Summer Hols part 2: Pilsen & Mariánské Lázně

Next morning we got the train to Pilsen to see our friend Annie, and her baby Oli! The train stopped for an unexplained length of time at a red light, so we were a bit late, but luckily so were they.

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Mum & Dad visited Nijmegen for the first time at the end of May/Start of June, which meant I did some tourist-y stuff!

On their first day we visited Velorama, the national bike-museum, which has a large collection of old-timey bicycles and various accessories. We enjoyed nosing at the bikes, and looking at the early drawings, showing women on bicycles as lewd and improper (too independent on their bicycles obviously), looking at the early boneshakers (so called, because they had metal wheels and were therefore pretty uncomfortable to ride), a whole range of different big-wheel, small wheel versions, more carriage like bikes with the wheels on either side of the seat, until they developed the chain system we all know.

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"Banksy does Brexit (detail)" by dullhunk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dutch language part 2: fantasy press release / Nederlands taal deel 2: fantasie persbericht

Fantasy press release

To prove I can actually write Dutch at least, here’s a fantasy press release I wrote for my B2-C1 course. An English translation is underneath.

Om te tonen dat ik echt Nederlands (ten minste) kan schrijven, hier is een fantasie persbericht dat ik voor mijn B2-C1 cursus heb geschreven. Engelse vertaaling onderaan.

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Aspects of Life NL: Language

When living in Belgium, I did a few “Aspects of Life” posts, to give some insight into the mundane, everyday bits of living in a foreign country. It only seems a good idea to revive that series now for the Netherlands.

In my post on Language in Belgium, I said:

I’ve only recently started learning Dutch so my understanding of the differences [ between Dutch and Flemish] is limited, but I am probably developing more of a Flemish accent (soft, rather than more guttural g’s)..”

Since then (that was published in March 2017), I took evening classes in Dutch for 18 months till I left Brussels, reaching approximately B1 level (check here if you don’t know what that means). However, in Brussels I didn’t have that much opportunity to practice, apart from with Emmie, and my level wasn’t really good enough for us to have a real conversation. Before I started taking lessons in Brussels, I used to say that I had supermarket Dutch, because everything in the Brussels supermarket was bilingual, so I was used to reading it, even if I wasn’t used to hearing or speaking it.

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Spring Gathering 2019 Photo Journal

I’ll stick with the format of last year – a photo (ish) a day (10 in total), since it makes my job easier. So much happens at gatherings, it’s hard to remember it all, and to record it all in interesting way, so we’ll stick with giving you a snapshot (geddit?)

This year’s spring gathering took place in Peski, a tiny village in Russia, on the Gulf of Finland. It was beautiful, helped by the unseasonably warm weather. You can find the epistle and the minutes (and eventually the photos I guess) on the EMEYF website here. I’ve also written a report for EMES, which will be available in their publication Among Friends, later this year.

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Photo journal: Russia pt. 2 – St Petersburg

I sort of dipped in and out of St Petersburg, rather than having a single block of time there – Emmie and I had a morning there before going to Spring Gathering, we had a day trip during the gathering, and I had an afternoon, and a short morning before heading on to the next leg of my journey..

Overall impression

St P was more comparable to a western European city, in terms of the scale and architecture, how close everything was pressed together. It definitely felt like the former imperial capital it is. Although it was prettier and less Soviet than Moscow, it was also bit scruffy like it wasn’t being taken care of as much as Moscow. The canals also helped increase the attractiveness.

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