WALKING in a winter wonderland.
You may have noticed the emphasis on WALKING in the winter wonderland… Unlike the driving that I wasn’t fond of on snowy days back in Iowa, I now am restricted to transportation using my own two feet. I had really thought that by moving here I was going to have a more mild/less snowy winter than those of my past…incorrect. And by having to go everywhere on foot, it’s actually more difficult!
Last Monday, I went to a movie in the afternoon unaware of any weather concerns…and I left the movie to discover a snowy scene (I had naturally worn my slickest shoes to the movie – making for an interesting walk home). Overnight, we got about 9 inches of snow here in The Hague (very unusual for The Netherlands, and especially here – being close to the sea). While it was a heavy, pretty snow and fun to see our new home in this way, it is clear that the Dutch aren’t as prepared for the snowfall as the Iowans.
BC reported in Tuesday morning about his hour-long commute to the client (normally a 10 minute drive), saying that the traffic was thick and roads untouched by a snowplow. Also, given that the bike lanes were not available, there were many slow-moving bikers on the roads in the snow as well. We even heard (from a Dutch friend who can understand the news) that there were the longest traffic queues in history for The Netherlands. Here are a few photos he snapped while not really moving in the car:
I was suppose to be having my first language class after the holiday season on Tuesday morning. I had been checking my email every 2-3 minutes just waiting for the cancellation notice (knowing that I would otherwise probably arrive after the half-hour walk to no one being there and become quite unhappy). Luckily, just as I put the coat on to set out on the long, cold journey, BC received a call from my instructor canceling class. SNOW DAY!
Of course, I was curious to see what all the commotion was about and see if people were still out and about, so I grabbed my camera and headed out (after it stopped snowing, of course). I found that there was a minimal amount of shoveled sidewalks (apparently no requirements for home/property owners). Of course, if they had scooped, it would be significantly more difficult for parents to tow their children around on sleds or sleighs. This seems to be the winter alternative to carrying all of your children on your bicycle.
The lack of scooped sidewalks and bicycle lanes didn’t prevent people from getting out. I actually saw several people out on their bikes or with strollers (what?!) going about their business. I was pleasantly surprised to see that even this unusually heavy snowfall hadn’t deterred the Dutch from getting outside. However, this also made for incredibly snow-packed walks in the days to come.
Great news – it’s been snowing again all day today and it’s forecasted for the next few days! How exciting.
We weren’t going to let the snow prevent us from getting out this weekend either… We made yet another Saturday trip to the crazy world of IKEA. We set out with a few things on our list, and returned with several additional items. We are really happy to have a coat rack now, a new chair for our bedroom, and some new pillows in the guest room! Thanks, IKEA.
We also made the VERY COLD walk to dinner last night. We went to Jimbaran, an Indonesian restaurant that was about a 10-15 minute walk towards the city center. Indonesian food is very prominent here, as Indonesia was formerly a Dutch colony. The food was AWESOME! I had told BC on our way there that I hoped the food was worth the cold we suffered on the walk…definitely was! We are continuing to explore some area restaurants, so we can be prepared for visitors!!
We have been doing some weekend exploration of nearby cities this month, as we don’t have much time for travel this part of the year. I’m looking forward to a few more planned day trips upcoming! I will give you more details of those trips soon.
Until next time,