Amsterdam for Els’s Birthday

Lunch at Beter en Leuk

Lunch at Beter en Leuk

For Els’s birthday this year, we celebrated in Amsterdam. We started out at our favorite café in Amsterdam – Beter en Leuk – for a delicious and healthy lunch. Beter en Leuk just so happens to be owned by Koen’s cousin Hanneke, and you can find organic vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc dishes and drinks for breakfast, brunch and lunch, as well as great cookbooks, clothing, jewelry, and other treasures! If you are in Amsterdam, Beter en Leuk is a definite must-visit!

After our feast, we took Els on her first metro ride to the center of the city to Dam Square. We visited the History & Royalty: Journey In Time exhibit at De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) where I learned a lot about the history of De Nieuwe Kerk and its relationship with the Dutch Royal Family. After the exhibit we walked a bit more through Amsterdam before heading home.  What a fun day!

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Sofie’s Birthday Party

The birthday girl, me, and Barbara

The birthday girl, me, and Barbara

My parents happened to be in town for Sofie’s birthday. Also in the Netherlands was Koen’s cousin Andrea and her boyfriend Ethan from Canada – so my parents didn’t have to worry about people speaking English. I always love getting together for family birthdays because it gives me the chance to catch up and see everyone! We celebrated at Sofie’s apartment in Breda and enjoyed delicious cakes and frietjes!

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Sinterklaas 2013

My surprise for Dook!

My surprise for Dook!

In case you don’t remember from last year, the “surprises” are homemade gifts tailored to the likes and hobbies of the person whose name you’ve drawn. This year I drew Dook, Koen’s dad. Because Dook is the biggest wine lover I know, my surprise had to do with wine. I fingerpainted a map of the world, then created a pathway through the major wine countries. Starting in California, Dook had to answer questions about wine to move forward. After successfully completing the game Dook was able to open his gift!

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Oma’s 85th Birthday Party!

Oma's 85!

Oma’s 85!

For Koen’s Oma’s 85th Birthday Party, the family hosted a get together catered by the children and grandchildren! As my blog can attest, we all love to cook and eat well! Koen and I made savory dishes, chicken legs and chicken salads while the rest of the family made sweets and other delicious treats!

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Amsterdam, Netherlands May 2013

Rembrandtplein

Rembrandtplein, the Night Watch in 3D

This my last May travel post! At the end of my parents’ visit, they decided to spend a couple of days in Amsterdam. Because I had the day off and my parents had a lot of luggage, I took the train with them and spent a few hours enjoying the beautiful weather and a few sites in Amsterdam with my Mom and Dad.  I have always considered Amsterdam one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, so I loved being able to walk along the canals, buy tulips, and eat poffertjes with my parents!

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Roosendaal and Gouda, Netherlands

Koen and me in Gouda

Koen and me in Gouda on the steps of the Old City Hall

At the end of my parents’ visit in May, we had to visit Arie and Petra! After eating a delicious lunch, we were surprised with a trip to Gouda! I think most Americans know Gouda because of the cheese with the same name, but Gouda is also famous for its stroopwafels, a particular favorite of my dad’s and mine. While in Gouda, we made our own stroopwafels! What a wonderful, wonderful day full of surprises and treats!

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Delft, Netherlands

In Delft!

In Delft, with the Oude Kerk in view!

Ever since Koen and I have been together, almost 8 years ago, my mother has been dying to make a day trip to Delft in the Netherlands. Now we’ve finally made it happen! Delft is a picture perfect Dutch city known for it’s blue and white china and the painter Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring). We enjoyed a wonderful day walking along the canals, lunch at ‘t Vermeertje, exploring De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft, the only remaining factory of the 32 earthenware factories that were established in Delft during the 17th century), and sampling the awardwinning Dutch pannenkoeken (pancakes) from Stads-Koffyhuis.

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Arcen, Netherlands and Hertog Jan Brewery

Before visiting the brewery, lunch at 't Zoete Genot

Before visiting the brewery, lunch at ‘t Zoete Genot

 

While my parents were over, Dook (my father-in-law) took us to Arcen, Netherlands to visit the Hertog Jan brewery. Arcen is a beautiful village in the Dutch province of Limburg. Before visiting the brewery, we stopped for lunch in the center of the village at ‘t Zoete Genot. White asparagus is eaten from late April to June, so May is the perfect time to enjoy the asparagus. In the Netherlands, there are two areas where white asparagus is grown, one of them being Limburg. Because of our proximity to the asparagus fields, we enjoyed a delicious, fresh white asparagus themed lunch!

 

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The Hague, Netherlands

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Family photo at the Hofvijver!

Since I have met Koen, I have always wanted to visit The Hague! For one reason or another, every plan we’ve made to visit has fallen through…until now! The Hague is such a beautiful city, and I can’t wait to go back. There is so much still to see! With my parent in May, we were able to see the city, but next time I’ll be going to the Escher Museum, Peace Palace, and Mauritshuis (if it’s open!).

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