America Where You Least Expect It

American Bear
Yes, more talk of the carnival from last week. It has served me well with fodder, especially considering the rain we’ve had this week that has kept us indoors. I was surprised to see the American flag popping up in spots I least expected it. There were a lot of very nice stuffed animal toys to be won at the games, and many were more typically Dutch, such as the cows and of course, Nijntje. But I also saw these teddy bears sporting an American flag on their shirt.
International
Later in the day, we saw this pink caravan flying both the Dutch and American flags. It was a candy van of sorts, although the only American treat seemed to be popcorn. Still, I did hear one little boy catch sight of the caravan and exclaim, “Popcorn!”, so I guess there’s some demand for it.

The US wasn’t the only foreign nation represented. We also saw a couple of stands offering verse Spaanse Churros (fresh Spanish churros). I was tempted by the churros, but in the end decided to make the most of the olibollenkraam to get a mid-year olibollen treat. They’re usually only available around the winter holidays, and they’ve become one of my favorite Dutch treats.
Spanish Churros ... in Utrecht
Keeping with the foreigners in the Netherlands theme, I headed out yesterday to meet up with a large group of expat ladies. In all, there were 12 or 13 of us, with some coming and going at different times. The US was represented by a few of us, but Canada, the UK, Australia and Peru were all represented, as well. It was a truly fun day spent indoors at the Muntkelder pannenkoek restaurant on the Oudegracht. The frequent rain and the friendly staff that didn’t seem to mind us taking up the back room meant we spent four hours talking and laughing and having a good time.

Gone to the Dogs

Sniff
This fluffy little guy was hanging out at one of the carnival game setups with his owner the day we went. It was still early and most of the rides and games were just setting up, so he had room to just hang out and watch. I tried to get a shot of his eyes, because he had at least one beautiful, light-blue eye (I never did see the second eye behind all the fur).
On Guard
He seemed happy just to hang out and watch people go by and seems like he’d be a nice companion to have during the down time. Still, he might be a pretty good guard dog, because he certainly seemed fairly alert. Just after we’d walked past him — and I gave up trying to get a photo of his eyes — something seemed to get his attention, because he started barking. His bark, in turn, set off one of his neighbors in the next game over.
Tough Tiny
This tiny little fellow was determined to speak his mind and obviously wasn’t going to put up with any tomfoolery! Don’t let his small size fool you; he seemed a pretty determined and adorable little fella!

Dogs are a frequent companion at festivals and carnivals like this, for both the workers and the visitors. Dogs, in general, are welcome most places here in the Netherlands. It’s not uncommon to find them in bars and restaurants and shops. We’d love to take our dog with us more often, but he gets super excited when he sees other dogs, so we prefer not to risk a scene and disturb others. Such a shame. Just consider how many more fans he would have if he got out in public more! Oh well, at least when we’re out without him, we can stop and say hi to some of the other lovely dogs we see out and about.
Another Doggy

Brave Hond