It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since I went “home” (De Binnendieze). Not that ‘s-Hertogenbosch is my actual hometown, but it is my moms’, Omas’ and so many of my family members. It’s where I go when I want to go home.

Few people actually call it by it’s full name, around town and in the Netherlands it is Den Bosch. There’s even a theme song from the early 19th century:

Dat gaat naar Den Bosch toe, zoete lieve Gerritje,
Dat gaat naar Den Bosch toe, zoete lieve meid.

My Oma used to sing it to me all the time, I can still hear her voice echoing inside my head. Den Bosch is not the largest city in Holland, but it is in the top 20.  It certainly doesn’t feel large, rather like a small town with extra buildings.  It seems everyone knows each other and for me it is a place to call home, when I don’t really have one.

We played tourist (taking the boat tour in De Binnendieze) and we ate kibbling and we shopped for our favorite candy at the best candy store in the world: Tum Tum. And we found our new favorite shop EVER.

Just outside of the market place, in one of those picturesque alleyways on the way to H&M, Tess needed a new black hoodie, we found the best new store! Heidi, my cousin, is always cold.  I mean ice cold. I think her blood does not actually circulate in her body, she is that cold. Or a vampire, I’m not sure.

Inside a window, a store display, she saw the most adorable blanket-warp Dutch-version of a serape. Of course she not only wanted it, she needed it. The problem was, the price tag said 149. That was too much. Heidi was very disappointed. I was confused, I mean it was adorable but 149 worth of adorable?  I didn’t think so. I took a second look.

According to my eyes, and with both of us over 40 now either of us could be right, it said 14,95. The shop itself was also adorable. Old Dutch, old wood plank floor, old re-purposed dresser for a sales counter, in we went.

We were alone in that adorable, old-feel shop. Just past the sales counter there was a big, modern glass window into a very modern workshop with the latest PCs and three beautiful young men.  One stepped out to greet us. Heidi just giggled, he was pretty and adorable. So I bravely asked if it would difficult to remove the serape-thing from the mannequin in the window. He took a quick peek at the narrow space provided to get into the window area.

“Ja.” He said quite resolutely and adorably, with beautiful red cheeks and his head bopping up and down to affirm his answer.

“Well then, how much do you think it is?” I asked, in Dutch of course.

9,99?” He ventured, still blushing and now tilting his head to the side. I swear if he’d been a puppy I’d have stolen him and brought him home!

“We want it!” Heidi, finally bursting out of her daze, and I said in unison. He blushed some more. Then realized he probably had a similar one on the floor and hurried to look for it, Heidi close on his heels.

I turned to find Tess & Dane wearing some of the most ridiculous yet oddly cool sunglasses:

“Mom? Can we have them?” Of course not. They looked ridiculous. I did add a pair for myself in with Heidi’s purchase, they were oddly cool and I had fallen in love. Besides, Tess was wearing my sunglasses and I needed (needed) another pair.

It turned out Heidi’s Dutch serape was really 14,95 (ha! my older-than-Heidi’s eyes won!) but the adorable, still-blushing,  young man charged us only the previously quoted 9,99. Together we spent less than 20 and left the store incredibly happy and determined to come back.  I turned around to take a photo of the shop name, sadly said photo did not turn out because the name gave me the giggles: Cheapass Zonnebrillen (aka sunglasses).

I highly recommended a visit to their website if you are in the market for some fun, colorful, inexpensive sunglasses! Click International on the top right to switch to English. I love this shop!


The unofficial mascot “Zoete Lieve Gerritje”


First bike that captures my attention (I’m leaving more “favorite bike” photo’s off the blog)


Approaching the market place in city center, with the Sint Jan (Climbing the Sint Jan) in the background


Sadly, it’s not market day.


but there’s always a kibbling truck! YUM!


I think she looks a little like Bono here. You?


Tess’s turn with the camera. My ponytail is curling so adorably.


Heidi is trying to find a specific beer for Dave. Dane is Pokemon Go’ing.


I am taking pictures. Each little alley is so picturesque.


I want the orange bike, but I love Dutch architecture too!


More bikes. More architecture.


Heidi getting licorice for Soren at Tum Tum (candy store).


Do NOT worry if you run out of beer. Heineken delivers.


City Hall, where my Opa worked for many years. And a super friendly photobomber.


Dane’s turn with the camera. He has a natural talent. De Dommel river.


The Golden Dragon – by Dane


Window art at the main train station – by Dane


Inside the main train station – by Dane


Bikes – by Dane