On Thursday Europe was hit with a “wind storm”, which sounds a lot wussier than it actually was. Not much rain, but it still managed to bring the country to a halt for the day. The good (or bad) news was that the peak of the storm was around 11am, which meant that most people were able to get into work. But getting home was another matter entirely…
By about 10 or 10:30am The Hague tram system was shut down. Not surprising, since about 15 minutes before the shutdown someone tweeted a photo of a tram shelter’s roof after it flew off in the wind. Two glass panels actually – the second one is behind the right tram shelter. (Here’s a look at a tram stop roof in better times.) The buses shut down about 15 minutes after the trams.
The Washington Post has an article with a collection of photos and videos from the storm (including the person flying across the plaza in Den Bosch, which every Dutch person has seen at least once now, and the guy too stubborn to let go of his bike in The Hague).
The only picture I have of the day is someone standing in the glass at a tram stop that night:
In the last two days we’ve received more snow than I’ve probably seen in the almost 5 years I’ve been here (and wow, next Monday is officially 5 years!) Yesterday wasn’t too bad – most people did not have to work. Indeed, Marco and I went outside yesterday and took some pictures.
snowfall yesterday. bus 22, with the oliebollen stand behind
But today would prove to be slightly more chaotic. Schiphol is currently trying to decide if they put out bedding for stranded travellers; about one third of the flights are cancelled and buses and trains aren’t running there. No trains to or from Amsterdam or Utrecht (in the heart of the Netherlands) at the moment. For a while the HTM buses here in The Hague stopped riding, but some lines are riding again.
I knew I had to go into work – my work computer was there! – but Marco was kind enough to walk me to my tram stop. It started snowing again in the late morning, so I stuck around until just after 1pm, and then went home to finish off my work there.
Marco and I were recently waiting for the tram. While waiting, we had a look at the information posted at the stop. They had recently added in a poster about tram and bus service during “extreme weather”.
I don’t know – would you call this extreme weather?
Perhaps it is the fact that I come from Chicago, where extreme weather would be, at a minimum, a foot of snow (30cm). But even then, there is a good chance of getting a foot of snow in any given year…
And here you have “extreme weather” being labeled as a dusting of snow! Insane Dutchies.
And another festive note, tram 1 decorated for the holidays:
(Pssssst. No snow to be seen!)
Here in the Netherlands we have been experiencing a rather wet week. Rain throughout the day, just enough to annoy. Luckily I had an umbrella this time – although it made me realize I don’t need an umbrella that much these days. There is “rain” and then there is “okay, I guess I’ll get out an umbrella rain”. There is actually a difference!
Of course back in America everyone had a car and drove around (except me) so I didn’t see many people who needed an umbrella… but it is an interesting realization: rain doesn’t bother me as much these days.
Don’t get me wrong – I said “as much”. I draw the limit at sudden downpours in Scheveningen where the coastal wind is strong to begin with – my back was soaked in 3 seconds flat that day. And as soon as it started it was over again. Welcome to the Netherlands!
But: just imagine for a moment that rain was like melting crayons (the latest art craze, Google it). Beautiful but messy…
Saturday was Marco’s birthday. Fijne verjaardag! We had a few parties to celebrate. The first was at Eten en zo (a buffet type restaurant) with Marco’s father and his wife. They made a really awesome birthday card for Marco. As Marco says: first she made awesome cards. Then she made awesome 3D cards. And now… Well now she made this:
It’s a box. Go on, open it. I dare you.
(When you open it the four sides fall outward.) Echt gaaf, zeg!
They also gave him this really cool “money plant” proving once and for all that money does grow on trees (het is bewijs dat geld wél aan bomen groeit). Two cucumbers as plants, with many 50 cent pieces stuck in them, and a few 10 euro bills fastened together like flower blooms.
Saturday Roger and Marco’s mom came over. Originally Marco wanted to barbecue but we heard on Friday that the coast areas were going to see some storm action (up to 55-70mph winds). We went to see Ant-Man with Roger in the afternoon and it was already pretty windy with a lot of rain at times. The only thing that kept my Wrigley Field hat on was that I put my ponytail through it. Okay, and it’s not my hat. I borrowed it from Marco. 😉
Around 6pm we got a call from Marco’s mom that her tram wasn’t running and that she was going to try the bus. Until then I hadn’t thought to check public transportation – though HTM only had general warnings placed across all lines versus any specific warnings. Fallen trams on the tracks or lines above were the main issues. But she eventually made it!
Dinner was pulled chicken (cooked for hours in the slow cooker), potato bits and bourbon glazed carrots. Birthday presents were mainly cooking related this year, with a barbecue tong, thermometer, and skewers unwrapped. Other presents included an Xbox game (Witcher), a few t-shirts and a tea timer (like an hourglass but with gel).
Luckily by the time things wrapped up the storm had died down. Now we can start scheming for Roger’s birthday in a month!
Here in the Hague it is 30C (86F).
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.
Okay, so life has been busy lately. About 10 days to go before we leave for Chicago – and we have stuff to do every night. Hmmm… Though we might be able to sneak out to dinner on Thursday if we’re lucky.
Here is a lovely photo of the Christmas tree in my workplace’s lobby. It randomly appeared last week and actually got me to stop in my tracks since I wasn’t expecting it.
It must be December in the Netherlands – it rains a lot these days, including pouring rain a few hours ago. Hmm. And that in comparison to Chicago next week – it’s been a good two years since I’ve seen snow. I think I miss it. Maybe…
The current weather in The Hague is a balmy 13C. That’s about 55F. I will admit it is a bit windy though…
The current weather in the midwest where my parents are? –16F, feels like -41F with the windchill. (That is -27C, feels like -41C. – ironically -41 seem to be where Fahrenheit and Celsius meet.)
Just for fun, here’s a photo from New Year’s Eve in The Hague. Just something burning in the middle of the road. Note all of the red fireworks wrappings in the street.
The weather has changed after the first few days of September (when we actually hit 30c/86f). The last few days have been nothing but rain, rain, and more rain. It was pouring about 10 minutes ago and I am afraid to look outside to see if it still is.
After a slow start to the summer, we have been spoiled by some moderate, dry weather since then. Of course I am only worried because the wedding is in 11 days… it is truly crazy to realize that!
Today’s the start of another week (and the start of another school week). I was able to get my textbook on Thursday morning (Taaltalent) so I do not have to worry about that anymore.
Here’s a random photo from a few weeks ago. The sign amused me, but I’m not sure why:
Of course there is a stereotypical bike nearby.
If it was me, I would have drawn a line from “sure you do” to “yes”, rather than “buy a new pair of jeans”. The person who originally said no to a new pair of jeans needs to still agree that they need a new one. Seen at Baretta Jeans.
Random, I know.
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.
The image is in Fahrenheit, though to be honest I have gotten used to telling the temperature in Celsius these days.
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.