Big Things in Holland…Huge!

Hey guys!   I know this isn’t normally a travel blog, but as I’m travelling, thought I would share some of my experiences.

Holland is an absolutely beautiful country and the people here are very friendly.

Observations so far:

  1. Many (if not most) people speak at least some English.  Especially those in the service industry.  A lot of the signs are in English as well.
  2. The land here is very flat.  People depend on their bikes as a mode of transportation around town – but everyone seems to have a car anyway.
  3. The streets are quite narrow – I’m glad my husband is driving, as (a) I don’t drive standard and (b) I’d be scared to death of hitting one of the many people on bicycles.  They don’t have stop signs – they have “priority roads”.  If you’re approaching a priority road from a non-priority road, there is a houndstooth type marking at the intersection of your road – and you have to give right-of-way to the priority road.
  4. Although she’s in a suburban area, with some nice homes and reasonable sized lots, my sister-in-law is obsessive about making sure that the doors are locked – especially at night.  And the locks are incredily secure on all the doors.  But for some reason, you can leave your bike unlocked in the middle of town and walk away for several hours. 
  5. As people are so dependent on their bicycles for transportation, apparently the Dutch are not likely to have travelled around their own country.  I have met several people (and my husband suggests it’s his experience as well) who were not familiar with towns that were less than an hour away by car.
  6. I may have told you before, but hubs, who is part Dutch, is huge.  The huge apparently comes from the Dutch.  They don’t have little finches like we do at home.  They have huge birds.  And the spiders.  Well, the less said about the spiders the better.  Because huge f*king spiders.
  7. I assume, in part, because of (2), people here are not as large as Americans (read people of Walmart).  Although I don’t understand that because:
  8. The food is AWESOME.  I’m sure I’m already up at least 3 pounds.

Today we went to the town of Hoorn which neighbors the town where my sister-in-law and her husband live.  There is an open market near the city centre.  We wandered around for a few hours and picked up some fish for dinner.  The market is an interesting site – vendors peddle clothing, fresh vegetables and fruit, fish and flowers.  Lots of beautiful flowers.

They have little bright red round berries (which I didn’t get a picture of – these are cherries) – that I’ve never seen in the states.  I don’t know what the equivalent is (any Dutch readers out there?) but the sign in Dutch translated to red berries.

This was the cafe we ate at in Hoorn.  That elaborate building on the far right (and likely the Westfries Museum beside it) is over 400 years old.  Most of the buildings are.  In the cities, they’re packed fairly close together, and homes are tucked down narrow alleyways.  We’ve been in a few areas where they’re actually starting to lean into the road, like Pisa.  I didn’t get a picture, but I will try within the next couple of days.

We picked up our fish at this vendor:

We also picked up stroopwafels.  They’re a Dutch type of cookie made with syrup that my husband introduced me to at home – but they make them FRESH at the market.  I restrained myself and only had one.  But it was the size of four.  This was the stand.

And yesterday (yes, this deserves a paragraph of it’s own), we had friet und mayo.  French fries with mayonnaise.  Not just mayonnaise,  Dutch mayonnaise.  Which is awesome.  A-MAY-ZING.

The Dutch word for cheese is kaas.  I love kaas.  And Dutch kaas is amazing.  We got some Gouda today.  There is a town in Holland that the cheese is named for.  We will definitely be going there.  And Edam.

Tot zeins!  More adventures to come!

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