Exploring Dutch Nature – De Hoge Veluwe

As with most Sundays, we like to take long walks in the Nature. Almost every Sunday morning, Jos would browse through the wander book we have. This book compile all the possible walks within the Netherlands, it entails the routes and also what we expect to see during the walk.

Last Sunday, we had an unusual one. The weather was unusually good, with sunshine most of the time at 16 degree Celsius, just perfect! I had so much fun I must blog about it. Google this : De Hoge Veluwe! Unlike most of these nature walk, this one has an entrance fee but it is well worth it. For EUR8.40 per adult, you get to grab a white bike near the entrance for free and go on exploring the beautiful dutch nature on that bike for the whole day!! How cool is that.? Hearing it is enough to entice you right?

There are two cycling path, 10km & 26km. Jos being Jos, he choose the 26km and cut it by 6km by looking at the map he purchased at the entrance for EUR2.50. So yes, we travelled 20km on the bike which burns my thighs, ass and legs altogether! Still it is all worth it! I can do this over and over again. I cannot express in words how I love living withing these beautiful nature! We don’t have such space in Singapore, so you can imagine why I feel this way.

Being Autumn, it is also the time of the year where beautiful mushrooms grows in the nature. I’ve never come so close to a fairy tale mushroom. Althoug, I’ve blogged about it last Autumn, read it here, Today, seeing it again, I am still enchanted by its beauty. Not just the red ones, also the other colors, brown, white, grey, orange.

This year, there are more mushrooms which we can easily spot even though we are riding on the bike. And the fairytale mushroom looks more radiant and so very cute.

Now the grey ones, they are also beautiful.

Besides the mushroom, the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves continues to amaze me. Although we know the tree will lose all its leaves at the end of fall, but I have to say they die in grace ! 🙂 During the ride, I’ve wanted to stop many times to snap pictures of the colors of Autumn. I managed a few pictures but didn’t think my picture skills gives justice to the actual beauty!

The above picture is the cycling path we ride on. It is hilly at some point and flat at other. Perfect ground for cycling.

After a few times of stopping to snap pictures, I turn into a dare devil, I managed to cycle and take a picture of my man in cycling in front of me! 🙂

Yes I am quite far behind, but i really slowed down so I can hold my iphone steady!

I always love the view of woods like this one, although just brown but I love it. Beautiful isn’t it?

That’s me cycling! Told you I can cycle! 🙂 Oh and by the way, all bicycles comes with a child seat! So if you are bringing along your child, you have no worries! They also provide bikes for smaller children of which I am proud I don’t have to use them. Since I’m short, I was worried I have to use their kid bikes! But I’m good with the adult ones, so proud of myself 🙂

This picture below is another cycling path in the open, also hilly at some point.

Finally, I could not withstand it anymore. I had to add myself in the scenery and have my man take a picture of me, because I love it so much! So here it is:

If you lives in the Netherlands and are wondering where to go in the weekend.. try De Hoge Veluwe! I am very sure you will not regret visiting!

Ciao!

Rainbows Season

It is official! I’ve brought with me the rain. While I was still in Singapore, there was crazy thunder storm almost every day. The thunder was ferocious, loud and fierce, I had to hide under my blanket for a good hour. Yes I admit, I’m very very afraid of the thunder. The rain pour was flooding some western part of Singapore, at some point creating water falls within the train stations. But no, there was no Rainbows. Just thunder and lots of rain.

I returned to the Netherlands last week. The flight journey was perfect, there was no turbulence felt literally and I was blessed with having two seats all to myself! So this means I could lie flat on both seats and sleep throughout. I really did. Well, yes, I’m a sleeper, I can sleep anywhere as long as it is time to sleep.

Also watched the Great Gatsby in flight…. super love it! Love the story line, love Leonardo’s acting, he is so good… so good. 🙂

While on our way home from the airport, I was really happy to be greeted with not one but two beautiful dashes of Rainbows. So naturally I asked, has it been raining? We all know, there is no rainbow without the rain, that’s clearly why it’s called Rainbows, duh. The answer was clear, “yes it has been raining, looks like it is the start of the autumn.”

Noooo…. I’m not really done with Summer yet! But oh well, we live with it. Every seasons has it’s beauty right? And this happen to be the Rainbow Seasons… in my opinion at least.

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This morning, yet another rainbow… this time a full rainbow right in front of our balcony… 🙂

Could't zoom out to take the full rainbow, so I took the brighter side :)

Could’t zoom out to take the full rainbow, so I took the brighter side 🙂

Maybe I will see another rainbow tomorrow, I do hope. Since we have to live with the rain, we might as well wish for the rainbow right?

 

My Green Finger Project

Sometime last year in June, I remembered vividly how enchanted I was each time I step into Corrie’s Garden (Jos’ Stepmother). From Spring Time onwards, Corrie’s garden will be blooming with lots of different kind of lowers, Rose, Lilies and some others I don’t know the names to it. But they all look so beautiful, I can sit in the garden for hours!

Because I kept singing praises about how beautiful those flowers looks, Corrie had kindly offered to teach me the art of gardening. She start by asking me, “what do you like in your garden?” In our case a balcony. Without much thoughts, because I already know what I like all this time, I answered, “I want lots of Tulips and many sunflowers!” At this point, I didn’t know there is a season to every kind of flowers. Tulips never survive till summer and Sunflowers never blossom in Spring! I also didn’t realize, these seeds takes so much time, so much effort for them to grow to finally blossom.

I’d planted some sunflower seeds (bought in Holland) back in Singapore and it grew within two weeks but didn’t grow so big. A picture of the sunflower below and that is the biggest it went and then it slowly withered away. But then in Singapore, we have no seasons. It is summer every day!

That was the max it went.

At that time, Corrie had draw up a plan (really sweet of her). She decided that we should first start with the Tulips in October and then start with the Sunflower sometime in March. So we did. We went to the shop in Dordrecht that sells all kinds of seeds. According to Corrie, this shop has high quality seeds so chances of success is higher.

Today, I share with you my pride. Although most of the work is done by Corrie, I’m still proud of our achievement. 🙂

Here are the photos of the tulips that blossom during spring time. The seeds was put in the soil since October. According to Corrie, these tulips bulbs must be froze for a period of time before they come out in Spring time. And I’m suppose to get more Tulips every year if these bulbs are good.

Tulips Buds

Coming up really nicely. See those little pink too?

Pretty Tulips lining up

And then after spring, the petals of these tulips dropped off one after another. Very sad to see! Until there is no more left! In the end they are left with a green stalk and no flowers. At this point, we wait for the next seasons.

In February, Corrie & Piet give me a little green house for my birthday! That was the 2nd part of my green finger project where we start with the sunflowers. I was beaming with joy! At the same time, I’m still skeptical of the greenness of my fingers. Oh well, I would just go for it.

So with this little green house, I’m suppose to control the temperature so as to make sure the sunflower grows healthily. Not too much water, not too much heat.

See the Water vapors? This little green house is heated.

And it grew and grew so fast until I have lost control of it.

Because I was not good with the controlling of the temperature and the water levels, these sunflower just grew too fast for me to handle. They were all over the place and hanging downwards as if they were dying. Of course I panic ! It’s like a mother watching the children drowning.

In the end, the whole little green house was transported back to the MASTER (Corrie) to take care of it. See, here, Corrie is like the doctor, I’m a lost mother trying to take care of a weak child (in this case – Children, because there is so many of them sprouting !).

The professional did not fail to uphold her professionalism. Every time I visit the plant, they just grew stronger. They always look better each time. The stems are thicker, the leaves are greener, they just look healthier. After that I leave for our summer holiday. And when we return, this is what we saw:

This is just one of them.

And another… .

There are alot of them standing tall in Corrie’s Garden. really beautiful. Before my summer holiday, Corrie already potted some for me to bring home so I can enjoy them as well. However, those in our balcony didn’t work out so well.

Here are the pictures of those in our balcony:

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Did you notice some of the buds aren’t blossoming? I’ve given water everyday and wait everyday for it to blossom. It seems to me that’s how far it will grow. It will never blossom…

Call me emotional, but I feel kinda sad to see that some seeds just don’t survive the growth process. It happens to all living thing. Even as human, some fetus just don’t come through as human. They lost it half way. That’s sad. But I guess, that’s just life.

Last Sunday, I harvest some roses from Nelly’s Garden (Jos’ mum) for our home, look! they are beautiful

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Till next year.. see you again beautiful blossoms!

On The First Day Of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me….

Limited Edition – Bike of the seasons.

No, that is not really what I got from Jos of course, but that was really one of the unusual things I have experience over the past 2 days.

We stay over in an apartment together with his parents for 1st and 2nd day of Christmas. And what he really gave me was a touristic view of a small part of Limburg (Mechelan) the most hilly part of the Netherlands. And to me, that was an awesome experience.

Limburg is about 2 hours drive from Dordrecht, it is also near to where the drielandenpunt is located. Drielandenpunt is the famous point where the three countries (Belgium, Netherlands & Germany) Meets. I’ve wanted so much to stand at that point at least once in my life time to be at 3 countries all at the same time, ok not literally but almost!

The day we were at drielandenpunt was rainy  no i should say it was even STORMY at that point. On the way to the drielandenpunt, Jos’ mum was mentioning that there is a little viewing tower there. As I listened in anticipation, she said: “And when we reach the top of the tower…. we can see… NOTHING.” I laughed out really loud because that was really the truth because it was already dark at 430pm. The storm didn’t help, we had to run out and back in to the car just to feel the need to be there. Just like, okay, I’ve been there and done that. well, done what? I quickly did my check in on facebook while the car drove away 🙂

Besides being at the drielanden punt, I’ve seen many unusual things there. One of it was a tree trying very hard to grow in a shape of a house, no bigger, no smaller. And succeeded! What triumph!

Witness a tree succeeding in growing according to the shape of a house.

And other things were like a cross like the one below. We can find them at every corner of every street. Some are huge, some are smaller and others are full of colors. This is because, this small village has a large community of Roman Catholics.

A Catholic Cross

A Catholic Cross

Since we are so near to Belgium, we also patronizes the very famous Mother Goose Inn in Belgium. I did not take any pictures because it was cold, dark, crowded and I was very hungry. The restaurant has a very nice ambiance but unfortunately, I cannot say they serve the most delicious food that day, but the service was really good for a very busy day.

Follow this link to visit their website… http://www.moederdegans.be/English_website.htm

That ends my 1st day of Christmas. I have a wonderful 1st day of Christmas and I cannot be thankful enough to experience Netherlands on the other end. And just for my happiness record, we still have the 2nd day! This is like the first time I celebrate Christmas extensively. In Singapore, we have holiday only on Christmas Day. Here in Holland, we have the 2nd day off too! Blessing number one! 🙂

To top it off, this is also the first year Jos and I celebrate Christmas and New Year together in the same country. For the past 3 years, we had to stream on Tango or Skype to see each other during festive seasons like these. Thank GOD we do not have to go through that trauma ever again! How blessed! 🙂

Our Christmas Tree at Home!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a blessed & peacful Christmas.

Lotsa Love,

Jess

Autumn in Dusseldorf, Germany @ minus 2

To celebrate our 2nd year anniversary, we have landed our feet in Dusseldorf! Supposedly Autumn so I assume 8-9 degree during the day but we had a -2 degree temperature. It was freezing so much that I had numb fingers and a brain freeze. Okay, I lied. The brain freeze was due to the Bubble Tea I had in one of the Food Court in Dusseldorf. And yes, I’m crazy to drink bubble tea at -2 degree. But, I cannot remember when was the last time I had bubble tea and I love them! They are no where available (not that I know of) in the Netherlands. The existence of Bubble Tea was like “WOW” to me. 🙂

European Bubble Tea

The one thing I must agree with the many review online; Dusseldorf have a wide selection of food choices and they are truly tasty. The first meal we have in Dusseldorf was a superb breakfast in Hanseat Hotel. This is a pretty boutique hotel, small but beautiful,  great service for a reasonable rates.

BUT… There is just one thing I really dislike about he hotel. Look at the picture on the right, this is the view to our room. If you look closer, you will realise a dog face with a human body hung on top of the bed. So we thought, looks like we are being watched… not just from the behind but also from the front! Look! A bigger one staring at us all through the night!

Seriously, Dear Hanseat Management, this is creepy. Please change the picture to some sunflower field or beautiful scenery of Dusseldorf. A dog head on a human body isn’t cute.

Now the good part. Every morning, I’m awaken not by a dog sniff but by the fragrance of freshly baked croissant! No I am not joking, even with window closed, the fragrance came through. It just gets us really hungry that we had to wake up early for breakfast.

As mentioned, Dusseldorf has really nice food & great shopping, but I choose to tell you more about the food because the shopping to me is the same everywhere. And I get all excited talking about the food because we are able to eat delicious lunch for just EUR6.50 in their local Food Court. It amaze me to see that they have the same food court we have in Singapore! I don’t see them in Holland; which is kinda sad because this is just pure survival for me. Being able to grab proper lunch (my way) and eat them fast. We patronized the Indian Cuisine because I love spicy food. The spice wasn’t spicy enough but because it is so tasty, I’m quite happy with my lunch.

At dinner, we had to decide what to eat. Having so many choice is not good because then we cannot decide what to eat. We were told before we arrive in Dusseldorf that the Blackout Steakhouse is really nice. But we decide to have fish instead and we think it is possibly even nicer with a good price! Please people…. you mustn’t miss the FISCHHAUS! I enjoyed every bite of my meal. 🙂

Whole Dorale Fish… the juiciness of the fish, the freshness of the spinach and the sin of having CARBO from Potatoes.. it is all worthwhile! 🙂

Jos had mix grilled of seafood, If i have a stomach of a giant, I would eat them all! Too good.

Now I had to stop talking about food… I have to drool talking about them. But really, if you have to go to Dusseldorf, please visit this fish restaurant, a tat bit crowded with small dining table but worth it all.

Now about the sights. We walk around town the first day, and yes, there are just too many shops. It is heaven for shopaholic like me. But ask any lady and they will agree, shopping and holding a man is as good as shopping and holding a child. They are both a big stumbling block to a perfect shopping day. So, I’d prefer to show you all the scene around it. So behold people…. the beauty of DUSSELDORF!

On our last day of our mini getaway, we decided to visit the Castle of Dusseldorf – Schloss Benrath. This must be one of the best decision we made that really complete our trip there with a smile.

The castle was surrounded by a big forest that is beautifully, well… kinda, organised. We arrived early in the morning, where there was a lot of mist. It almost felt like we were in Heaven… so serene, so peaceful and so much mist! I’m glad none of us walk into a tree 😛

Heaven!

 

When the mist clears up… we see more trees 🙂

And we even spotted a Heart made of autumn leaves! 🙂
OK, I lied again…. we made this! 🙂

So what do you think? Already planning a trip to Dusseldorf maybe? Well, it isn’t the best of Germany but it must be the nearest to me and the best. I so love the food there I have requested to visit more often even for a day trip! In fact, I can already see myself living there! To end this with a short and sharp review : I hearts Dusseldorf!

Walking in the Winter Wonderland

I really miss snow. I miss the beauty of white all around me. I miss making snow balls. I miss skiing. I don’t mind the glare, I just love the view of snow everywhere!

Why is it not snowing in the Netherlands yet? This time last year, it was already snowing heavily with snow as high as my tall boots. To proof what I’ve said is true, check this:

Look! Snow!

I remembered having so much fun walking along Utrecht town with Hilde who didn’t like the snow as much as I did. She was walking so fast just to get into any shelter while me… taking a video of the falling snow. That’s plainly because I’ve longed to walk in snow. I enjoyed every bit of snow flakes dropping on me out-stretched hand. I count every snow flakes that falls on my hand and watch them melt away slowly. God’s creation! I marveled at God’s Creation of this season. I feel plain happiness just doing that.

While editing a video I wanna make for Jos, I found out that I still have a short clip of the walk in Utrecht, Netherlands. So do check the video below from December 2010. You would probably feel the same way I did while watching this short clip.

When will I do the same again? I want it to snow so bad. Let it SNOW! Let it SNOW! Let it SNOW!!!

Sinterklaas in Holland

Tis the season to be Jolly…. tra la la la la la lala la!

Yes… the season I love most especially with snow everywhere! I didn’t mind the cold, I just love the sight of the beautiful white snow. Winter in Holland can go as low as -5 degree (at least based on my experience during my stay sometime early December) but I was also told early December isn’t the coldest in Holland.

I marveled at the fact that the thick snow lying on the ground that reaches almost my knee are still not considered the real winter! At least I was told …

I remember last December, I was in Holland on the 6th of December, just on day after Sinterklaas which falls on the 5th of December of every year. I recalled receiving many gifts from Jos and had not felt so happy for a very long time. Just like a little girl opening up present after present. That is total bliss! Here is the list of prezzie I’ve got:

Received a BIG chocolate letter J for Jess

Biggest Giant Cookie Ever

And More Cookies

Hand Therapy for the Nasty Winter

And Lots of Candies

I wonder what will I receive this year. And I’m really looking forward to it. Sinterklass is a day especially celebrated by the dutch typically. This year, I’m gonna celebrate it with Jos and his family in Holland and the best part of the celebration is …. Sinterklaas is coming to Dordrecht this year. Check out the link —-> http://www.sinterklaashuis.nl/

I’m gonna visit Sinterklaas Huis! How cool is that? Jos says we have to bring Madelief (Rob’s little girl) with us as an excuse to visit Sinterklaas because it’s meant for kids. Anyway, I will blog about the visit when it happens! 🙂

I’ll end the post with a few pictures now from last winter…. I’m ready for winter… come take me on!