An ardent explorer

An ardent explorer who defines herself as a trekker, a cyclist who loves to explore the city and savour Nepali cuisine, Her Excellency Rensje Teerink, Ambassador of European Union Delegation to Nepal shares her fondness for Nepal with Travel & Lifestyle

Her Excellency Rensje Teerink, Ambassador of European Union Delegation to Nepal moved from Brussels to Kathmandu in September 2013 to take up her position as Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal. She was initially accompanied by her 15 year old son but now her entire family, including her 89 year old mother, is calling Kathmandu their home. She had been involved with EU-Nepal relations at EU Headquarters in Brussels since 2004 and had visited Nepal at least twice a year before her last move to the country. In fact, she grew acertain fondness for Nepal with every visit which ultimately led her base herself out of Kathmandu.

She says, “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to immerse oneself in a different culture. As a European, the most striking aspect of living in Nepal is the friendliness of the people. It's sad, but in the West people seem to be wearier to show their emotions; when you smile at a passer-by in the street people often react with suspicion. In Nepal, people seem happier, despite the challenges they have to face on a daily basis.”

Tête à tête with Teerink

What are you currently involved in?

My job involves a lot of representation duties but I'm also responsible for managing our office here and overseeing our development programmes.

You’ve been in Nepal for more than two years now, what has been your most memorable moment?

There are too many, from visiting some of the most remote areas in Karnali to celebrating Dashain and Tihar festivals in the valley.

Your favourite places to hangout in Kathmandu…

More than staying in one place I love to ride my bicycle around the city. I do this on Saturdays when there is less traffic. I cycle towards Asan and Basantapur via Thamel.

Your favourite places to shop…

I love to explore many shops near Thapathali, especially those selling wicker and bamboo furniture. Baber Mahal Revisited and the curio shops in Thamel and around Boudha are great as well.

Places you’ve visited in Nepal…

My husband and I just came back from a 10 day trek to Solukhumbu. We went as far as Pangboche and visited Ama Dablam base camp. For me, it is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. Next year we are planning to go try hiking as far as Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Ri. But the Annapurna Circuit, Mustang and Bardiya are also on our list.

A dish that you love preparing...

In the kitchen my device is less is more. My favourite dish is simple pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and lots of chillies, garnished with copious amounts of fresh parmesan cheese. I prepare this at least once a week and never tire of it.

Your favourite Nepali dish?

I'm not much of a meat eater and Nepal is, therefore, an easy place to stay. I love dal bhaat, but my favourite Nepali dish is the wide array of leafy vegetables such as rayo saag. In Europe, many vegetables such as spinach or Brussels sprouts have been 'improved' to actually get rid of the original bitter taste, rending them bland and uninteresting. Nepali veggies are much tastier!

You never leave your home without…

My purse, wallet and phone.

The most luxurious thing you have bought in Nepal?

I bought a beautifully crafted ceramic bull made by the distinguished artist Gopal Kalapremi Shrestha.

Best place to shop for groceries in town...

For daily groceries I usually go to Bhat Bhateni or Saleways. On Saturdays, I always go to the 1905 organic market.

Teerink’s top 10 things to do in Nepal

  1. Go trekking
  2. Visit the heritage sites
  3. Explore the many art galleries in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur
  4. Participate in Bagmati cleaning campaign at least once
  5. Walk up to Shivapuri Peak
  6. Try the world's longest zip-line in Pokhara
  7. Spend a day with elephants in Chitwan
  8. Listen to Nepali rock bands in Thamel
  9. Go bird watching
  10. Swing on a 'ping' during Dashain