Amsterdam & The Hague

This spring Chris and I spent a couple of days visiting our lovely and amazing friend Kelsey in The Hague, Netherlands. We also traveled to Amsterdam to see one of our favorite bands, Pokey Lafarge & the South City Three. Chris had visited Eindhoven before, but this was my first trip; it was great seeing Kelsey for the first time since New Years!

Where are we?

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We flew from Budapest to Eindhoven, then took the train to The Hague. The public transportation was awesome; the trains and buses were super clean and organized. SO MANY BIKES EVERYWHERE. It was awesome to see infrastructure that promoted walking, biking, and public transport over driving.

The Cities

The Hague: The third largest city and the capital of South Holland, The Hague (Den Haag) is located near the coast. First mentioned in 1230, the city was heavily damaged during WWII and was largely rebuilt after the War. The Hague is also known as the “International City of Peace and Justice” due to the city’s hosting of multiple peace talks and conferences since the late 1800s.

Located north of The Hague, Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital and largest city. Originally a small fishing village established around a dam on the Amstel River in the 1100s, the city soon became one of the most important trading ports for the kingdom. Amsterdam has 165 canals (combined has a length of over sixty miles!) and 1,281 bridges throughout the city.

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The Hague: Walking to the beach

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The Hague: View from Kelsey’s townhouse

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The Hague: Mauritshuis Art Museum (established in 1822)

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The Hague: Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) was completed in the 1200s (!!).

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The Hague

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The Hague

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Amsterdam

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Amsterdam: Royal Palace (1648)

 

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Amsterdam: Ann Frank’s House. The Secret Annex that hid her family before they were betrayed to the Nazis is located in the back of the building.

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Amsterdam

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Amsterdam

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Amsterdam

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Amsterdam: Paradiso (1968) is a converted church that is now used as a music and arts venue

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Amsterdam

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Amsterdam: Oude Kerk (Old Church) is the city’s oldest oldest building and church (1213!)

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Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three

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Our fourth time seeing the band. We’ve been to shows on the Ohio River, Cleveland OH, Asheville NC, and Atlanta GA.

Bonus video of Ryan Koening playing the hell out of the spoons.

Restaurants & Food

The Hague: Beachclub Indigo

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We had an amazing brunch at Beachclub Indigo. A gorgeous walk down the beach, the restaurant had a ton of burger options and seating right on the water. My first 2017 beach trip!

Amsterdam: Pancakes Amsterdam 

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Chris had ham and cheese while chose the goat cheese option.

After our train ride to Amsterdam all I wanted in my life was Dutch pancakes. We stopped at Pancakes Amsterdam before wandering around the city and loved it. They had a variety of sweet and savory options, as well as a cute atmosphere to escape the rain (because of course it was raining).

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Mint tea: My new favorite

Kelsey introduced me to mint tea and I am officially a fan. Rather than using a tea bag, you place a ton of fresh mint leaves into a glass of hot water and let them steep for a couple of minutes. So good.

The Hague: Kelsey’s House

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Our all time best meal in the Netherlands was hosted by Kelsey’s roommate. Raising money for a non-profit (she was in this super cool non-profit certification program) her roommate hosted a home-cooked five course (TWO DESSERTS) meal for a dozen people in their apartment. WOW. It was absolutely amazing. Lovely wine, out-of-control cooking, and wonderful people–what else can you ask for? I wish I had taken pictures of the food but I was too busy being the emoji-with-hearts-for-eyes brought to life.

Breweries & Pubs

Amsterdam: Cafe ‘t Smalle

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Our lovely friend in Pápa, who spent a summer in Amsterdam a few years ago, recommended Cafe ‘t Smalle as a place to stop right on the water for a quick drink and snack. She mentioned that she had always wanted to visit the small cafe but never had the chance during the summer she was abroad. Thankfully we were able to visit while in Amsterdam! It was so lovely and right on the canal.

Amsterdam: De Prael Brewery

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Having a friend who works at a brewery definitely has its perks, among them being great recommendations for craft beer in the Netherlands. We LOVED De Prael and ended up trying a couple of their beers while in Amsterdam.

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Amsterdam: The Beer Temple

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Whoa, the Beer Temple was such a great place to stop on our way to the show. Their selection is enormous, with beer even from South Carolina! We overheard a group talking about beer from Mt. Pleasant, SC and were both thinking “wait, whaaa?” before realizing they also carried Westbrook as well. I don’t even know the last time I had their Gosa, so it was an unexpected surprise.

The Hague: Kompaan

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I can not say enough amazing things about Kompaan. They have great beer, amazing food, and an awesome atmosphere. This was probably the best beer we’ve had since moving abroad and it was really special to share this with Kelsey. The atmosphere reminded us both so much of Holy City Brewing, which made me a little homesick, but so cool to see what other countries are doing in terms of developing new beer. From the clever names, to the genuineness of the staff, and the quality of the food and beer, Kompaan is a must.

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I love all the things.

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Solid advice

The Hague: Huppel de Pub

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Huppel de Pub was a solid post-Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-2 viewing stop. They had a ton of great options (including Kompaan) and a really comfortable atmosphere.

Honorable Mentions:

The Hague: Instock

Sadly we weren’t able to eat at Instock while visiting, but I wanted to mention the super cool work they’re doing in the area of food waste. Their chefs use food surpluses that would otherwise be taken to the landfill and make amazing meals from them. They source mostly from grocery stores that don’t sell their “ugly” produce, which is fruit and veg that is perfectly fine but not the prettiest of the bunch (think tomatoes that aren’t cute enough for a BLT but just fine for sauce or a banana too bruised for purchasing but perfect for banana bread). Their  menu changes with what’s available and they serve breakfast, lunch, and (four course) dinners. When one third of food is wasted, operations like these help break this linear cycle. SUPERMARKT_en-603x180@2x.pngThe Hague: Zaal 3

We visited Zaal 3 for a super cool event they were hosting that combined local beer and used records. I scored Buddy Holly and Elvis records (I finally have Suspicious Minds! My favorite as a kid!) while enjoying beer sourced from the area.

-Ashlyn

Watching: The Next Food Network Star Season 12

Listening: It’s Blitz! by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

 

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Things I’m Loving 7.10

Things have been crazy lately and I haven’t been updating as much as I’d like… Side-note: How is it already July?!

To Watch: Rick & Morty & Mad Men

Rick & Morty

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Alright, alright. It’s taken me literally years to get on the Rick & Morty train but I’m so glad to finally be aboard. The first time I watched a few episodes I was determinedly “meh” about the entire show, until my brother-in-law forced me to give the adventures of mad scientist Rick and his grandson another chance.

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Not all heroes wear capes Skye Thompson

Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the show centers on the sci-fi adventures of Grandpa Rick and his teenage grandson Morty. Rick, a scientific genius, is often dragging Morty to different planets and galaxies while his daughter (Sarah Chalke) and her husband (the AMAZING Dr. Spaceman, oops I mean Chris Parnell) deal with many of the consequences of their space adventures back on Earth. The show is funny and really well written; my favorite episodes have to be their take on Inception (Lawnmower Dog) and the John Oliver guest starring Anatomy Park.  

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The new season of the Adult Swim cartoon comes out later this month and you can watch the trailer here.

Mad Men

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Oh Mad Men. With a ton of traveling over the past few months–along with the addition of Mad Men to Hungarian Netflix–rewatching one of my favorite shows of all time became an absolute necessity. I never thought watching the show back in Ladson, SC that I’d be rewatching episodes on trains through London or Amsterdam or on a flight to San Francisco, but here we are.

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Mad Men follows the life of Ad Executive Don Draper from the 1940s-1970s (thankfully the show ended before bell-bottoms became a thing, so we were spared Don in 70s dress for the most part). Don, with his questionable history and ever-constant unfaithfulness, is the hero/anti-hero of the show. I love Don but my favorite characters are his first wife Bettie (the underrated and often vilified January Jones), his protege Peggy (the amazing Elisabeth Moss), and his drunken boss Sterling (the dapper John Slatterly).

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I could write an entire piece on the unfair treatment shown to the cold Bettie Draper, often listed as one of TV’s worst mothers of all time, but also someone with one of the most fucked up childhoods and treatment as a woman during this time period. As the seasons progress, Don makes similar mistakes over and over, as does Sterling. The progression of Peggy from secretary (“the men who make these machines made them simple enough for a woman to use”) to Copy Chief is one of the most important story-lines of Mad Men. Not to mention her roller-skating in the final season is one of the greatest scenes of the show.

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If you haven’t watched it, I’d definitely recommend (clearly, considering that I could apparently write an entire post just on the show). However, I skipped the last two episodes of the final season this time around, because, ugh.

To Play: Fight Songs: The Music of Team Fortress 2 

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So incredibly nerdy, I know. Team Fortress 2 is probably my all time favorite game (turning 10 this year!) and I was so excited to see that they were publishing the ridiculous and yet amazing music from the game on a two disc vinyl set. The cartoon-y sequel to Team Fortress Classic (a game I played with my sister wayyyyy back in the day) is known for its fun maps and distinct characters. Chris and I have been listening to the soundtrack non-stop; a few of my favorites are Right Behind You, Rocket Jump Waltz, and Dapper Cadaver.

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Bonus video: Meet the Spy which includes my all-time favorite quote: “Pornography starring your mother will be the second worst thing to happen to you today.”

To Do: Gardening

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I started a small garden bed this year and am so excited that things are actually growing! I have a few tomato plants, pepper plants, a zucchini plant, and a bunch of herbs. I’ve found that tomatoes grow almost horizontally here (like a bush) so it has been a little difficult making sure my pepper plants have enough room; right now I feel like they’re in a “back off me bro!” stage.

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My goal was to make my own paprika. I’m not sure I’ll have enough peppers this summer, but I’m hoping that next year I can have a few of additional beds to accommodate more plants!

To Eat: Hot Cheetos with Lime

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Oh man, so apparently Hot Cheetos with Lime have always been a thing, I just never knew of their existence until I visited California. Here in Hungary, we not only don’t have Hot Cheetos readily accessible, but even the regular cheetos (KETCHUP FLAVORED) don’t ever quench that Hot Cheeto hunger. I was able to bring a bag back with me; although when they forced me to check the carry-on bag containing this love of my life (thanks a lot Air Canada), I had a mini mental spazz attack. Thankfully they made the trip.

Related: 23 Symptoms of Being Addicted to Hot Cheetos.

Related: Cheeto that looks like Harambe sells for $100,000.

 

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I was unable to put Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel down; it is one of the most impactful and powerful works of non-fiction I’ve read. Each chapter covers a different branch of two families of descendants from Africa; one family of descendants were captured by slavers and brought to the US while the other, a part of the collaboration with the British to sell slaves to the Americas, has an entirely different history. While each chapter is a different story, I felt that Gyasi (herself from Ghana and later grew up in Alabama) did a decent job connecting all the narratives to form a collection of perspectives both from the coast of Africa and the African American experiences in the states (slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, etc.). While difficult to read at times, Homegoing strives to share these upsetting experiences that are often left out of history books.
To Look Forward To: Icarus
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Being released by Netflix on August 4th, the Sundance winner Icarus details the background and extent of the 2014 Russian doping scandal. First time filmmaker Bryan Fogel originally begins the documentary in a “Super-Size Me” style by trying to understand how much performance enhancing drugs could help him become better at sports. With the help of whistleblower and the head of the Russian doping program, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, Fogel switches gears and begins investigating the extent of doping of Russian Olympic athletes.
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As we know with investigative work such as Spotlight’s uncovering of Catholic Church sexual abuse and USA Gymnastics’s involvement in the sexual abuse of gymnasts, understanding the institutional aspects of a particular issue can be difficult to prove. Icarus attempts to show that doping was in fact systematic and that knowledge of the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs was known at the highest levels of government. The trailer for the upcoming documentary can be found here.
—Ashlyn
Remember:
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Watching: Better Call Saul Season 2