Category Archives: Traditions

Whatever the weather…..

The the recent wet weather has caused havoc in many EU countries, and for the first time in my memory (not that this says very much…) my home city of Groningen has had to resort to sandbags to stop the rising waters from flooding parts of the city.  OK, I know that the Netherlands is […]

St. Nicholas rides again…..

It has been unseasonably warm this autumn and it’s hard to believe that we are only 3 weeks away from the winter equinox. Despite the glorious sunshine though, the days seem shorter than ever, so it must be true. One thing that confirms the time of year is the fact that people in the Netherlands […]

The Herring has landed…..

The first herring of the season, freshly caught, arrived yesterday afternoon in the Dutch fishing port of Scheveningen. If you’re not from the Netherlands this little fact may not mean much to you, but to many Dutch people it means everything. Herring, or more specifically the eating of herring, is almost an institution in Holland, […]

A Right Royal Party!

Tired of all the Royal Wedding planning in the UK? Fancy a Royal Party with a difference? If so, then read on… 🙂 In neighbouring the Netherlands preparations are in full swing for something completely different.  It is the annual celebration on the 30th of April, when the Dutch celebrate Koninginnedag, (‘Queen’s Day’).  Having grown […]

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow…..

After 21 years of living in Bristol, this is the first year we have a serious cold snap leading up to the festive season and a real possibility of a white Christmas. As I am writing this, I can only glimpse out of my attic window if I squint enough to sneak-peek through the snow […]

Coast to Coast

I have to admit it: I don’t much like beaches. The thought of sand sticking to my skin is not very appealing, and I really dislike not knowing what is underneath my feet when I walk into the sea… Of course none of this makes any sense to my kids, who love nothing better than […]

Ghosts and Ghouls, Saints and Souls

I wonder if you have packed away the pumpkin yet and cleared all those cob-webs from your ceiling that decorated that all-time great Halloween Party… Or did you try hard to ignore this autumn festival, thinking it is an Americanism that shouldn’t be encouraged? I have to own up right here and now that we […]

Midsummer Madness

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting train journeys we have taken during our backpacking holidays was the sleeper train from Tampere in Finland) to Rovaniemi, high up in the Arctic Circle.  We didn’t expect much really – a sleeper train after all is just the replacement of a bed in a hostel and […]

Images of Romania

As my plane sets off from Vienna Airport, heading south-east towards Romania, I am reminded of the fact that the river Danube travels through large parts of central Europe. Keen enthusiasts will know that if you follow ‘the great blue’ from start to finish, you will pass through cities such as Linz and Vienna (both […]

Happy Easter!

Homes in the Netherlands go yellow overnight, Germans hang a wreath on their front doors, hot cross buns are on sale in all UK shops and the Spanish have started their Semana Santa (Holy Week) complete with parades presenting the story of the Passion of Christ, and nazarenos wearing those pointy hoods. It must be […]