Posts Tagged With: Summer

Palace Gardens (Or: The last embrace of summer?)

The Netherlands is enjoying a last minute fling with summer today, with temperatures over 80F. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but here it is! I decided to take a stroll over to the Palace Gardens, which I’ve already blogged about a few times over the years (2012 and 2016).

Palace Gardens / Paleistuin in The Hague

It was lovely to sit in the sun and just read a book. Today I started a book by Neil Gaiman – The ocean at the end of the lane or De oceaan aan het einde van het pad in Dutch, as that was the language I was reading it in. It’s about a man who goes back to where he lived as a child to attend a funeral. While there he gets lost in his memories of his childhood.

One interesting and unexpected thing was that the book begins with a preface which reads “Ik schrijf in mijn eigen taal. Dat is Engels. Ik ben er erg dol op. Het is een goede, soepel taal, waarin ik kan uitdrukken wat ik te zeggen heb. …” Or, translated: “I write in my own language. That is English. I am very fond of it. It’s a good, flexible language where I can express what I need to say.”

I thought that was quite strange, and wondered if that preface was in every version of the book. But no, he goes on to say that his sister-in-law lives in Utrecht (a city in central Netherlands) and he brings his family to the Netherlands as often as he can to visit. He goes on to say that you don’t need an English/American upbringing to read this book, and since it is now translated into Dutch you can read it too (of course the preface was translated as well, since he doesn’t speak Dutch). Kind of cool.

The only small downside to going to a park to read is that sometimes you can get distracted and not be able to focus on the story. Especially when what you are trying to read isn’t in your native language… When I arrived, I chose a nice sunny bench, at the end to give others plenty of room to also sit down (the benches generally fit three adults). I’m at the far left, with no benches to my left. To my right, there are another three benches, all grouped right next to each other.

After a while, a man sat down on the other end of the bench I was at. No problem at all; he was just watching his kid. About five minutes later a woman sits down next to him, so I promptly and politely moved my backpack to the ground so she definitely had enough room. And then they began to talk. Argh.

Oddly enough, I had no problem when the conversations happening were at the next bench (about five feet away), but one foot away was a bit much. Especially since they were tourists speaking English, which meant hearing one language and reading another. I was pondering my options – 1) suck it up and keep reading 2) go find another bench 3) leave. But after a few minutes they all got up and left. Yay.

So I kept reading, having a personal goal of getting to 100 pages. I did that, and was at page 103 when two more people sat down at “my” bench with a few other folks in their group standing around them. And they began to talk loudly. Arghhhh again. This time I gave up – I was past my goal anyway – put my bookmark in place, stood up and left immediately.

I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much. It is a communal park after all. 🙂

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Categories: Reading, The Hague | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Helping hand on a hot day (Or: French restaurant LaSalle)

The Netherlands has been in the grips of a record-setting heat wave this week, with at least five provinces reaching 40C (104F). Due to the fact that The Hague is so close to the North Sea, we didn’t quite reach those temperatures – for us it was more like 36-37C (96-98F).

However, most people don’t have air conditioning in their homes. Why would you, when temperatures like this only happen a few days of the year? Luckily public buildings and work places tend to be at least climate controlled. On days like this it is beneficial to go into work rather than being at home, where the temperatures inside can easily hit 84-86F.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this table outside of LaSalle, a French restaurant here in The Hague city centre:

Free water (for both you and your pet) at La Salle

The sign says ‘Pak maar!’ or ‘Help yourself!’. They even thoughtfully put out a water bowl for pets, either dogs on a leash or neighborhood cats.

You have to understand that water fountains are almost unheard of in this country, both indoor and outdoor. The city and water company Dunea are trying to increase the amount of free water spots in the country, but that takes time.

To see free water on a record setting day – Thursday it was 40.7C (105F) in Gilze en Rijen (Google Maps) – is a step in the right direction.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

At the beach (Or: Cocktail workshops)

Recently the company I work for met at the Scheveningen beach for the annual summer party. I signed up Marco and myself for the cocktail workshop. Here’s a look at the White Russian that I made:

I made that! 🙂 Love the layers.

There were some no-shows at the party, so everyone was able to do another cocktail in the second workshop. In that one, Marco and I made “the Split”, which is named after a Dutch popsicle. That cocktail was with likeur 43, orange juice, yoghurt likeur and ice cubes.

But nothing beats my White Russian!

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A summer’s day (Or: Scheveningen is crowded)

One of the Dutch news sites NU.nl was featuring a video of the crowded beaches at Scheveningen, taken from a helicopter.

Today’s actually the last day for a while of weather that can be labeled “very good” for a while, with temperatures around 94F here in The Hague. We should also be getting a bit of rain tonight, hopefully, although it will do nothing for the drought conditions the country is experiencing.

On a brighter note, Marco and I visited Five Guys for a second time for some burgers and fries. This time I took a picture of the bulletin board where guests can leave reactions:

Five Guys bulletin board in The Hague, Aug 2018

There are of course a lot of wishes that Five Guys would come to someone’s country. And the ‘best milkshake in town’ paper makes me realized I’ve never had a milkshake at this fast food place. Maybe I should change that at some point…

Categories: Food, Scheveningen | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Heat wave (Or: This isn’t the Netherlands, right?)

So… the Netherlands finally figured out how to do a good summer. Although it might be doing it a bit too well, actually. We haven’t had any rain in about a month and a half (with some crazy exceptions like Twente getting more than a month’s worth of rain yesterday – yikes!) and it has been warm for the Netherlands. Admittedly nothing the US hasn’t seen, but still. I need to apologize to Marco as I always complain about how summer lasts less than a week in this country.

Today it was about 95F here in The Hague, with 96-97F predicted tomorrow. And that’s not even close to the highest temperature recorded in the Netherlands today. Another city called Almelo registered 38.9C or 102.02F at the height of today. Almelo is on the east side of the Netherlands, not too far from Germany.

And how do Marco and I stay cool in a country that doesn’t have much air conditioning in homes? Well, besides water and fans…

Mr Freeze freezer pops or ijslollies

Freezer pops!

The first is freezer pops, or ijslollies in Dutch. A blast from the past and great for the nostalgic feelings.

Iced cappuccinos.jpg

Iced cappuccinos

And the other way is iced cappuccinos. Lekker!

Random links:

melted asphalt in Groningen, in the north (some cities have been salting the roads to prevent this issue)

fires in the dunes

a satellite image comparing July 2017 with July 2018

some bridges in Amsterdam (and other cities) close for the foreseeable future due to the heat

One more day of heat, and then some relief (high of 78F) and perhaps a bit of rain Saturday morning. Maybe. No end in sight to the drought, though.

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Haagse Wereld Hapjes (Or: Bites of the world)

At the end of June Marco and I went to the Haagse Wereld Hapjes food festival at the Lange Voorhout. That translates to something like ‘Bites of the world, from The Hague’. It featured 25 different restaurants based in The Hague or surrounding area, with cuisines ranging from Persian to Argentinian to Slovakian.

The one restaurant that caught my eye was Pops, an American restaurant over in nearby Wassenaar. They really outdid themselves with their decorations:

Haagse Wereld Hapjes - Pops restaurant (American)

A look at the overall area:

Haagse Wereld Hapjes - A view of the festival

And, of course – you need entertainment with your food:

Haagse Wereld Hapjes - Performers

It was a fun experience and a great initiative by the city!

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Summer! (Or: Friday night in Scheveningen)

Friday night was the annual summer party at work. Like last year, it was held at a beach restaurant in Scheveningen (about 20 minutes by tram from the city center). Coincidentally summer arrived this week with the pastures consistently higher. Some days were around 33-34C (90F+). Perfect beach weather to sit in the sun for a few hours and work on your tan…

Summer drinks at the Scheveningen beach

Summer drinks at the Scheveningen beach

 

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Summer (Correction: One day of summer)

Here in the Hague it is 30C (86F).

Yahoo weather app Den Haag

Unfortunately it will only be for today, reinforcing my belief that summers are few and far between here. This was only the second day I didn’t take a jacket to work this year! It’s okay though… the winters are currently just as mild which IS nice.

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Warmth! (Or: Our two days of Dutch summer)

The title is actually a joke. Marco always says The Netherlands receives two days of summer each year. And those days seem to be today and tomorrow.

weather The Hague June 2013

The image is in Fahrenheit, though to be honest I have gotten used to telling the temperature in Celsius these days.

85F =29.5C

86F = 30C

71F = 21.5C

61F = 16C

All you really need to know is 20C = 68F. That can get you through most of the summer, anyway.

The one thing I haven’t quite mastered yet is the 24 hour clock. All clocks here are in military time, and even the tv shows are listed in military time. A 7:15PM show is listed as 19:15.

…Yes, shows can start at 15 after the hour, or 20 after the hour (etc). This is partially because there aren’t as many commercial breaks here (though the breaks they do have are longer), so it’s not as forced by advertisements. I do miss the more structured American method, though.

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Irony (Or: Summer schedules on rain-filled days)

There’s just something very ironic about the following photo which Marco gave me a few days ago. It is taken from the inside of a bus, and focuses on an advertisement.

1. “Summer schedule returns next week!”

2. We’re going to promote this with a picture of a smiling happy family at a beach!

3. Don’t look out the bus window, or you might see the dreary rain-filled day which lies in stark contrast to this promise of sorts.

Categories: The Hague, Transportation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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