Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back with friends, back in Ridgefield!

The first week we were back in the USA, we stayed with our good friends Bob & Valerie and their daughters Mia, Emmy & Ella. These are the best friends of JJ & Jezz, so we all had a blast seeing them again after 2 years!

But when we arrived in Ridgefield all the kids in Connecticut still had school, so we asked Barlow Mountain, their old elementary school if our girls could join a day and sit in the class with their friends. So fun to be back in their old school, the kids had so much fun!!

Mia, Ella, JJ, Emmy & Jezz, so happy to be together again!

While at school they ran into an old classmate and friend; Gina.

Mrs. Moran, Jasmine's kindergarten teacher was still there as well, so fun to see her again!

And Juliet met her Pre-School teacher, Mrs. Schumacher again, so much fun to see their teachers again!

Mia graduated that week from Elementary school, so we had a party at school!

Watching Mia's graduation.

JJ & Jezz had flowers for Mia.

Proud parents Val & Bob with Mia, the first one to graduate.

Mia & Trey, a good friend. They look like a married couple, said Juliet... haha! Even their clothes match :-)

This was the first graduation we celebrated this week, but 2 more to follow. LOL we didn't realize that we would be here to celebrate all these graduations, but it turned out that all our old friends were graduating this year. So fun to be here for these special occasions!!

I am finally settled a bit and uploaded all my pictures, so more to follow soon!
How is your vacation?
Are you enjoying the sun, sea and sand, or just some down time??

We are having a blast seeing all our friends again!
Mireille xx

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hanging out with the nieces... and the cat ;-)

The last day of our Holland trip we stayed a night with our nieces Nienke en Sanne. Jasmine and Juliet were totally excited to see their big idols again! They really look up to their big nieces, so it is fun to see them together. The last time was 1,5 year ago, so it was about time again!! Nienke is 17 years and Sanne is 14 years old.

The other fun part when we go to Dirk's sisters home is that they have 2 cats and JJ and Jezz love to play with them, here is one that is patient enough to let him pet...

10 days in Holland flew by!!

Enjoy the summer! Are you traveling too?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dutch TV & Dutch food.... leuk & lekker!

After a day browsing into the town centre of Heerlen with Oma, the girls are glued to the TV, but the DS is not to be put down as well... since they got a new game from Oma.

A relaxing evening in the Netherlands, while it is drizzling outside... what's new!

We visited many friends and family the last few days, but I ended up forgetting to take pictures.... not such a good idea ;-(

But here are a few I did take!

We went bowling with auntie Marleen and cousin Jesse and friends.

We ate Dutch pancakes with apple & cinnamon.

And broodje kroket ~ a real Dutch treat!

Tomorrow is our last day in Holland and we will fly to NYC on Sunday morning. Looking forward to seeing our friends in Ridgefield and Redding, Connecticut!!

Enjoy your summer break!
Mireille xx

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pink Pop 2011

Pink Pop is in the town where my dad lives, actually it is at the end of the street where he is living. Pink Pop is an open air concert that takes place for 3 days. With 60.000 to 65.000 people visiting PER DAY! This is a huge event!!

This year the main act was Cold Play who asked for 1 Million Euros for just one performance!! But the ticket price is Euro 150/$195 for 3 days or 80 Euro/$100 for just one day, I am sure that the costs of all those bands are covered!!

The bands playing on Day 1: Coldplay, Ash, Selah Sue, Manic Street Preachers, Alter Bridge, Simple Plan, De Staat, Madi, Elbow.

Day 2: Kings of Leon, Laura Jansen, Grafitti6, White Lies, Wolfmother, Tim Knol, Avenged Sevenfold, Justin Nozuka, Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77.

Day 3: Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Volbeat, Go Back To The Zoo, Two Door Cinema Club, Scouting For Girls, Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Script, The Gaslight Anthem, Beatsteaks, Plain White T's, Deadmau5, Band Of Horses, All Time Low, Dazzled Kid.

So yesterday we went to have a look and took a stroll to the event, we didn't have tickets but we just wandered around the gates and here is what we saw... a bunch of wannabees who would love to go inside the gates, but didn't have a ticket or they just want to hang out outside the gates and drink a beer, hang out with their friends or buy some funky stuff at all the stalls that were spread out in the hope to make a buck!

Huge crowds coming together, a lot wearing pink!

The wannabees hanging around on the onside of the gates, getting drunk!

Lot of stalls trying to make a buck with funky stuff, food and drinks.

And of course all the bikes against the gates, and little tents set up for the crowds that stay the 3 days.

Each day we saw thousands of people walking through our street and hear the music in the background. Tonight will be the last night with a huge fireworks to end it all.

This normal quite part of town will be back to normal :-)
Do you live open air concerts like this??
Mireille xx

Monday, June 13, 2011

Knight Festival at Castle of Hoensbroek

We spent the day at the Castle of Hoensbroek in South Limburg, which is one of the largest and most beautiful castles in the Netherlands. The oldest section of the castle structure dates from 1250.

This weekend they had a knight festival at the Castle, which was fun to visit! Thousands of people and kids wandered around the huge grounds of the castle. All sorts of activities, games and role plays were on show for us to see, learn and participate.

Some knight armor you can try on to see how heavy it is.

A pharmacy with the herbs for all kinds of ailments.

A joisting game.

Some guys who take care of the criminals in the olden days....

Handmade silver jewelry and other small items.

A knight got injured by a fight with a tourist...

The castle grounds.

Opa with the girls at the entrance of the castle.

Inside the castle, the kitchen.

And the living room.

A day in medieval times, fun, entertaining and educative... what else more can we wish for?? LOL
We had a fun day!
Mireille xx

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A day in Maastricht...

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and the Roman walls around the city were built before the first century. A historic city, Maastricht has many old structures including the Romanesque Church of Our Lady (11th century), a 13th-century bridge across the Maas, and the town hall (17th century). Maastricht has the oldest church in the Netherlands, the Cathedral of St. Servatius, founded in the 6th century.

The city has still a lot of old buildings, cathedrals, parks and the city centre is still filled with old cobblestones instead of paved streets. A typical Dutch sight.

Tons of tourists from all over the world come and visit this quaint little city with 120.000 inhabitants. Not much if you compare it to other cities in different countries. But a medium sized city in our country.

My dad lives about 30 minute drive from Maastricht and we went today to shop, eat and wander around...

Opa with the girls on the Market Square in Maastricht.

Everybody parks their bike on the side and then walks into the city centre.

Old historical buildings everywhere. And the brown door on the right is the entrance to an old church, converted to a....

Book Store!! No kidding! Dating back to the 13th century, the structure was a Dominican church until Maastricht was invaded by Napoleon in 1794 and the group was forced out of the country. Since that point it has been briefly used as a parish, then a warehouse, then an archive, then a giant parking lot for bicycles (not such a terrible idea) and finally made over into a bookstore.

A typical shopping street in Maastricht, with the cobble stones.

Wooden Shoes are everywhere for sale.

A typical Dutch snack food: kroket mostly eaten with french fries, which we did!

Market day on the square and people sitting outside having some coffee or lunch, a lot of activities all around.

Typical houses around the market square, you will see this in the older cities all over Holland.

Old & New mix well in Holland, here a funky car, small but cute!

Another great day in Holland!
More to follow...
Mireille xx

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Moreish Mussels

JJ was in heaven again today, because we had mussels Dutch style, which are boiled with leeks, carrots and some wine in the broth and served with some crusty bread. Again JJ and Opa were the only ones who like this delicacy, so Jasmine and me had some chicken :-)

Next time when we go for some real Dutch food, we better choose something that Jasmine and me like too!

More about our adventures here in the Netherlands and food experiences in a few days...

Groetjes uit Nederland! (greetings from Holland)
Mireille xx

Friday, June 10, 2011

JJ's first raw herring... A real Dutch treat!

Our first day in the Netherlands and Opa (Grandpa) had raw soused herring (Maatjesharing or also called Hollandse Nieuwe) for us. Unfortunately only JJ likes them... so she was in for a treat!

And this is how you eat it, the whole fillet you eat at once, with some raw onions or just like this. JJ loves it!!

The Dutch call it maatjesharing, in Germany and Sweden it just matjes. It is made from young herrings caught before the breeding season started. I think the name is from the old word for young/unmarried women in German. We still have the word maid in Dutch. It's meisje, and in English, maiden.

The fish is put in a brine and the pancreas stays in the fish, so the enzymes make the fish very soft.

In my area Matjes is prepared with raw onions and apples in a sauce of yogurt and cream. The dish is often served on Fridays in the early summer. It's cheap and easy to prepare.

Today we will be eating mussels served Dutch style, but again only JJ likes this, so Jasmine and me will just eat some chicken...

Greetings from Holland!
Mireille xx

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Up to Holland!

Today we are flying to the Netherlands for 10 days!! (and then we are flying to the USA)

Visiting family and friends, eating some Dutch food, enjoying hopefully the summer weather (this you never know in Holland, it is very unpredictable!) But hopefully we have some nice days so we can enjoy the scenic little towns, the tulips are probably gone by now, but plenty of cows, cheese, wooden shoes is also hard to find these days unless you go to the tourist towns where they still walk around in them, but normal people wear normal shoes these days ;-)

This vacation I am planning to show the girls what the Netherlands is really about, so these pictures we see here they will be experiencing, so not only staying at home with grandma and granddad, NO, we will be a tourist in our own country, because JJ and Jezz haven't really seen this. Before they were too young or the last time (1,5 year ago) we came when it was winter and cold and grey but my dad's 70th Birthday, you don't want to do these tourist things then. So now is a perfect time to show what real Holland is about!

We will see some tulips, but not that many any more, it's more a spring flower, but still there will be plenty around at least at the markets.

Maybe we will buy a new pair of wooden shoes....

The windmills and the tiny houses along the canals in Amsterdam, on our list!

Church in the center, houses around, typical Dutch town.

Plenty of cows, so...

plenty of cheese!! The cheese market in Gouda, on our list!

Bikes everywhere, this is called a bakfiets! A bike with a bakkie.

Our flight is leaving tonight and it takes 11 hours to fly from Johannesburg to Amsterdam!
So more from the Netherlands, next time!!

By for now!
Mireille xx


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