this is the archive for the ‘in the netherlands’ category:


how can one come to the netherlands and resist the omnipresent stroopwafle? it would be like going to belgium and not eating chocolate…
the sweet smell coming from a tent on the alkmaar fair was enough to stop us on our tracks and grab a couple of them. these thin slices of warm waffle, stuck together with syrup are a divine dutch treat. yum!

next, hagelslag!

hagelslag (blowing hail?) are dutch chocolate sprinkles – invented in 1936 by mr. de vries, in reply to a child who wrote him asking for a chocolate topping to put on his bread.
to use them, spread some butter on a piece of bread and sprinkle them on top. allow me to illustrate:

the butter is optional, but it helps them stick better. more than the different flavours, i think what makes hagelslag special is the texture – it’s just nice to bite the tiny crunchy pieces of chocolate, and let them slowly melt in your mouth…

they have a special kind of sprinkles called muisjes (little mice) that are spread on round rusks when a baby is born, and offered to friends or family. they’re either pink or blue, according to the sex of the newborn. isn’t that a nice tradition? :)

first order of business, vla!

after four years away, our memories of vla had raised to the likes of magical elixir. i’m happy to say it did not disappoint: it’s still as good as we remember it, perhaps even better. my favourite flavours were always the seasonal ones, and this summer vla of raspberry & peach is just amazing. someone should seriously think of exporting this.

things we do on roadtrips

we test new eyewear and check for directions… often.

we cringe as we cross big bad tunnels and buy vignettes when we get to the other side.

we brave the weather and get stuck in never-ending traffic jams… sometimes for hours.

so we snack on spekulaas and watch star wars to pass the time.

when things go well, we drive on endless roads without a speed limit… this is europe afterall.

and sometimes… well… sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned…

after four separate diagnosis of “this doesn’t look like a simple problem”, we bid goodbye to our focus (who is now waiting for a diagnosis on a garage somewhere) and drove the last 100km to our destination in a taxi. and here we are now, in glorious amsterdam!

i left this country four years ago, almost to the day. it’s been too long – yet all the details, the smells, the sights, the sounds… they’re all coming back to us with such fierce familiarity that in some ways, it’s like we never left. for us, this is not a mere a sightseeing visit: we’re definitely more interested in revisiting all the things we love about the netherlands, all the particularities we’ve missed throughout the years. i’m really looking forward to this week :)

groningen class of 2005/6 – look what i just found!

i’m having a hard time keeping my focus today, because paulo discovered something completely and totally awesome: GOOGLE MAPS HAS STREET VIEW IN THE NETHERLANDS*!! :D

sounds random, but if you, like me, have spent some time abroad, the temptation of checking out all the familiar places is irresistible and very likely to send you on a nostalgic roller-coaster all day long. for my groningen peeps, here are some familiar sights. i’m sure some of these will make you go awwwwww as well :)

our student house, in van houtenlaan, the first place i checked for :) it looks the same and i can almost see my room here…

the albert heijn we used to go to!

mamma mini, my favourite thrift store!! how i’ve missed you!

the zernikeborg!

the gasunie building where i used to work!

grote markt, vismarkt, sally o’brien… *happy sigh*

oh, the nostalgia of happy times with friends in all of these places… and now if you excuse me, i’m going to peruse the other million spots in this beautiful city…

(*well not in the whole of the netherlands – just amsterdam, rotterdam.. and groningen!)