Edible garden

My next home will have a garden or a balcony on which I can cultivate edible plants. Besides that it is hard to move in Holland my knowledge of edible plants besides fruits and veggies is none excisting. So to do something about this I joined two workshops this spring.

edible flower

Wild picking

On a grey Saterday I went to the Genneper parc in Eindhoven where Linda of natuurlijke verbinding gave a workshop about wild picking. We walked through the park and she pointed us to edible plants/flowers in the wild (parc). We tasted them and some of them were very good. She also gave some warnings about wild picking, like be aware of ticks, worms and pollution of cars.

Flower tea

Edible flowers

The first workshop made me want to know more. So I booked the workshop edible flowers with Geertje of wandeloogst. And again on a grey Saterday (it is Holland so don’t expect sun) I went to Graafse Akkers in Den Bosch for the workshop. It is a really big garden in the middle of town, a beauty. We started with some flower tea and then walked with Geertje around the grounds with her pointing to flowers and telling us how we could use it. And of course we tasted all of them. Each flower has it owns specific taste.

Savory flower butter

Flower lunch

After a while we dived the group and everybody went about to make lunch of the flower harvest. We had two types of herb butter one with savory flowers and one with sweet flowers. Kind of a omelette pancakes with flowers, some more flower tea and flower lemonade. It was great to see what can be made of flowers and how to combine them in tea.

Preparing the flower

More edible flowers please

These two experiences were great and tasted of more. I can’t wait to move and experiment with flowers, but unitl then maybe a autumn workshop edible flowers.

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Is Hockney a new Van Gogh?

Someone asked me if I wanted to go to the exhibition of Hockney in the Van Gogh museum. I like the work of Hockney so it was not difficult to say YES! I met Hockney in 2013 on my visit to Bilbao when I visited the Guggenheim museum there. On this play was then his work of the nature of Yorkshire which he painted and filmed with 9 cameras in all the 4 seasons of the year. I was impressed.

Van Gogh museum

I had been to the Van Gogh museum on museum night sometime in the past and last year I went to Neunen. Neunen is one of the places where Van Gogh was very productive in producing paintings. Most of the paintings of Van Gogh in Neunen were about farmlive.

Are Hockney and Van Gogh comparable?

Hockney and Van Gogh both love nature. They even look at nature the same way: They look at details and see something special in ordinary landscape. They both say that nature changes every day. They both liked to see the effect of the season on the landscape.

Hockney painted the same place in Yorkshire again and again in each season. Van Gogh did this in Arle. Both use a technique in their paintings which makes nature move on the paintings. There are a lot of similarities between how the two painters paint, but Hockney uses a lot of new techniques like filming the seasons and painting on an Ipad.

If you want to know more about Van Gogh read my blog about Van Goghs Neunen.

Sculpture Van Gogh

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Cheese, cheese, cheese or too many tourists?

Cheese market Alkmaar

Touristy things

I wanted to see some touristy things in the Netherlands. I have seen some in my youth but I don’t remember much about them. So Good Friday I traveled to Alkmaar to see the Cheese Market. I wanted to go early to be ahead of the tourists, but NS put a stop to that and I stranded in Zaandam. For a moment I thought about doing the Zaansche schans instead of the Cheese Market, but did not want to go there unprepared and was still looking forward to cheese.

On the way to the Cheese market

Cheese market Alkmaar

Fortunately I ended up in Alkmaar with a three-quarter of an hour delay. The Cheesemarkt is a 20-minute walk from the station right in the center of Alkmaar. Follow the mass of tourists and you will be there 😊. In the meantime there were more tourists on the way to the Cheese Market than I thought, but it wasn’t too bad on the big square. In the first instance, I was unable to access the weighing system, so I skipped it and moved on to the square, where I got a spot at the front and therefore had a good overview of the square and its action.

Walking with the cheeses what a chore! I would want to do it. Of course it is now touristy and no longer has a function, but you do get an impression of how the cheese market functioned in history.

The Cheese Museum

Don’t forget to walk into the Cheese Museum. Entrance fee includes a block of cheese. You get a picture of how cheese is made by a movie, posters and interactive screens. On the second floor there is a nice view over the square with the action. Don’t forget to just stand there and watch.

Cheese

Cheese weighing

Back outside the scale area was practically empty and I could see how people were weighed instead of cheese these days. They shout your weight very loud and you get a certificate with your weight. No, I did not feel the need to weigh myself there and get a certificate. So I looked at it and walked on.

You can also make a trip on the canals, but that is only possible with cash, pin is not accepted. And the nearest ATM was through the busy crowd to the other side and back. So I skipped it this time and walked smoothly through the streets of Alkmaar with a detour back to the station.

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Jump to a good talk

On last International women’s day I went to a talk in the library about how women should be a hero in their own life. As I was looking at the program I was annoyed that in the program there was a part about Jump. I thought someone came up with something stupid with Jumping and being a hero. So on the day itself as I was looking for a seat I was looking for a good escape seat for the jump. But as the program progressed I was still sitting when they called someone to the front to present the jump. No escaping no more .

The women introduced herself as Ineke and told us we were not going to jump. What a relief, but what was waiting a head? Ineke came up with a talking method and we were going to try it. The method is called Jump and consists of 7 steps. We needed to look for someone we didn’t know to do this with. Me and the girl next to me decided to do it together.

Step 1: The pledge

With the pledge everybody in the audience pledge that everything said tonight would stay there.

Step 2: Celebrate your achievements

We had 2 minutes to tell the other person about something we were proud of in our life. The other person was not aloud to say anything. It is awkward at first, but then you keep talking till the 2 minutes are over. After that you switch roles. And I had to listen to the achievement of the other person without commenting, congratulate or anything. Just listen. 

Step 3: Who are you now

Now it was time to tell the other person where you are in life and how you feel about it for 2 minutes. After that the other person was aloud to give you a compliment not feed back or advise. And we switched roles again so that the other person could do the same. 

Step 4: Where do you want to be

In 2 minutes you had to tell the other person where you wanted to be in life and which Jump you had to make. No reactions from the other person still. And we switched roles again.

Step 5: Tips and advise

Now you had to be the other person. So You started with I am name other person and would give an advise to yourself in the role of the other person in 2 minutes. Again no comments were aloud. Than you switched role again and the other person had to say My name is Guiselaine and would advise myself to do …. I was not aloud to comment and had to listen to the advice.

Step 6: Your decision

And now I was myself again and had to tell the other person in 2 minutes which were my next steps. For that I got applauded by the other person. And then it was her turn to tell her next step and I applauded her. Again no comments were aloud.

Step 7: Gratitude

And now it was time for the whole audience to call out what they were thankful for.

I am glad I stayed. It was weird at first to talk like that to each other, but it was also nice. I think that this way of talking is a good method to use more. And it is nice to listen and being listened at without judgment, advice or anything.

Remember the name: Jump from the Jump movement

Jump movement

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To hike more

Hiking Fair

At the end of last year I thought it was time to take a long walk every year over several days. So I bought the books about the Pieterpad and the Pieterpad project was born. The plan is to start at the end of March with the Pieterpad.

But what do you do after the Pieterpad? The Four Days of Marbella? Also on the agenda, but then …..

So I went to the Hiking fair (Wandelbeurs) in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. My wish was fulfilled. There was enough inspiration to hike my whole life. Unfortunately, mostly in Europe, but it is a start.

So I got to know enough routes on the fair to hike in the Netherlands and Southern Europe in the coming years. Although it wasn’t at the fair, I would like to hike the temple route in Japan too.

In a few years I will go again to the fair to get more inspiration again. If you are looking for hiking inspiration I would recommand you to go once to the fair.

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Free workspace in the Netherlands

Free working space

As an entrepreneur with no office, I am always on the look for working spaces. In the Netherlands I found three main places which I can make my office for a day or part of a day. All these places have free wifi.

University Library

Even if you are not a student (anymore) you can work in the university library. There are tables and chairs. There are 11 universities in the Netherlands I know of in which you can use the library as a non-student. The plus of the university library is their opening hours. On weekdays they open at 8 and closes at 22 hours. In the weekend they open at 10 and closes at 18 o’clock. So great hours for early and late starters. Toilets are free to use.

Public library

Another library you can use is the public library. The hours are less then the university library, but still good. The opening hours differ in each city. On Monday and Sunday most of them open late, 12 or 13 o’clock. It depends on the city if the toilet is free. Otherwise you pay 50 ct to go to the toilet. There is enough space and there are free newspapers to read.

Seats2Meet

The last one I use is Seats2Meet you pay here with Social Capital. Basically this means someone else working in Seats2Meet can ask you questions about your area of knowledge. When you reserve a space you have to fill in your expertise. Seat2Meet is an open space with tables you can use. There is free coffee and tea and toilet. It is a great way to get to know more entrepreneurs or other workers working there.

So next time instead of working at home try one of these options.

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Be good for yourself

Be good for yourself

With all the hikes I am planning on doing besides my business Databeet. I need to relax. So when I saw that ABNAMRO had a good deal with the program &Meer for a Spa day! I booked one. The Spa day is for free if you are a member of &Meer. Membership is free if you are a client with ABNAMRO.

You can choose which Spa Welness you want to go to and pay only a handlings fee. So I looked for Spa nearby and booked Spa Puur in Tilburg with a handlings fee of 8 euro. I couldn’t wait so I absorbed all the information about Spa Puur on the website.

On a nice warm and sunny February Sunday I went to Spa Puur. It was in one word Amazing. I tried all the inside saunas and baths. It was such a nice day that I sat on the terrace in the sun in my bathing suit and towel wrap around me.

There are 10 different type of saunas to try. For some you have to go outside in the garden. Those I didn’t do, but all the others inside I did each for quarter of an hour. You are just sitting there in your bathing suite absorbing the heat with nothing to do. So your mind relaxes and with that your body.

Between the saunas I did the baths. There was one with salt water in which you are supposed to float like in the dead sea. It was nice, but I wasn’t floating like I did in the dead sea when I visited Jordan. There is also a small pool that loop around going into the garden. A bit cold but nice to do. There are whirlpools and a lavender bath in which you can sit. All in nice temperatures. But one bath I didn’t do. Yes if you know me you know which one, the ice waters. No cooling down for me with ice water.

I had a nice time and would do it again if ABNAMRO has a deal again. I opted to go on a bathing suite day and would do that again. If you have ABNAMRO don’t forget to use this deal. There are Wellness everywhere in Holland, so there must be one near you to use.

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Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate everywhere

Chocolate festival

In Ecuador, a lot of years ago, I had the opportunity to make my own chocolate on a cacao farm. We harvest a cacao fruit and peeled the cacao. The cacao we had we pulverized. To get some sugar we had to walk the sugar cane mill. The cacao, the sugar and some milk made a delicious chocolate milk. Better then you can get in stores. I can still taste it in my mind…

Chcocolate tasting

Chocolate tasting

So when I saw that there was a chocolate festival in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, I had to go. Nothing better then source chocolate. So Saturday 23 February I went to the festival and tasted chocolate till I was nauseous.

The difference is that the chocolate in Ecuador and at the festival was pure no artificial ingredients added. You can still taste a bit of the bitterness. I had a lot of chocolate bars, hot chocolate, beer with chocolate, sausage with cacao and cheese with cacao. Also I had for the first time cacao juice from the fruit. I already had tasted how good the cacao fruit is in Ecuador and Cuba and now the juice. It is a pitty you can’t get the juice in shops yet.

Cacao fruit juice

Good & Bad in Chocolate industry

There were a lot of chocolate with a statement. Rokbar chocolate 100% made and owned by women, empowering of women. Tony’s Choconally with their 100% slave free chocolate.

There was also an environment organization Mighty, which makes sure we know that not all chocolate are produced environment friendly. A lot of bush has disappeared for cacao plantations. This are mono plantations destroying the habitat in which monkeys and other animals live.

More and more chocolate producers and supermarket chains in the world are committing to selling chocolate that tackle issues as deforestation, sustainability and human right issues. In the Netherlands these chocolates are not common yet, but will be in a few years as the chocolate market is changing.

Chocolate with a issue

A resolution

With the fasting period coming up I am making a resolution to myself to only buy chocolate that tackles issues from now on. Are you going to do that to? They cost a bit more, but they taste better and are friendly to humans, animals and our environment.

 

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Street art also on the Island of Curacao

Streetart festival Curacao

Graffiti vs Street art

In almost any city you can find Graffiti. Sometimes this street art, when it is painted with permission. Another difference is that Street art is most of the time more than only words, imaged based.

Famous street art

El Bocho

On my travel I have seen some beautiful street art. In Melbourne there was street art of Banksy. In Berlin you have el Bocho who drew Little Lucy killing her cat in different manners. In Eindhoven you have Lempke, the smiling bulb.

Lempke

Street art Festival

On Curacao there is some street art. Mostly in Punda and Otrobanda made by artist. But this time young talents got to show their work in the Streets of Punda with the street art festival held for the first time. The youngsters showed their talents painting the Streets in Punda and some were even aloud to paint murals. It was nice to see. A pity the festival wasn’t visited by a lot of people. There was one painting which stood out, a drawing of a shoe. If you stood in certain angel, you could see the shoe in 3D.

I hope these youngsters get to show their talents in an annually street art festival in Punda and maybe some murals. I will follow how the street art in Curacao will develop, but in the mean while I will look for street art on my travels.

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Curaçao vs Netherlands

I lived both in Curaçao as the Netherlands. So, I am entitled to compare the two with each other.

Public transport

I love the Netherlands for its public transport. It’s good and on time, but too expensive. At bus stops there are signs with bus numbers on it and timetables with the schedule. Curaçao has stops, but no timetable at the stops. So, 1 point for the Netherlands.

Bus stop Curacao

Weather

The changing of seasons has something beautiful, but I dread the cold and all-day rain. It can sometimes rain all day in the Netherlands. On Curaçao it is almost every day the same weather, around 28 degrees and Sunny. And when it rains it is mostly not all day and the temperatures are still good. So, 1 point for Curaçao.

Going to neighboring countries

On Curacao you have only one choice to leave the Island and that’s by flight or flight. In the Netherlands you can take a car to Belgium or so. Or the train to Germany or so. Another option is taking the bus to England or so. A bit further you can take the plane. 2-1 for the Netherlands.

Mondi

Nature

Both have very beautiful nature, but very different from each other. In Holland you can see forest, meadow and moorland. And most of the time it is not faraway. On Curacao you have ‘mondi’, forest of mostly cacti. You have also the beautiful sea with its corals. So it’s a tie on this one.

Nature Holland

Fruits

I am biased on this one. Although you can get almost any fruit in Holland. Nothing beats picking fruits from your own garden. Especially if they are tropical fruits. Fruits from the garden taste better than fruits from the supermarket. Two points for Curaçao on tropical garden fruits.

fruits

Hike

Curaçao is a car Island. it’s accomodated for cars. There are a few places you can hike. The Netherlands although it’s flat you can hike almost everywhere in nature or the city. So one point for the hiking options in the Netherlands.

Hike

It seems like we have a tie. Each one has it’s pros and cons. What else can you compare for these two?

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