while in Breda. So much good luck there!

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Categories: Breda, Marco&Niki | Tags: | 4 Comments

After four years (Or: Pearl Jam back in the Netherlands)

This week shall officially be dubbed as ‘Pearl Jam week’ as they had three shows in the Netherlands. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ziggo dome and Saturday at Pinkpop, a huge outdoors festival. The last time they visited was four years ago, which I was a bit shocked by.

Pearl Jam in the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, June 12 2018

The first night four of us went: Marco, myself, Roger and my mother-in-law. We had fan club tickets, specifically standing tickets, which meant we could go in a half hour before everyone else. It does have the downside that you need to pick up your tickets the day of at the box office as you are required to show an ID, though.

We arrived around 2:30. Let’s just say the line for getting the tickets was over an hour and the line for merchandise was about an hour and a half… So we did some divide and conquer: Roger and Marco got the tickets, while my mother-in-law and I got the merchandise – posters. There are unique posters for each Pearl Jam concert (Marco and Roger got them all).

Tuesday’s poster | Wednesday’s poster | Saturday’s poster

Marco also picked up a new ‘Safe travels‘ keychain, to replace the one he got about ten years ago.

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Categories: Friends&Family, Marco&Niki | Tags: | 4 Comments

5 years in the Netherlands (Or: Wow!)

Today marks five years to the day since I arrived in the Netherlands. It is amazing how time files… Yesterday was otherwise a very typical December day:

  1. We visited the Christmas Fair at the Lange Voorhout
  2. We went grocery shopping at the local Albert Heijn (this one being of the “XL” variety over on Elandstraat)
  3. We baked cookies (see below)
  4. We started working on Christmas cards… we are really behind on the international cards this year!

To mark the occasion of “five years in the Netherlands” I made lemon cookies. You can find the recipe in Dutch over at OhMyFoodness. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make. The cookies turn out very lemony and chewy – just the way I like it!

A plate full of lemon cookies

Five years! I couldn’t bake five years ago if my life depended on it…

Categories: Food, Holidays, Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Eye-catching (Or: Photos from Amsterdam)

As mentioned in my previous blog post, Marco and I were in Amsterdam last week to celebrate our four year wedding anniversary. And I have more photos to share! Here is a look at the EYE Film Museum, taken from across the river IJ.

EYE Film museum in Amsterdam, from across the river, Sept 2017

It is the national museum of film, containing over 40,000 films, from classics to modern film. Their website states that there are four cinemas, an exhibition space, a floor reserved for educational activities, a store and a bar-restaurant. They also host film-related programs and debates.

Royal Palace in Amsterdam, Sept 2017

A look at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, also in the heart of the city

Royal Palace Amsterdam - other side, Sept 2017

The lesser photographed “back side” of the building, including a 6 meter tall statue of Atlas carrying the globe on his shoulders

What are you reading board in American Book Center in Amsterdam, Sept 2017

And finally, the “What are you reading?” board in the American Book Center.

What am I reading right now? Open kaart, by Brenno de Winter. It’s a book about the OV-chipkaart system in the Netherlands, or the card used to travel on public transportation throughout the country. Specifically the book covers the historical security issues as detailed on Wikipedia, mostly related to how easy the card was to hack in the beginning. It sounds dry but it is a fun read… if you’re into that sort of thing, of course!

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Beurspassage in Amsterdam (Or: A beautiful shortcut)

Earlier this week Marco and I were in Amsterdam to celebrate our wedding anniversary (four years!). One of the places we visited was the Beurspassage, a small passage which connects two well-known Amsterdam streets (Damrak and Nieuwendijk). The passage itself is only a 5 minute walk from the central station. The top and sides are covered in art – including a giant fish!

Beurspassage in Amsterdam - fish sculpture - Sept 2017

A giant fish, just like I said!

Beurspassage in Amsterdam, Sept 2017

Towards Nieuwendijk

Beurspassage in Amsterdam 2, Sept 2017

Towards Damrak

Beurspassage in Amsterdam, Primark entrance, Sept 2017

Giant green shoes hang on the wall by Primark…

The only thing I would have wanted was that it was longer. But it was very pretty nonetheless!

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Hot and cold (Or: Brownie, ice cream and coffee!)

Ice cream, coffee and a brownie!Work is insanely busy these days! But here is a photo of:

  • Coffee! Yum.
  • Brownie. Handmade by Marco.
  • Vanilla ice cream. Also handmade by Marco!

That’s right – guess who got an ice cream machine for his birthday! Lekker! 

Categories: Food, Marco&Niki | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

A burst of color (Or: Homemade pizza)

Friday night after work Marco made homemade pizza. With three types of paprika (bell peppers), onions, two types of cheese and jalapeños. On the left side you have sun-dried tomatoes while on the right side you have ham. Lekker!

Home made pizza - half ham, half sundried tomatoes

Categories: Food, Marco&Niki | 2 Comments

A gift from Marco (Or: …Now I am craving chocolate)

Chocolate!

Marco bought these for me – they are the size of drink coasters (onderzetters, in Dutch) and the theme is chocolate (droooool):

four-chocolate-sayings

The four sayings are:

  1. Chocolate comes from cocoa – which is a plant – therefore chocolate counts as a salad. The end.
  2. Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions. Chocolate understands.
  3. All I want is peace, love and a chocolate bar bigger than my head. (My favorite!)
  4. I love you more than chocolate, but please don’t make me prove it.

Yum.

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10 year anniversary (Or: Hamburger and fries dessert)

Marco and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary on Wednesday. This was the anniversary of us meeting (October 19, 2006). We actually met each other after Marco went to a hockey game — Nashville Predators vs New Jersey Devils — in which the Predators won 4-3. It makes the date rather easy to remember, as you just need to look up the hockey game if you forget.

Marco surprised me with this on Wednesday night:

dessert-posing-as-hamburger-and-fries

Trust me, this gesture was sweeter than you think.

Hamburger and fries, right? Wrong.

The fries on the left are actually pieces of waffle and cake. The lower right is strawberry, kiwi and mango with yellow sauce made to look like mustard. And the hamburger itself is made of two donuts for buns and with chocolate “mug cake” posing as the hamburger patty and strawberry sauce as ketchup.

What a creative surprise! 🙂

Categories: Food, Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 2 Comments

3rd wedding anniversary (Or: A stay at nhow Rotterdam hotel)

Last week Marco and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary at the nhow hotel in Rotterdam (Dutch | English). The hotel was designed by Rem Koolhaas and currently holds the title of the largest building in the Netherlands (at 160,000 square meters).

nhow-hotel-rotterdam-and-erasmus-bridge

Our room ended up being in the lower left building, in the upper left corner on the 23rd floor.

Where we were going and where we were staying was a surprise on my part – Marco only knew that it was a city in the Netherlands and we would be spending one night in a hotel.

rotterdam-centraal

Rotterdam Centraal, the train station. We ended up taking the new metro line E from Den Haag Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal, but that is for another blog post. 🙂

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