City trip: Gouda

A couple of weeks ago – actually way back in March I went to Gouda and I never got around to writing about this city trip. Let’s say better late than never – and get this thing done.

Gouda is one of the bigger cities in the county of Zuid Holland, the city has world fame because of their cheese – Gouda cheese. I’m pretty sure that most people have heard of this particular type of cheese – I recently noticed Gouda cheese being used as one of the cheese’s on Master Chef Australia which is literally on the other side of the globe and in a television show as well. Gouda’s traditional cheese market is a real spectacle, unfortunately the traditional Cheese Markets are only held on Thursdays in the spring and summer while I was there on a Saturday. So I wasn’t able to actually see the cheese market in it’s full glory however there was a regular market in the square. Overseen by the 15th century Town Hall.

Gouda is a beautiful old city, with these very old stately buildings, which is what I love about these types of cities. Old buildings give a city such a special vibe, it always makes me wonder what these buildings have seen throughout history. If buildings were able to tell their stories who knows what they would have to tell us, I’m sure it’ll be interesting.

I walked quite a long way through the city center as well as the other parts of Gouda. There is a lot of water in and around Gouda and while I was walking through the other parts of Gouda I spotted a Heron. I just had to take a picture, usually you spot these birds outside of the city.

If you ever plan on visiting Gouda I would recommend to do so on a Thursday, especially if you love cheese. Of course buying the cheese in a city like this is possible any day of the week but if you have the chance visit the cheese market. Even though I wasn’t able to see it this time I’m sure that I will go there on a Thursday if I have the chance to see the spectacle.

April in hindsight

April_2017

I know the month of May is almost over and I still haven’t written my ‘April in Hindsight’ post. I know, I know I’m not doing very well on that department.

April has been a strange month, it has been a collection of high’s and lows even more so than normally. One day I was celebrating a birthday and the next I was paying my last respects to someone. It’s the way life goes I guess but it remains a strange situation to be in, especially since it was literally one day to the next.

City trips

April is always an extremely busy month for me in general lots of birthdays and of course Eastern so in general besides working and those engagements I don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. So I didn’t make any city trips this past month and in fact I don’t have any planned for May either. Nevertheless I wanted to keep the routine going and I think it’s a shame that I couldn’t but it just didn’t work out.

Besides that I still owe you a post about my Gouda trip. I really need to get my shit together and get things going, don’t I?

Reading and writing

I read Lindsey Stirling’s book and I really enjoyed reading it. In my opinion everyone could read this book and take away some good advice from it. Peaked you interest? Head over and read my review to find out what I mean by that.

I’ve been reading the second book in the When Women Were Warriors series – A Journey of the Heart. I am really enjoying these books it’s a wonderful story about strong women and a journey to adulthood. I’m still convinced that it’s better to read the whole series of books before I write a review so yes you’re missing a book review. But that’ll be corrected once I’ve finished the second and the third book.

I didn’t get much writing done this past month, well I’ve written many many many whats app messages but I don’t think they count for any type of writing. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about my extreme increase of text messages this past month.

Looking ahead:

  • In less than a week I’ll be at the Hanson concert!!! So looking forward to that, they are celebrating the 25th anniversary as a band and it is my 20th year as a fan. MMMbop came out in 1997 and I love(d) that song! It’s a shame that they are not more known by an bigger audience these days because in my opinion they deserve it. But what can you do about it?
  • I finally made the arrangements for my holiday and in fact in less than a month from today I’ll be somewhere on a beach doing all kinds of fun stuff with a group of people who I don’t know at this point. We’ll see how that one turns out.
  • There are a lot of things I have to purchase for my trip into the unknown…  and I only have a month!

Book 3 – The only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling

2017_TheOnlyPirate

I’ve read a couple of autobiographies these past couple of years, not always by people who I admired for one reason or another. Sometimes it was just out of curiosity. I don’t know if other people do that? Maybe they don’t but I kind of enjoy reading autobiographies. For instance I would never consider myself a Nirvana fan – I like the music from time to time but that’s about it – I mean are there any ’90s teenagers who don’t love rocking out on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’? For me that song defines the early ’90s. Despite not considering myself a fan I was intrigued to read what his life was like and about his self-inflicted untimely death – what drove him to it. And that is how I found out that there was a huge story and underlying medical conditions which attributed to his drug abuse. Reading this made me more aware of the fact that drug abuse is not simply about the ‘high’ but that there could be so much more behind it.

I also read the autobiography ‘Yes, please‘ by Amy Poehler, not because I’m a huge fan, honestly I have hardly seen anything she’s done, apart from some sketches that got world fame where Amy Poehler and Tina Fey portrayed Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. They are hilarious, don’t get me wrong but it’s not like I’m following either one of their careers, but simply because I was intrigued. For some reason I just wanted to read it. But alas we’re getting off track this is supposed to be about Lindsey Stirling’s book.

Ever since ‘The only Pirate at the Party‘ came out I wanted to read it. And now that I have seen Lindsey perform live I wanted to read her book even more. She’s an interesting person in my opinion – one who portrays great strength which we can all learn from. Unfortunately the problem with autobiographies is that usually they are only read by fans, and that is a shame because there is a lot of good and sound advice in these autobiographies both on positive as well as negative topics. You could learn from mistakes they made and avoid them as well as improve knowledge on how to reach your goals for instance.

So what makes Lindsey Stirling an interesting person I hear you ask, especially since she’s ‘just’ a electronic violin player who dances on stage’? Well, she’s a very interesting electronic violin player – one who knows exactly what she wants and goes for it. I admire that in people – I wish that I was more like that. Lindsey is one of those people who are able to go out there and get what they want, despite what other people say or think of them. For me that always seems to be a struggle. I try to learn my lessons from these types of books. She’s not afraid to be herself – and she truly sticks with it. Sure she has her fair share of downfalls and not to mention enough self-doubt to compete with any one of us. But overcoming her fears and the way she’s presents herself as a very uniquely talented person are definitively what make her an interesting person to read about. Oh, did you ever see a random Lindsey Stirling behind the scenes video or Lindsey impersonating her biggest fan Phelba on YouTube? Those videos are hilarious and Lindsey Stirling tells the story of her life with that same kind of humor. Even when she’s talking about serious topics she manages to add a light tone of voice to her text.

I read this book on my tablet which was a great experience, every time there was talk about a certain song, clip or video I was able to look it up on YouTube instantly. The same goes for interviews and performances. If Lindsey Stirling didn’t put them online herself you can be sure that someone else uploaded them. Whether it’s a specific interview from a talk show or her performance at America’s Got Talent, you can find it all. Anyway being able to see the YouTube vids as soon as they are being mentioned in the book makes this a very interactive experience, one that I can truly recommend to anyone.

Besides that Lindsey’s way of telling her life’s story is often told in a very funny tone of voice, it’s as if you can literally hear her tell the stories while you’re reading them. The light tone in which she tells her story makes it an easy read. However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any serious undertones in what she’s talking about. There definitely is and that makes this book really worth reading. Especially since she doesn’t shy away from the hard times in her life, her constant struggle with staying healthy, the way that she was eliminated from America’s got Talent, her climb to fame and the loss of her best friend.

Stats:

YouTube Lindsey Stirling – Followers 9.329 707 (20 Mei 2007)

For all of music videos, behind the scenes, tour videos, collabs with other artists and many more videos you van find on Lindsey Stirling’s main video.

YouTube LindseyTime – Followers 470.241 (16 September 2012)

Is the channel where Lindsey allows you to get to know her better, you can see her on tour with her tour family, backstage videos and challenges among the crew members.

If Lindsey ever decides to write another book I will surely read it and I won’t wait this long to pick it up. This is a definite must read for every fan, but in my opinion also a very enjoyable read for anyone else who dreams of becoming famous, the next hit on YouTube or someone who just enjoys reading a good autobiography.

Lindsey Stirling might see herself as the only Pirate at the party, but I guess that in our own minds we all feel that way. And that is why you should read this book.

Saying goodbye

I’m a realistic person, at least I like to think so.

But sometimes something happens in your life and you start to doubt everything. Tomorrow will be the day that I have to say goodbye to someone, someone who I’ve known for quite some time and for the first time it is someone not from my immediate family and that is difficult.

My best friends’ mother past away last week. I can’t say that it was unexpected or anything. But the speed at which it happens was so quick, I don’t think anyone had expected it to happen this quick. She was sick and in January the doctors gave her a year to two years. However at the end of March she became extremely sick, she couldn’t hold anything down and lost a lot of weight. She contracted a bacteria and on top of that a virus. And no matter what the doctors did nothing helped. And last week she lost her battle.

I want to be there for my friend, but it’s difficult, I have no real experience and I don’t really know what to say or do – except offer my support. I was glad that I was able to see my friends’ mom before she passed away, that she knows that I was there and that she appreciated the fact that I was there. I will remember her radiant smile, despite her sickness her smile lightened up the room.

She was one tough cookie!

Going through something like this also makes you think of the ones you love. Those who are closest to you, in my case my parents, my sister and my grandma are the ones I’m closest too and I couldn’t wait to see them this weekend and give them all a hug. I told them – I don’t know how many times – that I love them.

Tell the people around you that you love them whenever you have the chance.

March in hindsight

March_2017

It’s only April 7th and I’m already working on my next ‘hindsight’ post. I’m proud of myself, I’m certainly making progress! 😉 Sometimes you just have to give yourself a slap on your shoulder, ain’t no one else going to do it for you if you don’t do it yourself.

That proud feeling didn’t last long, it’s now April 15th! And I still haven’t finished this post! That’s not good, I might as well start on my April in hindsight post already, enough has happened for a complete blog post and not all of it is good. Anyway, let’s do this.

City trips

I actually made two trips during the month of March, one to Amersfoort and one to Gouda (I still have to write that blog post) the city of cheese! That is probably what most people know the name Gouda from.

Concerts

One of the best experiences this month was when I was finally able to see Lindsey Stirling perform live on stage, of course I’d seen quite some performances on YouTube, she has after all a lot of performances available on her own YouTube channel as well as fans channels. It was a blast to see Lindsey live on stage.

I was really looking forward to Pinkpop, but after seeing the full line-up I was completely done with it. With more than 30 acts in total divided over three days it’s hard to believe that the line-up didn’t really please me. Some of the bands – the ones that I like are bands I’ve seen before – and the rest of the line-up didn’t really help. I’m not a ‘Belieber’ nor am I a huge Martin Garrix fan. So this years Pinkpop is not for me!

However I did score my next concert ticket! Hanson’s twenty fifth anniversary tour is coming to the Netherlands, and it’s in the best venue in the Netherlands – Paradiso Amsterdam.

Reading and writing

My writing has obviously been lacking, since I still have quite some catching up to do. One of the posts is of course the Gouda city trip and I think I still have one or two book reviews to write.

My reading however has been going better, I finished one book – The Warrior’s Path (When women were warriors #1) and started reading Lindsey Stirling’s book – The only Pirate at the Party. A wonderfully and inspiring book telling the story of Lindsey’s very interesting life and gives you an even better insight into this woman’s interesting life.

Gaming

I’ve been wanting to replay the Mass Effect series for a while now, however I never really got around to it. Now I am aware that I don’t need to replay the old series to start the new part since they are completely separate and I also know that we won’t get our precious Shepard to play with but I felt that I needed to replay them especially since all three games are backwards compatible on the Xbox One.

About that though, I started playing the first part and I was extremely annoyed. For some reason the game feels completely unplayable on the One, I’ve tried to make adjustments to the setting but nothing seems to help. When I first played the series I played them on my computer and I absolutely fell in love with the series for many reasons. It is actually the first game series that I played back to back from start to finish. And for that reason alone it will always have a special place in my heart. The other reason why I love this series is because you get to choose your character – male or female – always a huge plus if you ask me. Besides that this game allows you to choose love interest – even if that is a gay relationship. And I love that!

Looking ahead:

  • HANSON!!! Haha, yes the band made famous with their 1997 hit song Mmmbop is back! Well back is a big word, we fans know that they’ve never been gone to begin with they have always been making music, art projects, festivals and even their own beer – Mmmhop! And now they are coming here to perform live in Paradiso with their ‘Middle of Everywhere tour – the 25th anniversary tour’. Thanks for making us feel old guys! For them 2017 is their 25th year as a band, but for most fans 2017 marks the 20th anniversary as a fan. Since most of the world got to know them through Mmmbop.
  • I’m celebrating my 35th birthday in April … yes, thirty five. Ridiculous!
  • Still haven’t made up my mind about a vacation … really need to get my shit together!
  • At this moment I don’t really have any plans for a city trip, who knows what the future brings.

Concert: Lindsey Stirling

On March 12th 2013 the official video for ‘Radioactive’ by Pentatonix ft. Lindsey Stirling was released. Originally it’s a song by Imagine Dragons which I absolutely loved – I knew it from a Assassin’s Creed III commercial and as the theme song for Defiance, a television show and game which I used to watch and play. So when Pentatonix announced that they were taking on the song I was really happy I love their covers! At that point I was totally unaware of the phenomena that is called Lindsey Stirling, however that didn’t take long. As soon as I’d seen the video I needed to know more.

Who is Lindsey Stirling?

First and foremost she is a violin player, however that is not all she is not by a long shot/  She’s also an composer, dancer, performance artist, YouTube-star and she’s written a book. Just to name a few things. She is an incredibly funny and creative person. She’s an inspiration and I hope that she will forever remain the person she is today, she’s true to herself and believes in herself even when other people think that her ideas are strange and over the top. I admire that in the people around me, the fact that they – against all odds – believe in their own strength.

The jury on America’s Got Talent literally told her that her violin playing sounded like cat’s being strangled (the performance wasn’t her best – you can find it on YouTube – I admit that, but to come back from that and prove them wrong in every single way shows Lindsey’s strength) and to top it off they told her she would never sell out a show in in general but certainly not in Vegas. Which was the next step in the AGT show, Lindsey stranded as a quarter finalist in the 2010 run of the show. But in 2014’s run of the show Lindsey was standing on that very same stage, not as a contestant but as a performer asked by the show to fill in the time while the viewers could vote. And did she prove the jury wrong? You better believe it! That video of course can also be found online.

From there on out her fame grew and Lindsey Stirling is able to fill a concert hall where ever she goes. Even in the Netherlands – on the other side of the world, where you literally never hear Lindsey’s songs on the radio she’s able to sell out a venue! Simply by the fact that fans have found her on YouTube. This was the third time that Lindsey Stirling was in the Netherlands and the first time that I had a chance to see her. We were impatiently waiting in line before the concert started and the line was long … very long. Once we were inside it was an even longer waiting game till the concert actually started. But it was well worth the wait because the concert was top notch.

I was standing on the balcony which gave me a perfect overview of the whole venue as well as the stage. And what I saw made me so happy the group of people who had gathered to see Lindsey Stirling perform was so extremely diverse, there were kids as young as six or seven years old – obviously aspiring violin players – to an elderly lady with a walker – who seemed to be just as impatiently waiting as we all were. Finally the show started and what a show it was.  There was no opening act, so as soon as the first tones of the violin rung through the venue the crowd exploded and the energy coming off the stage was amazing.

Since this was the Brave Enough tour most of the songs played where from the Brave Enough album. The performance on the stage was strengthened by the video walls which covered most of the stage and let’s not forget about the dancers she had with her. Because Lindsey only plays the violin a show like this has to be set up differently than most other bands do. She needs more, and that is why the dancing strengthens her performance. Just imagine the kind of stamina you need to have to put down a show which lasts an hour and a half while you’re dancing and playing the violin all at the same time. Between songs she takes short breaks to tell about the song or her life. Or to talk about her experience on AGT, of course she jokes about the fact that 013 was sold out once again proving the jury wrong. Some of the talks were truly inspirational, or heartbreaking the one before Gavi’s Song was of course dedicated to her friend Gavi and her father who she recently lost. During Gavi’s Song the video walls were filled with video’s from Lindsey, Gavi and the rest of the crew.

I’m so glad that I was able to see Lindsey perform live, another artist I can strike off my list. Next time she’s in the Netherlands I want to see her again. That’s one thing that’s for certain.

City trip: Amersfoort

For my second city trip I choose Amersfoort, a city which is roughly 80 kilometers away from Eindhoven. Which is in all honesty really close if you think about it, but then again compared to some places literally everything in the Netherlands is nearby. However those 80 km away translate to about 100 km by car or train. I used one of my train tickets to get there which gave me some time to get some reading done.

It was a beautiful day – not as good as they said it would be, since it started to rain in the afternoon – and I was up really early which meant that I arrived in Amersfoort around half past ten in the morning. By train it takes about two hours to get there which tells you enough about the time that I woke up in the morning.

I choose Saturday for my trip and at Friday night I still wasn’t sure where I was going. I was thinking of a couple of different options, one being Vlissingen. Which is right next to the sea and I love going to the sea. But the trains weren’t going there that weekend due to some railroad work and that meant that I would have to take the bus instead and if there is one thing you don’t want to do is take the bus instead of the train. Because it takes at least double the time and that is quite generous.

So when that idea was off the table I started looking for other options and eventually decided on Amersfoort, in all honesty I didn’t know anything about Amersfoort so most of the information in the post I had to look up. Amersfoort is a city in the province or county of Utrecht. And it is the second biggest city of the county – after the city of Utrecht. It is the fourteenth biggest city in the Netherlands, but compared to Eindhoven  (the fifth biggest city) it feels rather small it really has more of a town feel to it. Perhaps that is because Eindhoven is industrial and ‘newer’ and Amersfoort (the city center at least) is old and still a lot of parts of the old city wall are visible. Like I said Eindhoven feels newer and more open but looking back in history both cities got their city rights in the 13th century so they have been basically around for the same amount of time. However that is pretty much where the comparison stops. It’s fun to learn these things about the Netherlands, I would have guessed that Eindhoven was much younger. We don’t have a whole lot of old buildings and that is exactly what makes a city like Amersfoort so charming. Don’t get me wrong, Eindhoven has other things I love – as I am writing this I’m sitting in one of the old industrial buildings that the city has given a new purpose. And I love this place you can often find me writing here. But I also love walking through old cities, venturing through small cobbled streets which get really slick when it rains. Those street where you if you look past the street signs, bikes and occasional cars can almost imagine what life must have been like in the old days. You can’t do that when you’re walking though Eindhoven, at least it’s hard to imagine anything beyond the beginning of the 20th century.

When I arrived at the railway station I started to make my way down the city center, I of course looked at some of the shops the city has to offer and at all the beautiful store fronts and restaurants. Amersfoort has the same feel as Maastricht and Utrecht for instance although both of those cities are a lot busier. I kind of missed a big square where you can sit and have a meal but that probably had to do with the fact that there was a market that filled the two squares that I came across. One of the squares was so filled with different market stalls that you could hardly see the surrounding buildings nor did it really invite you to go into the stores or sit down because your view would be blocked by the backside of the market stalls – which is usually not the most attractive sight. Which in my opinion was a shame, the other square was a lot emptier but at the same time it didn’t have the diners or the potential to take a seat on a terrace and enjoy the view like you have for instance in Maastricht. That took away a lot of potential customers for the diners especially on a Saturday afternoon, it’s a bit of strange choice in my opinion.

In the middle ages the city had a wall surrounding it to keep the citizens safe from outside dangers, part of that wall is still visible and surrounding the city center, I took a walk around the wall. It really made me wonder about all the historical significant details those walls must have seen since the day they where raised. Man! Just imagine if those walls could talk!

Anyway I’ll insert some pictures give you an idea of what Amersfoort looks like. In my opinion it’s definitely worth visiting if you have a chance. There is a lot to see and I bet that in the summer there is even a lot more to do as well. I know that there are some boats which can take you on a trip underneath the city. I didn’t have a chance to check that out but I’ve done something similar in Den Bosch a few years back and it was really interesting. There is also the Mondriaan Museum – one of the Netherlands well-known artpainters, even if you don’t know who he is you are bound to known his work which consist of red, yellow, blue and black squares. Piet Mondriaan was born in Amersfoort in 1872. The museum unfortunately wasn’t open yet because they were renewing some things inside. So that was kind of a shame, I might have gone there if it had been open.

My next city trip will be to Den Bosch or as it is also known s’Hertogenbosch, I need to look up why it’s known under two different names.