Awards and Nostalgia


The lovely Aledys Ver from the blog From Argentina to the Netherlands, For Love!, kindly mentioned me in a loyal followers posting. The award accompanies a few simple questions that I found interesting, since I’ve been meaning to check the answer to one of them anyway, so here goes:

1. Why did you start your blog? Did you expect it to become popular?
I started it mainly as a way to keep my family and friends up to date with my new life here in the Netherlands. Of course, I’m not sure how many of them actually read it that often. ;) Fortunately, a number of other expats, as well as Dutch natives, and others as well, do seem to read my blog. I don’t know if it’s particularly popular, but I enjoy it and have been fortunate to have met some people through it. I was a bit shy about meeting people when I first started, but I’m getting much more comfortable with it now. I’m even meeting a few more people this upcoming weekend! I think blogging can help you adjust to a big move like this, because you find others going through similar things and you get a chance to track your own development and adjustment.

2. When exactly did you start your blog?

This is the question I’ve also been curious about recently. I knew my blog’s two-year anniversary must have been recently, since my two-year anniversary of living here has just passed. It turns out my first blog entry was June 1, 2008. Such a boring entry, but as I said, I really did start my blog as a way for family and friends to know what I was up to, and see photos of my new city. That Utrecht set of photos on Flickr has grown exponentially!

3. Who are three of your most loyal followers?
I’m sure there are plenty of loyal followers whose names I don’t know, since they read, but don’t leave comments. I notice certain repeat visits from various cities and countries in my Feedjit feed over on the right. I always get such a thrill to see some of the far-flung places from which people arrive! As for followers who comment, I’ve gotten a nice little group whose regular comments are always appreciated!

I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting Kerryanne from 3continentfamily and I’m so glad I can now count her among the expats I’ve gotten to know in person. She’s a joy to know and the conversations and comments are always interesting.

In about a month I get to finally meet Ken of My Dutch Fairytale. His writing has had me wiping away tears of laughter, while also making me want to bow down in reverence for some of the things he has experienced and accomplished. I always enjoy his comments, be they here, in e-mail or on Facebook.

This weekend, I get to meet Tammy from CanaDutch. I’m really looking forward to finally meeting her, since I love her blog and the sense of humor she brings to things. I love her photos, too, and may have camera envy. ;)

There are many others and I hate to leave anyone out, since I truly appreciate everyone who both comments or simply reads my blog. Thanks for sticking around! If you want to do this too, feel free! I figure if you read my blog regularly, you deserve this award!

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’ve recently been the recipient of the Beautiful Blogger Award from both Isabella over at A Touch of Dutch and Dave at Random Walks in the Low Countries, both of which are regular reads for me. It’s always nice to realize others are reading and actually enjoying my pictorial ramblings.

There are a few vague rules associated with this award; rules which are quite open to interpretation. Here are the original rules and requirements:

Beautiful Blogger rules (change to fit your mood)

  • Recognize and link to the person who nominated you.
  • Paste the award on your blog.
  • Share 7 interesting things about yourself.
  • Nominate (or note) 7 bloggers who you like.
  • As many have done, I figured I’d change the “7 interesting things about me” to something a bit different. In this case, I’m going to go with seven interesting things about Utrecht.

    1. The Domtoren. An obvious choice, but it really is pretty fantastic. It’s the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, standing at 112.5 meters/368 feet. I love that almost anywhere I go in town, I can see it rising up over the rooftops. I find it impossible not to get at least one shot of it whenever I take my camera out on the town. I’ve got a whole set devoted to it over on Flickr.
    2. Binnenstad. I love that the city center of Utrecht is relatively small. It’s easy to walk from one side of town to the other. Every time I look up a location on Google Maps, I find myself thinking, “Oh, that looks kind of far.” Then I actually walk it and it’s incredibly close! I like a walkable city!
    3. Cultural Sunday. Every month, there’s a Cultural Sunday event here in the city center. The theme changes every month, so you’re bound to find a topic that will interest you throughout the year. Music is a frequent theme, but done in all sorts of styles and presentations. This Sunday the theme is jazz. Past events have included the musical boat parade, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the annual Uitfeest, just to name a few.
    4. The Post Office. Really! It’s interesting from the outside, but it’s unbelievable on the inside! I keep forgetting to take my camera with me when I go, which isn’t all that often, so I need to plan to go specifically just to take photos. It’s a fantastic interior that anyone visiting the city should see.
    5. The History. This one’s a bit esoteric, but I truly do love living in a city that had its start around 47 CE (AD). That was when the Romans arrived and set up shop where the Domtoren and cathedral now stand. As I’ve mentioned before, there are markers in some of the roads, showing the outlines of that first Roman fortress. One of the other great things about so many of the historic buildings in town is that they are still used and not just turned into sterile museums. They’re living history, still a vital part of everyday life here.
    6. Maliebaan. A beautiful, tree-lined street, with statue-lined walkways. Even with traffic going past, it’s surprisingly calm and peaceful. I love strolling down the path with Pippo at my side, enjoying the combination of nature and art. Interestingly, it seems that Louis XIV, the Sun King himself, was quite taken with the Maliebaan when he was here in 1672.
    7. The Cathedral. It’s kind of hard not to love the only cathedral in the Netherlands closest to the French Gothic style. It’s even harder not to love it when you realize that more than half of the cathedral is no more. The nave of the cathedral collapsed during a hurricane in 1674, and it was never rebuilt. It’s still an impressive structure with its buttressed apse and the area where the nave once stood is now a charming square where all sorts of events and festivals take place throughout the year.
    8. I figured I’d throw in one last, extra tidbit. Utrecht is trying to start a new campaign promoting the city and province. The official campaign begins 1 March, I believe. In the lead-up to the campaign, there’s a song written by Utrecht’s own Colin Benders, more famously known as Kyteman of the Kyteman Hip Hop Orkest. Here’s a video of Kyteman conducting an orchestra performing his composition Ode aan Utrecht.

    And now for something completely different (from what I’ve been writing about) … Here are a few blogs I enjoy and recommend — and nominate if they’re so inclined. Since many of the ones I read have been nominated by others already, I thought I’d go with a cooking/food theme for my recommendations.

    • Kayotic Kitchen: I’ve mentioned her quite often, but I truly do love her recipes and have never been disappointed with any of them. She also takes beautiful photos.
    • The Misadventures of Mub: She tries out lots of different recipes each week and then posts her reactions to them and suggestions for making them better, if necessary. I love that kind of real-world approach.
    • Lizzy Goes Dutch: If you’re one of the people who think vegetarian food is nothing more than leaves and twigs, Lizzy will make you think twice. She makes all sorts of vegetarian recipes that are appealing, satisfying and downright tasty!
    • Home Cooking with Sonya: This is one of the newest blogs I’ve started reading. As an American expat, it’s handy to see what she comes up with for substitutions or variations on American recipes that require ingredients that aren’t so easy to find here in the Netherlands.

    Nederlands Film Festival


    It’s that time again! The Nederlands Film Festival begins it’s 10-day run tomorrow. As I type, they’re setting up the Golden Calf in front of the Stadsschouwburg over on Lucabolwerk. They’ve had some of the posters up for the past few days, but the Golden Calf wasn’t there and I was worried it had been a one-off thing last year. As I took Pippo out this morning, I was thrilled to see a flash of gold through the trees. Jahoe!

    Sadly, no Rutger Hauer this year, at least not publicized; he received a special award last year. That was when I found out he was Dutch. I’d always thought he was German or Scandinavian. How embarrassing! Despite being a fan of his for years, I’d never been sure of his nationality. I blame it on the fact that we couldn’t just Google any celeb we were curious about back in the day, so the reality was I knew next to nothing about Hauer except for the fact that he made some very cool films.

    This year, they’re focusing on Dutch filmmakers who have gained some popularity in the international market, but haven’t really been well-known domestically. The title of the theme is The Dutch Angle, a bit of a pun, since that is also a technical term for a particular type of angle or perspective in filming. The Wikipedia entry gives a good example, since it doesn’t make as much sense when just described, at least not to me.

    Oh, and for the record, the Golden Calf is the award statuette that is given to the winners on the final night of the festival. Sort of like the Oscar.


    Pippo checking out the recently installed film festival set-up at the Neude. He approves the color choices.