[travel/leisure] Tulips galore: a day in Keukenhof Garden, Lisse, the Netherlands

Warning: heavy flow of photos ahead.

I’m sure we all have heard about the fabled Keukenhof of the Netherlands, otherwise known as ‘the garden of Europe’, where, every Spring, around 7 million bulbs of flowers vie with each other demanding we miserable ugly human beings’ attention and admiration. The legend is true. But, oh, the legend you hear is nothing compared to what you can actually see in Keukenhof in real life.

As an expat living in the Netherlands (or anywhere in Europe for that matter), not making a pilgrimage to Keukenhof from mid-March to mid-May every year is a crime. Simple as that. I am all for a clean record, so, yesterday, amid a shitstorm of papers, assignments and other unnamed tasks, a friend and I still braced ourselves for an adventure into the real heart of this windmill-tulip-clog-cheese-dike country.

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[eat] Hearty burgers at Meneer Smakers @ Utrecht, the Netherlands

Meneer Smakers is such a famous burger resto in Utrecht that everyone I know of keeps raving about it. Such a shame I hadn’t had a chance to visit the place until my bf arrived. However, true to its fame, Smakers did not disappoint and both the bf and I immensely enjoyed our hearty burgers there.

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[eat] Eating out in The Hague: Will’s Pancake House & The Cheesecake Company

The bf and I went to The Hague (Den Haag) last Saturday to visit the famed Escher Museum. Having to pay 20euro pp for a roundtrip ticket from Utrecht to The Hague, I wanted to see as much of The Hague as possible (the Peace Palace, for example). Too bad, the typical insane Dutch weather prevented us from even walking like a normal person. At least we managed to get to the museum alive, as well as got to try some yummy stuffs at the famous Will’s Pancake House and The Cheesecake Company.

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[eat] Vietnamese lunch at Kimmdae @ Utrecht, the Netherlands

Just a quick blog post about a tiny Vietnamese restaurant on the street of Mariastraat in Utrecht, Kimmade. The bf and I had a lunch date with Mr. Paul (owner of the uber cool photography, humanistic blog called Humans of Utrecht, on which I once appeared). He was such a great guy, who, in addition to taking a lot of photos for us (the bf and I have been dating for a longgggggggg time but the only photos in which we both appear are selfies), also bought us lunch at Kimmade.

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[eat] Coffee and bagel at Bagels & Beans @ Utrecht, the Netherlands

Every city in the Netherlands has a Bagels & Beans branch, but its quality is not at all compromised by its popularity. Bagels & Beans hit all the points I need in a cafe: wooden tables (I am a nutter for wooden tables, deal with it), flowers on each table (extremely important), bright interior (for photos), yummy BAGELS (who doesn’t love bagels?), and great coffee. In fact, the cappuccino I had there was the best I have ever had in the Netherlands. And my bf–a coffee connoisseur (at least compared to me)–only had compliments for Bagels & Beans’ coffee.

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[eat] Ethiopian food at Sunshine @ Utrecht, the Netherlands

Really sorry, guys, for being MIA for the past week, but I am happy to announce that I AM back (Han should be back after Xmas too) poorer yet with more things to blog about xD My dearest bf has come to the Netherlands to see me and we are going to France & Spain together. So far we have walked around Utrecht twice and eaten out quite a few times. Yes, bf = food + travel = blogging materials.

Yesterday for dinner, we decided to check out the Ethiopian restaurant in town I had been soooo curious about: Sunshine. Despite the cheesy name and extremely dark interior (I always avoid cheesy-named establishment, but even more so dark restaurants), we had such a hearty dinner–a wonderful start for my bf’s stay in Europe.

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[travel] A visit to Kasteel de Haar @ Utrecht, the Netherlands

There are quite a large number of castles in the Netherlands scattered across the country. At the heart of Utrecht, however, lies Kasteel De Haar (De Haar Castle), which is the largest and most luxurious of its kind in the Netherlands. I had always wanted to visit this castle, but it seems really complicated to get there so I kept postponing my trip :( Fortunately, last Sunday I went on a tour organized by my college, and had a great time wandering around this beauty.

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[eat] Gimme cookies and no one gets hurt… Review of Carla’s Conditorie @ Utrecht, The Netherlands

Like all bad people in dragging TV series, a prick like me never dies and often seems to get all the fun. Luck sometimes seems to come to me out of nowhere, and I have no choice but to graciously accept the power of destiny.

A few days ago I randomly liked and commented on a post on the Facebook page of MyPersonalStyle–a wonderful blog created and run by Utrecht lovers for Utrecht lovers, focusing on awesum spots in Utrecht for cafes, wine, dining, and style. The post, which was a gorgeous picture of a box of mouthwatering cookies from Carla’s Conditorie, said that whoever was the first to comment on the photo would get that very box of cookies. Yes dearest friends and readers, I was the first, as I am always first when it comes to snatching anything free.

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[travel] How new buildings should look, observations from a trip to Rotterdam

I usually favor historical places: an old town, an antique church, a vintage stores with items that have passed their golden days. Knowing my preferences, one friend warned me that I would not like Rotterdam–the most non-Dutch city in terms of architecture and ‘feel’. While other Dutch cities are mostly old and relatively small in size, with tall churches and cobbled pathway imbued with the depth of time, Rotterdam is big, new, modern, and is covered with exciting, futuristic, and innovative buildings. Contrary to what my friend expected, I found myself deeply impressed by the city’s vibe, but even more so my the incredible architectural creations in every corner of Rotterdam.

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[travel] Delft, the dreamy town

After 3 weeks of recovery from my extensive Europe trip, this weekend I decided that either I started to resume my “going-to-a-new-place-every-2-weeks” plan or I would rot and become a lazy pathetic being who has started her hibernation way too prematurely. While it is universal knowledge that I am pathetic, I refuse to be classified as ‘lazy’… Taking advice from a classmate, finally yesterday, on a foggy, misty, oh-so-typical Dutch Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of the room and hopped on the train to Delft.

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