What does € 7,40 get you?

29 10 2008

This ………..


Now to give you an idea how much €7,40 is for two, that’s right… TWO…

Canadian – $11.94

American – $9.43

Pounds – £5.89

Denmark Krone – kr 55.1171

Thailand Baht – ฿ 329.493

Japanese Yen – ¥ 914.560

So you see…for a squash and a pumpkin it really isn’t a cheap meal!  This is going to be one expensive soup.

And yes I know I still have to do Day Two for Paris, that will be coming up shortly.  Right now I’m going to go gaze at my investment and maybe they will convert to gold or something.


Paris – Day One

25 10 2008

Well I’m home… after a wonderful two days in Paris I am back in the Netherlands.  The start of the trip was pretty uneventful, we left around 8:30, dropped off Stoney, then headed off towards France.  During the trip down we had good weather and little traffic.  Going through Belgium was pretty much trouble free except for a couple of jams here and there around Antwerpen, but as soon as we got in to France the roads were clear and we could do the speed limit of 130 km/h!  Gotta love the French! 

Of course as soon as we hit Paris the traffic jammed and it took us over an hour to reach the hotel, which also meant that I lost time to do what I had planned for the day.  So instead of going to the Eiffel Tower and to the Louvre in one day I could only get to the Eiffel Tower.  I basically ran out of the hotel and down to the Metro to catch the train to the tower.  The Metro is the best way to get around Paris hands down.  For the low low price of € 1,60 you can travel the Metro all day. 

I have seen the tower before, but it was usually quick and I didn’t get to go right up to it.  Either we were zooming past it by bus or car.  Or like the grade 10 band trip, they let us off the bus in the middle of nowhere and didn’t give us enough time to get there and back.  But this time, I was able to get right up close, close enough to touch it, see every rivet, beam, speck of rust (which really there isn’t that much).  I snapped pictures from in front of the tower, beside the tower, under the tower, around the tower.  I ooooohed and aaaaaahed like the other tourists.  Then I went to get into the line to go UP the tower.  I saw the wait time, 30 minutes for the elevator ride.  O.K I can deal with a 30 minute wait, so I stand in line and just as I’m about to step towards security; I get stopped and the little fabric barrier goes across in front of me.  Shocked I look up and some dude tells me to wait so that this entire bus load of tourists can go ahead of me… WHAT???? So I calmly look up to the sign and suddenly my 30 minute wait for the elevator jumps to ONE FREAKING HOUR!!  Oh I don’t think so, I’m not standing in line for an hour then forking over € 12,00 to be jammed in to a little glass square thank you very much.  I’ll go over to the other line that is nice and short and … walk up?  Sure why not? I can do it… let’s look at the benefits of walking up… it’s healthier, clean air, no strange persons pressing against you in a overcrowded box, I can take “progress” pictures, and it’s cheaper by € 8,00!  So I fork over my €4,00 to some lady who obviously hates her job (miserable cow) and start the climb of 704 steps.. yup…. 704.  I did it though, and actually once you get a groove going up, you can make in decent time.  I did stop and rest occasionally to take some pictures or to deal with the butt cramp.  But other then that it was a good hike up! 

I got to the tower at the right  time, before the mad rush and before the sun went down.  I took a ton of pictures of the city before and during the sunset.  Here are a few, but most are on my flickr account.  I was able to get pictures from all three platforms of the tower.  Hey I made it to the first platform walking up 300 some odd stairs, what’s another 300?  Then of course once I got to the second platform I did the remaining 18 odd steps and got to the top.  Now it was just a matter of walking down without getting dizzy from the round and round that I had to do.  Amazing how much quicker it was going DOWN then UP! 🙂

I went across the street after I came down and got a few pictures of the tower lit up blue and then I saw the flashing light display that they have.  I did get that as a movie and you can see that on the flickr account.   It really is quite a show and I would have like to have seen it when it was a little darker out but I had to get going.  I was to meet up with Frank so that we could go out for supper.  Which turned into an event all it’s own when we went to Le Dragon d’Argent.  With the owner Leung, we had a wonderful Thai meal with free saki at the end (I personally didn’t drink my.. blech tasted like turpentine).  A few lovely pictures and mini bananas to take back to the hotel for breakfast the next day.

So even though my day was very short by tourist standards I had a great time at the tower and getting my fair share of pictures in.  By the time we got back to the hotel I was ready to pass out, my legs were starting to feel the climb and standing was becoming a bit tricky 😛  Plus I needed to get my sleep for my Day Two of Paris, and since I was getting up at  6:30am (thank you Frank) I was getting an early start on my day!  

Day two coming soon….

Ooo la la!

21 10 2008
I’M GOING TO PARIS!! Ok, it is only for a day but still I’M GOING TO PARIS!! Yes, I have been there before but still I’M GOING TO PARIS!! And even though I have to do the touristy things along since Frank is working, it is ok because I’M GOING TO PARIS!! Now you might think I’m a little excited, ok… I am a little excited!  I’m going to go to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and the L’Arc de Triomphe and I’m going to be able to take pictures of Paris and not have to either cram myself against the bus window a la grade 10 band trip.  Or watch the city zip by in a car.  I am going to have Frank drop me off at one point and I’ll walk through the city to the next point.  It will be nice to see the Tower without the other 4 tour buses in front of it. 

I had a chance to go through the Louvre with my family back 17 years ago… wow… that was a long time.  But then I knew I wouldn’t appreciate the art work so I didn’t bother.  I stayed back while the rest went into get a peek at the Mona Lisa.  We saw the L’Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower and there are pictures of it somewhere in either my mother’s house or my aunt’s, but now I get to have my own. 

Another thing, I want to see if I can find some squash.  Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, I don’t care I just want edible squash.  Apparently squash isn’t a big thing in the Netherlands so finding the edible ones can be a bit tricky.  I’m not a huge squash fan but since I can’t find it readily find them like I can in Canada I have this massive craving for them.  Mmmmm roasted squash soup!  So now I hope I can find some in France. 

So if you missed it… I’M GOING TO PARIS!!


Pictures to follow when I return.




My favourite season of the year.

14 10 2008

Autumn has always been my favourite time of year, I love the warmish days and the crisp cool nights where you either need the extra blanket or the good old flannels.  I like being able to wear jeans and a light sweater with out suffocating from the heat or freezing to death.  But most of all I love the colours.  I love the changing leaves and the piles they make on the ground, or the crunch when you walk through it. 

Here in NL the fall is similar to the fall in the cities of Ontario, but to be honest it doesn’t come close to the colours you find up north (naturally).   But regardless I still like the cooler temps and the changing season.  Granted in this country I won’t have the winters that I’m use to, and well maybe that won’t be a bad thing. 

Frank took some nice pictures on the weekend on our ride home from Nijkerk.  He has a mushroom thing going here.                                                           

It was a beautiful autumn day on our way to Nijkerk and back, the sun was out and it didn’t start to get cold until we hit the outskirts of Amersfoort.  Even today was a great autumn day to head by bike to the grocery store.  I wish this could be the weather year round.  Hopefully tomorrow will be another beautiful autumn day, before the winter rains come.


Happy Gobble Gobble!

13 10 2008

Well Happy Thanksgiving everyone, here in the Netherlands they don’t celebrate this holiday so I miss out on the turkey and stuffing.  Also because I didn’t order the turkey in advance from the butcher… oh and because it costs a small mortgage to get one.  But nevertheless, I will have a turkey this year at some point.  Either for the US Thanksgiving in November (I’ll just stick a few Canadian Flags around the table) or at Christmas.   Either way I hope everyone enjoys/enjoyed their feast and gobble gobble!!!

1:20AM.. and I’m up…

6 10 2008

Well for some reason I can’t sleep, it could be that I really didn’t do much today, or the fact I didn’t roll out of bed until 11am, or just one of those nights where Mr. Sandman is a little late.  Either way, I’m up. 

So I made myself some hot chocolate and let me tell you.. this was the bestest,* most amazingest* hot chocolate I’ve had in ages!!  I used pure cocoa, with a little sugar, and a cinnamon stick… oh Nigella would be so proud!  And of course I did the treat my nonna would let me have, a piece of bread (white or light brown) to dip into the hot chocolate… mmmm…. yessiree bob it was a good cup!!  Now… off to bed.


* For all you English scholars out there or just nit picky people who feel the need to suddenly leave comments that I’ve used a word that doesn’t exist… YES I KNOW that “bestest” and “amazingest” are not words.  But at 1:25am and on a serious chocolate buzz, I feel those words best describe the hot chocolate.  Thank you that is all.

YA! I’m good for a year!

2 10 2008

Well I took a trip to Utrecht today to pick up my permit at the IND office.  Now why didn’t they send us to this office in the first place instead of the one in Zwolle is beyond me. But today I got on my bike, headed down to the station, got on the train and realized half way to Utrecht that I forgot the letter they sent me in the mail.  Well…I can either see if I can get my permit with out the letter and just my passport or I have to hike it back home and go another day.  I’ll chance it.

The thing is that I’ve only been to Utrecht once before and I had someone with me so wandering the city was no problem.  Don’t get me wrong, all the cities are very well marked where the train stations are and tourist sites, I’m talking about INSIDE the train station.  See, Utrecht Centraal has a mall attached and it straddles something like 2 or 3 roads until it comes to an end at the plaza.  So trying to wander through the mall and trying to remember where I had to go since I left the directions at home too, makes it difficult to window shop.  Of course I get out on the wrong side of the mall, so I have to walk back to the station and over a ways to get to the street I wanted.  I think by sheer luck I actually found the IND.  

Luckily they didn’t have a problem giving me my permit card, or my verblijfsdocument.  They did some looking up on the computer and with in minutes I had this in my hand. I’ve blacked out my eyes because it’s such a horrid picture of me, and to think I’m stuck with it for a year.  But hey, at least I can now say I’m allowed to be here.  Not sure if they are still going to want me after a year but I’ll find out if I don’t get my renewal letter in a year’s time.

The nice thing about going to Utrecht today, besides the weather being some what ok, was that I was able to tour a little bit. Like I said I’ve been there before but I’m a loner of a tourist.  I like to do things by myself so I can take my time and not feel like I’m rushing people.  So I went to the Dom which is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.  I am not sure if you can go up the tower, but if you can one of these days I would love too.  I didn’t spend too much time wandering the city, mainly because I’m not feeling all that great.  But Utrecht is only 30 minutes away by train so I can go there again another day and spend more time wandering aimlessly.  I did go back into the church while I was there.  The church at one point was attached to the tower until 1674 when a storm hit and destroyed parts of the church but left the tower untouched.  The two were never reconnected.   I did manage to take some pictures inside the Cathedral but I had to be stealthy again.   So most of the pictures are a little cockeyed since I wasn’t really looking through the camera at the time.

So my eventful morning turned out to be a very quiet afternoon after the church and tower, I strolled (ok walked very fast since it was raining) back to the train station, when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see? 49,99 euros slashed out in BRIGHT red and 19,95 euros written underneath!  Oh a beautiful red Italian leather purse right there in the window of a store calling my name… so I listened to the purse and bought it.  That along with my new boots that I saw in the mall at the train station… So a few euros poorer, a little wet, coughing out my left lung I stroll back to the train to get the first one back to Schothorst.  But at least now that I have my permit I can get a job (and buy more purses and shoes), have health benefits (so I can go and get something for this cough), and take my Dutch lessons (that way I won’t get lost the next time I have to leave the train station since I’ll be able to understand the signs a bit better). 

All in all, Utrecht is a very beautiful city and when the weather is a bit better I would like to go and spend more time there… or maybe get a job there… then I’ll be close to the store that has all the pretty purses!