Saturday, June 23, 2012

Best night ever!

Me, Angela, Céline & Jenny
Last Friday night was officially my best night out in Maastricht...ever! It was a New York kind of night.
Jaap and I spent the day at the Efteling with the Jansen clan. Despite the constant rain all day, we still had a great time with the family. Welcome to a Dutch summer.
Later that evening was the International Women's Club Summer Party at a castle just outside of Maastricht. My friend Jenny had the idea to have a girls night out in town afterwards. What a night! We danced, had fun (and maybe drank a little tequila) until the sun came up. The perfect girls night out. It's nice to have fun girlfriends in Maastricht who remind me of home. And who knew that Maastricht had this kind of nightlife?! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Berlin with the Band Geeks

Our Berlin trip was about month ago, so this story is getting to you quite late. Now that life is slowing down again I have some time to share about our musical Berlin adventures. My last trip to Berlin was 11 years ago when I was a student in Vienna. I was happy to return with Jaap, but I only wish we had more time there. We've decided that we will return at some point in the future to give this city the time it deserves. It's such an interesting place. 
Exploring the Tierpark
Our getaway was a band trip for a wind festival in Berlin. Jaap's hometown band, Arti,  has a good concert band. Jaap began playing with them when he was just 10 and now plays with them when they are in need of a horn player.  They needed a flute player and french horn player for their festival in Berlin. I was super excited when I found out I got to go on the trip with Jaap. It was so great to reconnect with my band roots again. Oh how I miss playing in band! We're such geeks and I love it. This trip reminded me of high school and college all over again. It also made me realize how much I miss playing in a proper wind band.
Arti youth band
The majority of our time was spent either in rehearsals, playing concerts, or on the bus. We literally had 5 hours of free time, so we went out exploring on our own. Here are some of the places we got to visit:
Checkpoint Charlie
Topography of Terror & part of the Wall
Another random place where Jaap has fallen asleep
Brandenburg Gate
No good band festival would be complete without a little party at the end. Good German food, beer, and "interesting" music. After seeing the Dutchies party to oom-pah-pah music, I now understand why they love band so much.
conga line
I loved our weekend of music, singing, and travel. There's one thing that I learned on this trip. Band geeks have no bounds. We are worldwide and we're all the same. We sing silly songs on the bus, can turn any random object into a percussion instrument at any time, and love good wind music. I felt like I was home. 
Here's one example of band lovers keep themselves entertained. It became the anthem of this trip. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A disappointing football match & a great 5K!

 Today was a good follow up to yesterday's disappointing football match. We traveled to Utrecht to visit some of Jaap's friends. It was great day with fun company and lots of tall, orange people. Europe is experiencing some football fever. The European Football Championship started this Friday and Nederland's first match was yesterday. They lost to Denmark, but I still had fun watching the game with Jaap's friends. We went to a pub in Utrecht and I was surrounded by orange giants everywhere. I forget how tall Dutch people are!
Me, Angela & Billy
This morning was the Maastricht Mooiste. A race that starts and ends in the Markt for 5K, 10K, or 15K runners. This year I registered with my school board and colleagues, hence the yellow Mosalira running shirt. I ran a 5K and waited for my friend Angela to finish the 10K. It was the perfect day for a run.
 Angela and I have started a tradition of finishing the race and having lunch on the Vrijthof afterwards. The perfect spot for watching the 15K runners close to the finish line. We did this last year and I think this will become an annual thing.

 Later on Jaap and I took a stroll through the city and found some great live music. The city was alive today with happy runners and live music in the streets for Jekerjazz. (Jekerjazz are organized jazz weekends in Maastricht throughout the year). We found a group next to Café Pieter and pulled up some chairs. We've seen them before and they're fun to listen too. Another great afternoon in the sun!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bike adventures

Now that my big musical at school (and major workload) is over I'm getting back into my normal routine again. What a great feeling! So even though Pinksteren was almost two weeks ago, I'm now getting around to blogging about it. Not to mention I'm still working on our post for Berlin! 

Pinsterdag or Pentecost is a three day weekend here in the Netherlands. We had amazing weather and Jaap and I took full advantage of it. Three days of sunshine and the outdoors!
Drinks with Jenny & Arie on a terras
The Friday of our Pinkster weekend was warm and sunny. As much as we love our little balcony, we were in no mood to stay home for dinner. We met up with our American/Dutch friends Jenny and Arie at a little terras on the Maas. (I love how the Dutch have a specific name for an outdoor café.) It was a beautiful evening of snacks and drinks. Our romantic stroll home along the river reminds me how much I love Maastricht and its beauty.
Jaap took us for a scenic bike ride on Saturday. He's a good navigator with our bike maps of Zuid Limburg. We couldn't have asked for a better trip. (Well...we probably could have done without my whining over all the hills). Thankfully Jaap is used to my whining. It wasn't too bad though. I've toughened up since moving to the Netherlands. I would have never enjoyed this bike ride two years ago. Now it's actually fun!
Break time in a little secluded spot
Belgian biking
We rode through some tiny little Belgian towns, stopped for drink in the woods, and ended up back in St. Pieters, in Maastricht, for a drink at one of my favorite places, De Sjans. The perfect day. Minus the severe allergy attacks that we both had. Hay fever season is not fun! 
Back in Maastricht in Biesland
I love this restaurant. The terras at De Sjans is so peaceful and tranquil. The perfect ending to our beautiful ride in the sun.