For a while now I have wanted to try my hand at painting. I have sketched with charcoal and oil pastels but never done any painting. So when I saw a chance to take a landscape painting workshop in Bussum (and get a chance to practice my Dutch), I signed up immediately.
We began sketching out details, in charcoal, on our canvases. Then we painted over the sketch and began adding color until our paintings were complete. I really enjoyed mixing the paints and layering the paint on the canvas. It was fun to learn a new skill in a new language.
Let’s talk about art (kunst in Dutch). Art is not exclusively found in museums. In fact I found quite a lot of art by just walking around town. Art is in parks, train stations, buildings, and many other places; you just need to keep your eyes open. Below is some art I have found whilst wandering.
Once upon a time I would only drink wine (usually red) and occasionally some vodka (loaded with cranberry juice). Then I discovered American micro-brews and eased into the world of beer drinking. In the Netherlands, you can find almost any style of beer: IPA, pilsner, stout, Trappist, lambic etc. Due to our proximity to Belgium and Germany, stores stock a lot of Belgian styles and German beers. Mike and I are on a mission to try as many of the beers available as possible.
Here are some of my favorites:
Palm Speciale Belge – This beer is a caramel color and tastes like a light amber. It drinks easy on its own or with food. Bonus: I can find it at almost any pub or cafe.
Belgian Wit – I love the light and slightly bitter/sour taste. This style is very refreshing.
Belgian Bruin – This style reminds me of a lighter stout, caramelly but not as dark.
So what are some things you eat with these beers? Well aside from drinking a beer with dinner the Dutch will have bitterballen, kaassoufflés, krokets, and maybe a loempia or two. Personally, I enjoy
kaassoufflés – cheese sticks wrapped in rice paper and deep fried served with sweet chili sauce
loempias -think spring rolls also served with a sweet chili sauce
Another one of my favorite Dutch snacks is Katjang Pedis, peanuts covered in a spicy sambaal mixture. I always try to have some Katjang Pedis or mixed nuts in the house.
My parents visited the last week in February and during their visit we went to Delft. In addition to the sites we intended to visit (Royal Delft Factory, Vermeer Center, and the tomb of William I), we encountered the local Carnaval parade.