Today was last minute shopping day! So this morning I first went to the Albert Heijn. I bought for myself: lasagnette packs, satÃ© sauce for with chicken, Gouda cheese, 3 different ontbijtkoek (breakfast cakes), Sultana cookies, hagelslag (little chocolate pieces for on bread at breakfast), Wokkels chips and poffertjes mix (mini pancakes). Plus some stuff for a Dutch friend back home. Then I went by bike to the city. I always take the same route and along the way there is a bridge that can be lifted for big boats. It never happened since I came to Holland this Summer... But today it happened on my way to the city AND on the way back! So both times you have to wait 5 minutes for the bridge to open, boats to pass under, close again and go. In the city I got the newest Nicci French book (with a 10% student discount!), pens at Hema (they have the best pens!), stuff I was missing for my appartment at Blokker like an oven dish and new oven mittens, a few things at the pharmacy as well as some clothing pieces that were greatly reduced at H&M and Vero Moda. Then I biked back home carrying my shoppings on my bike and struggling agains't the strong winds! But I made it home. Now it's time to pack everything!
Today I got bored and went browsing through old pics and found a nice serie of pictures I had taken in the Montreal metro! So I had fun creating a video from still photographs...! So click here to see the short video! It will be online for a little while, not forever...
Yay! It's Friday! Tonight I'm going to the supermarket Albert Heijn to buy all the Dutch goodies I'll bring back home to Canada. Tomorrow I'll go to the city centre for one last look around. And maybe also with my bike to Amstelpark to find olliebollen. I'll see if I'm up for that bike trip (at least 35 minutes away and another 35 minutes to come back... more if I get lost!). Sunday I'll spend some time with the family here and also pack my bag. And then Monday I leave!
I just came back from seeing a movie with the two boys...! We saw Madagascar at a cinema in the city centre! It was the Dutch version unfortunately... Because the youngest of the two boys wouldn't be able to follow at the English version! But I still liked it and it was funny. I'll definitely have to see it again in the original English spoken though!
Just 6 dodos left until I fly back home! When you're little you count each "dodo" (night of sleep) when you're looking forward to something, like a birthday or Christmas. Today I had a day at home with the youngest of the two boys. The older one went with his mom on a little day trip to another Dutch city and I stayed at home with the other boy. We played games (monopoly, Lingo on the computer, etc). When he was outside playing with his friends it gave me some free time to finish the Copenhagen trip report which was nice. Tonight we just had dinner just the two of us. It's nice now that he's older (7, instead of 4 when I was first here) we can chat about different things. For example tonight at the table we talked about how it's like to go on a long plane ride. He was surprised for example that you had to sleep in a seat! Funny little guy. Tonight I'll go to bed early. I'm tired and I've got a headache... Hopefully it'll be gone tomorrow with a good night's sleep!
It's online! You can read the whole story of my trip to Copenhagen here! And if you're too lazy to read you can just directly browse the pictures. Enjoy!
There is a problem with the router where I am staying so there is only an Internet connection downstairs in the office, not anymore in my room. So I don't know how often I will be able to connect. Well I'm back from Copenhagen! I enjoyed my weekend a lot though it was a bit short to see everything I wanted to see! I will have a trip report page ready soon. But in the mean time here's the part about the hotel where I stayed. I LOVED it! It was the Hotel Fox, ex Park Hotel. Here is a picture of the faÃ§ade of the hotel... And the chandelier in the entrance lobby... The whole hotel was nicely designed! The lobby with it's loungy chairs and neat bar/reception counter, the carpet on each floor's passage ways with a different colour and design, etc. I choose to be in room #405. Fox Hotel is a special hotel. It was recently renovated (opened in April I believe) and rooms were designed by 21 artists from countries all around the world. Each room has it's own design and furniture. My room (as well as the hotel's lobby and facade) were designed by an Australian group of artists called Pandarosa. It was really a piece of art. I spent a lot of time looking at the walls, ceiling, floor, etc. A few photos of my room... A sitting area... With sponge like seats! The top end of my bed with a little table and cubic light... The foot end of my bed with a desk and a Samsung flat screen LCD TV... In the morning the bar area at the reception desk was transformed into a breakfast buffet. It was filled with delicious stuff: thick yogourt topped with fresh raspberries, chocolate filled croissant, pastries, sandwiches, pancakes, juice (traditional orange juice but also crushed raspberries juice - YUM!), fruit salad... Too many delicious things to choose from. I definitely enjoyed my stay at that hotel...!
Although I am enjoying greatly being here in Europe and visiting different cities, I kind of miss home now a bit. I am going home soon so it's alright to miss it and look forward to it! I miss my work. I like it a lot, it envolves being outside (a plus when it's nice weather) and a contact with a lot of people which is nice. I also miss my appartment with my own bed and my stuff. I miss my TV and my Zip.ca movies. I miss my supermarket with some of the food that I am not eating here a lot: yogourt, beef steak, normal white bread, etc. It's stuff I can get here in Amsterdam but the family buys the food so I just eat what they buy. I miss being able to call my mom whenever with my cheap long distance call plan. When I am back at home I'm sure I'll miss being in Amsterdam too! I'll miss a daily contact with a family around me. I'll miss the strange Dutch language. I'll miss some of the special Dutch food like ontbijtkoek (breakfast cake), Goudse kaas (cheese), vla (dessert like pudding but more liquid) and Fanta (like 7up but orange taste) amongst other things. I'll miss my bike that makes it so easy to get everywhere. I'll miss the view on the lake from the windows of my room. But I've still got about 10 days to enjoy all these Dutch things and to look forward to the things I left home.
This afternoon one of the boys went to a birthday party. With the other boy I made chocolate muffins! It was nice to have him do something else than play on the computer and spend some time with me! And the muffins turned out pretty well also! YUM! The weather now is REALLY windy. Reminds me of my hometown, Blanc-Sablon, but without the sea. I can't wait for Friday, that evening I'm flying to Copenhagen and will spend Saturday and Sunday exploring the Danish city. Yay!
I'm craving oliebollen. They are a Dutch pastry/treat. You eat it warm with powder sugar on it. Usually it's available at the New Year or at fairs. I've searched the Internet to see where fairs are being held in The Netherlands but it's all in little far away towns like Tilburg, Otterlo and Oudesluis. There was one in Utrecht but that's still far away just to get olibollen! I WANT OLIEBOLLEN! Oh... Just now searching the Internet about kermis (fairs) I found one that is in Amsterdam...! At Amstelpark from 23 July to 7 August. And that's not too far from my house I think! I'll have to go there... And hopefully be able to buy a whole huge bag full of OLIEBOLLEN!
I'm trying to put my Europe photos on CDs to keep safely... If my computer crashes I'll have a backup of my photos. But my CD burner sucks! There is a problem that happens sometimes when I am burning a CD. Nero says error that it cannot perform fixation and burning failed. It seems it happens to data discs only... Because I remember burning the Coldplay new CD as audio disc and that worked but... yea... I can't burn data discs. And I want to put my pictures on a CD! But that's not working! I've tried updating Nero. Doesn't help. I've tried 3 different types of CDs to burn with. Doesn't help. I've searched the Internet and people have said to update the firmware. But I have no idea what firmware is! I don't want to have to buy a new CD burner/DVD for my laptop. It'll cost a lot and I'll miss my computer while it's being fixed. Worse case I guess I could use an outside unit. A friend gave me a outside unit DVD/CD burner but it's back home in Montreal. So no Europe photos burning on CD for me!
This morning the garbage truck came by! So here's a picture to complete my previous post about garbage. The man on the left is controlling the crane... And see how big the underground container is compared to the little part that's out of the ground usually? That's it on the garbage topic!
The Dutch have to be very clever with using the space they have in their very tiny country. In residential areas residents have to get rid of their house's garbage somehow... And here is how it works where I am staying. There are big containers under the ground with a little box on the top. It looks like this... There is one container for paper to recycle, one for waste food that can decompose and two for general waste/garbage. To city comes by with a big truck to pick up the garbage. The truck has a remote controlled crane on the truck. The crane connects with the top of the garbage container, you see that long thing sticking out at the top. A man with the remote control standing near the garbage trucks controls the crane and lifts the garbage disposal unit - with the big underground unit - over the truck, opens it, all garbage fall in the truck and remote controls it back to it's hole in the ground. I don't know if I've explained it clearly. I remember when I came to live here back in 2001 I thought it was pretty awesome how that worked! And was surprised the first time I saw that remote control crane thing on the truck!
This morning after a late breakfast with the family where I am staying I went out with my bike to the city centre. My watch's battery was dead (after more than 4 years) so I brought it along in hope to get it replaced. I biked all the way to the dam to go to the Bijenkorf and have a look at what kind of duvets they had. Then I also looked at Hema and V&D, comparing quality and prices from each store. I will probably buy one later before going back to Canada, depending on how much I spend in Copenhagen...! Here's the Kalverstraat shopping area... How can you not enjoy shopping... Or even just window shopping in a street like that! Such nice old houses... I love the Amsterdam architecture. Then I went to the Fossil store to fix my watch. It took 10 minutes and it was running again! I also bought a new one. Why? My old watch I had bought way back when I was living in The Netherlands. With the years it has become old and scratched. It still looks alright... But for daily use. My new watch I'll be careful to keep it nice... I bought once again aluminium. Though it's a bit more expensive, I like the non shiny effect and that it is lighter than normal silver watches. Here is my old watch (blue) and my new one (greenish)... Then I went to the cinema to see War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise! I liked the movie a lot for the genre/type of film, definitely made to see on a big screen! I also wanted to see Madagascar but I thought that cartoon could easily work for home on my little television...! So that's why I opted for Tom Cruise. Here's a dark photo of inside the movie room... At home we all had dinner in the garden because it was such a nice day. And in the evening I watch Ghost World. I had not yet seen it and it got a good rating so... I didn't like it all that much... It was just ok. Not much happening comparing it with the afternoon's movie!!
For 1h30 now I've been trying to buy a ticket for the Sigur Ros gig in Montreal! The Admission website is not cooperating! At first I always got the message of maximum users, please try again later. Then I got an error message that the online ticket service was not available and to call them on the telephone to buy. And now I'm getting a message that there are no tickets left. But I don't believe it's sold out already. The PDA where they are playing is huge. And I'm looking for just 1 ticket. So there has to be some still left. I'm pissed off because I can't really call them... It is expensive to do so from Europe! Even more if they make me wait on hold for a long time... So I am trying every 15 minutes on the website to see if that's fixed. Grrrrrrrrrr! I'm tired!! I just want a ticket!!!