Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cemetery angel

when we visited trier in germany, we passed by a cemetery and walked around. there were quite some pretty statues on the graves, like this one above.
now its time for bed. tonight we move the clock 1 hour forwards again.... so from tomorrow onwards the days are really getting longer again...! too bad it costs one hour of sleep...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fancy place?

we saw this castle while driving, yesterday. overlooking the vineyards and the little town at the banks of the mosel river.
this morning i didnt even try to upload a picture, the slow crappy internet. and... we had to pack and tidy up the bungalow, getting ready to go back home. yesterday evening many more people had arrived to the park, probably staying for a long weekend (again, most of them dutch!). we drove back and visited luik (liege) in belgium, where we wandered the flea market. too bad they were just packing up. then it was another 2+ hours to get back to amsterdam....

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hiking etc..

yesterday it was really sunny, so we decided to hike around in the neighborhood. we had a very brief description of several hikes around mont royal. choose one that would lead us down into the valley and back up again. in 3 hours. there were hardly signs so we choose the wrong turn a few times and had to go back. finally down we were not where we were supposed to be, according to the description... the names of most villages are somewhere on their vineyards, like above, but ofcourse we couldnt see any during our hike. and surely it started to rain while we left all rain clothes, umbrellas etc in the car. the clouds looked more threatening than it eventually was, but we didnt find the path back up and had to walk along the road. beeeehhh. that was not what we had planned. after 11.5 km we were back up.
then we drove around the neighborhood a bit, while we drove on this narrow bridge i took this pic.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Current view

well, the fog has gone done a bit further already... its going quite fast! we are on top of mont royal, and we had admired the view when we arrived monday evening. i was really excited yesterday to see the valley in the morning sun. but... when opening the curtains there was just thick fog. and it remained like that until we left (and i think quite a while after that). this morning it was really sunny, so i was sure that there was no fog... but... completely fogged up again when i opened the curtains. that was a few hours ago, but now, during breakfast, its slowly getting less....
yesterday we visited trier, the oldest german city. then in the evening we had a swim (theres a pool! so nice!) overlooking the other side of the valley. after that we watched some tv, and came to the conclusion its really more peaceful to live without a tv, like we do at home. i discovered there is some sort of reality program on the dutch tv (there are a lot of dutch tourists here, so they really cater to the dutch) where singles meet each other on a deserted island. while naked. and while being filmed naked. very, very weird. we also watched "opsporing verzocht". a program in which they ask the help of people in trying to find thiefs and criminals by showig their pictures and showing/telling what they did. it makes you afraid just to buy something at the store! (there are a lot of losers that are tricking especially old people they encounter in supermarkets to help them and while they get the "help" they ask for, they steal that person's bank card and take all their money).
ah, the internet connection is really crappy here. we have to pay for it, but often its not working, and half of the sites are not accessible or take ages to load. grrrrrr! time for some hiking in the neighborhood!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Exploring Germany

we are having  days off and decided togoto germany!! this was yesterday, on our way to our destination. as you might see, there are a lot of vineyards in this region. this is the mosel region. according to wikipedia, its the third largest in wine production of the 13 wine regions in germany. but... the leading region in international prestige!
while driving we had lots of sunshine, rain, hail, snow... and beautiful clouds. this morning its very misty, we cant see anything of the beautiful view we are supposed to have from our bungalow... :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Another race!

as i had recently done the 7.5 km race, i thought tim should do one as well. so... i signed him up for a 10K this sunday, also in our neighborhood. the weather was less perfect than when i had to run, but it all started out fine. there were quite a bit more contestants, and i didnt really know the route they were running, so i decided to just wait at the fnish to take some pictures. at the start i already couldnt find him, but later on tim at least recognized his black cap in a few of the pics, whahahaha. a 5K and 10K run started at the same time, and before i knew, the first had finished (in under 20 minutes!!). there was a group of young people in pink shirts from an amsterdam high school. these 2 5K runners had ran together, but right at the finish the one in red trousers decided to pick up the pace. it was so funny to see! they looked at each other and then ran the last few metres like crazy, i think the red trousered boy was first!
just around the time i was expecting tim, it started to rain. and real hard. even some hail came down. beeehhh. so i almost missed him again... and he didnt see me at all, too focused on running. he did it in 49 minutes, 11 minutes faster than his practice time!! (and more than 15 minutes faster than i would...). i thought it really was a nice race, with a 5K, 10K and a half marathon, as well as a 1K kids run (that was the cutest to see). here are some more pictures.
today obama is visiting the rijksmuseum in amsterdam. apparently, the entire museum square is off limits because of that. as the dutch are also hosting the nuclear security summit, the hague is impossible to reach as well, and its forbidden to take pictures at our airport, even at the panorama deck for the time being. i guess its the best time to leave the country for a bit!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pedestrian crossing

someone put a sticker on the headless man.... i must say i dont know who that guy might be...
after the crazy sunny day on the first official day of spring, we had 2 cold, rainy and windy days. beeeehhhh. and i think tomorrow wont be any better. i do hope we didnt get all the great weather on that one day, that would be really sad....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wind farm

just offshore, you can see a wind farm (all those white stripes). yesterday certainly was a good day to generate energy from the wind.... 
a while ago i think it was on the news that there were plans to build many more of these offshore farms. then some beach bar owners and so on got worried that it will deter tourists, as it doesnt look pretty. i actually think they are out far enough not to scare any tourists away......

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hello spring!

the first day of spring almost felt like a summerday! it has never been warmer in the netherlands on this day before, although it was (and still is) very very windy!! it was around 20C in some places (70F),and many people visited the beach today.
the crocuses are already done blooming, the purple field i showed you recently is gone entirely... :( here, someplace else in the netherlands, you can still see some. i really liked this statue of the boy with a lamb he is somehow holding. yet i totally forgot to look at the artists name or the title of the sculpture...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Car decoration

saw this last week when we went to the beach. i quite liked it!! especially since the car around it was white and ugly.... :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dutch tulips!

i forgot to post yesterday. or rather... i waited and waited and then it was late and i just wanted to goto sleep. thats what often happens....
i bought the above tulips a week ago in utrecht, where i used to live before we moved to boston. there i always bought flowers at the same flower stand, and the past 4 or 5 (or more) years the price has not changed. nor have the people selling the flowers. except that the little boy (the son of the owner, i guess), grew quite a bit bigger by now (in both directions, up and sideways). i got 50 tulips for 5 euros (about 7 dollars!). i kept a bit more than half of it, and gave the remainder to my mom last week. look how pretty! and the grew quite a bit..... (never mind the mess on the table...)
i really missed buying flowers when we lived in the USA. but mostly they offered ugly colored bouquets for outrageous amounts of money, or just one pathetic rose. and mostly already blooming... so just for that its good to be back in the land where the flowers come from....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beach weather

when the weather was crazy sunny and rather warm, we drove by the beach. its still early enough in the seaon for the parking to still be free (jaaajj!). the little beach cottages are still in storage and not yet lined up on the beach, and dogs can still roam around without restriction.
i thought this woman was taking a selfie with her phone, but it turned out she was taking a picture of a sign on the beach, haha. 
we just had a walk. i didnt even check how cold the water was, but we saw some kids playing in their shorts!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

They read?

this store sells all kinds of appliances, but they dont like it when dogs urinate on their displayed goods. the yellow note says: "doggies, you can look, but do not piss on it!" in dutch it sounds like a silly rhyme for the "kijken" (to watch) and the "zeiken" (to piss). but i just didnt know dogs could read... :)
the weather has cooled down again. buuuuuhhhh. now we are back to normal temperatures for this time of the year.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Construction work!

do you see that giant birds nest to the right?! i noticed it yesterday when we were eating in the sun, outside on the balcony (!!). a couple of magpies (what a cute word for that bird. we call them "ekster") were flying with branches far too big for them (sometimes they hardly could get into the air, so big), dropping them off at their home. i thought they would just sit on top of the pile of branches, but they were entering right in the middle of it, so its really a house. i wonder how many rooms it has and what kind of furniture they are making....
our house could use some construction too, but unfortunately thats not going to happen as long as we live there. the block next to it is completely renovated and the entire floorplan changed, im sure for the better. we have 2 rooms (and a kitchen and a living room), but their shap is so odd you cannot really use the space to the fullest. too bad it wont change much by adding some branches!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Self portrait

we saw a huge shiny american type of car with shiny mirrors that were just asking for a self portrait. again an early summer kind of day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DInosaur egg

even though we could not find a signature, we recognized this baby dinosaur as most likely made by ROA, whose murals we also saw in miami and a deserted place in california (a picture i still have to post). ROA is originally from belgium, but he has been all around the world to paint the most amazing murals... i like the mom with the 2 kids in the "bakfiets", all 3 looking at it...
yesterday they announced obama will visit amsterdam while he is in the netherlands for the nuclear security summit in the hague. just now we watched some program where they interviewed some american tourists in amsterdam. one lady mentioned that perhaps obama would be disturbed by all the graffiti we have here (indeed, we have a lot more graffiti, lots of ugly graffiti too, than boston for example). and 2 young girls said that they didnt like they have to pay for everything, even for a glass of water (thats true, and i also miss the glass of water you immediately get in an american restaurant).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Narrow bridge

up until the moment we got off this bridge, i wasnt sure we were going to fit. and then the second one came, as you see above. and that one was even more narrow!! 
it felt a bit like that one time we drove through a sequoia tree in califonia. that was something i somehow really wanted to do, even though we had to pay for it (theres my dutch mentality again!). the actual driving through the tree was quite disappointing and it was mostly just scary; the cut was clearly made when cars were a bit smaller. we had to flip the side mirrors and instead of enjoying this glorious moment of driving through a tree (really, what did i think?!!), we were just making sure we werent scratching the car. until i realized i wasnt taking pictures and well... uugghh... the car that came after us tried and tried, but really didnt fit and had to turn around.....
so... for this bridge we didnt have to pay, but it was equally scary, even though i realized that it was made for cars to drive on (right??!! or had we missed some sign, maybe? didnt we?!). and then we were on the other side.... :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Perfect weather!!

it seems almost impossible to believe, but today the weather was even better than yesterday. and today i had signed up for an official run!! 7.5 kms. i was a bit nervous... since a while, me and tim do runs of 10 kms every now and then, but then its not official. since it was international womens day yesterday, this run was only for women. that was only a tiny bit comforting. and it meant twice as many cute outfits i had to compete with. nononono! it was a running competition, not an outfit one..... ;) 
above you see me in blue (but with purple running shoes; they are the best!!) and my friend in orange. i finished under 50 minutes (as you can see here), and i was happy with that. many were much faster than me, but i already ran faster than i normally do.... and while tim came home this morning after his 2nd of 3 night shifts, he went with us, and followed us by bike along the course. several times during our run he would bike past us, and then i would suddenly see him leaning against his bike, taking pictures. after which he would jump on his bike again... so if not for the race, i had to keep running for those pictures!! (how romantic is all that!! no?) afterwards, seeing those pictures, made me think of this, or this.... i most certainly need to practice a bit more.....
after that, tim really really had to sleep and i just enjoyed the sun on the balcony..... :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Purple field

i can never ignore purple... when im in a shop, i automatically pick out the purple clothes, socks, bags... anything! so i defenitely didnt miss this purple field when biking past it. but we had to go back another time, with camera, to get some pictures. we havent had much of a winter here in the netherlands. and no snow. buuuhh (so i was very jealous to see the snow in boston!). it even has been unseasonably warm at times, and so i read these crocuses are out a month early... 
i took this picture last weekend. while having breakfast, the sun was shining like crazy. behind glass it seemed like a wonderful day that needed to be spent outside. so we got our bikes and as soon as we were out, i wanted to go back inside. it was cold!!! so we did just a short bike tour around our neighborhood. at the purple field someone else was already taking pictures, as you can see, but i didnt want to wait until he was done (cold!), and just included him in my picture...
today, on the other hand, it really felt like...well.. almost summer! everyone was out and about, the news mentioned it has never been warmer on this day in the netherlands before (at least since people started measuring it), and we sat in the sun on the balcony with bare arms!! tomorrow its supposed to be even warmer....

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hello again!

somehow one day not posting led to another, which led to a week, and then another..... and then i got clear evidence nobody actually was waiting for my posts; nobody seemed to miss them. and then i just didnt want to post since i was not posting. then i wanted to make it an entire month of not posting. then finally (finally!) someone officially asked me where i was hiding. by then tim had been demanding a new post for a few days, and i refused. and then it was a month and a few days. and well.... here i am again, with a picture of me, instead of one taken by me... :)
this is in amsterdam noord (amsterdam north), across the ij river you see the amsterdam train station. i guess its still not finished, now the roof says rdam (r'dam, which is short for rotterdam, that other dutch city. a'dam is what it should have been). and then there is me, on a swing, attached to a billboard frame. i wonder who placed the swing there, in between the bike racks. you see more and more of these kind of racks, as opposed to the ones where you have to put your front wheel in (something that often damages the wheel). recently i discovered they call such a rack a "nietje", which is dutch for staple. but anyways, when there is a swing, i need to sit in it. often i dont fit (some of you might understand, lets not go into details here), but here i did! then i wondered whether the ropes were strong enough (they didnt really seem very strong), so i got off after tim took some pics (unharmed, at least..)
lets see if there is renewed determination to post more regularly. in another month this blog exists 4 years, and i have never been absent for a month! until now, that was....