Strongly recommend this tour. 12 people max and small amount of walking and lots of eating (!) in places that specialize in Dutch dishes. Company was called Eating Europe and tour was four hours. Tour guide was very good as was the food – so here we go.
In this section we have – (I will provide a mix of Dutch and English names) Brined herring with onions and pickled cucumbers; poffertjes (small puffy pancakes served with maple syrup – from Canada!); bitterballen – loved these deep fried breadcrumbed balls with a hot bechamel and ragout filling; and then kibbeling (fried cod0. All washed down with Tulip vodka!
And there’s more ……….but first a beer…..and then….
In the days of the Dutch owned East India Trading company there were large holdings in Indonesia so their food has become almost a staple in the Netherlands (even though the “empire” is no more) – hence the satay; then some Farmers Cheese (apparently the name Gouda was never patented which means things called Gouda are often pasteurized – this cheese was not which of course made it way more tasty. A variety of sausages followed – my favourite was called ossenworst – if you are a steak tartare fan this is for you and it is a cold smoked raw beer sausage – needs to be tried. Delish.
Finally a half portion (!) of Dutch Apple pie and whipped cream (the real kind). This was from a tiny place called Cafe Papeneiland which Bill Clinton once turned up at unexpectedly after hours (well his security detail did) and they eventually let them all in – in this part of the world when you are closed you are closed! Anyway, i can see why Bill and his team wanted a taste!
A few days in Amsterdam as I wend my way further into Northern Europe. Another amazing opportunity for museums of course but what was the first one I rushed to – Rijksmuseum? Van Gogh? Nope! It was the Museum of Bags and Purses – a lovely private collection of bags and purses from all eras. I loved it of course. The last bag is the one I designed online myself based on personality traits and style questions!
Of course I did also go to the recently renovated Rijksmuseum which looks splendid situated in the very nice museum quarter which has about 6 places to visit and lots of green space to just hang out. Beware the man waving below – he is one of the “silent assassins” of Amsterdam – otherwise known as the bike riders who rule the roads here – no question. Look left, right, left, right again and again……
The Rijksmuseum has a wonderful collection of Dutch artists including Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer. I also like Jan Steen – his is the picture of a family stuffing themselves and overindulging. It is called The Merry Family but the words in the painting make it clear that this is a warning that they way adults behave will influence their children. Very moralistic those Dutch – although they do look like they are having a lot of fun!
Also went to the Van Gogh museum (also newly renovated) but NO PICS ALLOWED:(. So you will have to go yourself to see it – worth it but book your ticket online.
Equally NO PICS in Anne Frank’s House (which I can understand). Last time I went there I was about 11 and had just read her diary, which I reread many times as a teen. Visiting again – despite the much larger numbers – brought back what an amazing young writer she was and how tragic it was that she was murdered before she could fulfil all her potential – nevertheless she did leave a poignant but positive message of courage and hope in desperate adversity. Again book well in advance – one month to secure your ticket — they are like gold dust.