A peek into my life for my friends all over the world!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter in Schiermonnikoog

Making the most of a 4 day weekend due to Easter, me and some of my closest friends here in the Netherlands rented a house in Schiermonnikoog, Friesland. Schiermonnikoog is the smallest island in the Netherlands, it's located all the way in the north of the country and it's only 12kms long, it's also the less densely populated in the Netherlands- quite something considering that this is a rather highly densely populated country- having had to reclaim land to the sea!

In order to get to Schiermonnikoog we had to drive a little over 2 hours all the way to the north, passing through the "Afsluitdijk" and there we left the cars in a parking just next to the Ferry station. Then we took a 45 minute ride in the Ferry to the island. Once there we took a 5 minute bus ride to the centre of the town.

We arrived to one of the main hotels where we got our hotel keys...and guess what we had to wak about 2 minutes to get to our house! We were "down town"- if you want to call it that way. The town is so tiny and so cute...I felt like being in some kind of fairy tale... it brought me back to my childhood when I used to read tales and they had some pictures...because the houses looked all like that. It was so hard to think that people lived like that, as you will see in the photos.

The first evening we had a little surprise party for Eline as she had had her birthday only 2 days earlier while being on a business trip in India. So we brought a cake, some decorations and a gift. We had a very nice dinner and we spent most of the evening playing the "name game"- which is a combination of charades and some other game that involved guessing famous people. We had a really nice time.

On Saturday we decided to discover the island so after a a nice brunch we headed into town where we bought some local pastries in the bakery and then we had a really nice and VERY fresh walk towards the beach. It was SO windy!!!! When we got to the shore it was almost impossible to hear anything else but the wind...and it was so cold! Lets say that when we went back home a couple of hours later we all discover the real use of a hot chocolate.

That evening we decided to try the Schiermonnikoog cuisine and we headed to a really nice restaurante where we had some delicious dinner. Then we went back home to proceed with our "name game" and some drinking....at about 11pm we decided to "hit the town". We went to THE pub which was really funny because it appeared like the whole town was there....the spread of ages was rather big and funny enough we found out that our waiter from earlier that day was dating the girl that sold us postcards earlier that morning ;-) After a drink in the pub we decided to go to the "disco"...which was literally 2 houses away from ours. We were the first ones there and an hour later the music was in full swing and we had really quite some fun dancing around with the locals. Of course towards 3am, when everybody had already gone back home and it was only Joost and me being the die hards and we heard the DJ congratulating a guy who had just turned 16....we kind of felt a little old and we decided to call it a night. Not without first buying "from the wall" (that's a typical Dutch thing where they place very greasy snacks in some kind of wall vending machine) a kroket and a "Kaas souffle"- actually I just found this in You Tube and it might give you a better understanding.

The next morning it was Easter Sunday and we woke up to the surprise that the heating was not working...it was snowing outside so as you can imagine, it was FREEZING!!! And you can see that we had our Easter brunch with our jackets and even hats, while someone came over to fix it- because that also meant we didn' thave hot water. Thank God that was fixed afterwards. We shared a really nice brunch full of nice delicious things and lots of chocolate eggs and bunnies...you see the Easter bunny came to visit us the night before and we even had an egg hunt in the living room. It was all rather festive ;-)

Later that day we split into 2 groups: Laurent, Nayeli, Eline and Joost decided to go for a walk and Geert Jan, Fee, Italo and me decided to rent bikes and explore the island. For this we rented Tandem bikes and we did cycle quite a lot and went to different parts of the island. Unfortunately after about an hour it started snowing and we decided to stop until the snow would stop (click here for a video)...however after over 20 mins waiting, the snow was only getting heavier, so we decided to cycle back. Trust me, cycling with a snow storm and lots of wind is not fun. The snow was coming from our left and it kept poking my left eye, so I ended up closing my left eye and looking only through the right....the snow turned into hale and we were almost turning into ice cubes. We only had to do about 4.5kms...but God were they hard. When we got back home I had a really hot shower...but it was unbelievable how cold I was, my legs were just red and still cold. Afterwards we had hot chocolate and we sat in the living room with the heating to the max, with lots of clothes and just waiting for our bodies to warm. It took a couple of hours but we managed. Now looking back...it was kind of fun.

Later that night we had a really nice dinner and then we continues with our Name Game. We really became addicted...we played guys against girls, Latins against Europeans, singles against couples, random teams. Whatever the teams we just had a blast and a big laugh.

On Monday after clearning the house we went for a last walk in which the weather changed about every 5 minutes from snow, hale to sun...but it was still nice. At 4pm we headed towards the Ferry and then we drove back to Amsterdam.

All in all a really great weekend, with a great bunch of people (I have wonderful friends here, thank you guys for being how you are!), in a really nice place. Always nice to discover new places!

And as usual, below the photos. If you click on them you will launch Picasa for a bigger version of them!