To my dear Netherlands

Sunday, January 17, 2016 0 Permalink

It was seven years ago when we met for the second time. I vividly remember how beautiful you were in that winter afternoon of January. The first snow had just fallen and you were covered in immaculate whiteness. I was so happy with your lovely welcome. Despite making my life a hell before allowing me to come here to settle (remember we hired a lawyer so you'll let me in), I thought we finally hit it off that day. I must admit though, it took a while before I got used to your way of life. Remember that first time we ...

Weekendje weg: NYE 2016 in Gelderland

Sunday, January 3, 2016 0 Permalink

We initially wanted to stay at Inntel Hotel in Rotterdam to watch the fireworks at the Erasmus Bridge and toast our 8th year anniversary. But in the end, we decided against it because the room that we got was more than €200/night with no view of the Maas River. Besides we're not really party goers. So why not go somewhere more peaceful instead, where we won't be bothered by the noise of New Year's Eve. So we booked an old favourite for a weekend getaway in Gelderland and drove to Putten on Thursday afternoon, on the last day of 2015. Postillion ...

Christmas wish list

Thursday, December 17, 2015 0 Permalink

Wish list is a very Dutch thing. Whenever I celebrate my birthday, there would be one Dutch friend or family who would ask me for my verlanglijst (wish list). I have never really warmed up to that tradition because I've always said that when a person knows me well, s/he would know what to give me. So through the years, I've received many bottles of alcohol and books as presents. Which were very welcome because when I don't like a present, I wouldn't be able to lie if asked whether I like it or not. That hurts a giver of course ...

Ramen house SET, Rotterdam

Monday, December 14, 2015 1 Permalink

Robin and I have long wished for a ramen house in Rotterdam. Japanese noodle houses are a rarity in the Netherlands, especially from my neck of the woods so we couldn't give in to any ramen cravings as often as we do with say, Vietnamese banh mi or Thai fish cakes. I even remember braving one rainy evening in Amsterdam just to get my ramen fix at Fou Fow. During an afternoon out in the city centre last weekend, we agreed to discover more of West Kruiskade and eat in one of the hole in the wall eateries in the ...

Memories of St. Petersburg

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 0 Permalink

By this time in 2012, I was about to fly to St Petersburg for a two-week Russian excursion trip. It seems such a long time ago already but still. I remember the nights I've contemplated about taking my love for Russia a notch higher, perusing through language courses, each one making my heart skip a beat realizing that I could really visit the city where Dostoevsky wrote his masterpieces. I remember trying to come up with a convincing answer when Robin contested the idea of his wife going to Russia alone, in the dead of winter, possibly unable to resist vodka and ...

Smullen: Grand Café De Smederij, Goes

Thursday, December 3, 2015 1 Permalink

Last week we visited the parents in-law in Zeeland. I wanted to have lunch in Goes before shopping for a gift for Robin's grandmother. We wanted Thai or Japanese but I couldn't find anything trustworthy on the Internet. We will leave it to chance, I told Robin. This time, I opted for a café just to prove a point - that my choice of dining establishment is not limited to fancy restaurants. My choice fell into De Smederij, a café that Robin swears he had never heard of despite growing up here. Cafés in the Netherlands are establishments where local residents usually hang ...

Running dip

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 2 Permalink

I am having a running dip. In short, I am not running, not this week, not last week. I gave in to the cold, wet and sinister Dutch weather. My alarm goes off at 5:30am but I stay in bed, cozy under my warm blanket and the cuddles of my sleepy husband. I slam the snooze button for one hour until I"m left with no choice but get to out of bed to shower. I am not forcing myself to run in the afternoon either. After work, I just slump on the sofa, crawl under the blanket, pick up my book ...

Michelin experience: Ratatouille, Haarlem

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 2 Permalink

We were not planning on eating in a fancy restaurant. We wanted to have a quick meal, Japanese preferably since we've just visited a Japanese ship. But all the Japanese restaurants near the port were either only open for diner, eat-all-you-can or in the centre of Amsterdam. But it was 1PM and I was already starving. "Why don't we just drive to the nearest city. Haarlem, maybe? I'm sure we will find something open there," I suggested. So we drove to Haarlem but it was such a shitty weather and we couldn't find a parking space. We drove to the centre of ...

Catching up on my reading

Sunday, November 22, 2015 0 Permalink

Reclaiming my weekend means having more time for reading. When I moved to the Netherlands, I didn't have much to do so I read a lot. I even posted some book reviews in this blog, some of which you could still find here. When I started to work and travel a lot, I somehow drifted away from this hobby. I am picking up on it now. It is not easy to go back to reading books. My attention span has significantly dwindled because I read less books and magazines but shorter Internet articles. It takes extra effort not to take a photo ...

French dining at Bistrot du Bac

Thursday, November 19, 2015 0 Permalink

Do white tablecloths belong to a French bistro? I didn't think they do (maybe I am just ignorant) so my first impression was that Bistrot du Bac got a bit confused with the decor. But looking at it from this photo above, it seems like those tablecloths were necessary to perk this place up a bit. But the atmosphere is certainly French bistro, especially the decor - red leather bench, wooden chairs, menu written on the mirror, vintage French posters and the tiny, tiny dining space. A very informal and homey kind of dining - too homey maybe for the head waitress ...