Marco&Niki

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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Cold refreshment (Or: Like taking a sip of the universe)

Last month Marco was feeling creative. He knows I like the color blue so he decided to make me a blue lemonade + tequila + orange juice concoction. Originally he was going for a layered look but I think this result was much, much more awesome…

A drink of the universe

Another look:

Tequila with orange juice and blue lemonade

The glasses were actually a promotion from Baileys – buy a bottle of Baileys and get two glasses free. They are quite beautiful actually.

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Birthday notes (Or: Puzzles from Marco)

Yesterday was my birthday. Fun times were had all around, between sharing a beer with Marco after work (we went to the Plein) to doing gourmetten with Roger that night.

I will have a few other photos later, but for now check out what Marco did:

image

Sticky notes!

In the morning I woke up to sticky notes everywhere. My favorite hiding place was on the toilet paper roll (not visible until you use it) and in my jacket sleeve, so that when I put my jacket on it popped out. There are 34 notes in all — numbered, thankfully — which read:

“Mijn lieve Niki, weet je dat het jouw drie-en-dertigste verjaardag is vandaag? Ik ben blij dat wij dat samen vieren want ik hou echt heel veel van jou! Je rare man – Marco (34 alvast voor het jaar dat nu begint).”

“My lovely Niki, do you know that it is your 33rd birthday today? I am happy that we can celebrate it together because I love you very much! Your silly husband – Marco (34 in advance for the year that now begins).”

Awww!

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Pim cafĂ© in The Hague (Or: Over on Wagenstraat)

For Valentine’s day, Marco and I visited Pim, a cafĂ© on Wagenstraat. They have a “breakfast for 2” on their menu which I thought might be interesting to try out. While they have another cafĂ© on Prins Hendrikstraat, the one on Wagenstraat has only been open since September.

The ambiance was pretty nice, beginning with the flowers on the table:

Pim cafe Wagenstraat Den Haag flowers

There was also a foosball table hanging on the wall:

Pim cafe Wagenstraat Den Haag wall decoration

And here is a look at the breakfast for two. Two large croissants, four pieces of brown bread, four pieces of white bread, orange juice, coffee, hummus and a few vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, paprika).

Pim cafe Wagenstraat Den Haag breakfast for two 1The blue plate was awesome…

As you can see below, there was also cheese, ham and two cooked eggs. I am not a fan of eggs in general, so luckily Marco was willing to eat mine as well.

Pim cafe Wagenstraat Den Haag breakfast for two 2

But definitely a nice breakfast – very filling!

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Wrap up (Or: The remaining days in Washington DC and Indianapolis)

As I am a bit behind in posting my Washington DC and Indianapolis pictures, I’ve have decided to combine the remaining two posts into one. Let’s see..

Of course, being a librarian I had to visit the Library of Congress in DC. We visited it after our tour of the US Capitol, as there is an underground tunnel which connects the two buildings. Here is a look at the rather famous Reading Room (from above):

Reading room at Library of Congress

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Food trucks and hockey (With: Some culture in between)

Towards the end of the week in the Washington, DC-Indianapolis vacation, we spotted some food trucks, went to a Washington Capitals hockey game and toured the US capital. Two days packed with food and culture!

food trucks in Washington DC

Food trucks in DC

That was on Thursday morning. After that we went to the National Archives and saw, among other items, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights (no photos allowed, but that’s what Google Images is for). Then we went to the Newseum, a visit I can definitely recommend – especially the FBI section. They had various items, including the cabin where the Unabomber stayed and the SUV from the attempted Times Square bombing a few years back.

Thursday night Marco and I went to the Washington Capitals hockey game against the Dallas Stars. It was a lot of fun, especially since we weren’t rooting for either team. A good thing to, since the home team lost…

Washington Capitals vs Dallas Stars

On Friday I had arranged tickets to the US Capitol tour. That was also a very interesting tour, which began with a very pro-America, very patriotic video (of course). The highlight was the National Statuary Hall, of which below is an example:

National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol

Each statue is allowed to donate two statues. The only rules are that the statue must be of someone who passed away and they must be made of either marble or bronze. The statues can be replaced with a different person’s statue as desired. In the middle with the black base is a statue from Nebraska of William Jennings Bryan.

There’s also an unmarked, empty grave in the middle of the rotunda. The intention was that George Washington and his wife Martha would be buried there once the capitol was completed, as the literal foundation on which the nation was born (the tour guide’s words). Unfortunately, they died about 30 years before the Capitol’s construction was complete and their family did not want them disturbed once the Capitol was ready.

grave at US capitol

the marker of the grave originally intended for George Washington and his wife

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Beginnings (Or: On the way to DC memorials)

As mentioned previously, Marco and I recently returned from a trip to Washington, DC and to Indianapolis (for the Thanksgiving holiday). One interesting thing I that I didn’t know about was the Zero Milestone near the fence in front of the White House.

Zero milestone outside White House

The Zero Milestone was a marker originally conceived to be the milestone from which all road distances in the US are measured. This never came to be (only the roads in Washington DC are measured from it currently). Which makes sense as the milestone is on the east coast of the country and not in the Midwest, a more logical starting point.

Nearby you have the Korean memorial, a memorial which contains a mural wall with images of the troops who served during the war as well as 17 statues which represent a squad on patrol, walking in a thick green brush at their feet.

Korean War memorial in Washington DC

After that we visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. This memorial was recently finished in 2011 so it was the first time I had seen it. It stands taller than life. I didn’t crop the woman in the picture so that you could get a sense of its height:

MLK memorial at Washington DC

Two facts about the memorial include the dedication ceremony being delayed due to the arrival of Hurricane Irene as well as the paraphrase of a quote which was later removed.

We were not able to see it up close, but directly across from the memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. is the Jefferson memorial.

Thomas Jefferson memorial in Washington DC

The water looks very cold and uninviting in the photo. It was a windy day.

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A trip to the National mall (Or: Washington monument and surroundings)

Continuing the story of Marco and I’s recent travels to Washington, DC and Indianapolis…

We visited the National Mall on one of our days in the city. And no, it does not mean a ‘mall’ like a ‘shopping mall’ – it’s a strip of land where the majority of important buildings and memorials can be found. One of the memorials we visited was the World War II memorial:

WWII memorial, DC

I was able to secure tickets for the Washington Monument (you can either pay a small reservation fee or take your luck at free tickets the day of). This monument stands 500 feet tall (150 meters) and is visible from a far distance.

View of Washington monument from Lincoln memorial

View of Washington monument from the steps of the Lincoln memorial

I enjoyed the views from above – the monument provides great views of the surrounding area. Here are some examples:

View of DC construction work from Washington monument

View of … DC construction and remodeling?

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best example. Let’s try this one:

Lincoln memorial viewed from Washington monument

View of Lincoln memorial from above

View of WWII memorial from Washington monument

View of WWII memorial from above

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A Thanksgiving holiday (Or: Washington DC and Indy)

Marco and I went to the US for the last two weeks for Thanksgiving. We spent a week in Washington, DC being tourists (a lot of sightseeing) and a week in Indianapolis being lazy (a lot of coffee and relaxation).

We stayed in Arlington, VA (at a Holiday Inn hotel) just over the Potomac river. We chose it because it was only one stop from DC and it was on one of the main metro lines. In fact, three different metro lines could get us into DC and beyond so we rarely had to wait long.

View from top floor, Holiday Inn Arlington VA

A view from Vantage Point – the restaurant on the 17th floor of the hotel. You can see DC across the Potomac river.

Here’s a shot of the Arlington National Cemetery – just the rows and rows of graves you’ll see:

Arlington National Cemetery

Something unexpected – there is actually a gift from the Netherlands to the US in the cemetery for the US’s aid during World War II. It is near the Iwo Jima memorial. The gift is called ‘Netherlands Carillon’, a set of 50 bells (Wikipedia: English | Dutch). Unfortunately a recent Washington Post article states that it has fallen into disrepair – during the summer the bells are played by a live person, but outside of the summer hours the concerts are done by computer. There has been an issue which prevents the automated concerts from happening. There is no word yet on when it will be fixed…

Netherlands carillon Arlington cemetery

And a piece of labradorite held at Smithsonian’s Natural History museum:

Piece of labradorite jewelry

What can I say. I am a sucker for blue.

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It’s all in the label (Or: Homemade jalapeno hot sauce)

Marco made his special jalapeno hot sauce again this weekend (to accompany tonight’s dinner of soft-shelled tacos). I especially liked the label he made:

homemade jalapeno hot sauce bottle

Death to the drinker. Well, not really, but it looks cool!

However I think the skull and swords would be more apt for the ghost pepper hot sauce, but unfortunately we don’t have the ingredients to make that at home (but we do have two store-bought versions).

Maybe next time he will take it up a notch and make habanero sauce!

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