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Month: January 2018

Two Days in Limburg

Two Days in Limburg

Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I spent two days in Vaals (Limburg, the southeastern part of the Netherlands). Jessica and Sander (Michiel’s sister and her boyfriend) had rented a cottage in Landal Hoog Vaals, big enough for 8 people. Michiel had to to work, but I thought it was a great opportunity to see a part of the Netherlands that I did not know very well.

On the first evening we went for a short walk close to the park. Limburg is the catholic part of the Netherlands, and that’s quite clear from all the religious statues that are found everywhere…

And lots of little chapels dedicated to Mary. This one was very pretty!

The next morning we woke up to a little bit of snow – very pretty!

Vaals is very close to the highest point in the Netherlands – the Vaalserberg atΒ  322.4 m high. We decided to walk there, and even though the height differences are not enormous, it was enough for a clear difference in snow cover. It got prettier and prettier the higher we walked!

We followed the road leading to the top of the Vaalserberg, which is also almost exactly the tri-border point between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

I loved walking through the unexpected winter wonderland!

I took a detour following some small paths, so pretty…

When we reached the top, we treated ourselves to a great hot chocolate πŸ™‚

I tried out the labyrinth with Sander and his two boys. We thought it would be quite easy, but we were so wrong!! We got lost for ages. In the end only one of Sander’s sons managed to find his way to the middle of the labyrinth. We cheated by walking there from the exit, and I then tried to find out where we went wrong – but I STILL got lost πŸ˜€

This is all of us at theΒ tri-border point πŸ™‚

We walked down again. The snow was melting a bit, I loved the contrast between the white snow and the dark leaves on the ground.

This is the Wilhelmina tower, which we didn’t climb but the view must be quite nice!

In the evening we decided to visit the Christmas market in nearby Maastricht. On the way we saw this beautiful sunset…

Maastricht was nicely decorated with Christmas lights everywhere. It’s such a beautiful city, and quite magical with all the lights…

The Christmas market was really nice – we enjoyed glΓΌhwein, hot chocolate and a couple of very tasty treats.

I had to return to Rotterdam the next morning, but I really enjoyed this short trip to Limburg. I’ll have to come back to explore more of this beautiful part of the Netherlands!

The first storm of 2018 @ Scheveningen

The first storm of 2018 @ Scheveningen

The first storm of 2018 arrived when the year was only 3 days old πŸ™‚ and I decided to experience the forces of nature by visiting the beach at Scheveningen. When I arrived, the wind was already strong and there was a layer of blowing sand close to the surface of the beach. A few other people had braved the storm to go for a walk…

The pier was closed, but I had my zoom lens with me so it wasn’t very hard to take photos of the waves crashing over the piers and the two small lighthouses.

The waves were huge and really impressive!

When I got too cold to stand still any longer, I went for a walk on the beach. It was fun taking photos of other people battling with the wind.

Everybody seemed to enjoy feeling the force of the wind!

The lighthouse of Scheveningen, and a layer of blowing sand in the foreground.

I had to take a selfie of the wind giving me a crazy hairdo πŸ˜‰

Lots of foam was flying over the beach as well…

The storm got stronger while I was there, and by the end there was sand blowing around everywhere. I found it in my eyes (for days!), my ears and my nose when I got home!

The flags at the beach are always impressive – I’m not sure how often they have to be replaced, but they sure get damaged by the wind a lot.

When I was completely frozen and sanded, I noticed a beach restaurant that was open – it was so amazing to come into the warm restaurant with a blazing fire, and order a hot chocolate and a chocolate cake to warm up πŸ™‚

After this treat I drove home again. The storm had been really strong, force 10 had been measures quite a few places in the northwest, while this part of the coast got force 9. I was glad I went out to experience this!

Looking back: December 2017

Looking back: December 2017

My blog has been neglected for too long, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do something about this! One thing I want to start is a monthly overview of what has happened last month – where I can also share the small things (a photo or something that has happened) that otherwise would never make it to my blog. Here’s the first episode: December 2017…

The first weekend of December we went to our favourite sushi restaurant in Rotterdam: Itami. We’re testing out all the other good sushi restaurants in the city, but we keep having to conclude that nobody is better than Itami! It was a wonderful night with wonderful food πŸ™‚

The next morning we had brunch at the Euromast, a famous observation tower in Rotterdam. This was a gift from Michiel’s sister, and we booked it some weeks earlier. The view from the restaurant is amazing, but we were very unlucky with the weather: thick fog! We thought it was quite funny though, especially since I’m a meteorologist πŸ˜‰

While shopping for presents, I looked for the Prague Lonely Planet in Donner, my favourite bookshop in Rotterdam. Lonely Planet bought one of my photos, of a lunch I had with my sister in Prague. It was fun to find it in both guides (the pocket one and the larger one). I sell photos through Getty, so they end up all kinds of places, but Lonely Planet is probably the most exciting place for me!

Later that week we went for a very special dinner: a 6 course meal at Michelin star restaurant FG Food Labs. It was truly amazing – very original, beautiful (and sometimes fun!) presentation, fantastic food. I loved that they had a “BOB” version of their wine package. BOB is what we (in the Netherlands) call the person who doesn’t drink so he/she can drive. I’m not sure it would have been safe for me to drive after 6 half glasses, but I always find a full glass of wine with each course too much, and this was a nice solution! This restaurant is only 15 minutes from where we live, so no need for a car or even a bike. Here are some of the dishes we had that night…

On the first day with snow, we drove to the small village of Asperen to look at a house that was for sale there. I love this area, and the snow made it even prettier! I completely fell in love with the house, but Michiel didn’t. It was also only the first house we’ve looked at, and we need to think about what we really want and where we would like to live. We’re not in any hurry though, so we’re taking our time to work this out.

That night we drove through the snow to Amsterdam, where we watched Alison Moyet perform to a sold out Paradiso – it was fantastic! I love her voice, and the concert was amazing.

The next day we celebrated Sinterklaas with my family (we were 14 people in total) at our place. There was a huge pile of presents, and it was a really fun afternoon!

One of the gifts I got was this book about 111 places in Rotterdam that you should see – I’m looking forward to discovering all of them!

The next day it snowed, and snowed, and snowed! Until it looked like this…. (not the best photo quality, but it shows how much snow we had!).

Unfortunately all the snow rained away before I had a chance to go out and get some good photos. A few days later I went to Den Haag (the Hague) to visit the Escher museum (for the second time!) and Panorama Mesdag. You can read more about that day here.

The weekend of 16-17 December we stayed in a cabin in Reeuwijk, where Michiel’s sister lives with her boyfriend. It was a busy weekend, with 3 birthday celebrations and a lot of time in the car. I wish I could have taken more photos that weekend, because the weather was frosty, and the snow showers made for some fantastic clouds. I did take this panorama by the shores of the lake near our cabin πŸ™‚

That evening we went to the birthday party of Jessica and Sander. The dresscode was these crazy Christmas jumpers…

And the birthday couple themselves, in very “special” Christmas jumpers (look carefully)…

The next day we took the scenic route to another birthday party, and stopped in some places where we might want to live. For example Montfoort, where this photo was taken…

It was my birthday on the 20th of December and I had already bought myself a gift months ago: I needed to use up some British Airways airmiles, and I booked a hotel room at nhow RotterdamΒ with a nice view. What I didn’t know, is that Michiel secretly upgraded this room to the Rem Koolhaas suite, and got them to decorate it really nicely for my birthday! Wow!

There was even a message on the mirror for me πŸ™‚

We enjoyed a nice drink in the hotel bar…

And then tried another sushi restaurant, this time Azura. Very nice sushi, but still not the same service and taste as at Itami πŸ˜‰

The suite had a fantastic view towards the Erasmus bridge and the river, but (theme of the month!) it was very foggy and the view in the photo below was the best we got that night (the next morning we couldn’t even see the bridge at all!)

Two days later I threw a big birthday party for about 25 guests. It was really nice, and I was pleasantly surprised how many people actually came in the busy days before Christmas, some travelling very far! It was a great night πŸ™‚

We spent Christmas in Wageningen with Michiel’s family, where we had a very nice tapas style dinner. The next day we stayed at home, and went for a walk in Rotterdam. I loved seeing Christmas trees in the middle of one of the canals!

We walked outside the city and found some very Dutch skies and landscapes πŸ™‚

Michiel had to work between Christmas and New Year, but I joined Jessica, Sander and family for a couple of days in Vaals in the south of the Netherlands. It was close to the highest point of the Netherlands and the three-country-border between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. We actually had snow again over there, and we had a great time going for walks, visiting the Christmas market in Maastricht, bowling, and playing boardgames. I will write a blog about our days there soon, so here I will just share one photo of all of us at the three-country-border point πŸ™‚

During the last weekend of 2017, my two nieces Mare and Lena came to stay with us. We went to the zoo in Rotterdam (Blijdorp), which was lots of fun.

The rest of the time was spent making endless drawings, eating pancakes and refusing to go to sleep πŸ˜‰ It was so much fun to have them visit, and I hope they come again soon!

We spent New Year’s Eve at home with just the two of us – a quiet cosy evening with lasagne and nice drinks, watching the fireworks from our living room. Happy New Year everyone!! May 2018 be filled with love, health, family and lots of adventures πŸ™‚

I hope you enjoyed this monthly overview, I plan to continue them from now on!