Happy New Year from Holland!

Ah – the New Year. The practice of leaving the old behind and ushering in an era of new beginnings. When you say it like this, it sounds calm and peaceful, right?

Not if you’re in the Netherlands.

Ok – so maybe my video isn’t that dramatic but it surely felt dramatic!

Notice that constant low rumbling in the background? That’s the sound of non-stop fireworks being set off in gardens, in the middle of the street, in parks, and in trashcans all over the city.

And do you notice that (despite the fog) you can’t actually SEE any pretty firework lights? That’s because it’s not about what you see, it’s about blowin’ sh*t up.

Let’s back up a little.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day in the Netherlands, aptly called ‘Oud & Nieuw’ (Old & New), is the one day of the year where fireworks are legal.

Correction: the one 8 hour period of time where fireworks are legal.

From 6pm – 2am all bets are off. You know that horror movie ‘The Purge’, where for 24 hours crime is legal? This is how that feels – minus the burglary and murder.

I started to type ‘vandalism and bodily harm’ in that list, but I couldn’t in good faith. This year a man and child were killed in a firework-related fire, and they are still counting injuries and tallying damage costs.

In 2018, citizens of the Netherlands spent 70 MILLION euros in total on fireworks. And to reiterate, that can be used LEGALLY for 8 hours.

They can be purchased at shops like the one below, which we can only assume make enough money in the month leading up to Oud & Nieuw that it can afford to be closed the other 11 months of the year. In addition to shops like these, you can buy fireworks in the home improvement stores or online. Granted, some types of fireworks are still illegal to purchase, but no worries. If you want the big boys you can just pop on over to Germany and bring back what you want.

“Always the lowest price!”

Like I said before, technically it’s only legal to set off fireworks during the designated time, but let’s be real, this doesn’t stop people from starting earlier. Each day after Christmas the booms increase, culminating in the ‘main show’ which starts at midnight and rings (booms?) in the new year.

If they are illegal, how can people start so early? Two words.

No enforcement.

Until you’re blowing up trashcans and bus stops (yes, that really happens) then the police will leave you alone.

Between 2 trashcans is a logical place to set off fireworks, right?

One thing that IS highly enforced are the ‘Vuurwerk-vrije’ (firework free) zones. For example, we live directly across from the main hospital where, for obvious reasons, they don’t want firework chaos. There was a constant patrol of people making sure these zones truly stayed ‘firework free’.

I made Meatball her own firework free zone.

This year, to add an additional level of danger and mystique, the temperature dropped quickly and a thick fog set it. You really had to pay attention to where you were walking!

Fireworks over city center in the fog.

Because we live in the city center, we only witnessed smaller displays. As you might imagine, the further away from the city center you get the larger the show and the bigger the fire.

Yes, this brings me to my next Oud & Nieuw tradition. Bonfires.

The photo above was from our first Dutch Oud & Nieuw in 2014, but you get the picture. Bonfires in the street.

Bikes. Christmas trees. Furniture. Whatever-your-heart-desires.

Burn it.

My dad asked the reasonable question “So does the fire-department work all night then?”. Short answer: no. They just let it burn.

We did discover a leftover bonfire the next day though, on what I liked to call our “survey the damage” walk around the neighborhood.

Notice the street sign in the pile…

And, unrelated to fireworks but also an Oud & Nieuw tradition, olliebollen!

Had to have our friend, Kaitlin, try them!

I would describe olliebollen (literally translated to ‘oil balls’) as a giant deep-fried donut hole, traditionally made with or without raisins and dunked in powdered sugar. They are available starting mid-November, but the bulk of the olliebollen are eaten on New Year’s Eve.

As evidenced by the line that wouldn’t stop growing…

So, my DOs & DONTs for Oud & Nieuw?

DO: Get to the olliebollen stand early! I suggest the ones with raisins.

DON’T: Wear a nice coat out. Firework-induced burn holes are a thing.

DO: Come prepared! Arm yourself with sparklers & firecrackers. You never know when you might need them.

DON’T: Be indoors at midnight! Embrace the chaos!

and finally…

DON’T: Expect to sleep that night. In America, the main party is the lead up to midnight, and here all the parties start at the earliest 10pm and most at midnight. Bars & parties not your thing? No worries, the fireworks last well past their 2am cutoff. They will be sure to interrupt your sleep. 😉

Happy New Year from us to you!

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Merry Sinterklaas!

I don’t think that’s a thing people say, but ya know what? I like it so I’m going with it.

The arrival of Sinterklaas kicks off the season in mid-November.

It’s December 5th which means it’s pakjesavond (present evening) and if you were a good little one throughout out the year, maybe Sinterklaas replaced that carrot in your shoe with some treats! Tonight is the big gift-giving evening of the Dutch holiday season!

This could very well be our last holiday season in the Netherlands since Shane’s next position is still up in the air, and I’ve used this time to fully embrace the spirit of Sinterklaas. And by embrace, I mean eat myself sick on Sinterklaas-specific holiday treats.

So, in honor of the evening I thought I would do a quick round-up of those holiday goodies you will only find during Sint-season!

Pepernoten! Pepernoten! Pepernoten! Pepernoten!

THE thing. Without pepernoten there is no Sinterklaas!

I’ve literally seen them sold in a 5 kg (10 lbs) bag…

There are two types: pepernoten & kruidnoten.

Both are small cookies, but pepernoten is the more traditional version with an anise flavor. Kruidnoten are a more like a spiced cookie. Since I’m not a fan of anise, I tend to prefer the kruidnoten – as does my mother who made a special request for “those delicious little cookies” the last time Shane came home. Lucky for her, the grocery stores have started to push the seasons, and pepernoten have been available since October!

The kruidnoten section in our local grocery store.

The flavor possibilities are endless. There are entire seasonal shops which sell only pepernoten, kruidnoten, and flavored kruidnoten aka: the cookie covered in some form of flavored chocolate.

Carmel sea salt, coffee, raspberry, dark chocolate, lemon… not that I’ve tried any.

Chocolate Letters

Another important gift of the season, and another one that comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors – although the most popular flavors are milk, dark, and white chocolate.

Tradition dictates that you’ll receive the letter which corresponds to the first letter of your first name. But, if you’re name starts with an unpopular letter (sorry Quincy or Zelda) then you’ll be hard pressed to find them. If this is the case, the standard “S” – for Sinterklaas – is appropriate.

Chocolate letter… with pepernoten!

Marzipan

Particularly in the form of a pig.

Conveniently displayed next to the “super kruidnoten”.

Yes, that pig is made of marzipan. Yes, it will get chopped up and sold as smaller pieces.

If a chunk-o-pig ain’t your thang, no worries. Small pigs are also available.

The marzipan pig (made of milk, sugar, and almonds with a consistency of soft fondant) is a New Year’s German tradition to wish good luck (Glücksschwein!), and also a holiday gift tradition in Scandinavia. Given the relative location of the Netherlands, it’s not surprising it carried over.

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Loosely translated to an ‘almond log’, it’s a buttery, almond-paste filled little piece of holiday heaven with origins in the Netherlands.

A word to the wise: share it. I mean, or don’t, but be prepared to go into a sugar-almond-million-calories induced coma afterwords. #worthit

My Sinterklaas paketje from work – a chocolate letter & banketstaaf.

Speculaas

Speculaas is a shortbread cookie with a spiced flavor similar to that of pumpkin pie spice in America. Actually, if you’re in America and lucky enough to live by a Trader Joe’s then you might know these cookies – called Speculoos, which is the Belgian spelling. You can usually find some sort of speculaas cookie year round, but this time of year the cookie itself changes to a more festive pattern.

Speculaas – smeckulaas. BOOOORRRINGGG.

Ditch that plain cookie, and go for the filled one!

Gevulde Speculaas

My crème de la crème. Re-named to ‘crack-ulaas’ for its sheer power of deliciousness.

Take two, large planks of soft speculaas spiced cake and add some almond paste (same as in the banketstaaf) in the middle and BOOM.

FILLED SPECULAAS. You’re welcome.

I’m genuinely sorry for anyone who isn’t able to try it. So, if you happen to run into some, buy it!


And with that, I’ll leave you with my favorite song of the season:

Sinterklaas (wie kent hem niet) by Het Goede Doel

I recommend the entire video, but if you’re in a hurry start at ~1:30.

Gah, the 80’s were great!

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Utrecht, the Netherlands

Guys, we did it.

It’s taken us 5.5 years, but we made the long and treacherous 1 hour and 56 minute train ride from Groningen to Utrecht!

I know our days in the Netherlands are numbered, so I have an unofficial Dutch bucket-list running in my mind. We’ve hit a number of the major Dutch cities – Den Haag & Rotterdam, for instance – but Utrecht was still on the list. A few of my old colleagues (& friends) live in the area now, so we had an inexpensive ‘nachtjeweg’ & mini-reunion courtesy of an NS Spoordeel.

Part of the Mucosis crew in Utrecht!

Expat Tip: Take advantage of the NS Spoordeelwinkel!

We’ve used this a few times now. The deal is for two people: one night in a (mid-range) hotel with breakfast included and a return train ticket from anywhere in the Netherlands for ~ €100 – 120. Considering for us, coming from Groningen, a one-way full-price train ticket is €25 per person, this is a steal! If overnight isn’t your thing, there are ‘dagjes uit’ (days out) and other activities.


And speaking of hotels, this was the view from our room window. Notice something earth friendly and cool?!

It’s not a bus stop, it’s a Bee Stop!

It’s common knowledge that the bee population around the world is declining. To help out the Dutch bees, Utrecht has transformed over 300 bus stops into bee stops to encourage pollination. Such a simple yet innovative idea!

Back to Utrecht.

Utrecht is unique, in that there are two levels to the canals: the street and the boat level. When Utrecht was built, it was designed with a series of cellars underneath the street level which were used by the business or house above it. Today, those cellar’s aren’t used for storage, but (in the city center) have been transformed into restaurants and bars which line the canals. I can only imagine how nice this would be on a sunny & warm day!

This two-level set-up also means that the road itself can’t support the weight of delivery trucks – then or now – due to the hollow cellars underneath. The solution? Delivery boats! We didn’t witness it, but apparently the ‘Utrecht Beer Boat’ and the ‘trash-boat’ make regular appearances though the canals.

The two-level canal.

Now, you might be wondering: “How did she learn such interesting information about Utrecht?!”

A walking tour, of course!

Tip: Utrecht Free Walking Tours

They offer tours in English 4 days per week, two times per day. They have general city tours (which is what we did) or specialty tours (WWII, for example).

Our tour group. Photo courtesy of our guide, Donna.

The tour started out at the Dom Tower. I wish I had taken a picture to show how dissapointed I was when we arrived. Not because the tower was unimpressive – it’s 112m (~365ft) and the tallest building in Utrecht. It’s also under renovation and completely covered with scaffolding. *facepalm*

We also missed out on the museum DOMunder, which is a tour through the archaeological site underneath Dom square that dates back to 45 A.D.. We (mostly I) convinced people to go to Museum Speelklok, which is a museum dedicated to the self-playing musical instruments that are notoriously Dutch.

A typical Dutch street organ (in Groningen).

To be honest, if you only have time for one museum in Utrecht, don’t visit Museum Speelklok unless you’re really into musical clocks/instruments. Don’t get me wrong, they were cool to see, but it seemed over-priced and it was very, as our tour guide eloquently put it, niche. If you’re into learning a little about the city, then I would recommend something else.

Shane for scale.

One thing that I did really enjoy was De Letters van Utrecht.

It’s a piece of street art started in 2000. It’s an ongoing poem written in the bricks of the street. The unique part is that only one letter-brick is added per week – every Saturday at 13:00 you can see them add the next letter. The artist intended it to be a gift to future generations by creating an poem that can be carried on for generations. The full poem to date can be found online, and if you’re interested in contributing then you can apply to write a line of text.

The rest of our walking tour took us through the park and through city center.

It was quick, but a nice weekend away with good friends!

In other news, Shane and I tried to go see a movie last night and it was cancelled because two dead bodies were found in the theater…

That’s a first.

Tot ziens!

Whitney

Keukenhof & Koningsdag

We are just rockin’ and rollin’ on our Netherlands bucket list this year!

A few weeks ago, we finally made it to the renowned Keukenhof gardens! We were lucky to have some family visiting the Netherlands, so we met up in Amsterdam and headed about 30 min south to Lisse, where the gardens are located.

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Good side – it was the first warm weekend of the year! 

Bad side – it was the first warm weekend of the year. 

While we did get to wear short sleeves, most of the tulips weren’t in bloom yet because the weather here has been quite cold this spring. It was only a few weeks ago that the canals froze over, so we were kind of anticipating this.

We were able to see some ‘early bloomers’. We learned on this trip that there are early, middle and late blooming tulips. The Keukenhof keeps their gardens blooming through the entire season by strategically planting the bulbs, like the example below. In this way, about the time the early bloomers are dying, the middle ones are blooming, and so on.

Although the fields were mostly green, the greenhouse in the center of the park was in full bloom! There were literally hundreds of types of tulips in here. I had no idea so many existed.

Now that’s a tall tulip!

Next up, something just as colorful…

Koningsdag 2018!

And this year was particularly special because the King came to Groningen! I was BEYOND excited. In case you didn’t know, we don’t have kings and queens in America (something about a Revolutionary War? *joke*). So when I heard there was a chance to see King Willem Alexander and the royal family up close and personal I knew we were going. PLUS – I love a good parade.

Quick recap – Koningsdag, or King’s Day, celebrates the birthday of the King. I would say it’s the Dutch version of the 4th of July: everyone is super patriotic and there is a lot of beer consumed.

Also fun fact – King’s day is celebrated on April 27th, which is indeed the King’s birthday, but this was not always the case. His mother, (former) Queen Beatrix was born on January 31st, but that’s a terrible day to have an outdoor party in Holland. To remedy this, she kept the birthday of her mother, (former) Queen Juliana who was born on April 30th. So, considering the eldest daughter of King Willem was born in December, it will be interesting to see if she adopts the birthday of her father.

Maybe you don’t at all find that interesting. I’ll move on to pictures now.

Bright and early Koningsdag morning Shane and I headed to the parade route to get a good spot! Thanks to Shane, we ended up with a spot on the fence. And, I would say it worked out well for us.

Unfortunately, we were ONE person off from shaking hands with him. Just my luck. We were able to shake hands with all the princesses though, so pretty much that means the future queen and I are besties now.

The rest of the day was reserved for the Vrijemarkt (aka – free market, one giant yard sale) and free music in the city center.

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Kensington in the Vismarkt

Keukenhof Gardens – CHECK!

(basically) Meet the King – CHECK!

Let’s see what else we can do this year…

Tot ziens,

Whitney

The Best Darn Mom & Sis Trip: Video Version

Hi all!

Considering we took this trip in September, these videos have been a long time coming. They’ve been ready for a little while now, but I was waiting until after my trip home to the U.S. before I posted about them here. I wanted to share them with my mom and sister first! 🙂

This was also my first attempt at making the GoPro video mash-up. Usually, Shane is the video maker, but since he “didn’t go on the trip and can’t tell my story” (yeah yeah – I guess he’s right) I did it, and ended up loving it.

So, here they are!

Part 1: the Netherlands and London

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Part 2: Scotland

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(I would also like to pre-warn you – all the music is from the Outlander series which, of course, was part of the reason we went to Scotland.)

Hope you enjoy!

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Summer Send-off (in Belgium !)

I’m not gonna lie. I had a fantastic summer.

No work. Lots of travel. Still got paid (thank you bankruptcy settlement).

Mid-September I started a new job and you’ll be happy to know that I have been paying the price for my idyllic summer.

Nice to meet you up-at-6-am-with-a-45-min-one-way-commute.

Long story short, I’m still re-adjusting to working life and my other half has that whole ‘I need to finish my PhD’ thing going which means there was little motivation left for the blog – despite the fact that we had a fantastic trip with our friends through The Netherlands & Belgium!

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Side note: the new job is going well. I’ve been there for a month now. And yes, I must learn Dutch for real this time! I’ve started with a tutor – so hopefully there will be more speaking soon. Right now I do a lot of listening… 

Ben & Jen’s visit concluded our summer of visitors. Our first few days were spent in Leiden and Amsterdam where Holland greeted our guests with beautiful weather nothing but rain. We stayed in a lovely Airbnb in Leiden city center which had the cutest garden we were never able to use.

At one point it hadn’t been raining for a while, there was blue sky, nice temperature, so we thought “Hey! Let’s sit in the garden!”. We were outside for literally a minute before it started raining again – blue sky and all.

We did eventually get a break in the rain and were able to wander around Leiden.

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We also spent a little bit of time in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, Jen picked up a stomach bug on the way to Europe, so she had to sit this one out.

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While showing Ben around, Shane and I were able to get in some ‘Amsterdam firsts’ too.

We went to a local brewery that we’ve been eyeballing for a while, Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Good beer + cool location (in a windmill) makes it a pretty popular hangout.

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We also made it to the Foodhallen, which is an indoor food and drink market located in a converted train depot. We all really enjoyed the Foodhallen because it has anything you could ever want – food and alcohol alike.

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Bitterballen variety plate. Not pictured – the ‘Monkey Balls’ (aka: bacon wrapped meatballs) – which were gone before I remembered to take a picture.

After a few days in The Netherlands, we rented a car and headed to Gent, Belgium with one slight detour on the way. A little backstory, when Shane and I visited London we walked across the upper portion of the Tower Bridge which has the glass floor. Up there was a small exhibit of famous bridges around the world. One of these bridges was the ‘Moses Bridge’ located in the south of The Netherlands. It’s called the Moses Bridge because the bridge itself cuts through the mote around Fort De Roovere. When you cross the bridge, you’re walking through the water – get the name reference now?

Anyway, I needed to see it, but it is in a location that isn’t necessarily easy for us to access from Groningen and particularly so without a car. Luckily for me, it was essentially on our route to Gent, so we stopped!

And boy was I disappointed.

IT WAS FLOODED.

(insert reaction inappropriate for a blog post)

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I don’t wanna talk about it anymore.

Next stop – Gent, Belgium!

Note to anyone visiting Gent. If you see the sign below don’t drive any further or all the grandmas walking in the streets will glare at you while shaking their fingers.

Turns out, Shane was driving in a pedestrian only zone. In his defense, this was the only sign and generally the road color changes when you enter a pedestrian zone. Not so in this case. Oops.

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Once the car was safely parked, we headed off on foot to see Gent like everyone else we passed in the pedestrian zone earlier.

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Waffles were a necessity, naturally.

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Belgium day 2 took us by train from Gent to Brussels for the day. I was particularly excited for Brussels because we scheduled a beer and chocolate tour which was 5 hours of awesome! If you find yourself in Brussels I can’t recommend this tour – The Brussels Journey – enough!

It’s advertised as a two part tour: part 1 – chocolate, part 2 – beer. I honestly expected that during the chocolate portion of our journey that we would have one, maybe two pieces of chocolate per place.

NO MA’AM! (or sir)

In each of the 4 chocolate shops we tried 4-5 pieces each, and our guide – who I unfortunately can’t remember her name because she was FANTASTIC – knew. her. chocolate!

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You know what else our guide knew about? Beer.

Living in Holland, we have tons of Belgium style beers. Dubbel – Tripel – Quadrupel. After three years did I have any idea what that actually meant? Nope. But I do now! And, in keeping with chocolate portion of our tour, the beer part did not skimp on the tastings.

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Additionally, this tour was also part walking tour. As we made our way around the city we were able to see some of the major sites – like the the Grote Markt and Manneken Pis.

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Manneken Pis is surprisingly small and has so many outfits! Over 200 to be exact – enough to dedicate an entire museum to them. As you can see from the pictures below, when we passed by Manneken Pis during the morning he was wearing one outfit.

HE CHANGED CLOTHES by the time we went back with the tour in the afternoon.

Magic I tell ya.

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That night, we said by to Brussels and hopped on the train back to Gent.

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The next day, it was back in the car and back to The Netherlands. This time, to Den Haag and the neighboring beach, Scheveningen.

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Den Haag city center.
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Scheveningen Pier.

It was a little chilly and a little rainy, but the beach was a nice backdrop for our last evening with Ben & Jen.

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And of course, even though it’s really cold they had to at least touch the North Sea.

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And that’s a wrap on Summer 2017!

As always, thanks for coming to hang out with us, friends! 🙂

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Tot ziens,

Whitney

The Best Darn Mom & Sis Trip Ever: Part 1

You know when you anticipate something for so long and then when it’s over you feel like ‘wait…how did that happen?!’ ?  

That’s how this trip felt. Mom & Sis were always going to come visit but we needed to wait until the fall of 2017 (more on that later), so to think we’ve all been waiting for 3 years is kind of crazy!

They packed their bags and came Crosson over the Atlantic for ~2.5 weeks of family fun!

First stop – The Netherlands!

They just COULD NOT wait to get their hands on Meatball!

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She obviously felt the same. 😉

We spent the first few nights in Leiden, which is a city about 40min south of Amsterdam by train. This was perfect because Amsterdam was still accessible, but they were also able to see a city with fewer tourists. Holland was also extremely kind, and gave us sunshine and summer-like temperatures!

Leiden city center

We did, of course, spend time in Amsterdam. We visited the Anne Frank house, the Rijksmuseum, got mom in a clog…

Sidenote: if you ever find yourself visiting the Rijksmuseum I would highly recommend the ‘Highlights of the Rijksmuseum’ guided tour which can be booked through the museum itself. It’s only 5 euros and an hour long, but if you’re like me and tend to look at art and go ‘ooohh…. cooooool’ and move on, it’s nice to have someone explain some of the main pieces.

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Hanging out with Rembrandt and the Night Watch.
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After a few days in the south, we made our way to Winterfell (Groningen) via Bitburg, Germany. I’m not gonna lie. I was not excited about an ~8h car ride versus ~3h but my mom was born in Bitburg and wanted to go back so back we went!

And look how happy that lady is drinking her Bitburger beer in Bitburg!

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She’s giving Dany a run for her money…

After our detour, we spent the remaining days in Groningen showing off our adopted hometown. Most importantly, they braved the crazy and toured around town on bikes! With the average household owning 3 bikes, and the city nicked named “The World’s Cycling City” it’s easy to understand why biking here might be viewed as intimidating.

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Last, but most certainly not least, I couldn’t let them come to The Netherlands without having some proper Dutch food things. This is an area in which I feel that I’ve shorted our previous visitors, and I sincerely apologize.

Dutch food things such as…

Bitterballen!

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Frietjes!

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Hagelslag!

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& Stroopwafels!

And that, in a nutshell, was our week in The Netherlands! Next up, Part 2: London & Scotland for a Harry Potter & Outlander adventure!

Stay tuned…

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Hey!

We’re back in action!

Not that the blog was ever out of action per se, but we haven’t been up to too much since Egypt. This past weekend, though, was a 4 day weekend here in The Netherlands. Last year during this time we went to London to visit my aunt and uncle. This year, it happened to fall over our – hold on to your hats – 3 YEAR Netherlands-versary – so we decided to explore our country of residence a little more.

Rotterdam was our city of choice. We hear so much about it, and about how different it is from other cities in The Netherlands. In fact, I think your typical Dutchie would probably not rank Rotterdam as one of their top cities; too modern for their taste. This sentiment is perhaps exactly why we loved it!

We got a really good deal through NS, the train company. 100 bought us two round trip train tickets and a one night stay in an NH hotel (which is a pretty nice chain) in city center with breakfast included. Considering Groningen = the Winterfell of Holland and for us to get anywhere near Kings Landing, even with our train discounts, is ~€30 round trip per person this was a great deal!

First stop, the Markthal (Market Hall).

The building is pretty impressive from the outside, right? Well it’s even more impressive from the inside!

The Markthal is exactly as it sounds- a giant indoor market with bars, restaurants, shops, basically anything you might want.

The Markthal is essentially next to another iconic piece of Rotterdam architecture, the Cube Houses.

They look cool, but seem pretty impractical, right? One is staged as a museum so we were able to go inside. They actually have more living space in terms of square meters than our current apartment, and the layout was surprisingly nice, and the top floor is a great sunroom!  There are a few on AirBnB, if you ever find yourself in Rotterdam and want a unique housing experience.

After the cube houses, in true Shwit style, we walked. 21.22km (a half marathon) to be exact. A 30 min walk to a place called the Fenix Food Factory turned into an over 2.5h adventure due to our unfortunate luck with closed or broken bridges. We did see a lot of nice things along the way though.

De Oude Haven – The Old Port

See this lovely bridge? It’s called the Erasmus Bridge. It’s a well-known Rotterdam landmark and, due to construction, was our only way by foot to the Fenix Food Factory.

Great view right?

Only one problem…

water.

We happened to be on a little island in the middle of the river with only one way on and one way off on either side. Neither of those were anywhere close to the entrance of the bridge.

So, off we walk.

We were almost there!… and then this.

It’s broken.

We literally needed to walk over this bridge to get to the entrance of the Erasmus. Instead, we ended up taking a 20 minute looping detour to make it to the exact same spot on the other side of the canal. By the time we actually made it on the Erasmus we had been walking for about 2 hours and Shane was on a mission.

This was the best I could do for a bridge pic.

Eh. Oh well. Cause we made it!

Another indoor/outdoor market type of place more focused on craft beers/ciders & local food. It was right on the water, the weather was perfect, and the atmosphere was great making it worth the walk!

The next morning we made a quick stop by Museum Rotterdam, which gave us a short overview of the history of the city. In 1940, Rotterdam was bombed as part of the German invasion during WWII. The ‘Rotterdam Blitz’ lasted only 15 minuted, but fire in the aftermath burned most of the old town. This event is what set Rotterdam on such a different architectural path than the rest of The Netherlands.

It was a quick trip, but a nice preview of what Rotterdam has to offer! Rotterdam, to us, was somewhere we could really see ourselves long term. It was a nice blend of old and new, and really has that ‘city feel’, which we really enjoy.

Until next time, Rotterdam!

Tot ziens,

Whitney