Pad Thai and Jazz

All, Travel

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This blog post includes a few of my favourite things. Pad thai, being one of them. Pretty blue china plates with rose gold cutlery being the second. And, jazz by the canal being the third.

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Jazz in de Gracht – or Jazz in the canal is an annual jazz festival here in Holland. Recently, I went along to check it out after work. It was a warm summers evening and a perfect mid-week musical break.
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The cute food trucks, jazz playing from boats (only in Holland!) and the balmy temperature made for a perfect end of summer atmosphere. The Netherlands has a lot to offer in terms of free, community events.

As Autumn (my favourite season) approaches, I’m excited to see the country in all it’s crisp, orange-leaved glory very soon!

-Nikita

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Easter Weekend

All, life, personal, Travel

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This Easter, my folks paid me a visit in (sometimes) sunny Holland. It was a wonderful long weekend filled with cheese, chocolate, Indian food, boat trips and general tourist-like behavior.

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The tulip and cheese museums were a big hit. Unlimited cheese sampling + tulips = a winning combination in my books.

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Standing by the Amsterdam sign without being photobombed by several other tourists is pretty much near impossible on Easter weekend, but I’m glad I finally took a photo by the famous sign after having lived here for over 3 months already!

Easter and food go hand in hand (just like Christmas, calories don’t count during Easter remember)! After a spot of baking, I ticked off two other Dutch delicacies as I tried Dutch pancakes and Hagelslag .

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Nutella and banana is one of my favourite food combinations so I had to get that on my pancakes. Next time, I’ll be sure to try some traditionally Dutch toppings.

Hagelslag is the wonderful rainbow-sprinkled bread shown above. These sugary sprinkles eaten on buttered bread are a common children’s breakfast in the Netherlands, something that I could definitely get used to 🙂

Hope you had a wonderful Easter wherever you are in the world!

-Nikita

Saturday in the City

All, Travel

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Last weekend, my fellow Leiden-er Molly and I went for our usual brunch in the city at our favourite spot – Better Bagels. Renowned for its selection of bagels, baked goods and coffee, Better Bagels is a small hole-in-the-wall place that has a homely feel and lots of charm. I could stay there for hours (and have)!
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We both got our usual orders. Which funniliy are the same as each other! Honey, walnut, goats cheese and bacon sandwiched between a sesame bagel. Drool much? Ja. We did. DSCF5782 (3)DSCF5783 (2)

Topped off with their aptly named ‘Grandma’s Coco’ which comes with a side order of marshmallows and we were feeling right at home 🙂

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The owner is the friendly guy that’s waving called Frank, who makes the bagels right then and there for customers to see. Better Bagels definitely is one of Leiden’s best brunch spots. I’ve already got a ‘usual’ order and I’ve only been here a month! DSCF5814 (2) DSCF5819 (2) DSCF5820 (2)

This cute Valentines-themed window display caught our eye as we walked down towards the Saturday market. With Valentine’s day and spring just around the corner, the city seemed to be in full bloom (as you will see from the flower-heavy next few photos)!
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The Saturday market is one of my favourite things in this city. You can never have too many flowers I say and tulips are one of the most understatedly beautiful in my opinion. Holland definitely is the place to be if you’re a tulip-fan as their rich colours decorate the city all-year round! DSCF5862 (2) DSCF5869 (2) DSCF5876 (2)

Molly has her own blog called Molly Maison which you should definitely check out to see more insights into life in Leiden, working in space and science communication and travelling in Europe.DSCF5878 (2)

To end our day, we tried out a restaurant that I am ashamed to admit I’ve been to over 6 times already. So when I say we tried, I really mean I finally convinced Molly to go 😛 DSCF5897 (2)Very Italian Pizza has recently opened in Leiden. I first tried it out back in November when I visited for 1 night and loved it so much that I decided if I ever moved here I would be back. And I have kept that promise for sure! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed our Saturday in the beautiful city of Leiden! I’ve got a few exciting travel plans in the works over the next few months and am looking forward to sharing them with you on my blog soon 🙂

-Nikita

From London to Leiden

All, Travel

Hello and Happy New Year!

With January almost over, I’ve spent the first month of 2015 getting settled into my new home and it’s about time I shared it on my blog 🙂

New Year, new country, new job. It seems that every year has brought me to another part of the world. This time last year I was living in southern Germany, where I interned at the European Southern Observatory in Munich. This year, I have moved from my home in London, to the picturesque city of Leiden.

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Located in South Holland, Leiden is a beautiful part of the Netherlands around half an hour from Amsterdam by train. Situated almost too-close to the UK, I flew across the English Channel to Amsterdam a few days after the start of 2015. We were delayed in the aircraft for a few hours, however the pilots let us take a tour of the flight deck while we waited 🙂

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I’ve been living in working in this quaint city for almost a month now and have attempted to capture the beauty of my surroundings in a few (mostly rainy) photos that I’ll share with you in this post. The weather may not be that different to home, but that’s all that London and Leiden have in common it seems!

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Dotted with cute flower, cheese and bread stores, the cobbled streets of Leiden are a world away from the London skyline. With a bridge over one of the many winding Dutch canals around every corner, my new home is an enchanting European city with a little character and a lot of bikes!

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I’m working as a Science Editor at communications company EJR-Quartz, where we do the web content and editorial work for clients including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). It’s a great place to be working in the space industry, with ESA centre, ESTEC situated nearby.

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The winter is a cold yet beautiful time to be here. The frosty morning air is a great wake-me-up on my walk to work and the icy canals make for perfect photos – framed at night by old-fashioned street lanterns.

Leiden will be the first place I’ll be living in for more than 5 months in recent years. Travelling as often as I do, makes you appreciate the contrary notion of settling in one place and making it home.

I’m looking forward to seeing Leiden in different lights as the seasons change throughout the year 🙂

-Nikita