The Netherlands: Part 1

May 20, 2009 at 8:02 PM 1 comment

There’s so much to tell about this trip that I’m going to have to break this up into two posts.

We were supposed to leave Friday morning, but earlier in the week, John was told his request for the day off (which was previously approved) was now denied and he had to work. On Friday morning, his direct “supervisor” (his NCO) said he’d get him out of the office by 2 PM. Around lunch, another guy in the office told him he had to stay until 3:30, so we got a late start. I packed for us and by the time John got home and we loaded up the car, it was about 4 or 4:15.

Normally, it takes 1 hour to drive to Frankfurt. Due to traffic and heavy rain — the kind where your windshield wipers won’t go fast enough — we didn’t make it through Frankfurt for 3 hours. Yuck. We enjoyed the first part of the rain since it rarely downpours here, but our enjoyment quickly turned to frustration when we realized how much the rain and traffic were going to set us back.

We hit a couple more traffic jams and did not make it to Jacoline‘s house until 12:30 AM. Needless to say, we were exhausted and sore from sitting in the car for so long.

The next morning, Jackie treated us to a traditional Dutch breakfast of bread, cold cuts, cheese, butter, jam, chocolate sprinkles and juice. Yes, I said chocolate sprinkles. You put butter on the bread and then cover it in chocolate sprinkles. I tried it, and it was delicious!

We then drove from her place in Katwijk (pronounced Cot-vick) to Leiden (pronounced Lie-den) to meet up with her boyfriend Jeroen and catch the train to Amsterdam. It was only a 35 minute ride and we got off at the central station. We walked to a plaza area and then went into a beautiful church, where I bought tiny china Dutch shoes. After that, we headed to the Anne Frank house. Oh my goodness, it’s amazing. I highly recommend a visit to the museum if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam. I don’t really know what to say about it other than that.

After the Anne Frank house, we got lunch at a place called “Sara’s,” which we all thought was fitting. We ordered Dutch pancakes, which apparently are very common. They’re more like crepes, though. I got mine with spinach, mozzarella, onions, tomatoes and I think gouda. John got the Hawaiian pancake with ham, pineapple, chili sauce and some other things. They were both delicious. We also both had a mean cup of coffee that had the best flavor. The check came with some marshmallows, which Jackie said is also very Dutch. They were really soft and powdery, which was a nice change from the rubbery Kraft Jet-Puffed stuff.

Lunch did the trick to re-energize us and we decided to tour the Red Light District. I guess if you go to Amsterdam, that’s something you need to see. Honestly, it was pretty sad. The women standing in the windows was really heartbreaking to me. Also, there was a church really close to the district, but Jackie said she doesn’t think it’s an operating church anymore. How sad.

Once we were done with that stuff, we went shopping for some cheese and found a suitable gouda to bring home with us. We also stopped by a children’s book store, because I collect children’s books from each country we travel to. This time we got Where the Wild Things Are in Dutch as well as a traditional Dutch children’s book called Dikkie Dik: gaat buiten spelen. It has an orange cat on the cover and is a Golden Book, which I thought was neat since I had so many Golden Books when I was growing up.

Before heading back to Katwijk, we stopped for a beer at a little bar. I had a Palm, which is a Belgian beer — it was quite good! Oh, and we also stopped to get some provisions for dinner. We made tacos. They weren’t quite Texas tacos, of course, but they were still good! We ended the evening by watching the Eurovision song contest. It was interesting, but not my thing (though it was still entertaining!). We found out the next morning that Norway won the competition. Go Norge!

The night wrapped up with a thunderstorm while we were lying in bed, which was also a nice treat. I wanted to stay awake and watch it, but I was so tired that I passed out while waiting to hear the thunder after one of the lightning strikes.

One last bit of very exciting news…that night I realized I had missed a call from one of my best friends. I called her back (in the States) and found out she’s engaged!! Yay! I’m really happy for her and her fiancé!

Below I have compiled a slide show of pictures of our trip. As always, click the image twice to open in another window so you can see the images enlarged. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

– Sarah


Entry filed under: Our Goings On, Travel. Tags: , , , , , .

And folks like me on the job from nine to five PAUSE!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. purejoy  |  May 20, 2009 at 9:09 PM

    i’m still stunned by all the bikes!! it looks like a great trip. i can’t even imagine having a city with all of those canals! it looks so romantic! (except for the red light district!)
    and i’m pretty much going to try bread with chocolate sprinkles!! sounds so yummy!! and i guess if the chinese can give orange slices with the check, the dutch can give out marshmallows! i’d love to hear the story behind that little custom!!


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