Friday, December 09, 2005
Europe 3: A Taste of The Netherlands
Clockwise from top left: The Falcon windmill in Leiden; St. Xaiver church in Amsterdam; One of Amsterdam's countless canals; Delft china
Spice bread and Stroopwaffels
A TASTE OF THE NETHERLANDS
PLACES AND DATES: Rotterdam – September 13, 2005;
Amsterdam – September 14-17, 2005
DAY TRIPS: Leiden – September 15, 2005: Leiden is like a Dutch Oxford. A quaint and pretty town about thirty minutes outside of Amsterdam by train, Leiden is home to multiple universities and close to 20,000 students. The town’s bakeries present a wealth of enticing options, even a multi-grain croissant. The Van Delk (meaning Falcon) is a fully restored windmill open for tours. It costs just 2.50 Euros and gives a reaonsable history of the functionality and utility of windmills in Dutch culture. But the town’s system of canals are the main draw, less crowded than Amsterdam, and surrounded by a mix of Dutch and English architecture. A half-day visit is a great way to gain a sense of how the non-coffee house Dutch live.
Delft – September 16, 2005: You can see the two factories where Delft china is still made. Every piece if made by hand during and the process is amazingly laborious.
HOSTELS: Rotterdam – Stayokay Hostel
Amsterdam – Flying Pig Palace – Cheap bar with a nightly happy hour, free internet and breakfast and a surprisingly reasonable noise level.
SITES: Rotterdam – Erasmus Bridge is an incredible sight and a symbol of Rotterdam’s prestige as the world’s largest port.
MUST SEE IN AMSTERDAM: Anne Frank House; St. Xavier Church – Interior is an astonishing piece of Baroque art at its pinnacle; the interior includes gilded statues, kaleidoscopic stained glass and an altar that is a testament to how faith can instigate great art; Albert Cuyp Market – Everything is for sale here. Fabrics to incense, to authentic Dutch cuisine (herring broodjes, stroopwafels) along with fresh fruit and veggies, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. It’s a vibrant strip of Dutch life with the beautiful drowsy branches of willows overhanging the street and children galore.
FOOD: Rotterdam – Incredible mix of African and Asian cuisines
Amsterdam – Indonesian cuisine (reviews to come); Stroopwafels – Sweeter than a Halloween candy bag, these paper thin waffles come in hefty sacks and are filled with a layer of either caramel, honey, or butter syrup. Delicious in small quantities but addictive enough to cause consumption of an entire bag, ending inevitably in stomach aches and a desire to swear off all sweets forever more; Spice breads – Rather flat tasting. Heavily flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg, the bread is too dense, feels like a brick, and would be well-served by nuts or dried fruits to break up the thickness. Beware, those aren’t nuts on the top of the bread, they’re pieces of rock sugar.
Posted by Vincent Rossmeier at Friday, December 09, 2005