Sunday, June 25, 2006

On the gear to 't Woudt !

I am now biking :-) This is my longest way in the saddle. We cycled from home to my parents-in-law's house to 't Woudt part of Schipluiden about 14 kms back and forth.
Above shots are on our way there taken last Saturday for a family reunion. Actually, this is already our three-times of biking going there. (The reunion entry will be posted some other time :-))

Welcome to our destination! Infront of the house is the church. Foto from Flickers.

We took the easiest way and get intimate with the villages and canals where we passed through. 't Woudt is a small village with an old church standing in the center and has few inhabitants, making it as one of the smallest villages in the Netherlands. The Dutch countryside is the main attraction during summer. Many fine bicycling destinations are arranged for bicycle tours provided with a cycling map. t' Woudt is one common spot to explore the green pearl of the Midden-Delfland. A relaxing cafeteria (a hay storage baarn before) is just before the church where we can pass.

A picturesque view of the church in 't Woudt. Fotos from Flickers.

Along the lanes we can see unlimited waterway canals, goats and cows in conference, windmills, and greenhouses. However, as you are biking, fresh air and combined smelly perfumes are just free on the air. You can choose any variants of smells such as compost heaps, and animals' grassy waste plus numbers of insects uninvitedly but welcoming to your eyes.

This is the scenario as you enter the diverse village biking routes.

Biking fotos are courtesy of my husband's mobilefone.
For now, it is a big relief for me at least my bike adventure is doing smoothly without any big hazards. My new task now is to embrace bike traffic rules...What is this?

In the Netherlands, every road is adjacent to the network of cycleways. Bikes have special lanes and traffic rules too. People travel to work, go to the local supermarket and go to school by bicycle. In fact, one can travel almost anywhere by bicycle in the Netherlands. This is why tourists, when they visit the Netherlands, often rent a bicycle and cycle around the countryside or the city. Dutch cycling community is very diverse: kids on their first bike, children riding to school, people commuting to work, couples on holiday, families on a leisurely Sunday ride, racing professionals, people from all walks of life, they all share the same network of cycling.

Kids in the last year of basischool (elementary school) are actually given traffic lessons and must pass for their biking license :-) Now, we actually ordered a cycling traffic book from the internet. Though there are free lessons in the cyberspace but then we just order one to ensure my head won't forget :-) So, I will learn basic rules and traffic signs. We already bike going to the centrum and to my school but quite scary for me when caught in the middle of intersections. Huh! Another thing to add to my integration course here in Holland :-)

Check my first entry about my bike :-)
Tags: "Ik heb een fiets gekocht !"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

At The Noordwijk Beach

It's summer! And beach time though we went to Noordwijk boulevard during the last few weeks of the spring. Nudist too can be found on the following beach sections in Noordwijk.

It's strange but it does exists. There are special designated areas for nude beach lovers :-) A nice spot for sight seeing :-) I thought but that's not what I went for...and nobody will dare at that time 'çoz it was still extremely cold. Well, nudist and naturism enthusiasts are allowed here in accordance with the Netherlands nudist law.

Well, we just went there for air-breathtaking :-) Noordwijk, is town of flowers and beachfronts, that gives a warm welcome. Situated not far from big known cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Leiden, combines accessibility with a peaceful location, perfectly suitable for a host of leisure activities. A seaside resort of international fame which has a 13 km long sandy beach. There are many hotels in modern and gothic styles situated directly at the beach and the boulevard of Noordwijk. Here are some shots of luxurious hotels along the boulevard:

First foto is The Palace Hotel (
Next is Hotel van Oranje and then is The Hotel Mercure & 4th is Alexander Hotel(

Ja, it's a long winding beach :-) We were not actually planned to go there. Our destination was supposed to be in Lisse, to visit again the tulip fields but we did'nt succeeded since the flowers were already harvested and turned out to the beach since Noordwijk is just minutes drive away. Noordwijk is often described as the flower seaside resort of Europe. Surrounded by woods, wild dunes and in the heart of the Dutch bulb-growing area just nearby Keukenhof.

We were still glad and fascinated with the place so as decided to have our dinner set there...

This is our sole picture that time. was still ggrrrhhh...

Many fine restaurants coupled with a tasteful ambience that will surely guarantee a pleasant stay for visitors like us. We sitted on a nice cafe there located at the nearest beachfront. At that time we were there was not as busy as today.

These are now the present scenes as people worshipping the sunrays. Fotos from Hollandrijnland.

To read more about Noordwijk, click here.

The European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) is the European Space Agency's (ESA) main technology development and test centre for spacecraft and space technology is also situated here in Noordwijk, South Holland, in the western Netherlands. Read here.

Every season always pay different impressions, styles and attitudes. It is even evident especially this time of the year...people mostly spend much time outside. And this is the peak time where everyone is free and liberatedly hyper!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A date at The Afsluitdijk

Yes! I had a chance to pass the greatest accomplishment of the Dutch people, the Afsluitdijk (Closure-dike), a major dam in the Netherlands when we went to Friesland.

Constructed between 1927 and 1933 and running from Den Oever on Wieringen in North Holland province, to the village of Zurich (mun. Wûnseradiel) in Friesland province, over a length of 32 km and a width of 90 m, at an initial height of 7.25 m above sea-level ( 53° 00' 00" N 05° 10' 00" E) . It is a fundamental part of the larger Zuiderzee Works, damming off the Zuiderzee, a salt water inlet of the North Sea and turning it into the fresh water lake of the IJsselmeer.

Foto from Deltawerken (Delta Works).

This project is a man-made system of dams, land reclamation and water drainage works, and the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming off of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the reclamation of land in the newly enclosed water body by means of polders. Its main purpose was to improve flood protection and create additional land for agriculture.

Since The Netherlands is blessed with a fascinating geography, nearly a quarter of its territory is below sea-level and half of the country would flood if it were not for the dikes. To the Dutch these conditions are hardly something special. Over centuries they lived in these conditions and organised the spatial planning accordingly and worked out with a comprehensive Delta plan.

I was amazed! This has led to the saying "God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands." :-) That's what I remembered from many readings that I had. This is an irony but just an exhibition of excessive team works that Netherlands is proud of from the rest of Europe and the whole world.

This is the Afsluitdijk monument that reads "Heir werd de dijk gesloten 28 Mei 1932" (Here the dike became closed 28 May 1932).

Try to look the foto below: This is a 70 year old souvenir of my hubby's grandparents. This is the Afsluitdijk in the past as exactly as it is now where we are standing above. What a retrospect !

His grand-parents had the same age gap like us. Do you think that history repeats itself? :-):-):-)
For sure they had a date here same as we did . :-) A small but accomodating cafe is just at the back of the monument.

Being atop of the monument is an overview of the infinite horizon of fathomedless-water of the North and Zuider sea. White sea gulls are flying over the water that completes an interesting sight seeing. Also ä romantic point for couples to "say I do" that is if both are courageous enough to stand against the wind and embrace the cold. :-) Well, I think a nice challenge to welcome the sunrise there while waiting for the sunset is more gezellig! (cozy!).

Sitting there was also a time to be intimate with the idea on how remarkable aspect of the Netherlands is the flatness of the country. About half of its surface area is less than 1 meter (3.3 ft) above sea level, and large parts of it are actually below sea level.

Now, I am thinking of my has about .61 % water( delimited by international coastline boundaries) of the total area plus considering that's an archipelago surrounded by water. Mountain ranges are evidently nowhere in Holland unlike Philippines. I am starting to widen my imagination if a miracle of invention will bridge my native home up to where I am now. :-)

Let's see if Dutch creativity and ingenuity will work out :-)...

Just check the highlighted words for more links and further readings.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Glimpse of "June 12" in Holland

We went to Haarlem last Saturday, June 10. It was my first attendance in a big crowd of filipinos here in Netherlands commemorating the Philippine Independence Day , officially June 12, held in Spaarnwoude rekreatiepark . Activities were scheduled and there were dedicated grounds for market booth/stalls selling various pinoy goodies. It was a festive atmosphere with a picnic bazaar style. Tents were individually installed by different filipino associations here. Some are group themselves as of their provincial origins, church groups and other socio-civic organizations.

It was fun and nice to meet with "kababayans" (fellow countymen). An entertainment programme was organized with lots of dancing and singing numbers in it. Approximately, a 2,000 people were gathered and a percentage of foreigners of course. Drinks was overflowing and foods were too much for my digestive system to work out.

First photo is me & hubby & second photo is together with Filipino friends.

It was a very hot hot day that...ehem! I can't help myself turning my head in different directions with full of observations. Thoughts were splashing in my mind as I look around to every corners of the camping ground. I might be critical-conservative person but it's only grasping my playful sights . If it's warm then you expect less fabrics and more flesh :-)

This is when I observed different sense of styles...looks, fashion, hygiene and many more. Folks around seems to be "naninilaw" or with a "hepatitis" look. More skins surfacing and out-of-the-blue parts were freely shown. No inhibitions. There were really people that brave enough to show all their secret hidden parts even not pleasant but disgusting. I simply appreciate their courage. I will not elaborate more 'coz I think you can imagine. It's not an isolated scene but you can see it anywhere. Maybe I am still adhering the idea of "if you have it then flaunt it" (in its truest sense). Others believe the same though it's quite too much. But what is too much?

Well, I am still a fashion victim sometimes but then I still know my limits. It's not just all fashion trends but something that you are comfortable of yourself and pleasing to others as well.

I think there is something to do how the weather affects people. Getting wild it is because sunrays is just once in a lifetime of the year. But then, I think it is not an excuse not to spend a moment to choose which one that suits for you. Well, people behave differently. Apparently, I have no right for that, but then I tried to consider it. Maybe its only once to show off all the "lingeries" hide from the closet...take it on while the heat lasts. So, just be with it, I think that is enough reason to understand them :-( It's a day of independence anyway...the day justified the behavior :-)

Alright! The celebration was not just about that. It's more than that :-) It was only a fragment of what was around of the day.
We had a good time there and an unwinding trip about 60 kms far from home. I was glad too that I met new friends. That was cool :-)

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Netherlands' "Oranje Fever" ( Orange Fever )

Saturday, June 10, the FIFA World Football Cup 2006 was officially opened in Germany participated in by 32 different countries.

The winning wing of Dutch Arjen Robben.

And guess...I think the entire flatland had a 1 hour and 30 minutes break to watch the live telecast for the football game at 3pm yesterday. Dutch people and so as I :-) were ready afront to cheer the awaited match between Nederland and Serbia & Montenegro.

Actually, weeks before this game, the Netherlands seemed to be afflicted with the "örange virus disease". People are wearing orange and many corners are turned to orange. Why orange? This is the Netherlands' national color. Taking from the account of its monarchial history,The House of Orange-Nassau.

Even sales of orange goods and other World Cup-themed non-food products boost sales nationally. It's way of peoplés' nationalism and warm support ... (as warm as the weather temperature now that is amazingly at 30 degrees celcious) quite funny but it is heart lightening. I also remembered how Filipino fanatics were infected by the same virus...with the "Barangay Ginebra" ( PBA), " F4 or meteor garden fever" ( that is the F4 Taiwanese Band), my "Davao eagles" (MBA ) and many more. Well, here seemed to be in the extreme...thanks that I've never seen an orange food yet...ughhh! Not appetizing to look at for sure.

Take a look with these pictures around Holland:

You see, it is also an animal party!

Dogies were united and orange afficionado much more are their bosses :-)

Click this for more images...

Robben and team mates. (Photo from FIFA).

The Netherlands made a fine start to their first match last Sunday with a goal from Arjen Robben giving them a 1-0 victory over the Serbians. The game lasted for 90+3 minutes full time.

"World-Robben dazzles as Dutch beat Serbia 1-0" (news article links to Reuter).

Orange-masked faces...rejoicing and celebrating...but looked like hungry lions :-0...

On the far-right is an Oranje straat (orange street).

And so all the orange confeittes were on the streets and blowing of horns was I heard from outside as like spreading the news that the "öranjes" have won.

On June 16 at 6pm, the Oranjes will fight against Ivory Coast in Stuttgart, Germany. I am going to cheer again actually...daarom (that's why) I know :-).....Hup! Hup! Hoera!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

"Ik heb een fiets gekocht !" ( I have bought a bicycle ! )

For the first time in my life, I have now my own bicycle. It is little bit weird that at this late of my twenties, I will be having a new mission to accomplish....? Of course...that is to bike.

And not just that, it is because I have to learn again. Thinking that my last day I had bike was almost 15 years ago during my earliest teens. After that, I never had the chance to sit on the bike's front gear.
To make a recap, I had bad experience that until now I have living marks due to my bike mishap(!). I remembered that I was biking through a hard rough terrain along down the TADECO banana plantation. I got lose control without any break gear that I was ended lying in a deep dry-canal. I went homed and said to myself...that I would never bike and will listen to my folks...I remembered my oldies told me that I should'nt bike, anyway 'çoz it's a boy thing and I am going to be a grown-up lady :-( ( ( I actually stole the bike from my cousin and that was what I got).
My impression of Holland has always been a thousand of canals, pretty villages, tulips and now bicycles. Every time we have driven in Holland, I have envied the cyclists who were riding on the dedicated bike lanes off the roads. It seemed the ideal way to see the countryside and villages.

Riding bike beside windmills and to the historic houses and shops of the museum village. A stop with the shop and parks and even people going to work by biking. Old people maybe late 60's are still eager in the saddle. Wow! even moms with a baby in front and more baby at the back seat. Small kids with their fietsje (small bike). Guys and gals holding grocery bags with matching fon calls while's really a social epedimec! I gonna try and face the heck :-)

Now, I am going for a great summer adventure...quite ready for skin and knee bruises( yesterday I had my first bike test...guess? I had already my first scratch in my left leg). I am actually scared, it is because of the danger I might get through while cycling along bike lanes here alongside with cars. Biking here in Netherlands is a necessity and already part of the lifestyle. It certainly makes having a good bicycle doubly important here.
I have my own way of life, but it's not an excuse that I will not be assimilated by the society's trend. Bicycling is a Dutch way of life. Well, If you'll just imagine how flat the lowlands will probably wish to have one. No wonder why bicycling here is not just a fad but an ultimate business success of the bcycle industry. But you will never wish to have a bike in the Philippines, imagining the rough roads, undisciplined road motorist that may hit you, and the striking 12 o'clock sun.

Right side image is just a similar model of my bike.

Then my hubby had bought a bike too :-) just yesterday. So, we can bike together and so what a nice date for a change :-) He has three bikes few years ago and were stolen. We have both gazelle bikes. His is avignon and mine is a maxinnette (especially for women below 5'3 in height). As knowledge of the Dutch bicycle culture, Gazelle is traditionally the 'top' brand; conservative in design but absolutely reliable in cycling comfort and durability.
(maybe I will post our pics here when we will have a chance to post for ourselves with our bikes :-).

Well, I am now ready to ride and maybe later on a regular basis until I can do twenty miles without cardiac arrest :-) It is a good exercise though, reflexes the muscles and enhances good blood circulation. Take the right gear as my partner said... Now it is summer, nice weather but I am already horrified when bad weather attacks. For sure, I'll keep my bike on the basement be sure it will not be "bike nap" as bike theft is a social crime here. Whenever, just be sure I have to pack good rain gear to avoid disgracement not to end up soaked and wet.

Now, I'm quite ready. So, would you like to have a joyride with me? :-)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wedding cards...

Now, I am already receiving messages that our wedding announcement cards were had a good plight to the recepient's hands. Yeah, I was busy last month for sending and writing our cards to my family in the Philippines informing them of our marriage here in Delft.

Our front side of the card :-)

And so as my husband did the same to his family and friends. We had actually received greeting cards and confirmation messages from his family earlier than mine (considering that they are just around here in Netherlands).

On the left down is the full view of both sides.

On the right is the backside view of the card.

Thanks to Poobies ! This is the official site were we ordered our 100 wedding cards. We were actually happy we found this site. We made up our choices and designed our cards via internet.

It was easy and the service was really good and efficient. Through this, we had escaped the tremendous paper works and hassles arranging it in some outside shops.
Now, it was done and we were glad to know that the cards arrived even to the remote province of Davao Oriental. I think the Philippine postal service had done a good effort for us :-)
We had also the choice of text inside the card which you can also personalized.

We had also our persoonlijk postzegels ( personalized poststamp) from complete our cards.

On the left is our post stamp picture with my own hand drawing as background.

Nice huh! Actually that shot was taken sometime last year in Davao. Well, it is nice to keep all these things in a nice treasury box :-)...and I do.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Beyond weather...

It has been like a long long winter time here in Netherlands...Ja, it is supposed to be a bright shining spring and a welcoming summer but unfortunately, the winter is somewhat overdue. I had many things happened within this season and apparently, this "winter-spring fluctuating phenomena," (this is just my own term...:-) that I am trying to understand.

This is a nice view outside for few minutes...

As usual, I should have to attend my Nederlands class (language lesson) no matter what the weather would be. I did some shopping, watched out movie in the cinema, walked around the centrum in Delft and what more...tried to have fun seems as no difference despite of the strong wind. But then, as less expected, a week ago, the wind was really at its best that blown like a fierce enemy with an average speed of 48km/hr NW (northwest) with a combined force of rain. Take note, our front door is facing the same direction, that I can hardly open our door that made me stock at home the whole day.

The view for next minutes...

Wat jammer! ( What a pity!) That was my first encounter of a strong wind grouching like a madman. Yeah, it is because even when I was still in the Philippines, I live in the southeastern part of the country that is seldom attacked by typhoons nor strong winds. Well, we are blessed with those mountain ranges that protects Mindanao, "the land of promise". So calmed...airy but with a soft gentle breeze...not like here :-(

Then the following time...then back to normal again...(changeable huh!)

To continue with the story, I was not able to get out from the house for the reason that the wind was knocking at our door, I was frightened and scared. Scared that I might be blown by the wind to think that we are living at the 13th floor of the building. Well, I survived on that day. But I felt pity for our plant, an american jasmine in the pot, placed outside right at the corner of the door. It was blowned and rolled by the wind that made the plant separated from the pot. Actually, I realized it what the plant went through amidst of the roaring situation but I just don't have the courage to get out and help the pot out from its deep turmoil. By then, we lost our duplicate key of the flat. Why? It is because we placed it inside the pot, wrapped it with a plastic cellophane. We intend to hide an extra key outside in case of emergency like having illness of forgetfulness. Surely, it was blowned away. I was'nt a "superwoman" to catch wherever the key falls down.

The american jasmine on the left while on its recovery :-).
Now, the plant still survived and completely recovered. It stands here almost 3 years now, and probably it's not its first time of turbulent encounter.
Assorted plants in the flower boxes in our terrace.
Our plants also in the terrace still in compost awaiting for the next challenge. That was a day, maybe more more windy days ahead, at least I already started to understand the weather here and be "integrated" somehow. And maybe next time, there will be no more lost keys :-)
Well, last week was my father in-laws birthday. We had catched the sunshine's blessings that made the family party more vibrant in the garden. Then, the following day was my friend's wedding held in Utrecht ( smallest province in Netherlands and also , Utrecht the capital city, the fourth largest of the country).
Our foto as part of the secondary sponsors during the cord ceremony :-).
I got the chance to get acquainted with the Filipino church community. We had wonderful time...and of course, I had the oppurtunity to speak my local dialect, Visayan , while enjoying the mouth-watering filipino food served after the ceremony.
The few weeks with bad weather as I would say were just past but remained with good memories :-)and experience. As I look up the next weather forecast for this week is quite good and something to look forward. However, nothing is permanent and life is full of changes that the weather here is not an exemption from being changeable like a woman's compulsive-fickled mind. For the next forecast, it will range at 16-25 degrees (c). On Tuesday will be like 17 degrees celcious, a nice day to wear something light which I am really hoping for.
More flowers in the terrace... Hortensia belongs to the family of Hydragenia. It has various colors and this one was blue that turns to white when get matured.

Actually, it is because I am planned to go to Friesland (northern province of Netherlands) along with my hubby. He will have a work meeting there and I decided to be his secretary :-) not really. (the truth is we will part ways when we got there, he will do his job and I'll keep my own business...sight seeing :-)) Yeah, I will post some pictures after when we will get back :-)

Tomorrow, is actually a national holiday here in celebration for the Pentecost ( for Dutch Pinksteren ) which actually started today. This means, I have no class tomorrow and no work :-)plus reasonable weather equals rest and fun :-)
On the left side is Fuchsia.
Well, life is really fair sometimes :-) can be frightening, scary, exuberant, tiring, fun, challenging and what else........? You can add, I think you have so many things to suggest and tell. Life is beyond weather :-)...