Showing posts with label The Netherlands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Netherlands. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Chocolate review: Tony's Chocolonely 51% dark chocolate with pecan

Last March's trip to the Netherlands yielded several chocolate bars that I got to bring home. Among these was this chunky bar that's got quite a name to it.

I take it that Tony's Chocolonely refers to a longing for chocolate?
Details on the chocolate at the back of the package
Most of the information though were in Dutch but looking and attempting to read it actually gives you some sense of what is being described. For example, it's easy to determine that this chocolate contained 51% cacao.
Nutrition information

The inside of the wrapper gives a story of the maker
Close-up of the wrapper's upper part
Close-up of the wrapper's lower part

I forget how much exactly I got this chocolate for but surely it didn't exceed 3 Euro from the convenience store where I got it. It is a very good chocolate and definitely one to enjoy and something to pick-up the next time I see it in a shop.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Oberon "digital" vintage watch

One of the souvenirs from my trip to the Netherlands in March is this watch I picked up from the outdoor market at Enschede last Good Friday. I found the watch to be quite unique and I have never owned a 'jump hour' watch. It functioned well when I got it but then I observed that the minute dial stopped everytime it hit the 55 minute mark so I had it serviced immediately. It took a while but its now back and in tip top shape as far as vintage watches go.

The watch is an attempt to be digital but with some analogue features.
The watch face actually looks like a weighing scale.
Case back showing the watch to be antimagnetic and shock-protected. Nothing there about it being water resistant.
Side view showing the crown
Side view
Another side view with the crown
The watch with its original bracelet that I have decided not to replace.
Another look at the dial, which to me resembled a weighing scale

As I mentioned earlier, I took it to the repairman and the assessment was that some parts had to be replaced. It was a while before he finally found the parts; thanks to an old pocket watch he was able to purchase for parts. I now have the watch back with me and its still under observation after 2 weeks. Here are photos of the movement:

Manual movement for the Oberon
The movement is signed and here's a close-up
The watch is working well and I wind it everyday just so I can check if something's wrong. I've worn it only three times since I had it serviced. However, this frequency of use is due to my current rotation of watches including my favorite Seikos. I thought the watch was a really good souvenir from my first trip to Europe and I got it from an open market set in Enschede on a Good Friday. Nice memories go with this watch.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

St. Eusebius' Church in Arnhem

I was quite excited to go to Arnhem to see the titular "bridge too far" but was not surprised to see a dynamic city that included several landmarks aside from the bridge. One of these landmarks was the St. Eusebius Church, which dominated the cityscape. The church had the tallest structure in the city and this was an even larger building than the old church in Enschede.

It was difficult to get a good shot of the church at close distance. Here is a photo showing the scaffolds they installed for the restoration work.
The perimeter of the church is fenced off.
This is the church across from St. Eusebius, which, I am told is where they hold Masses. St. Eusebius is now more a museum and an architecture school than what it was built for in the first place (i.e., a place for worship).
Antiquated bells adorn the side walls of the church
Another view of the church
People pass by the back of the church where the streets are closed off to vehicular traffic for the outdoor bazaar.
The church is generally not open to the public or at least not for religious purposes. The exception here being the parts that are being exhibited as part of its restoration/preservation. I was able to get a nice souvenir though, which was similar to those I collected in my travels to the US where you press a coin into a machine that you crank, and transforms it to one of various designs featured.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Preferred travel watch

My good old Seiko Kinetic Titanium Auto Relay is still my preferred travel watch. I take this along with me whenever I am traveling to certain places for the first time. It is reliable and the kind of watch that few if any people will pay attention to ("hindi pansinin") whenever I am going around.

That's Amsterdam Central Station in the background of this photo taken from my hotel room.
Nevertheles, I now carry a back-up watch whenever I travel and that is usually something that I know to be reliable and preferably won't require a battery. If I know that I would be swimming or taking a dip in the beach then I always take one of my divers. My favorite would be my Swatch diver, which I have taken for swims in Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Sarangani.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Julia's Pasta

I discovered this "fast food" option while going around Amsterdam Central Station. A good friend actually mentioned this but I hadn't come across it while in Enschede or Arnhem. Julia's Pasta is an excellent option for people on the go who don't want the hassle of going to a restaurant to get a healthy meal. I've always thought that you can eat healthy if only the available choices where to get your meal would only exert a bit more effort in providing these options. Julia's, I think, does just that.

They had what looked like freshly made pastas and sauces, and herbs that went into each box of pasta order ready to be plucked from the metal pots.
The staff were engaging and they seem to have everything available for a quick healthy meal for people on the go.
The box reminded me of Chinese food takeouts.
Fresh arugula!
I took my takeout with me back to the hotel where I enjoyed my food while sorting through my loot for the day. I highly recommend Julia's over sit-down restaurants, especially the fancy ones, for travelers/tourists who would likely be traveling on a budget. Its good, healthy food that's wallet-friendly. I wish we had more options like this in Manila though I'm sure there are many holes-in-the-wall types or "aristo-carts" offering good food choices as well. 

Note: I'm sure there are those who would have a different opinion about Julia's but then understand where I am coming from. Good food in Manila is usually associated with pricey restaurants and not all "artisto-carts" or informal food sources/stands sell healthy or even clean food.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

First dinner in Amsterdam

I did a lot of walking on my first day in Amsterdam. I had wanted to see how long it took to go back to the hotel beside Amsterdam Central Station from the Museum Quarter. It rained suddenly when I was midway to the hotel and so I had to do some evasive maneuvers as I only had my coat and wasn't able to bring my umbrella. I had thought about having an early dinner in a restaurant or cafe along the way but every place seemed to be too crowded for me. 

And so I rushed back to the hotel and decided to just eat there as the weather deteriorated and what was a strong drizzle developed into something short of a downpour. While there were certainly options for me at the station, I just decided to stay put and eat at the hotel's restaurant. They had a limited menu but that was enough for me as I really didn't feel like being adventurous or something for my meal. That being said, I ended up ordering a pizza and 7-Up. I took my time in eating while watching trains go by (yes, like the song).

Pizza and soft drink for dinner
Yes, that's one of the platforms of the Amsterdam Central Station in the background. The restaurant's windows give you a nice view of the platform and trains. I thought this was a nice hangout after all. There were few diners at the time including a couple of Filipinos who were on vacation (lucky them!) based on what I've overheard in their conversation. [They were a bit loud so I can't help but hear what they were saying.] I went back to my room satisfied with my meal and ready to get some rest from all the travel, including much walking, I did that day.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Breakfasts at Enschede

The Intercity Hotel where I stayed at in Enschede last March served a really good buffet breakfast. The selection was good considering it was a business hotel and one could have a complete meal to start the day. I always like to have cereal and particularly love to have muesli in the mornings. They had that and fresh milk likely from the farms around Twente or perhaps from across the nearby border with Germany.

My first breakfast in Enschede consisted of muesli, bread, sausages, bacon, cold cuts and cheese. I had some tea and orange juice on the side. Not shown are the fruits I had after my hearty meal.
I adhere to the saying that one has to start the day with a good meal. It sets the tone for your energy levels during the day. And for me while I'm traveling, I like to do a lot of walking and commuting via public transport so I need the nourishment for me to keep moving without getting hungry immediately.

Friday, April 13, 2018

On inflight meals again

During my recent travel to the Netherlands, I decided to take Emirates in order to have more manageable (for me) times in flight. The flight between Manila and Dubai was about 7 hours while the flight between Dubai and Amsterdam was about 8 hours. My layover in Dubai was 4 hours. That meant a lot of time to walk around and get my bearings between long flights. I have also been informed that the inflight meals on Emirates were better than most airlines even on economy. I must agree with that observation and I’m now posting some of the “stolen” shots I took of the inflight meals.

Breakfast served on the Manila-Dubai leg of my trip
Breakfast on the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my trip
Menu on the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my trip
Details on the meals served on the flight between Dubai and Amsterdam

The lunch selection was okay and I always thought that one doesn't have to consume everything served to you inflight. Eat and drink just enough so you won't feel hungry or thirsty on a long flight. Check out the food if the taste suits you. If you don't feel like eating or it doesn't taste right to you then perhaps you should pass or opt for some light snacks. I do recommend drinking more as you tend to become dehydrated especially on long flights.

I refrained from taking photos of my meals back to Manila but they were again alright compared to most inflight meals I've had. I guess the better ones I've had would be those on my long-haul flights to and from the US via Japan Airlines (JAL). Of course, I am sure that other people would have other opinions about inflight meals including those who categorically state these are unhealthy. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. :)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chess in Amsterdam

I came upon this scene where a crowd had gathered around an outdoor or garden size chess board. There were two people who were the actual players but they were surrounded by pundits and hecklers (the friendly kind I think). It turned out that the area was a square dedicated to Max Euwe who was a chess world champion before the Second World War. He was also the president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in the 1970s.

The end game seemed interesting and I just wondered how they ended up with the positions.
Chess aficionados all around
Max Euwe was world chess champion for 2 years (1935-1937).
Max Euwe was World Chess Champion at a time when chess was not yet dominated by the Soviet Union but with the latter's players beginning to dominate the game. He played with the like of Capablanca, Flohr, Bogolyubov, Botvinnik, and Alekhine, whom he beat in 1935 to become World Champion. He lost in their rematch in 1937. This was a time when the world championships were basically held upon the acceptance of a match challenge from the champion unlike in the later years and the present when candidates matches or competitive tournaments are held to determine challengers.

It was interesting to see a game played between two players with a lot of "mirons". I thought it was lively and there was a bit of humor with the comments coming from some people who probably were better chess players than those who were playing. Such public matches on these huge chess sets can be a hit in Manila but I guess some people won't be as game or accepting of hecklers. Baka magka-asaran at away lang ang kahinatnan (Perhaps some people will just get upset and this could lead to fights.).

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Late lunch at the Enschede outdoor market

I returned from Arnhem and decided not to return to my hotel but instead take a walk around Enschede and maybe check out where the open market will be on Saturday. I was surprised to see an even bigger outdoor market than Arnhem's at the Van Weeksplein. The market at Enschede featured a lot of stores spread out across the wide area. The market's usually organized on weekends and holidays.

As I didn't have lunch in Arnhem (choosing instead to walk around the city center and had a small snack), I decided to have a very late lunch at past 3 PM. That lunch turned out to be a sandwich I purchased from one of the many stands offering grilled burgers and sausages.

Popular sausage and burger stand at the open market - there were a lot more patrons for this stand so I decided to check out what many people queued for here.
Bratwurst special with a generous serving of dressing and pickles
I like these outdoor markets for the variety of food they offer. I did write about one in Sydney last year. The one in Enschede was certainly one of those nice experiences that you wish there were more like this in the Philippines. There are at least three outdoor markets that I am aware of where you can get excellent food in Metro Manila in the weekends - two are in Makati (Salcedo and Legaspi) and another in Quezon City (Centris).

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

St. Jakob's Church, Enschede

My trip to The Netherlands took me to Enschede but I went around three other cities: Arnhem, Amsterdam and The Hague. The only church I was able to enter was in Enschede. This was a Catholic Church (I checked) that was still functioning as a place of worship. Due to the wave of liberalism in Europe and particularly in countries like Germany, The Netherlands and France, many old churches of all denominations have been converted for other purposes. The Grote Kerk (literally Big Church), which was formerly dedicated to the apostle James the Great (Jakobus de Merdeere) at the center of Enschede (Oude Markt) is now a venue for musical performances and other events including weddings. Others became museums, offices and even homes.

St. Jakobus is located at the center of Enschede's old town and across from the bigger
The back of the church where lepers were supposedly given Holy Communion through holes in the walls.
The lighting inside the church was a bit gloomy for me. Perhaps the purple is consistent with Lent? I chanced upon the church being open during the afternoon of Maundy Thursday and the few people who appeared to be ushers of some sort seemed surprise to see me come in. I tried to be inconspicuous the short time I was there.
The interior was cavernous and I must admit I was in a hurry to take a few snapshots after my short prayer. Light filters through the windows to give natural lighting for the interior.
Here's another photo showing one of the side altars. I wanted to take more photos inside the church but I was afraid I would be offending the people there. Nevertheless, to their surprise again, I genuflected in the middle aisle towards the direction of the main altar.
I truly felt some sadness as I entered the church and sat there with practically only four people inside the building. I wondered and still wonder how many people go to church as St. Jakobus and whether the church will eventually go the way of the Grote Church. Searching for information on the internet, I read that there are few services now at St. Jakobus. The regular celebration of the Eucharist has been transferred to another church nearby Sint Jozef (or St. Joseph of Nazareth), which unfortunately I was unable to visit.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Hearty pesto and chicken sandwich from Spar

I have had minimal rice since I arrived in Holland. It's actually a welcome development for me as I need to reduce my rice intake and switch to higher fiber options. Bread counts as long as it is not the regular type. And I've managed to eat healthier thanks to the hotel where I'm staying at and the choices I have when I eat out.

One discovery I've made is Spar, a convenience chain that makes excellent sandwiches, bread, pastries and the like. There were a lot of healthy choices including salads and vegetarian meat sandwiches. I spotted their pesto and chicken sandwich and had it heated for a warm meal I took back to my hotel room.

I surely did enjoy this warm sandwich
Spar is a big chain and I found their stores in most cities I visited in the Netherlands.
Pesto and chicken sandwich
A close-up of this pesto and chicken
I have not seen or tasted a sandwich like this the Philippines though the combination of chicken and pesto is not new. Usually, you see it in pasta but not on a sandwich. Maybe there's a restaurant somewhere back home that serves this?


First meal in Europe - Happy Italy

My first meal in Europe was...Italian! That should not come as a surprise considering this is usually a default choice for me if I am not knowledgeable of the restaurants in the place I am visiting. In this case, I really didn't bother researching about the restaurants in Enschede and based my decision more on what I felt like a restaurant that has a simple menu and many people patronizing it. The other restaurants looked too fancy for me though cost-wise they were okay. I thought, too, that the other restaurants were good if I had company. I had none.

This looks like a good motto for life.
I ordered this pollo a funghi pasta. It turned out to be a big serving and I had to take half home to finish it the following day.
The restaurant's main attraction was their pizzas. They had some good ovens there and all the ingredients were fresh. I also noticed a lot of people ordering meals for take away (take home).
I took home a copy of their menu as a souvenir. This side shows the pizza selection.
This side shows all the other items except their gelato, which was on another card.
Happy Italy is a chain and so at least I have established that they serve good food with very generous serving for pastas. I thought this would be a good reference for future trips to the Netherlands.