HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Happy New Year from the NL!! Sorry my blog has been quiet lately, it’s not the lack of (mis)adventures, I’ve just not been on the computer very much, I’ve been on my tablet & phone much more. I’m also learning to embrace Apple, but that is another posting….
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I rang in the new year quietly, visiting with some friends before midnight then coming to home to see the big drawing for the annual national lottery (49.9 Euros after taxes) we only won 10 Euros, not quite enough for McDonalds (yes we have fast food, yes that’s another blog entry) and even less than the chance we bought 30 Euros.
For the past week, we have been getting firework shows and firecracker pops just like back home in Kentucky the weeks leading up to the 4th of July. According to the news, 65 million Euros were spent on fireworks in a country of 16 million people. Generally, the fireworks did not go on sale until just before Christmas and all that was bought more or less in about a week and a half. Of course, after dark on December 31 was when the show began, and strangely, just before midnight everything got quiet, eerily quiet. Just after midnight the war started. It made July 4th look like a warm-up act. The fireworks were steady from all directions for 2 hours straight. In addition to the firecrackers (including Cobras, like Cherry Bombs and just as illegal) there were fireworks shot up in the air for nearly 2 hours, from our balcony we have a view of Rotterdam, a city of about 1 million people, and we saw fireworks shooting up from there, I have a clip of the view from our kitchen that is posted here. A few neighbors were also shooting fireworks, but in the condo complex it ended around 01.00. I was honestly surprised at the amount of fireworks that I saw, the consensus from family & friends was it was about the same all across the region. The official fireworks shows were over in 10 minutes max, so the government can’t put on anything like Thunder Over Louisville, but the individuals certainly entertained us for hours.
New Years Day we slept in, but got up and had a quiet day, Ilka’s parents came to visit for a cup of coffee and we made reservations for dinner at a sushi restaurant. We aren’t sushi eaters, but they had some really good selections from their warm menu.
Dutch New Year traditions
Although we celebrated quietly, others in the NL celebrate differently. As you can see in the photo, a long-standing tradition is swimming in the ocean on New Years day. It is a huge event attended by 51.000 in over 100 official locations all across the coast. The one pictured here is one the nations largest at Scheveningen, being held for the 58th year. According to the news the water was a relatively warm 8.5C (43F) compared to previous years. The Orange hats were provided by food maker Unox, they also select the “Unox Babe” of the year who is chosen during the “Dive” as it is called.
Also the tradition we did enjoy was the tradition of eating oliebollen (a sweet, deep fried dough ball usually with raisins) and appelflappen (an apple tart) both served warm with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.