Caturday: The Hot Edition

Art Cats
The cats obviously don’t take after me, since they’ve been hanging out either outside on the terrace or upstairs in the their bedroom (also known as the guest room), both of which are very warm areas with the hot weather we’re having. When I went upstairs to take out the last load of laundry, I saw Luna and Lola hanging out just as you see them in the photo. Being at the top of the house, that room is particularly warm. By the time I’d taken just a couple of photos, I was already sweating. The cats just looked relaxed. Luna is the one in the foreground; Lola is the one in the back looking like an odalisque.

Lola Odalisque

She had also been fascinated by the sunlight earlier this morning, particularly as it glinted off the fan as it oscillated.

Lola on the Hunt

Other neighbour cats were enjoying the warm weather, as well, napping in all sorts of strange places, including the overturned seat of a set of stacked chairs on a balcony.
Koe Kat

Me? I’m staying downstairs, where it’s slightly cooler. I may be down here all night if I want a chance of sleeping. It’s already hit 32C, which is right around 90F.

Tropic of Netherlands

Zomer in Utrecht
Summer temperatures here in the Netherlands tend to be quite a bit cooler than what I grew up with in Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana. There, high 80s Fahrenheit/30s Celcius was normal, if not actually on the low side during the long summer months. However, despite how common it was, I never handled those temperatures well at all. Headaches, sickness, heat stroke and sunburn were all part of my normal life every summer, to the point that nowadays I have an almost pathological fear of warm temperatures without easy access to air conditioning.

All of this is to say that the Netherlands is hitting tropical temperatures this weekend, expected to go over 30C all weekend. It hasn’t gone over 30C since 1994, to help put things in perspective. Of course, considering these kinds of temperatures are rare, it might not come as a surprise that air conditioning is pretty rare here. That’s not to say that I’m fine with stores not having AC. When you have to walk or bike everywhere, you get warm, and then you can’t even go inside a store to cool off while running errands. I know lots of Europeans don’t seem to like AC, but if my love of AC brands me as an American, that’s fine by me.

The whole country is making lots of plans to cope with the weather, supposedly laying on more trains and transport to get people to the beaches, as well as more police to handle the increased traffic. Here in Utrecht, I noticed an announcement that said that the outdoor terraces that many cafés and restaurants have will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. this weekend. Usually they have to close around midnight or 1 a.m. The extra hour is to give people as much time outdoors as possible, where it may be cooler.

Of course, that means our neighborhood is going to be louder for longer, and since we have to rely on one open window to keep things cool — while living down the street from three cafés — it’s bound to be a bit noisy tonight. In theory, I wouldn’t mind, except for the fact that I’ve been awake since 2 a.m. this morning. Ah! Insomnia! I’m just hoping that tiredness will trump heat and noise tonight and allow me to have a good night’s sleep.

Of course, if you’re not like me and don’t mind the heat — and if you’re in Utrecht — head to Park Lepelenburg (pictured above) Sunday afternoon for a mini music festival. I think there will also be music at the Griftpark that day. Just remember to wear sunscreen!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

We’ve been having a spell of warm, sunny weather here in Utrecht, although from the looks of things, we’ll be back to cool and wet by the end of the week. But at least it’s summer-like weather for the last big holiday until the end of the year.

We’re celebrating Pinksterdagen today and tomorrow, which coincides with the US Memorial Day tomorrow. Memorial Day is usually thought of as the beginning of summer, which often means lots of grilling and days spent by the pool. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the pool we had in our last house in North Carolina. Floating in the lovely water and enjoying the feeling of weightlessness was one of my favourite things. I could go to a public pool, but it’s just not the same. The quiet peacefulness of our pool, surrounded by a forest of greenery really was idea.


I also miss sitting on the swing on our back deck, while we cooked ribs on the grill, combining smoking, braising, and straight grilling to get the best ribs ever! We still grill occasionally, but it’s not quite the same. Fortunately, we do have a nice terrace that allows us all to sit out and enjoy the summer sunshine.
The Good Life

Street in the Sun

An Overcast Street
Sadly, this particular street wasn’t in the sun the day I took this photo, nor is there any sun to be seen today. Yet that is precisely why I chose this photo for today. It’s the literary hope for things to come. On such a wet, miserable day as it is today, the dream of spring sunshine seems like exactly that: a dream.

This bit of wall art/poetry translates roughly to:
A street in the sun, and from an open window, your favorite music

There was no music at all that day, but the open window was still a nice touch. It’s certainly a lovely thought that brings to mind warm, happy, summer days. There are other buildings in that general block near the Wittevrouwensingel that have further bits of writing.
Hidden Words
This one says:
It was the morning
it was light
The sun rose
and we looked out
over the back gardens
of the city
it was summer

Unfortunately, I can’t make out the last line, but it’s still lovely. Dream on!

Foto Vrijdag 2.33

Mine! Mine! Mine!
We had a surprise return to summer weather today, with blue skies and warm temperatures. When you look out the window and see a seagull hanging out, it starts to feel almost beachy! It looks like the rest of the weekend may be similar. Fijn weekend!

Foto Vrijdag 2.2

Even I’m starting to miss the warmer, sunny days. At least the temperatures are supposed to rise this weekend, so maybe the icy sidewalks will finally disappear. I’ll happily settle for that!

(Lepelenburg Park last August during the student initiation days.)

Foto Vrijdag 1.7

I miss sitting out on the terras in the evening, when dusk doesn’t arrive until 10 p.m. Monday’s burst of sunshine quickly disappeared and doesn’t look to be returning soon.

This is the patio area of a restaurant/hotel on Korte Nieuwstraat, De Rechtbank/Court Hotel. It looks gorgeous, inside and out. Maybe I’ll skip my usual sushi tradition for my birthday and go there next year.