Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Long live the Queen Bea!

Beatrix that is, the Queen of The Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.

As you may remember from previous years, on April 30 the Dutch celebrate Queen's Day. Across the Netherlands, people dress in orange and party in the streets. It is also a big day for yard sales, so everyone drags their crap into the streets and tries to sell it to other people who collect crap (strange, I know, but this is what they do).

We are more interested in the 'orange' & 'party' aspects of Queen's day, rather than the yard sales, so we head to the big cities to take part in the festivities. After the hectic trip to Amsterdam last, we decided to try out Utrecht this year. Utrecht is a great Dutch city, with a unique main canal that has a lower level. This level used to be used as docks for shipping, but is now lined with terraces for restaurants, pubs, and clubs.

This is one of the many party boats that cruise the canals all day.

The streets are packed with orange. There are several plazas and areas throughout the city that have live music playing, and of course there are plentiful beer and food vendors.
One of my favorite parts of Queen's Day is people watching. There are some great outfits, hats, and costumes, all in orange of course.

Such as these pretty ladies, who look like they are on the prowl for an Orange mate.
Wait, I think I found some candidates...

It was a fun day, and the weather was beautiful and sunny, which is reason enough to celebrate in Holland.


- More pics on Flickr:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More visitors!

We have been fortunate to have many visitors during our three years in Holland. This time, my Aunt Pat & cousins, Nick & Nicole, took the long journey across the pond to come and check out the tulips and windmills (and beer and pretzels in Germany). We showed them all around Amsterdam, Rotterdam & Delft. Then, they took off to explore Berlin for a couple days.

We had unusually warm and sunny weather during their visit, which was great. So, they think we are bluffing when we always complain about the cold, cloudy & rainy weather in Holland. However, they experienced (several times) first hand the poor Dutch customer service in restaurants, so they believe our crazy stories there. ;) It was all definitely a new experience for them, but I think they really enjoyed their time in Europe.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Rotterdam Marathon

The annual Rotterdam Marathon was this Sunday. Once again, we enjoyed the convenience of our apartment location, and walked down to the bridge to cheer on the runners with the thousands of other spectators.

This is generally a marathon that produces some of the fastest times, predominately because the entire course is so flat (after all, this is Holland). It is fun to stand with all of the people cheering. But I have to laugh when I see people drinking beer and smoking and cheering on marathon athletes, haha.

There were sooo many runners.

They also had bands playing to encourage the runners. We liked this band that was standing on a typical American yellow school bus.

And, the usual suspects in the leader pack returning across the bridge.
Notice his teammate cautioning him to slow down, since he was picking up the pace because of all of the cheering, and the slight decline coming off the bridge. This clearly wasn't their first rodeo.

The winning time was 2:05:27 for the men, and 2:24:20 for the women. Wow!

- S

*Some more pics on Flickr: