going dutch

After an idyllic KLM flight, we drove bleary eyed from Schipol in our microscopic rental to Oud Charlois in Rotterdam. Upon arrival we negotiated a park on the street the dimensions of a postage stamp, explored our temporary digs and crashed in the attic sleeping space. Emerged from a mild coma and set out in search of provisions several hours later.  In the evening,we reunited with dear old family at Schipol, together greeting the folks as they arrived from Brisbane via Seol.

Breakfast next morning was assembled from the efforts of our sleepy recon the day before. Lazy day spent walking the streets of Schiedam with mom, taking in the charm of the town lined with windmills along meandering canals. In the evening we hosted dinner for the folks and Aunt Riet back home. Sunday we reunited with Rob, Eve and their delightful boys, attending church together and catching up over lunch.

Lingered in Leiden Monday morning, before attending a singalong at a retirement home in Oegstgeest with Koos. An elderly gentleman sang us a hymn and blessing. My dear wife teared up. A coffee later at Katwijk, dipped the toes in the Noord Zee and dined at the pancake house in Liederdoorp. I made the regrettable decision to order a pancake with anchovies.

Tuesday was Nolet distillery, where we were regaled with several hundred years of history by our gracious host Pim.  Off to Delft in the afternoon for a relaxing stroll with the folks. Wonderful to see them smiling and happy. Wednesday we met gracious friend and der reiseleiter Ralf by the German border ,who took us along the Rhine from Bonn to Linz and back. We saw many quaint old towns along the  river, nestled among the foothills. Afternoon tea consisted of strudel and coffee, shortly followed by dinner back in Bonn. Thursday returned to Schiedam, for one last stroll around town. Entertained again that night in Oud Charlois, introducing our guests to Tex Mex, courtesy of Albert Hein.

Friday off to Gorinchem to visit a kindly aunt. From there a drive to Arnhem after lunch, and we launched ourselves through the old town for what felt like five minutes before meeting with Rob and Eve and the boys in Ede for dinner. A sublime meal and walk through the woods. Friday we moved to new lodgings, citizen M in Rotterdam near the equally modern looking Markthal. Our colorful shoebox was well appointed.

Saturday off to Konigshaven and La Trappe brewery for amazing beer. One of the old Monk’s asked if I was a hipster. Sunday, church and in the evening dinner with more family. We pored over and admired my uncle’s fine landscape designs, a few copies of which now proudly hang on our walls. I kicked back my last dutch pils for a while. Monday headed back out to Houston, very sorry to say goodbye to family, friends and Nederlands. A few pics here…

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black angels

We managed to catch our favorite band a couple of months ago at the silver street studios, playing for free courtesy of lone star beer, along with other talented acts like the old 97’s. Was also Bec’s birthday weekend, making the show all the more memorable. Great set and venue, really looking forward to the next event at silver street studios.

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dandys

We took in the dandy warhols at numbers last thursday, after a perfect dinner at Rudyards. The dandys put on an outstanding show, still a great act twenty years later. The opener was the Shivas, a vibrant garage pop/rock outfit that lived up to the hype. All in all a stellar night out; good music and company is a gift.

dandys

science cafe

Recently we stopped by the European Science Café held in Montrose, for an event hosted by the Consulate General of France in Houston. We were delighted to hear Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano give a truly inspirational talk on his time at the international space station. Here’s a pic with the speaker and Bec; big thanks to Paolo for the recommendation!

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SCSSC conference

I was privileged to speak at the Southern California Simulations in Science conference this week, held at UCSB in beautiful Santa Barbara. I had some great interactions and was really impressed by the level of work presented in the poster session. Overall a very enjoyable day; a big thanks to Paul, Fuz and Burak for the invitation! my talk