Sunday, January 31, 2016

HOTSPOT Bairro Alto

As Bairro Alto has become a classic among all hotspots in Nijmegen, it should naturally be featured on my blog. Bairro Alto is nearly in the same street as my boyfriend's apartment, so I could easily convince him to have lunch with me "down the street".
We love Bairro Alto for its lovely interior surrounded by bright white walls and a wooden floor. Especially nice is their "butterfly wall". It all looks so simple but so neat! I love it!!
It's the perfect place to have a relaxing cup of coffee, a piece of their delicious sticky salted caramel brownie, or a slice of bread covered by a salad (strictly speaking, it's a sandwich). Most of all: Bairro Alto is on a side path from market square, and this way Bairro is even more distinguished from the more-of-the-same lunchrooms up there. So next time you visit Nijmegen, just know that the less standard coffee bar is nearer than you might think!

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Eva came of age so we had to celebrate. Big Time.

A report of some girls who went out & a quick guide to nightlife in Nijmegen.

Eva & I

Eva & Noa

When my best friend Eva turned 18 last month, the final one of my high school friends was actually an adult now. At least law-wise (as a future psychologist I don't consider 18 year olds as fully fledged grown-ups yet). So to celebrate that Eva was now considered an adult by law, we went into town to do anything that the law has forbidden for the under-aged. (I'm just kidding). 

After having a delicious three course dinner at Eva's place, me, Eva, our friend Noa and some others of Eva's friends, started off the night at Olround to do some (magic) bowling. I don't know how that is so much fun - because I'm terrible at it! - but it must be, because I keep coming back to that place. I guess it's the fact that we managed to win some free shot rounds by being the most enthusiastic team (we were great at pretending as if we were bowling fanatics just to get free shots). 

So after the bowling at 1am-ish we headed to town, and for all of you who are not familiar with nightlife in Nijmegen, here's a quick guide: the best places to go out at when you're in Nijmegen (in my opinion). Overall, the good thing about Nijmegen is that it is a rather small town, so all the bars are in one area (except for this one place, De Buurman, that we liked to come when we were not legally old enough to get in, but everyone knew De Buurman didn't do much ID checking. Now that the struggles of being under-aged are over, we sometimes come there because of the cheap beer and shots), so for lazy asses like me it's perfect, but the fact that it is so small might be why it appeals more to insiders than outsiders: what makes it so fun, is that you are quite likely to run into someone familiar. When I go out with my friends, the group pretty much scatters in the area, because we know, in the end, we will all be reunited outside in front of all the bars where everyone ends up eventually.

Stretto, popularly known as "Sletto" (for obvious reasons - not true, of course), is commonly hated by a large portion of the nightlife crowd, but this bar is of sentimental value to me. I used to go to a somewhat preppy high school in Nijmegen and Stretto would always be the place where the entire school (figuratively) would meet up when going out on the weekends. Now that everyone has moved out of town to go to college, Stretto is the place where everyone would see each other once again when staying at the parents' house on the weekends. So whenever I go out, I like to go back to the place because you can be sure there will be some old friend that you haven't talked to in a while to catch up with. I guess that is what makes Stretto so fun: the fact that it is more of a reunion-like gathering.

NDRGRND is a bar that's actually underground - in a basement, to be exact. They just renovated the place so I can't tell you what it's like now, but I expect it to be even better than it was before. On Friday nights they have live music by yet unknown bands. Some of the bands that played at the NDRGRND before, when they were not widely known yet, are now popular band in the country (like Kensington, De Staat, Go Back To The Zoo), and after the band performance, a DJ takes over, and you'll most likely be listening to festival hits for the rest of the night.This place is considered as slightly alternative by most of the nightlife crowd, but I really like to come down here.

Billabong is by far my favorite place in the nightlife area of Nijmegen. It might be the only club in the area that actually hires capable discjockeys (like my friend Bjorn Haver), and also the only place where you can be sure not to hear terrible sing-along songs. It's mostly house and deephouse, and the DJs don't just pick the songs and press play, there are actually clean transitions and stuff, which I support thoroughly. If it was just up to me we would go to this place every night for the entire night.

Then there are also the clubs that have the bigger events (the ones you usually buy your ticket for in advance). Music venue Doornroosje may be my favorite. There are different kind of events, like concerts, and dance events that they have several times a year by different organizations, like Chocolade (Hip Hop, R&B), Give it Dub (Dubstep), Subcultuur (underground house), Night Shift, NooN, and Metro Kollektief. We (as in, me and my friends) love Planet Rose (techno), but I think that everything in Doornroosje is good... There's just a good ambiance (although some people say they liked the "old Doornroosje" better - when Doornroosje was still in a different, not as modern building and perhaps less commercialized, but that was before my time so I don't really care). I also was there at some concerts, like Navarone and DeWolff which were so much fun as well - I just can't remember a time I was there and I didn't have fun. Great night guaranteed.

Oh, also worth to mention: during the best week of the year for all inhabitants of Nijmegen (I'm talking about de Vierdaagse, or Four Days Marches, when like 50 thousand people walk 40-50 kilometres a day four days in a row just for fun - how is that the best week of the year, you might think - the true reason why this is a great event for the non-walkers under us: the Vierdaagsefeesten / Zomerfeesten: one week, the third week of July to be exact, in which the entire town (literally) is turned into one big festival area, with stages on every single square and in every single park, events 7 days in a row, 24 hours a day (if you're diehard) - the "party of the year" slogan they put on all the advertisement posters is not just a marketing ploy) during this week, Doornroosje has one party each night of that week, every night a different event, so that you whenever the outdoor stages close down (12-1am ish), and you don't feel like going into a way too crowded bar, you have another option to spend the rest of the night at.

Merleyn is not exactly part of Doornroosje, but they collaborate a lot. Merleyn is different than Doornroosje in that it is way smaller, but some of the organizations have their events at both Merleyn and Doornroosje, just on a smaller scale in Merleyn. Nevertheless Merleyn is a great addition to nightlife in Nijmegen.

De Kube & De Vasim
Then there are De Kube and De Vasim. They are 2 different places but at the same time they are quite familiar because they both used to be a factory and I guess you could say they are neighbor-ish. Nowadays the empty factories are used for all kinds of events, and you can organize your own event there too if you're in the mood.
De Kube is in the Honigcomplex, what used to be the Honig factory. Different organizations rent the place to have their event, like Ti-Ta-Techno and The Matrixx (they used to have a huge club but now they're just doing festivals and events, like Emporium and Dreamfields, which are awesome), both from Nijmegen, but also Nachtcollege and more. There are also events like markets, for example SMKMRKT, about which I wrote a blogpost before. The sad thing is: De Kube is only temporary, they'll remain a "cultural hotspot" until 2022 (not sure what is going to happen to it next, not sure if I want to know - it will probably be a loss).
De Vasim, like De Kube, has all kinds of events, including festivals like Drift Festival, but also things like a Rollerdisco (a party where everyone wears roller skates, how awesome is that? unfortunately I haven't been able to go yet because of exams).

I guess lately I'm more into festivals and events than into going out, partly because of the music quality, partly because bigger events are not held in stinky, small bars.

Speaking of stinky: try to avoid this bar called TweeKeerBellen, it smells like stinky feet! Some people say you get used to the smell after a while, but I still wouldn't want to be there just because I know the smell is still there, even though my neurons hardly respond to it anymore. Another bar that I would avoid if I were you: de DrieGezusters (especially on the weekend), unless you like a real life Tinder 'meat inspection'! (the Basement, which is an actual basement, is in de DrieGezusters so you might want to cross de DrieGezusters' dance floor to get there, but other than that, I wouldn't).

Other places that are alright to go to: Cafë de Fuik (which is a main sponsor of the association for psychology students so that's why), El Sombrero (I guess I should mention this one here because Mitchell likes to go there, so I think I can safely say it can be considered as alright) and Heidi's Skihut (it's connected to de Driegezusters by a doorway - just don't cross it).

But in the end: I love Nijmegen, but an evening can get as fun as you want it to be, you make it! Still Nijmegen will be the kind of town that will help you with that :) After all, Nijmegen is, for a great deal, a students' town, and that also sets the tone, because college is the best time of your life, so you'll mainly see people having the time of their lives in Nijmegen! Isn't that creating positive ambiance?

See you soon, then :-)!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

HOTSPOT Li O Lait [Brugge]

Li O Lait. Although me and Mitchell both started to get really annoyed by their customers service, their breakfast compensated for it greatly. The yogurt with granola and fruits and honey was really good and I liked the little jar they put it in, and so was my bacon-with-eggs (or is it eggs-with-bacon?) bagel. The interior matched the kind of place a person wants to lunch at nowadays: different chairs and tables, not one of them matching, books on shelves and cans on fireplaces. I liked the way they presented the food: juices in jars with neon-colored curly straws, tin mugs, sandwiches in baskets wrapped in a news paper sheet. The person who came up with that knew what he/she was doing (but they should reconsider hiring new employees - we felt as if they didn't even  notice their customers!) But oh well, we had a breaky that was really goody, so still blogpost-worthy!

This month has been really busy for me - mainly school -, so I've been postponing all my other plans to February, just to come to conclude now that February will be just as busy for me because of all the postponing :) My week-by-week planner really scares me off. The good thing is that February will be more of the fun stuff and less of the school stuff, so that'll be good. But nevertheless it scares me how fast my days are passing by, I feel as if I can't really keep up... I've come to realize that I will never ever have enough time to do all that I wish to do. I guess this is some kind of life crisis that I am in, the one you get when you are adult-ish but not fully realizing it as yet. (Now I finally start to understand why some people are so nostalgic about their childhood. I never appreciated childhood that way because I felt that independence was of much more importance than not having to worry about a thing, but now I get that there is something romanticized about being able to say "when I grow up I will be a singer/actress/superhero/anything else realistically impossible" and not having anyone telling you all the concerns that should be considered first.)

Instead of slowing things down, we happily booked our flight tickets to Bangkok (I nearly tried to translate that as Bangcock, wow I feel so stupid) - Mitchell and I will be backpacking the country for three weeks (I thought, if I wasn't going to do a gap year after high school, I would do my traveling in parts every summer break - I guess it's actually happening now). I am so excited because it has been on my wishlist since forever. If any of you has any tips about Thailand or backpacking in general, please let me know :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

TRAVEL: Brugge part 2

While in my last post I published pictures of Brugge in daylight, this post is dedicated to the pictures that I took by night, plus some pictures of "the swan lake". When sun goes down, especially around christmas, Brugge gets really pretty and cozy, with christmas lights everywhere - the kind of place you want to be at around christmas time. I know christmas is like a month behind us - (I'm secretly glad it's over. We all still feel sick of our christmas dinners and candies - and we didn't shed a tear when we saw the christmas tree go, because even though we all love christmas, our love is limited - in this case, a good thing, for if it wasn't, christmas all year around would become boring and we would definitely loose that special christmas feeling in our tummies that reappears near the end of every year - well, I think everyone has it, but I may be too young to know and maybe it won't reappear in my tummy one year and I'll realize I'm old) - but even so, I'm just making some recommendations for next christmas break.

I also took a lot of pictures of beautiful white swans and the one below is my favorite:

This happy face lights up my world every day.

I finally created a Chapter75 Facebook page for you to like & so I could post blog updates on there instead of spamming my non-interested Facebook friends on my personal feed. So,make sure to check it out :) click here to visit the facebook page.

Now I'm about to watch a new episode of Orange Is The New Black, the first series ever that I am committed to - sort of. I never used Netflix for watching series before because I'm always too busy doing things that are higher on my list of priorities than watching series (or doing sports) is, but Mitchell and I had come to the point where I kinda didn't spend enough quality time on him or undivided attention to him, so I had come to think that watching a series together would solve this problem - and it has proven to be an improvement on the situation. At first, he was a bit skeptical about the idea (we both were not really into watching series), but by now he's really into Orange Is The New Black - more than me, honestly. Even though I really like Orange Is The New Black, I guess getting an Netflix addiction is not for me - but still I feel dedicated to watch all episodes, even though it may just be because we're watching it together.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

TRAVEL: Brugge part 1

Hi you guys! I'm a real mess when it comes to picture editing. I've been forced to procrastinate it due to my giant pile of study material and deadlines. And even now, while I'm writing this, I should actually be doing something else. I may need to sort out my priorities. However, I'm happy I'm finally able to share with you my trip to Brugge during Christmas break. Brugge is such a beautiful, historical city - me and Mitchell had the best time going around its narrow alleys and paved roads. When I was little, I visited Brugge with my parents, during Christmas break as well, and I have always treasured good memories about the place, especially about the ice rink they put up around christmas every year (this year, unfortunately, rain had made it soaking wet, and it didn't appear pleasant to me to skate on it). Even though I remembered Brugge as a very nice city, I didn't particularly remember how pretty it actually is. But it really is, and as you might guess it is also quite a fine destination for romantic purposes :-).

The train took us up there, and I filled up my time by taking these pictures. We both don't really mind traveling by train. Actually I think it can be really fun if you bring the right travel partner along.

We really liked the advent market. They sold Belgian waffles with nutella and we had several ones of those. I guess that's where my Nutella addiction must have started. I always thought a Nutella addiction was something ridiculous, but ever since I'm in college and poor, and not able to afford Nutella anymore, I'm craving it every day. I guess it takes losing something to realize what it's really worth.

I've got more pictures ready & coming up on the blog soon!