Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Today was a big day for the Brouwer family. The Queen rewarded Femke’s grandfather, Feike Brouwer with the order of Oranje Nassau for his many engagements in the local society. The medal ceremony took place in Noord-Scharwoude and was led by the Mayor.
We are all very proud!
You will find more photos here.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Kristen, a colleague to Femke, and her boyfriend Gero joined us today for a day out in the boat on the canals of Amsterdam. The sun was shining, the picnic tasty and the wine cool - what more can you want from life?
Tomorrow morning, Kristen and Gero are travelling to Austria to take a course in paragliding - exiting!
And we will have our neighbours over for a drink tonight, that is going to be nice.
Friday, April 17, 2009
It’s a brilliant idea – that some museums are open until late in Friday evenings. Far less people gives you a chance to have a private moment with the masters and tap into their magic.
We started at the Rijksmuseum, where they had a bar in the lobby and stayed open until 20.30. The museum is under renovation, so only some parts are open, which in a way is a blessing. It makes the experience a just so much more digestive and you can concentrate on a few of the works.
I became mesmerised by Aert van der Neer’s River view by moonlight. Such delicate light! But Hendrick Avercamp’s famous Winter landscape with ice skaters is also a gem. It is one of those you can stare at for a very long time, and still find details you haven’t seen, a bit like illustrations in some children books.
Of course, you have a generous sprinkling of Rembrandt’s master-pieces to admire as well.
Happily enriched by this beautiful art experience, we continued to the Van Gogh Museum just down the road. They have taken their Friday nights one step further, staying open until ten and with a bar, DJ and live music every Friday. It is a funny thing to sit in a world famous art museum and listen to some good jazz, performed live, while you sip on a glass of wine (or one of those Japanese green tea beers).
Just as with the Rijksmuseum, the actual exhibition is positively un-crowded, and you can stroll around and enjoy your favourite pieces of the genius (and mad) Vincent van Gogh. The music carries to most of the building, which gives a new dimension to the experience.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
One of the chores connected with my work is trying out different bars and restaurants for my articles. Now it was time for another tough night at work. Luckily, my dear Femke joined my as backup, for this was to be a heavy-duty shift.
Rijsttafel is the Indonesian version of the Swedish Christmas table or Smörgåsbord, minus the Christmas and the Scandinavian food. It is a buffet of top of the pop Indonesian dishes ranging from mild salads to fierily spiced meat stews. The plan was to try the rijsttafel of the rather new Restaurant Blauw.
And try it we did, all 19(!) dishes. Well, I did, Femke actually skipped the hottest one, obviously not being as experienced as I am in this line of duty. The pictures pretty much say it all, but let me just add that the food was brilliant. And for €29 per person, rather reasonable priced, considering the quality and the dizzingly array of dishes.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Today, Amsterdam gave us all a pre-taste of summer, with temperatures over 20°C and lots of sunshine. A perfect time for a tour with the boat on the canals.
First, our neighbour Hyshil joined me for a little cruise. After a lovely hour, I dropped her off so she could pick up her daughter from the kindergarten.
Next passenger turned out to be Andrew, who I picked up downtown, fresh from the office. We cruised around in the city, sipping a cold beer, then ventured out on the Ij, the bigger water connected to the North Sea Canal. Here we tried to moor at the enormous and sun-kissed terrace of Musiekgebouw, but the waves were to high along the pier for my little boat.
Instead we steered back into to the maze of canals, and I dropped Andrew off, he had to go to a birthday party of a friend. Instead Femke joined me, bike and all, and I had the pleasure of giving her a ride home from work.
Days like this it is just wonderful to live in Amsterdam - What a beautiful afternoon!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Our last day, and Femke is out shopping again. I take a walk to check out some restaurants, then we round it up with a luxurious lunch at the oldest Indian restaurant in London, Veraswamy. Of course, now that we are leaving, and will spend most of the day on trains, airport and plane, the sun is shining.
But we didn’t go to London for the good weather – we went to meet dear friends and enjoy good cooking from all over the world. Throw in a pint or two in the equation as well as some museums, and you have a recipe for a great long weekend!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Come Sunday, Femke had more shopping urges. Luckily, we also visited the brilliant photo exhibition the BBC Wildlife photo of the year at the Natural History Museum, had a perfect Turkish lunch at Zara and then took a beautiful walk at Hampstead Heath. Funny enough, there was this nice little pub (Flask) just next tot the heath.
In the evening we had a fantastic meal at the Eritrean restaurant Mosob, again together with Vicky & Aurelian and Christian & Bigi.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Next day, we met up with Vicky (German) and her French boyfriend Aurelian, plus Christian (Finnish) and Bigi (also German). Femke knows them all from the time when she lived in Strasbourg, and although we both met Vicky frequently while living in Brussels at the same time, Femke had not seen Christian and Bigi for five years.
So it was high time for a drink together, which we had at the Museum Tavern. Then we enjoyed Korean cooking at Bi-Won, followed by a short visit to the British Museum.
After that, the girls were in desperate need of some shopping, so we rubbed shoulders with thousands of other tourists at Covent Garden, before Christian and me managed to convince them that it was high time for a beer, this time at the Coal Hole.
Oddly enough, we still had some appetite, so we headed for the Indian restaurant Masala Zone in Camden Town. This was to be the only disappointment food-wise during our entire stay. Not that it was bad, it just wasn’t as good as it could be. Nevertheless, we had a great time.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, Femke did some window shopping (with me trudging along) at Kings Road, followed by a beautiful and spicy Mexican meal at Taqueria. Femke continued her shopping downtown, while I had to do some more research on the pub front.
Then we had the pleasure of discovering the Burmese kitchen (at Mandalay) together with Sue and her boyfriend Brian. We met Sue while being election observers in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution in 2004, and have stayed in contact since. The food was so good, we had to round it off with a beer at the Warrington, Gordon Ramsay’s pub.