(Dutch-related) stuff that happened in April 2015

I was just about to write a post about my “Eating Amsterdam” trip – but then I realised I only posted 3 times in April – and sooooo much happened last month! So that one will have to wait for now… and in the meantime you get a kinda summary post about April, you lovely springy sunny month, you! (Well, mostly.)

Not sure if I’m going to make this a regular thing, but it’ll do for now as I have a few things I want to write about but they don’t necessarily need individual posts.

So, roughly in chronological order (I totally just went downstairs to get my calendar – goldfish brain!!) here’s the Dutch-related stuff that happened to me in April 2015:

1. I ate Amsterdam.

As in, I went on a food tour of Amsterdam and ate EVERYTHING. Even drop (liquorice)… my nemesis. Are you proud?

I will write a whole post about this (promise) because it was amazing. But in the meantime, here’s a picture of some bitterballen. Because, duh.

Bitterballen on the Amsterdam Food Tour

Bitterballen on the Amsterdam Food Tour

2. My 1 year Expat Anniversary

I was just about to post this and then I realised I totally forgot to even mention the fact that I have lived in the Netherlands for a year! What did I do to celebrate? I went to Germany on a business trip… ha ha. Oh well, there’s always next year…

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the fact it’s been a whole year… in some ways it’s gone by in a flash and in other ways… I can watch Dutch films and TV and listen to Dutch radio… and TALK DUTCH TO DUTCH PEOPLE. So that’s still mind-blowing to me.

I read an article today about “Being stuck in the middle of two worlds” by Amanda (of Expat Life with a Double Buggy fame) and I totally relate. She says “I’ll never be mistaken for being Dutch, yet I don’t feel that England is my home anymore.” TOTALLY, TOTALLY get it.

Also love that she compares expat life to Tom Branson moving into Downton Abbey. This makes me laugh, nod along and feel like something is missing at the same time. (And if you don’t watch Downtown Abbey… YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE – LIKE – NOW.)

3. My sister came to visit – so we went to Utrecht

Not really news in itself… except that we properly did Utrecht: A guided walking tour, a canal tour AND we walked all 465 steps to the top of the Dom tower! Oh, and my sister is 5 and a half months pregnant… so there’s that too.

Utrecht gearing up for the Tour de France in July

Utrecht gearing up for the Tour de France in July

And now from the top! For reference… look for the red bike…

View from the top of the Dom Tower, Utrecht

View from the top of the Dom Tower, Utrecht

As with #1, this trip will also get a full blog post shortly… I took a bazillion photos despite it being a dreary old day.

4. Visited Keukenhof

I totally get it. This is one of those touristy things you have to do, once. And once was enough!

We went on a Friday, a very sunny Friday and it was ram-packed. I’m not going to do a blog post about this, because Jennifer over at Expat Lingo has already summed the experience up perfectly!! Here’s her step-by-step virtual tour: Tramped under the tulips at the Keukenhof

Instead… here are a few snaps I manged to take without 20 people getting in the way:

Tulips at the Keukenhof

Keukenhof

Keukenhof

Flower fields near the Keukenhof

Pretty, huh?

And to give you a small glimpse into the volume of tourists…

Windmill carnage

Windmill carnage

5. Blogger meet-up

By far one of my highlights in April was meeting up with some fellow bloggers. In addition to Jennifer from Expat Lingo, who I’ve just mentioned above, I also met up with Sophie from Sophie in Clogs, Aislinn from Ace the Adventure and Alison of A Flamingo in Utrecht. We met at Alison’s gorgeous Italian wine bar, Vino Veritas which is co-owned with her Italian partner Giovanni.

Vino Veritas, Utrecht

Vino Veritas, Utrecht

It was a fantastic evening and we have already set a date to meet up again in June! Fascinating to meet other expat bloggers and share our stories. With wine, of course!

6. King’s Day

Last, but by no means least, were the birthday celebrations of King Willem-Alexander on 27th April. Once again, the weather did not disappoint, despite the forecasts consistently predicting rain until the day itself! Phew!

King's Day in Amsterdam

(We definitely have a problem. We have so much orange crap it’s hard to know what to wear!!)

Orange clothing for King's Day

In the end I plumped for a tiara with orange fluff (classy), Dutch flags painted on my face (standard) plus the following ensemble…

IMG_3766

King’s Day afternoon was spent strolling around the canals, meeting up with friends and listening to live music. The evening was a haze of wine, beer, new Dutch “friends” and more beer. How about you?

Thanks April. You were awesome.

Hayley x

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10 comments

  1. I lived one year in Holland and never got to Keukenhof so you are doing much better than myself. Ahhh I miss Utrecht and beautiful towns like it. Although I learned to speak Dutch and have always felt a special connection to the country I understand about that being stuck in the middle of 2 worlds. But it is a great country to be stuck in the middle of though! Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been chugging away at Dutch and have really fallen in love with it! Spanish will always be my second language, but Dutch is definitely a runaway third!

    Veel knuffels en lang leve de Nederland!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I am a Dutch National living in England and just love your blog. It’s great to see how you experience Holland. Just keep blogging!
    Alie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hayley, I enjoy reading your blog, and I am enjoying your sense of humor. You are doing very well re your first year of your balancing act Dutch versus English culture. My compliments !
    I am Dutch, lived in Surrey for 1 year in 1982….loved every moment of it.
    I lived in California in 1968 and 1969 and had no culture shock. Loved it. Age might have something to do with it. Moved back to Holland in 1969…I was homesick for California after one month in Holland. In 1983 I moved back to California and the culture shock lasted for several years. I visit Holland about 3 times per year and enjoy it, but going back to California is okay too. I guess I am finally in balance with both cultures. Of course it helps to have the luxury to visit Holland on a regular basis.
    Anyway, keep writing, you have a talent !
    Willy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Willy (short for Wilhelmina) for your lovely comments! Great to hear from another expat – that’s quite a story you have there! 3 times a year – wow. We aim for 5-6 times a year, but the UK is only a hop, skip and a jump away compared to California!

      Thanks once again for the lovely comments. I will carry on writing. Life is getting in the way a bit at the moment though 😉 😉

      Like

  5. I LOVE the comparison of being an expat to being Tom Branson living at Downton … 100% accurate!! Again congrats on the one year, and HOLY COW you guys have a lot of orange stuff! My bf should be ashamed of how little he owns 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The one time I went to the Keukenhof, I think it was the last week it was open. The crowds weren’t too bad, but I think there are only so many flowers I can look at before I get a bit bored. It’s all very pretty, but a bit much for me.

    Congrats on your one year! We’ll celebrate that, our seven years (end of this month), and our one year of Vino Veritas in June! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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