Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yesterday we really felt the cold. Our fingers and toes were in pain and on the way to the train station, 10 minutes walk away, we had to stop and have a hot drink. Today is -1C and it felt ok. I'm excited to know what minus temperature feels like, especially as I'm finally starting to feel better, and especially if a hot chocolate isn't far away.

There's a real Chrismasy feel to this place, which is very charming and what I'd always dreamt of experiencing. Christmas lights shine all day and beautiful thick real Christmas trees perfume the air. The apartment across the road from us has a gorgeously-decorated tree in it's window and it's just like a Hallmark card.

We went to Amsterdam yesterday and squeeled at how pretty it is. Walking down the canals looking at the beautiful old buildings is better than any museum. Then you stop in an eetcafe, which is a cosy, old cafe where you can warm up on tostis (toasted sambos) and big bowls of soup for very little. And then you're ready to face the cold again.

Albert Heijn is the major supermarket here and at first I was gaga. But then we tasted the tasteless fruits and vegetables, watery cream and butter and yucky pasta and knew we had to find something else. Today we found a halal butcher and store stocking groceries from every corner of the world for the same prices so we're very happy, and Dani made a delicious warming vegetable soup with organic tomatoes, corn and yams that will be a staple for sure.

We went back to the town hall and were told we can get a sofinumber from the tax office without registering, which is contradictory to everything we've read or been told before, so we're going tomorrow to try our luck.


Miss Ione said...

Yes Euroland at Christmas time is quite something else, isn't it?
I agree (a few posts ago) that mulled wine is a vital and festive necessity. All those quaint childhood memories of foreign things like mistletoe, holly and red breasted robins now all become reality... enjoy!

I hope it snows x

Cookie said...

the turkish butchers are amazing, they have superb meat (esp lamb) for good prices. Buy your fruit and veg on the (saturday) markets. Better prices and better quality food. Also the biological shops are a good alternative to supermarkets, though a wee bit more expensive. And the invite to come to Leiden for a food tour ofcourse still stands!

Julia said...

Ione - love the photo!

Cookie - thanks for the tips, and I can't wait to come and visit!

Cookie said...

did it snow today in Haarlem? I dit it Utrecht and I so had to think of you two. It's beautiful to look at!

Julia said...

Yes, it did! About to post about it now!