Verse Bloemen

One of things I love about Dutch town markets is the availability of fresh flowers. You can find fresh flowers all year round and for cheap. Roses, tulips, orchids, and heather can always be found at the Hilversum market. The supermarkets and even the Albert Heijn to go at the train station always sell flowers. On any given day (but especially market days) you will pass dozens of people carrying flowers. My friends will tell you that I am not really a flower person (unless we are talking dead flowers). I think that is changing after a year of watching people pass by with armloads or bike baskets full of flowers.

If I am honest the flower bug first hit me back in March. I bought a bunch of tulips and a vase. On the way home from the shop I walked slowly, afraid of squishing the buds or breaking the vase. That afternoon I spent time carefully trimming and arranging the tulips. I debated putting them in the front window or on the dining table. The latter won. The bright colors popped against the dark finish of the dining room table. I was pleased with the effect and enjoyed the flowers while they lasted. But as flowers do, they died and I tucked the empty vase into the back of my cupboard.

The first flowers I bought in the Netherlands.
The first flowers I bought in the Netherlands.

During the rest of the spring and summer I enjoyed walking past neighbors’ gardens and the wildflowers in the city. Eventually they became background and I noticed them less and less. Fast forward to early October. One afternoon my doorbell rang. It was my neighbor with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. After she left I realized just how big the bouquet was and that all the flowers would not fit in my vase. I set the flowers on the counter and ran to the store to buy a second vase.

Flowers from my neighbor.
Flowers from my neighbor.
Flowers from my neighbor.
The other half of the bouquet from my neighbor.

The flowers lasted an amazingly long time, especially given my track record with killing plants. I had them at least a week possibly two. When they died, I was prepared to pack away my vases again. That is until I saw a perfect fall bouquet in the market that I had to buy. Then friends brought me more flowers. In short, for the last two months my table has been constantly decked out in flowers. And whenever my current bouquet dies, I have my eye on some poinsettias…

Herfst bloemen
Herfst bloemen
Flowers from my friends.
Flowers from my friends.
Roses
Roses
Today's fresh flowers from the market.
Today’s fresh flowers from the market.

Utrecht

One of my favorite cities nearby is Utrecht. It is a charming city with canals, good food, and lots of things to do. It is pretty obvious why so many people choose to live there.

Recently my husband found a charming wine bar, Vino Veritas, that we just had to try. All the wine and food is imported from Italy. We’d been missing having a nice wine bar nearby.

Lekker eten en buiten zitten.
Lekker eten en buiten zitten.

The Dom is a lovely place to visit.  It has a freestanding tower and a charming little garden courtyard, Pandhof. I thought I had taken more photos of the Pandhof but I can’t seem to find them. That just means another trip is needed for more photos.

Last flowers in the Pandhof garden by the Dom.
Last flowers in the Pandhof garden by the Dom.

As much as I love the city, it does have one downside: it’s a challenge to figure out how to leave the central train station. The train station has lots of restaurants and shops – essentially it is a mall with a train station at the center. Cool but somewhat annoying. I am getting better at navigating it though.

Herfst

Fall or herfst in the Netherlands is full of gold leaves, pumpkins, and (like the rest of the year) rain. Now that I have experienced all four seasons in the Netherlands, I can safely say fall is my favorite. The market and stores are full of small pumpkins (only a few pounds). After seeing them everywhere (and finding some recipes I wanted to try), I bought a pumpkin. One night I made a nice pumpkin risotto and a pumpkin curry another. Savory pumpkin is definitely the way to go. I wish I had tried them sooner.

pompoen

Believe it or not this is the first year I have cooked or carved a pumpkin. Over Halloween I carved my first jack o’lantern. Mine is the one in the middle. It wasn’t as difficult to carve a pumpkin as I had imagined but it wasn’t exactly easy to guide the knife either.

pompoen gezicht

While I have been enjoying the pumpkins, I do miss being able to get fresh apple cider and donuts.