Now that almost 2 complete weeks of cloudless, warm, and glorious weather, it has come to an end. I felt the heavens come upon me this eve, and the beautiful, gay weather has moved on. But, within that time span, I covered countless kilometers, saw many windmills, and yes, shared the experience of klompen maken with Japanese tourists.
Zaandam, a small, green (literally everything, even the grocery store was dressed up in its historical green) and gorgeous town lays right north on the Amstel River. Me and a good Spanish friend took the almost hour and a half trip north by bike to Zaanse Schans to see some good ol' fashioned Molen. With liquid blue sky, crystal clear water, and a seemingly endless entourage of Japanese tourists, the day couldn't get much better. Not too mention the cheese tastery, which I sampled heartedly, and the cleanliness of air made for a perfect time. It's good for one to get out of the congestion of Amsterdam to get some fresh air and some open road.
I am a big fan of wood working, I've made it all, pool table, fusball table, toilet paper holder, staggered rustic frontier planter, but never footwear. It is a process that takes under 5 minutes, all starting with a hand split block of wood, put into machines to be shaped and sanded down, then a little hand shaving at the end and "voila" you have yourself some traditional Dutch tree-footwear. But, me and my friend didn't even catch the demonstration, but knew something was up when we heard "ooooh" and "awhaaaaa" from a crowd of no less than 40 Japanese tourists. Simply mystified. That's all I have to say about that. After seeing how Holland's famous footwear was made, it was time to head back, and after a few Aaron twists and turns (who says a straight line is the fastest way home? Using signs? I frown upon that!) we ended the day with some stroopwafel ijs at Metropolitan Deli on Warmoestraat. Very good day, well over 45kms biked, and wij hebben veel klompen gezein.
My biking adventures were well from over. After an interesting interview with an ex-prostitute (for a research paper of course) and probably the best Bokbier that I will ever have (Texel Brouwerij) it was off to the fishing town of Volendam. I went with my homestay and her son, a fellow future political science phenom like myself with a taste for American politics (no thank you Remco, I'll stick with my frustratingly made IR). The bike ride was literally on top of water most of the way. Zee to the right, bedijkte water on the left, boats everywhere, it was straight out of the travel books. Upon arrival in Volendam, a town known for its: a)fishing, b)singers, and c)welcoming of tourists, I can say I witnessed all three.
I needed to have some type of zeevruchten. Needed something. So, after finding the perfect little vis stand I whipped out the Euros for a wonderful Eel sandwich. Or, a paling broodje as they say in Nederlands. It had a mellow fishy taste (much less than a Nieuwse haring) and had the consistency of Steak Em's. A definite must if one is presented the opportunity. But while eating, there were seaside pubs that blared traditional Netherlands tunes that ranged from Amsterdam's Jordaan sector to fishing songs of the old yore. Imagine a polka with Dutch, and you have the round-about idea. Its okay in small doses of no less than 10 minutes and can cause severe brain damage if left unhindered for more than 30 minutes. It was quite interesting though, as everyone in the bar seemed to be in their 20s. Can anyone name me the last time they saw 20 year olds listening to gentrified polka music that their great-great grandfathers made up in a modern day bar? Yea, only in Volendam. After the trip home, we had a nice Dutch meal of patat frites with my first encounter with a frikandel. Um....looks sausage like, with a pepper sort of rubbery texture....probably something the would never be able to make it through customs.
Busy, busy. busy. On top of this, lost my Kriek virginity from De Prael beer bar, along with an almond filled piece of gingerbread (gevulde speculass----zeer geweldig). And to top it off, to show why the Dutch are kings of the fryer, had a cherry filled concoction with real cherry sauce and double dipped in sugar.....W O W . A very good week, busy, but so many kms traveled and so many things seen.