Saturday, May 13, 2006

A trip to the Motherland - Working days

Wednesday and Thursday were working days at the office in Roosendaal, NL. Nothing exiting happened, besides that I sold my Digital Rebel that day. One of the co-workers who bought my first Digital Rebel had a brother who was looking for a Digital SLR. Since I wasn't using it all that much since I bought my Powershot S70 I was able to get a good deal on it. Since one of the co-workers from the Netherlands is in the States this week, transport to the Netherlands is taken care of.

Tuesday-night after work we had dinner with some co-workers in downtown Roosendaal. Again outside, since the weather was only getting better. After dinner we met a few more people for drinks on the patio of a local bar on the main square in Roosendaal. Around midnight we moved to another bar for some Darts (and some more beer). Thanks Jeffery, Mat, Ingrid, Frank, John and Steven. We had a blast!!

Wednesday-night I met with Mesut and Johan for dinner at an Indonesian (or Balinees) restaurant. Those restaurants give you great food, lots of it and it's more than you can handle. Garuanteed!! Afterwards I went back to Helmond where Grandma and one of my aunts were waiting to say goodbye. Tomorrow we're flying back again!!

A trip to the Motherland - Monday / Tuesday

Monday was a day to finish-up my affairs in Belgium. Closed the bank-account in Lanaken and withdrew the money. Went to Maastricht to transfer the Dutch bank-account from there to Helmond and deposited the money from Belgium. Afterwards we had lunch on one of the most beautiful squares in the Netherlands in my favorite city in the Netherlands; the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Outside in the sun enjoying a beer and a good soup. Gotta love that!!

When I'm in Southern Limburg there is one stop you just HAVE to make. Just outside a very small village in a valley called 'Epen' on the way to Vaals there is an ice-cream stand where you get the most and best ice-cream. It doesn't have a name and it's just a gravel parking lot and a market-stand, but for $3 / EUR 2.50 you get an ice-cream cone that's big enough to kill any appetite you might have. Even a US appetite!! You have a choice of 15 different flavors, fresh fruit and whipcream and more... Ask any resident of the area and they will direct you to it. Word of caution: if you're there on a weekend or holiday, prepare to wait and walk. The parking lot will be full so you'll have to park elsewhere and get in line for your treat. Trust me, its more than worth the wait!!

We took the scenic route back to Helmond through the Limburg and German country-side. Dad bought some shoes in Venlo (where I studied and worked before joining Penske) and after dinner we went back to my parents place.

Tuesday we played the tourist and visited the Royal Palace 'Het Loo' in Apeldoorn. Beautiful grounds, nice Palace, but you're going for the back-yard. Gorgeous. I've got plenty of pictures on my website Again, took the scenic route back and had dinner outside in downtown Helmond which came with movie-tickets so we got to see M-I-III for free. Very decent movie, but what a terrible and disapointing ending.

A trip to the Motherland - Weekend

On Saturday - after dropping Dad off at the store - I ran some errands for myself. I went to see the new Piazza Center and the Media Markt in Eindhoven. The Media Markt is the Dutch equivalent of a Best Buy or Circuit City. I just browsed around a bit and was able to score some Dutch music CDs which are very hard to get (or expensive to get) in the States. You got to be able to pop-in some Rowwen Heze when you're in the mood to party!!

After picking Dad up at the store we had dinner - yes, outside again - and got the place ready for the big B-Day party. Since the whole backyard is now redone and over 50% covered we held the party ouside. A good 30 people showed up and the beer flowed happily from bottle to stomach. The last people left at about 2.30am....

Sunday was a nice quiet day. I watched the Formule One race and some other sports which are rare on US TV. You need to have at least one relaxing day, just kicking back and relaxing.

Happy Birthday Mom and Dad

Last week - during the trip - May 7: Birthday of my mom.
Today - May 13: Birthday of my dad.

Happy birthday to you both and may we have many more!!


A trip to the Motherland - First day

In honor of my parents birthday I took a quick trip to the Motherland from May 6 to May 12. Flew in to Brussels since Amsterdam was either booked, too expensive or via a rediculous route. The whole gang was supposed to pick me up, but due to an illness of the help in my parents shop my mom had to work, so only Dad and my sister where there. No issues with the flight, eventough it turned out that there was a fire in a hanger on the Airport in Brussels.

To combat any jetleg I drove from the airport to the shop to meet Mom. I also went on a little shopping spree to a local Sams Club to look for a bigger suitcase since Mom and Dad had some things for me to take on the way back.

Shopping done, time to see the remodelling of my parents house. They completely re-did the backyard and... to pick-up Grandma for dinner. While my sister, supervised by Grandma prepared dinner, Dad and I quickly went to downtown Helmond to look for some new shoes for me. Somehow that's something I always do in Holland. Found them after a good hour and went back home. Mom was done in the shop as well, so we had a good dinner outside on the patio.

Outside? Yes, outside. The weather is cooporating very nicely! 80F / 25C and sunny!

The Queens Birthday

In the Netherlands the Queens Birthday is celebrated on 'Koninginnendag'. This is not only celebrated in the Netherlands, but also by the Dutch communities abroad and oversees. I had the pleasure of attending the Queen's Birthday celebration 2006 in Ohio organised by the Netherlands Ohio Chamber of Commerce. For more info on 'Koninginnendag', please visit the Holland Ring site on Koninginnedag.

It was a fun evening with familiar food and drinks. Eventough Heineken is available pretty much everywhere, other Dutch delights such as Bami Pangang and Kroketten are more rare in the States than a native American in downtown Manhattan. Funny, when we left that place to the Britsh there were plenty of them... Ah well, back to the party.

After the food and drinks we had the pleasure of singing both the American and Dutch national anthem to kick-off the musical part of the evening with two bands and a DJ. The bands were from Ohio and ... Bavaria. Interesting, a German band on a party for the Dutch Queen. Well, the bands were great. Especially the one from Bavaria.

The DJ was an American from the Akron/Canton-region who studied in Groningen for two years so was able to speak and understand Dutch and, more importantly, had a whole range of Dutch music to choose from. Which we did with pleasure until the whee morning hours.

Hip Hip Hurray for the Queen !!