the calm before the storm

Hello, my friends!  I’m coming to you in a state of exhaustion today following a few crazy and festive days here in The Netherlands.  I am breaking up the weekend and Monday/Tuesday’s holiday details into a couple posts because, well…there’s just so much to tell you about!

Up first, a few extremely random things to share with you:

#1: We had a very small guest at our apartment last week – A SNAIL!  I don’t know why, but I was very intrigued (and disgusted) by it and I watched it move (very slowly) for quite some time.

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Snail Trail.

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Up close & personal.

#2: Our fruit vendors are back in town for the season, and I got some delicious fruit there this week.  Here are the strawberries for your viewing pleasure.

They were as good as they look!

They were as good as they look!

#3:  This is something that happens frequently here and continues to surprise me every time I find it inside the carton of eggs.  Just felt that I needed to share.

Feathered.

Feathered.  Eww.

Anyway…back to our weekend.  Friday night BC had a happy hour with a group of guys from his team at work who meet monthly to spend time together outside the office.  He really enjoys these nights out with the guys!  For me – I had seen an invitation posted in our entryway about a “Koningsboom” that evening at the pond near our apartment.  I thought I would check out what I had translated to be a King’s Tree.  Apparently there was a new tree planted in the area in honor of the new king…turned out to be a bit less exciting of an event than I had imagined…

The few who gathered.

The few who gathered around the tree that had already been planted that day.

Saturday, we stopped in a few of our local shops for some goodies (like bread, cheese, wine, ect.) and of course, we also visited the flower shop for an orange bouquet for the upcoming Queen’s Day.  Check out what we bought – I have no idea what these flowers are, but I enjoyed them.

Crazy, huh?  I later saw some growing near a statue in town.

Crazy, huh? I later saw some growing near a statue in town.

Then I was off to Amsterdam for a field trip for my photography class.  We visited a local park/green-space and also the botanical garden.  This was my first solo trip to Amsterdam, and I had to navigate my way there via the Metro system, but I didn’t have any trouble (not bad for a small-town girl).  Here are a couple of my favorite pics from the day.

A duck in the park.

A duck in the park.

The instructors/models.

The instructors/models.

Then when I returned from AMS, we met one of BC’s college friends, Ben, at the train station.  He is living and working in Paris, and he came to stay with us for an extended weekend.  It was great to have him here and to chat with him about his expat experience in France.  We did a lot of comparing between the Dutch and French.  That night, we took him out to the beach and enjoyed a nice dinner and pretty sunset.

On Sunday, we ventured out with one goal…to get Ben additional orange flair for Queen’s Day.  We wandered through the city center stores, and we eventually located a few key items to complete his ensemble.  We stopped in for a tasty lunch in the Grote Markt at a restaurant that we had tried to go to a few times before (always too busy).  Then we spent some time soaking in the sunshine in an open square just a bit outside the city center.

Chilling in the sunshine.

Chilling in the sunshine.

While Ben and I were taking in the sun, BC headed off to purchase a used bicycle we had again found on Markt Plaats (like craigslist).  It wasn’t long before he was back…on his bicycle!  He’s a natural. 🙂

OFFICIAL BIKE OWNER!

OFFICIAL BIKE OWNER!

We are happy to now both have bicycles, and we intend to use them a lot!  Ben had also rented a bike for the day, so we were all able to ride them into the city for dinner at our favorite Thia restaurant, Phonsawan.  It was pretty quiet in the center Sunday evening, so it was perfect for our first time on bikes in the city center.

On Monday, we wanted to give Ben a little glimpse of a traditional Dutch item…the windmill!  So we drove down to Kinderdijk (you may remember this place from the post ‘where my girls at?’) and took in the windmills.  We were a bit nervous, as it rained on us the whole car ride, but it cleared up shortly after we began wandering the park.  Always a fun place to visit.

The boys.

The boys.

Always nice to have someone handy for a shot of us.

Always nice to have someone handy for a shot of us.

Old man, BC.

Old man, BC.

Lots of birds out and about these days!

Lots of birds out and about these days!

More eating and soaking up the sunshine occurred on Monday afternoon.  (I think I’m starting to get a tan on my face, yes!)  Then Monday night is when the craziness came to Den Haag for the celebration of Queen’s Night.  I will leave you with this photo of the Denneweg preparing for the evening (setting up outdoor bars and decorating).

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Check out the following post for our details of the evening (including what this street looked like just a few hours later) and a whole lot of Queen’s/King’s Day celebrations in Amsterdam the following day.  You do NOT want to miss it.

Until next time,
-MK-

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