Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shipping Container Houses, Amsterdam Noord

There is an area in Amsterdam North where you can enjoy free parking and free transportation over the IJ river ("De Pont"). It is such a practical thing - cause parking in the historical center of Amsterdam can cost you a lot per hour. A couple of times while driving around in Amsterdam North I have noticed such residence complex of piled containers. My husband would inform me: "Temporary, and only for students". I have taken several pics with cars and persons on them in order to give you readers a sense of depth and proportion.
 Keetwonen Complex was developed by Tempo Housing and  is considered to be the largest container city in the world. Each container has one large window, and residents enjoy central heating, high speed internet and a bike parking.

More amazing container houses around the world you can find here - go quick, while the link lasts !
Update: below, container houses in Zwolle, Overijssel, the Netherlands. Photo taken during a storm, by blogger - and a very special person -  Aledys Ver.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Restaurant De Linde, Brugge, Belgium

I haven't written anything about restaurants for a while on this blog so I have been checking my last photos from my vacation and I will review some places. Our first vacation day was spent in Brugge, Belgium, one of the most beautiful medium size cities in the world and a short distance from Amsterdam. I never get tired of visiting it. As always we stayed at the Crowne Plaza, which has the best location in town. This time we decided for the first time to have dinner there as well - it would be more comfortable with kids and less touristic - real Belgians were dining there. There is a Spare Ribs Festival going on there this summer at De Linde, with a very large buffet. Ummm, my kids love spare ribs paired with jacked potatoes.
While I was helping my little girl with her warm meal, hubby arrived holding such lab tubes for us (above).
"I have already had one of these, it is l-ov-e-l-y !", he added. What is it ? Fruit Juice ? Carrots ? Pumpkins ? A sauce ? Does it take paprika ? Is it liquid iced cream ? "None of them. You will have to discover it yourself", he replied.
Yep. I am married to a misterious man.
Always pushing me to my own conclusions.
Where can I purchase such tubes ?
Tapas de saumon fume, capres et tomates sechees
Hapje van gerookte zalm met appelkappertjes en zongredroogde tomaatjes
Smoked salmon with apple capers and sun dried tomatoes

(Note: it is difficult to find such giant capers in Holland. It is NOT available at Dutch supermarkets, but I have found them at "Xenos" nearby Asiatic and Italian groceries.).

I found the presentation and quality of the cold buffet perfect. Everything was delicate and balanced, presented in small dishes and trays, in a very Belgian style served by real professionals with a smile- I miss that a lot when back in Holland. The tapas of chorizo didn't belong in the summer buffet of salads/fruits/sea food - but that is my opinion and a minor thing. There were two options of warm dishes: cod fillet with seafood sauce and tomatoes (superb) and the spare ribs - which I found a bit dry and over baked. The tiramisu and the claufoutis were my faves for dessert. Hubby and son licked their lips with the chocolate mousse (they had a couple of them - good chocolate is addictive). Soft silky mousse of Belgian chocolate and crunchy flakes of chocolate...
Assortiment de petits gateaux
Assortiment van mini gebakjes
Mousse au chocolat aux flacons de chocolats croustillants
Chocolademousse met krokante chocoladekorrels
Chocolate mousse with a crumble of chocolate

The Spare Ribs Festival at De Linde (Crowne Plaza Brugges) lasts up to Sunday 29th Aug. 2010.
Prices: 26,50 euros per person, excluding drinks, including coffee or tea. I think it is a very good price for unlimited trips to the buffet and excellent food - not to mention the gentle quick service. In Holland you can easily pay 25 euros for a regular entree-mediocre warm meal-small dessert (paired by a mediocre service as well). Children between 2 and 12 years pay 2 euros per year.

Oh yeah ! I almost forgot to tell you readers about the content of the lab tubes. It is a cold and unpretentious Spanish soup: gazpacho. Tomatoes, peppers cucumber, garlic, onion, bread, olive oil and vinegar. So refreshing in a hot day and so full of flavors. According to hubby it does match very well with the chorizo sausage (and the smoked ham and the melon). Indeed.

Mistery solved.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Front Doors: Perigueux, France

We all know this blog is supposed to be about Duchie eyecandies... But from several places I have visited during my vacations in France I have never seen such beautiful front doors as those from Perigueux.
 The city is very very ancient (gallian tribes used to live in the area some centuries before our Christian era) and located on the medieval route to Saint' Jacob of Compostela, in Spain. The two museums (the gallo-romansite of Vesunna and the Art and Archeology) are superb. But let's see the doors, shall we ?

 In Holland the doors are in better shape and in different Dutch cities around the country you find the same doors (I guess they all come from "Gamma", "Karwei" or "Praxis"). In the old center of Perigueux I have never seen two similar doors: it seems they were made for specific sizes and are always of a different model.
 Something that captivated me since my first visit there in 1999 were these iron hands that are used as door knockers.
 Each one is different.

 Manicured nails and a green apple, hahaha !!

I have found one of such door knockers for my Dutch house in the shop "Bricolage" nearby the city of Bergerac. My father-in-law painted it dark green, the same shade as our front door. Charming isn't it ? Everybody can knock-knock on my door in great style now !

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sail 2010 - II Part

On my previous entry I posted some photos from the ships parade Sail 2010 - in Zaandam. Saturday we decided to check the Sail 2010 in Asmterdam - and this time visit the interior of some tall ships and replicas.

Nearby Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant we spotted Stad Amsterdam. Of course my kids decided to visit the ship - my son has a perfect miniature of it, bought in the island of Texel.

A Frisian old ship. It has made very succesful travels in the past, trading salt with Portugal, wines and cider with France and going North to Germany as well.

There were some activities for kids...

Swedish tall ship Gotheburg.
 The Pirates' Island, with theater and activities for kids...

Above and below: personel at the Swedish ship...

Cabbage being transported...

 Above: the busy butler at the Shabab Oman.
 Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian jewel. Te next visit was after 40min. - we preferred not to wait. So much walking was taking a toll on us. I barely could speak or take pics, my legs were not responding to the command of my brain and it seemed a century ago that we had had a pause for some beer and hot dogs.

 Left: a stage with shows and performances, right: a Dutch war ship.
 And to finish this long post, some ships with flower arrangements in profusion.

We were walking non stop from 9:30 in the morning to 18:00. At 18:30 we arrived exhausted at home. Did I have a nice time ? Absolutely ! Much, much more than on a regular Queen's Day. People dining with friends on their balconies in Amsterdam North while watching the ships parade, people sitting on their windows with their legs hanging outside.. and everywhere you could hear to some music. Unfortunately we could not combine the Sail 2010 with visiting a youth theather "Bichos do Brasil" (Animals from Brazil) in the Vondelpark which was scheduled to start at at 14h30.