Sunday, March 27, 2011

Zomertijd

Did you know that "Daylight Savings Time' is a term only used in the US?  I just found that out.  Most other places use "Summer Time," or here in Holland "zomertijd."  Anyway, last night we moved the clocks ahead and today was the first day of summer time.  It was a beautiful day!  Above is my street and it looked so nice out that I thought I would take a walk to enjoy the weather.

Everywhere you look, there are flowers just growing everywhere.  Take this picture fro example, this is just some random patch of grass by the railroad tracks, yet it is filled with flowers.  It's pretty cool how they just come up everywhere almost like weeds.
Some flowers have already come and gone at this point believe it or not.  For example I had a picture on this blog earlier with  purple and white flowers along the canal, those are already gone.
Then, there are others that are just getting ready to bloom, check out this patch of daffodils that is just about to bloom.  Basically I walked all around just enjoying the sun.  I even discovered that some stores are open on Sundays other than the first Sunday of the month!  I was happy to learn that.  Not all of the stores were open, but I would say there were somewhere between 40% and 50% of them open for business.  So I walked in a couple of stores but did not buy anything except for some Flemish Fries with mayo and sambal sauce.  Lekker!

It was also nice to see the tables out again on the Grote Markt.  They were of course packed with people eating sandwiches, drinking coffee, wine, or beer, and just watching people go by.

When I got home it was still too nice to stay inside so I read a couple chapters of a book that I am reading outside.  I am reading "De Gouden Sleutel" Het verhaal van een heel kleine reus.  It is my first Dutch book that I am reading that is not a children's picture book, and so far it is going good.  It has about 120 pages of text and is for older kids.  And even though it is a kids book, I am actually enjoying the story!  Haha.

It stayed light today until about 8:20!  So cool, I can't wait until it lasts till 10:45ish around the end of June.  :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring!

Signs of spring are everywhere in Holland!

"Het is altijd lente in de ogen van de tandartsassistente."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Second set of Visitors!

I had here for the last week my second set of visitors since I moved to Holland.  Megan, Justin, and Shawn came to visit.  We certainly had one jam-packed week!  They arrived last Friday.  The first day they were here we hung out in Haarlem.  We walked around the stores and I finally made it into the Grote Kerk!  It was pretty cool inside.  The church was built in the 1400s and the organ behind me was played by Mozart!  The whole floor of the church is a bunch of old graves from the 1700s.  The women that worked there were upset with me for it being my first time but happy that I was learning Dutch.  They said something about my accent being good when I got my ticket and I thought they were kidding with me, but they swear that they were not.  Was kinda a nice feeling when the one was trying to explain something to Justin but her English was not that great so she just started explaining to me in Dutch about the graves in the church and the tours you can take...I understood her.
That night, Justin, Shawn, and I had a few drinks and went to the Haarlem Red Light District.  I saw the hottest (and nicest) prostitute I ever saw!  She was very attractive and she was actually talking to us through the window.

Saturday I took them to Amsterdam and I took my first canal boat cruise.  It was nice but nothing all that great; they seamed to like it a lot so that is good.  The rest of the day was spent shopping and walking around.
Saturday night I took them out in Haarlem with Kris and Erik.  Was a great time as usual and then we introduced them to Shwarma...love at first bite of course!

Sunday we went to the beach and somehow I lost my camera!  I am so pissed!  After the beach We went to Sumo for all you can eat Sushi, they liked this as well.

Monday we were back in Amsterdam.  I brought my bike on the train and they rented some.  They went to Anne Frank and while they were there, I went to a market I've been wanting to see, it was not at all what I was expecting...it was really big but not that great at all.  They like Anne Frank so that is good at least.  Next we had Dutch pancakes, they loved those.  Megan does not even like pancakes and she was crazy about them.  After that we went to Heineken Experience.  Still like this one.
That night I went to Dutch class while they were getting ready for Paris the next day.  Tuesday and Wednesday I worked while they were in Paris.

Thursday we went to Köln (or Cologne in English) Germany.  This was my first time in Germany.  We got there and checked out Dom which it the big old church right by the train station.  It was pretty impressive.  After that, we waled around the shops then had lunch at some German brewery.  I had a cold German Sausage salad (pictured to the left.)  It was actually really good, never ate anything like this before.  After that we ended up going to this chocolate museum, it was cool and not something I would have expected to go to.  After walking around a bit more, we stopped to have some beers at this one bar.  The cool thing about drinking beer in Köln is that they keep giving you new beers until you put your coaster on top of your glass to signify that you are done drinking!  We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  I warned everyone that it would not be the Mexican that they know and love in the US, but we went anyway.  Megan, Justin, and I got quesadillas and they ended up being this rollup thing that in no way resembled a quesadilla.  O well, at least the taste was decent.  We did a bit more shopping and finally caught the train back home.

Friday we were back in Amsterdam.  We went to the Van Gogh Museum (it was my first time) and it was really cool.  I really do like his style of painting.  After a quick trip through the Red Light District, we came back to Haarlem and pretty much hung out for the rest of the night because the next day they were returning to the United States.

I was glad they came and had a good time with them.  It also provided a nice (and much needed) break from work.  So thanks for coming guys, and I hope to have some more visitors soon.