A few weeks back I visited the shopping center In de Bogaard in Rijswijk, a city not far from The Hague. Along the way I took a few photographs of whatever caught my eye. Here are two of my favorites:
The last few weeks have seen weather change hour by hour. Last Sunday we had temperatures in the high 80s (F). And there have been days where it rained more often than not, with a few hours where the skies just opened up and rain came pouring down. A few days of high winds, where you wonder if it might just be possible that you blow away.
This building in the image isn’t far from Rijswijk Centraal, the main train station in the city. It’s been underground since 1996.
Fun fact: if you look up the building on Google Maps and then use Street View, some of the images you see are of the completed building whereas some of the images are of the building while it was under construction. Kind of eerie to be able to flip back and forth!
Full disclosure: this picture was actually taken at the end of June last year, on a Friday. The weather was spectacular that day. It was taken at Hofhouse, here in The Hague. The only drawback is they aren’t open in the weekends, although that makes sense since they are reliant on the traffic to Central Station.
This week’s weather has also been great, considering it is mid-February. The weekend and the last few days have been 15C-18C (about 60-65F). Of course, the weather gets colder after today, but still – we are still above average temperatures tomorrow.
And it’s not even March yet… kind of scary, when you think about it!
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:
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…
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…
The first is freezer pops, or ijslollies in Dutch. A blast from the past and great for the nostalgic feelings.
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.
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:
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!