Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday's music: Negu Gorriak - Bi doberman beltz

 Let's start the week with a bit of music.

This song is the first track of the cd "Borreroak baditu milaka aurpegi" (that means "The hangman has a thousand faces") also called the black album for its cover. The band playing it is my favorite band, it is called "Negu Gorriak", that's it "Hard Winters" and was born in 1990 in Irun, Basque Country and died in 1996. This band's songs have a strong political content which a lot of it I must admit, I don't share, but still I think it's a great band. The black album got amazingly good reviews by rock specialized magazines, saying about it things like "This is the bomb. Borreroak Baditu Milaka Aurpegi is one of the best CDs released in any language anywhere in the '90s -- fast and furious, loud and melodic, smart and savage, and jarring and organic." (link to the complete review).

Cover of the Black Album

The band sings all their songs in Basque language but in the singer's official website there are translations to Spanish, French and English of some of their songs, this is one of it.

If you like music, you will like this, don't miss it!

"Bi doberman beltz" - "Two black dobermans" official videoclip. (English lyrics press ENG)

Friday, December 9, 2011


The other day I went with a couple of friends to Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk is a small village near by Rotterdam, it is settled next to the Rhine river (at that spot is called Lek, actually the situation of the Rhine in The Netherlands is pretty complex, with lots of branches and names, you can read more about it in Wikipedia). The village is included in the area called "De Groene Hart", The Green Heart in English, that is the big area between Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Utrecht, it is mainly farms and fields, except some villages and the city of Gouda.

This area is full of paths to walk or ride the bike, as we went by car to Kinderdijk we walked a bit in the surrounding area. Just next to the parking lot there is a path that goes in between two canals and it's full of wind mills, one of the national symbols of the country. Nevertheless the wind mills have played a huge role in Dutch history as they were used to pump out water to avoid floodings in the constant war against water. I didn't know about this before coming to the country and I thought that they were just for grind seeds or things like that but a Dutch friend told me that and... actually makes a lot of sense, who is gonna crowd the country with wind mills just to grid seeds? Of course some of the mills are also for that, in Zaanse Schan (kind of a park with wind mills and little houses, probably I will talk about it in the future)  you can enter the wind mills and see how they were used to produce mustard or as sawmills.

So, there we went to walk a bit, make some pictures and expend a couple of hours just enjoying the lovely Dutch fall, with black -very black- clouds above us that threatened rain and wind that could move you to the canal in a second, just to oppose the blog's name :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Market at Castle de Haar

Last Sunday I went with some friends to the Winter Market at Castle De Haar, a very beautiful castle in Vleuten, a village next to Utrecht.

Overview of the Castle

The market was a typical winter market with stands where you could buy different Christmas things, from decorative elements to food, and also things that have nothing to do with Christmas, like hunting clothes (yes, I don't know why but there were a lot of hunting clothes shops, with very fancy rain hats by the way, I didn't buy one but I was tempted to do so). There was also an ice skating rink but we were not in the mood to try it.

We walked around the different stands and saw what they had and at the end we ended buying a French cheese called Mont d'Or and three Dutch pate, money good expended. The French cheese was sold by a bunch of guys shouting a lot in French mixed with Dutch, actually I think they were really french but I am not quite sure about it, anyway, the cheese was -as the guy told us- "The fondue for the lazy people" and I must say that he was pretty right. You just had to open the cover, put a couple of garlic cloves inside, add some wine and put it in the oven, just like a fondue but... for lazy people :)

For lunch the offer was not so great, there was one "La Place", that is a restaurant that you have all over the Netherlands and a soup stand, so we went to the second one, where some young guys were prepared a very nice tomato soup.

Another view of the Castle with a market stand in front

Even though we had a nice time there I must say that it is a place not to go back, downside of the visit is... that it is extremely expensive. Just to go in you have to pay a ticket for 16,5 euros (and 5 euros more for the car), which is a lot having in account that inside you have to pay for everything. I cannot understand why they ask for such a lot of money just to walk around some shops! It's just crazy. Not to mention that the gardens of the Castle were closed with fences, so you could not even walk around the gardens, and if you wanted to see the Castle from inside you had to pay 5 euros -this is a reduced price, normally it's much more expensive-. So next year we will not go back to this market and, as a colleague suggested, "if you want to go to a Christmas market you must go to Germany".