Saturday, August 18, 2012

Haarlem Jazz, Ruine Van Brederode Santpoort and "DENK"

This past week was pretty uneventful......Daily yoga and exercise, keeping the garden looking nice, doing my (almost) daily shopping and keeping the house clean! How did I do all of this annnnd work full-time all those years?!?!? I have found that I have to be disciplined with my time now that I'm not working because the days"slip by" so quickly and I find that I dilly-dally or procrastinate with chores when I don't plan ahead!

Hetty (our neighbor) and I went out for coffee a few days ago. She's on "holiday" right now. We had a nice time and yummy cappuccino! She and her husband will be going to Greece for a couple of weeks.

Our neighbor, Bruce, came by the other day and gave me a great recipe for cucumber soup, which I made that evening. I loved it, but Andrew is not a fan of "cold soup"!

We have had warm weather and sunshine for a few days in a row now! What a nice change from rain, rain, rain!  We've actually been able to be outside without a sweater or jacket!

We don't have air conditioning here, but we're close enough to the beach that it cools off nicely here most evenings. LOVELY! We didddd buy a fan a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of warm weather, and that has been a blessing during the day.

We are finding that living in a "City" environment is much different than the suburbs in California!  We  thought we had close neighbors we are reallllllly close to our neighbors!   Every sound people make can be heard by the neighbors, so we have learned to close the doors and windows when we want to play music in the house or have a private conversation!  There are several neighbors that can look down into our garden......which is fine, we just need to remember that when we're out there talking and making noise!

It's also taking some time to adjust to living in a much smaller home!  We went from 2100 sq. ft. in California to about 1000 sq. ft here. Luckily, the layout of the house is great and it works for us most of the time. We're just having a problem now with paperwork--where to put it!


Yesterday, Andrew took 1/2 the day off and we headed over to Amsterdam for the day. We did some shopping (I bought some pants, as most of mine are too big now......I've lost weight since moving here since I'm getting more exercise now!). We had a nice lunch on the top floor of the Bijenkorf (a department store that reminds me of Macy's).  We also made a point of going to the Nespresso store where we bought "pods" for our espresso maker. We looooove that thing-makes a great cup of coffee. We did a lot of walking yesterday!

Last night we decided to go downtown Haarlem and check out the Jazz Festival. We sat on the patio in front of a restaurant and had a beer while listening to the music. They had some good bands there!

**Yep, these are outdoor urinals!

 I don't know what the women use, we saw no "port-a-potties"!

Two of the bands at the Haarlem Jazz Festival:

We left the Festival around 1900hrs and headed to the Pathe Bioscoop to see "The Dispensables 2". Oh thaaaaaat is a "boy movie"!!!  I had to close my eyes and plug my ears during parts of it because there was just tooooo much shoot 'em up, blow 'em up for me!  It was entertaining to see all the old "action heroes" in one movie though and there were a few great one-liners!

After the movie we decided to go to the Woodstone Pizza Restaurant where we shared a wonderful salad and pizza.

We had a nice relaxing walk home after dinner!

Today we decided to go the the Duin en Kruidberg hotel for lunch. Our neighbor had told me about it and highly recommended it.

We rode our bicycles.....On the way there we saw a castle ruin!!!  It's called the "Ruine Van Brederode Santpoort. It was built in 1282!

We continued our ride and arrived at the Duin en Kruidberg Hotel. A small bit of paradise in the middle of nowhere!  It was once a family owned estate.

The patio where we had lunch:

The view from our table:

there was a wedding taking place across the pond:

Open face fish sandwich:

and a nice hamburger!

After lunch we walked around the grounds a bit:

Then took a peek inside the hotel "smoking room" before heading home:

It took about 45 minutes to get home. By the time we reached home we were hot and sweaty!  For dinner tonight:  Fresh picked basil from my indoor pot, with tomato and mozzarella, crackers with hummus and brie, and some olives. We had such a nice lunch neither one of us was very hungry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Metzo Restaurant!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh......we had dinner a couple of nights ago with one of Andrew's coworker's and his wife. We went Metzo Restaurant....we had been there previously with our neighbors, but the last time I forgot my camera!  This time all I had was my phone, so the pictures don't do the presentation of the food justice, but you get the idea!

Caesar salad with duck:

Nicoise salad:

Fish with lobster/crab risotto:




Because it's been raining so much here there was only one other table filled in the restaurant...Usually you need reservations because they are always full.  We were very lucky that night and we had very personal service by one of the owners!  He provided different wines to go specifically with what each of us was eating!  What a wonnnnderful treat! The food was delicious and the wines superb!

Gary and Louise brought us this arrangement of flowers which I found to be so different and beautiful!

After dinner we came back to our house and had some mousse pie which we had bought earlier that day. Andrew and Gary went outside and had a nice cigar and scotch (it wasn't raining!!!). Afterwards, they rode home on their bicycles which they had left "parked" in front of our house!


This past Sunday we took Sammy to Parnassia aan zee...the nearby beach where dogs can run off leash!  He looooves it there!  He ran and played for about an hour. Then we sat at a table at a restaurant on the beach (with Sammy) and had lunch!  It was very crowded that day. There has been so little sun here that everyone flocked to the beach that day. We were lucky to find a parking spot. As we were leaving a police officer stopped us and asked how the parking situation was and we told him there weren't any spots available. The traffic was backed up for miles with people trying to get in!