Weekend Wanderings: Autumn Apple Picking

Autumn's arrival means it's apple picking season once again!

This time around, my good friend Annelies was an enthusiastic companion, so we set off on a misty Friday morning and headed to

De Olmenhorst orchard

. Apples and pears for miles! Thanks to the foggy weather, we practically had the entire apple orchard to ourselves for 

appel plukken,

what fun!

This family orchard has been around for 150 years and now has more than 40,000 apple trees all grown organically. If you're in Holland, keep an eye out for De Olmenhorst apple or pear juice at a cafe or grocery store, it is so delicious!

This afternoon was a fun wall to officially welcome fall! A change in seasons always stirs up a bit of restlessness in my spirit. Autumn is a cosy break from summer's buzz but just the thought of a dark, cold winter approaching shivers my spine.

Actually, this apple picking afternoon with Annelies also reminded me how much changes in a year. Last year, our lovely group of American expat friends

visited the orchard together

on a clear, sunny day. This season, nearly all of them have since then returned to the States. This expat life is a weird world, an endless cycle of intriguing 'hellos' and such bitter sweet 'goodbyes.' You build strong bonds quickly but also learn how to detach as well. There's a strong need for acceptance, that life never stops moving and friendships and memories are woven in-between two randomly crossing paths. It's an emotional roller coaster from time to time, filled with so many lucky adventures in between.

After successfully bagging more than enough Elstar apples, we headed back home to do what other than bake some muffins. As expected, they were tasty and about two dozen of them have already disappeared thanks to my Dutchman. We used

this muffin recipe

and simply switched blueberries for apples while also adding an extra dose of Dutch speculaas spices.

So, let's simply call these Apple Speculaas Muffins, ok?

In fact, I think I'll make another batch for this weekend. Or maybe some apple crumble?

Baking is best way to warm up a grey, drizzly morning in Holland... yum!