Frustrations of the NL

Long time no see!

Since there haven’t been any trips that I could share tips, I decided to tackle on something about the Netherlands. (Again….)

After moving to The Netherlands 1,5years ago, I haven’t suffered from many cultural shocks and getting used to things has been quite smooth… Till one day when I realised that NO, it cannot be correct. The questions invaded my head: Is it everywhere like this? What did they think? WHY? Everyone really has dishwashers? 

I started to research the topic more and soon realised that this country indeed is filled taps that are too short, small or placed very poorly. 

Ladies and gentlemen: Do lots of people recognise this or admits that also their home country tends to have taps like this?

I have questions to you people, who decided for the taps of The Hague:

  1. How are you supposed to wash your hands under this if you are any older than 10 years old?
  2. How do you avoid the water going everywhere else except to your hands?
  3. If you decide to install this to the kitchen, have you ever washed any wok pans under this tap?

Last time when I claimed that Santa Claus comes from Finland, the ‘real one’ replied to me from Alaska. I am looking for similar impact with this post and hopefully, there is one professional who could explain/argument enough to make this right.

 

Some suggestions for the future:

Kuvahaun tulos haulle tap for kitchen

 

Witamy w Polsce! – Poland on a budget

When I heard that our next destination would be Poland, I had no idea what to expect. We arrived on Wednesday to Modlin Airport (40km from the centre of Warsaw), where we took a bus to Modlin train station and then a train to Warsaw Central. First two days we spent discovering Warsaw and on Friday we headed to Kraków for the weekend.

On our flight to Warsaw from Eindhoven (NL), we watched the movie “Schindler’s List”. For all who haven’t seen it yet, quickly go to watch it!!

What did I personally spend? And then us, a couple?

Travels in total (flights, train, bus) 
20€ / 40€
roundtrip Eindhoven – Warsaw (RyanAir)
60€ / 120€ public transport in Poland

Sleeping for five nights
80,5€ / 161€ Warsaw 2 nights 69€  + Krakow 2 nights 66€  + Warsaw 1 night 26€

Eating outside
64,60€ / 129,15€
3x Lunch & 5x dinner

Besides flights, we used public transport to travel Warsaw – Kraków
: 1 hr Modlin Airport to Warsaw (train + bus) approx. 9€ (38zl) [x2 in total 18€]
: 2.5 hrs from Warsaw to Kraków in Premium Intercity 35€ (150zl) [x2 in total 70€]
: 3.5 hrs from Kraków to Warsaw in normal Intercity 15€ (66zl) [x2 in total 30€]
: Single ticket for public transport approx. 90 cent (4zl) [x2 in total 1,8€]

We stayed with

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Old Town, Warsaw

Warsaw, Old Town Kanonia Hostel & Apartments
+ Location, in Old Town, middle of everything. Easy to reach from Central station of Warsaw by public transport.
+ Pleasant and friendly staff, lots of information and tips available
+ Clean, nice common spaces
– Rather loud, you could hear other people through the walls

Kraków, Welcome In Kraków Staszica
+  Location, 10 minutes walk from Kraków Old Town
+  Very nice apartment, clean and very cute decoration
+  The owners were extremely friendly and we even got some arrival chocolate
– The bed was actually a couch bed not real bed, but that was already informed in booking.com

Warsaw, Dream Loft Central
+ Friendly staff, though, the key was to be picked up from another location
+ Location was good, close to the station but only a short walk to the centre
– The building itself was a bit hidden and it reminded us from of some hounted buildings

Alchemia (Jewish quarters)
Lunch for two
1 x Hummus share-board 5,5€ (24,5zl)
2 x Pad Thai 7,4€ (or 3,7€, 16zl per person)
Local “John Lemon” lemonade 1,4€ (6zl)
Mango shake 1,4€ (6zl)
Total: 15,7€ (7,85€ per person)
Score: 7/10
Review: Food 8, atmosphere 4, price 7 out of 10

The Travel Guide

For past three months my head has been in this travel guide that I have been working on for Hotelschool The Hague where I work as an intern at the moment.

Just on time, before the holidays. It is finally done! Now everyone, please celebrate this with me and spend well the next 5 minutes by reading it from cover to cover.

Read it via Issuu

 

“Christmas month”

Joulukuu. The Finnish word for December! Literally translated it would be “Christmas month”. Latest on December (usually in September) the windows, front yards and bushes start glittering of Christmas decoration lights. I do think (not everyone of course) that the majority of the Finns enjoy the Christmas time.

I hope everyone has an actual advent / Christmas / December calendar, with chocolate or anything else. From 1 till 24 December, I will write a series of posts related to Christmas to get everyone to the ultimate mood!

The mood-booster for 1 & 2 December – My Christmas month

I will tell how Christmas usually goes for me. Earlier I wrote about Santa Claus… And even got a respond from the official Santa Claus from Alaska (read here: Sinterklaas and Joulupukki (a.k.a Santa Claus) ). To respect both (the one living in Alaska and the one we have living at the North Pole) – I leave it here.

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The wait till the Christmas Eve usually goes pretty much the same,

Delicious Christmas treats

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Pre-Christmas parties

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Sometimes lucky enough, real Northern joys

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The famous sister and some lake skating…

And when the big day arrives, after days of sweating and arguing with family members due to the preparations and how everyone is stressed, busy and tired…

24 December starts by Morning Sauna. Followed by rice porridge, topped with cinnamon and one almond hidden in it – The lucky one who gets the almond from the porridge, get extra luck and success for the coming year. (It can also mean getting married for singles, boy child for one who doesn’t have kids, a must to give a speech right now or a chance to make a secret wish)

As soon as these are done, is time to put on the Christmas outfit and as soon as everyone is at the door screaming – My lovely sister usually yells all of us back to watch the 12 O’clock “Christmas Peace Declaration”.The declaration is given in Turku (The ex-capital city of Finland). The declaration is read from a vintage paper roll and the first declaration took place already in 1320. In the beginning, it was read only in Swedish but the turn was around 1710 to Finnish and since then it has been read in both official languages (Swedish/Finnish). The speech is in total only a few minutes and after that the national anthem is played. All in one the declaration takes less than 10, but yearly, over thousands of people are present in Turku to hear it.

Usually, around this time the family heads to the graveyard to remember those who already left, or sometimes if the visit has been the day before, our family is allowed to take a small break. The ‘official’ programme of Christmas starts after all of this. The most important, visiting the family and relatives means also food and having lunch/dinner very slowly going through the whole year and all the exciting events. If you get through this without less than 10 arguments, the Christmas Eve in considered successful!

-> Rest of the evening is the most fun, unwrapping the gift and eating! Playing board games, listening to music, real family time. On 24 December, there is some kind of magic in the air. Especially if it is white snow or even snowing!

Finnish Christmas by Buzzfeed:

22 Ways Finland Wins Christmas by Buzzfeed

 

 

 

 

And there we go again

Every time I get mad of not understanding what is happening around me, or someone makes a remark of the effort they are putting to speak English to me… I think of the same question: Why I find it annoying to speak about language matters?

I have put an effort on learning Dutch. I studied half a year in school and took private lessons, however, since I haven’t been learning for a while, my progress has been slower recently. My level in Dutch is high enough that I can’t fully block what is happening around me, but low enough to not to have courage to speak it too much.

No blame for the Dutch, they have treated me well by speaking English all the time and the times they forgot, it doesn’t really matter.  I guess in my home country, it is harder to get people to speak English anyway. Many countries still struggle with shyness of speaking other language, or the lack of learning other languages…

Should I speak English to be polite or Dutch for you to learn? Should she say to me if she wants me to speak English? Should I ask everyone in this table to speak English because she is here? Will I ever be fluent enough that they don’t switch to English? Will they ever know how this feels? Does it stay like that or do I feel 100% like home once?

Annoying to speak about language matters?

First of all. It is annoying because

  1. I still have not figured out, should they speak Dutch for me to learn or English to be polite
  2. It makes me miss my language and how free I feel while speaking it
  3. My English / Finnish vocabulary is not comparable

Besides these, it took a year to figure, but because

Other people have the power to decide for you whether you want to listen, comment, answer or pay attention… How many times have you heard, or said yourself?  “We spoke in English, because it was boring and nothing important to you”... See, there it is. A decision you made, or they made, for them or for you.

Just to clarify, I’m not complaining. More like thinking.

Our Budapest

We arrived to Budapest Airport with not much knowledge of Hungary nor Budapest. Four days later we are in love with the city and I personally wouldn’t mind moving there.

Let’s go through how our Budapest trip was.

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We flew with Transavia  for 54 EUR per person / roundtrip

We stayed with
Friends Hostel & Apartments Budapest
Two people, friday to monday 93 EUR (about 23 EUR / a night)

+ Helpful and very friendly stuff
+ Private apartment, excellent location. On the other side of the road of the Terror House
+ Right next to the Street Cakes where to get traditional the “Chimney cake”, but filled either with ice cream, whipped cream or chocolate sauce or all of those, topped with Kitkat, bounty or whatever is on the counter. Definetely worth of a visit! Two friendly girls running the shop

We ate at

Bro’s Kitchen
First night, hungry and amused by the city, first restaurant where we saw Duck on the menu – that was it. A busy restaurant, good food and nice Hungarian wines. Chili sweet potato fries and blue cheese mayo for starter, and duck potato bed for the main. 3.5/5

Zing Burger
Everywhere you travel – remember to taste a burger in a local restaurant. Since I can’t get enough of blue cheese burgers, I tried Zing’s blue cheese burger. The best burger place is still in Prague and Zing will get 3/5.

Sao Food & Bar
We found our way to this restaurant by accident, but as the dishes came, both of us were surprised and overjoyed. Best Asian restaurant so far! 5/5

Budapest Market Hall
The Lángos at the market is a bit more expensive than in other shops, but to get the full market hall experience, we had to taste it! All in one, the whole market hall is great. 4/5

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Padthai wokbar
Sunday in Budapest did not close only most of the shops, but some of the restaurants as well. First we tried Ramenka, and then Sao – both closed. Padthai wokbar was the first wok place to come across so that was it then! At padthai wokbar you could create your own wok, choosing from many options! Wok was fresh, spicy and budget friendly, and the quality surprised us both!
Hummusbar
Breakfast at Hummusbar. A humus pita with veggies and an egg. Different, delicious and friendly staff. 4/5

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Gelarto Rosa
The most famous ice cream shop of Budapest – As an ice cream lover, I was amazed that with such a “small effort” you can do something so pretty and capturing. I have a ice cream cone tattooed on to my leg, but when I saw the masterpieces of Gelarto Rosa, I thought of taking another one. 5/5

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We had drinks and fun at

Christmas market

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Szimpla Kert

We visited these touristic attractions (and much more…)

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We used this much

The trip (traveling & hostel) = 54 + 46.5 = 100.5 EUR
Dinner for two = 20-25 EUR including 10% tip
Drinks for two (one round) = 5 EUR

Next time we want to do this

  • This time we missed the famous baths, so for the next trip baths will be number one
  • “Ramenka” – a ramen restaurant needs a try! Now when I think of the trip, I know we saw so much but there is still so much more. More restaurants to try, districts to discover, castles to visit, explore the nature, go on the Sziget Festival….

Tips

  • Cash is always good to have – In some of the restaurants you can only pay by cash, and most of the bars accepts only cash
  • Most of the shops are closed on Sundays or have reduced opening hours. Besides the shops, your favourite restaurant might be closed then as well. (That happened to us) Check the opening hours in advance!
  • Don’t forget to tip

3 x Things Dutch people do (and why I care)

This post is not to hurt anyone, and I hope the Dutch friends I have will not walk away after reading it. This list is made out of my own observations and conclusions, and I will free myself from any type of responsibility according to the text. Enjoy!

1 Like every language, also the Dutch have their own nice and original twists in it. In Dutch language, every word usually gets “je” after the actual word. I´m not quite sure is it to make everything cuter or? If someone has an answer for this do tell! Why do I care: Anyway, I cant help it, but every time I hear it, this happens in my mind. Things get smaller.

Have you ever heard a Dutch saying in English “Let’s go for a small beer/ Let’s do a small beer before” Yeaha, this explains it right?

 

tafeltje

2 They do “Stilte Saunas” – “Always the fuzz about Sauna. “We happen to know best, yes. OK so Silent Sauna. Sauna here is considered as a treat, which doesn’t happen often. Well, to the wellness centers I have gone to Sauna, they have Saunas that are called Finnish Sauna. But 90% of them, are silent. 60% of them, you cant pour water to the fireplace.

Why do I care: This is why I trust no-one.

3 Dutch keep asking questions. I read it somewhere before, the Dutch dont much enjoy being at the center of attention. They prefer to ask questions. Thousands of questions. Not only from foreigners but from everyone. It goes really funny when two Dutch meet for the first time and they both are avoiding being in spotlight. It doesn’t affect me in negative way, but it is still overwhelming to keep up with all the “????”.

Why do I care: More than 10 strangers knows way more than the should about my, from simple queuing, supermarket, bus, train – conversation. Its not that I blame those who ask, maybe I shouldn’t feel too kind and answer.