the whole of hengelo is in the christmas spirit. it's so cute the way the town is dressed up and excited for the big holiday: there is an ice skating rink set up in the middle of the marktplein, and the market is now featuring cute little dutch girls dressed up in sequined santa skirts, handing out FREE cookies!
(the view from our bedroom window. to the left of this picture is the marktplein, where the market is on wednesdays and saturdays, and where the icerink is set up.)
last week's market was so much fun: we woke up to the sound of carolers outside our window. (the market takes place primarily on the marktplein -- market square -- which is about 50 meters away, but there's a little offshoot of it that goes quite literally down our street. we can hear them setting up outside our bedroom window, and the smell of fried fish and roasted cashews wakes us up every saturday morning.) when we looked out the window, we saw about a dozen or so carolers dressed up like they were charles dickens characters, standing beside a manger scene, complete with a couple of donkeys and even a llama! maybe the best part about it, though, were the shepherds who were handing out FREE cups of hot spiced wine. it was so much fun! we stood outside in the rain, drinking hot wine, and singing along with the christmas songs.
after we had enough of that, we walked down to the "oliebollengkonig", or the "oil bulb king." oliebollen are a traditional dutch treat that is eaten this time of year, and they're basically these deep-fried dough balls sprinkled with powdered sugar. but they're not like donut holes, because they're not cakey. they're more like indian fry-bread, because they're kind of spongy and crispy-ish on the outside. it's dangerous: that oliebollenkonig has been camped outside our window for over a month now, and each oliebol is only 70 eurocents! good thing we have to ride bikes everywhere or we'd be as fat as santa claus by now! (the oliebollen stand is in this picture. this street is enschedesestraat, which is around the corner from telgen, where we live. if you take a left at the oliebollen stand, you'd be on telgen and you could see our house.)
last weekend there were several bands set up all across the city: there was a high school band standing at the top of a building on the marktplein, playing "rudolph the red nosed reindeer" as loudly as they could, so that you could hear it from every corner of the city. there was also the salvation army band, an adorable junior high woodwind ensemble, and this jazz band standing outside a toystore.
something i totally love about the ice rink on the marktplein is the size of it compared with the warming house they have set up. in the US, we would still have a warming house, but in the US, it would probably just be a little shed with a bench where you can drink your scalding, cheaply made hot cocoa out of a styrofoam cup. This warming house is about a third the size of the rink, and has cozy tables where you can drink beer, wine, and of course, coffee (a dutch staple). because, of course, what is the point of having an ice skating rink if you can't sit down and have a cup of coffee for a few hours with your friends? that's soooo very dutch. i love it.
because we haven't had internet or a phone until now, and because we choose not to have a tv, our evenings are very cozy and quiet. we usually eat dinner around 7:00 and afterwards light a fire in the fireplace, read, talk, listen to music, or play guitars. don't ask me why adam is only wearing one slipper in this picture. he says has his reasons.