Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Netherlands July 18

The bed was soft, but someone had left the window open a smidgen and two Mosquitos had made it in. The first managed to bite me and woke me up, then kept me awake while I tried to kill it. In the morning, I was awoken quite close to breakfast time by the B&B owner gathering the breakfast stuff together.  Hadn't thought I would sleep in, so I had not set an alarm. I took advantage of the fabulous photo op from the third story window, taking in the rooftops and the cool view. Breakfast was an intriguing variety of stuff, from the more mundane scrambled eggs to two chocolate waffle crisps with honey between (stroop waffles). We also had crepes, to which I added real chocolate shavings the Dutch call "sprinkles", not to be confused with the junk Americans call sprinkles. There was also yummy butter, warm rolls and local cheese slices.  We retrieved our bikes from the hidden garden type alley behind the houses, where they had been locked overnight.

It took a little circuitous travel to get out of Gouda, since there is a lot of industry surrounding it and several highways. Very high winds forced us to draft a bit, but with the trailer, I am unable to contribute. Delft was a beautiful town, and  large.  We ate lunch at a bakery chain.  Everything is an experience.  I could look and point, but the menu was unreachable.  There were not enough cognates and I don't  know Dutch. Sara tried to help us, but there were three of us who didn't know Dutch and only one of her.  She really is extremely sweet and things would be much more difficult without her. Delft reminds me of Cork, Ireland.
Little tiny shops, but more tourists. The tourists mostly stay in the market square.  The church in the square looks like it was built in 4 distinctly different eras, with slightly different materials separating the parts. For the most part cars are not allowed in the town squares. This leaves an empty space for people to congregate that is about 2 blocks long.

We didn't visit the Delft factory, but the reputation and references to the style were obvious.  (At the end of the trip in Amsterdam, the Rijkuseum had a small exhibit on the origins of Delftware).

 We took the fast way out of Delft, choosing the more industrial space to travel to De Haag. Just on the outskirts of towns are expansive plots, which must be private gardens for the city folks.  They are not decorative (though they sometimes have really extravagant "tool sheds", but appear to be vegetable or cutting gardens. They remind me of the community gardens of Buffalo, but with more distinction between the plots.
 It was interesting, if not beautiful.  Miles and miles of greenhouses growing vegetables designed to grow tall (think 15 foot tall tomato plants and such), flowers for cutting and maybe some starter crops, all surrounded by grass fields mowed by goats and sheep. I think they rotate the sheep around the greenhouses, rather than have sheep for each side of the building.

Entering De Haag, Sara led us pretty confidently, because she has friends here.

Entry to Parliamentary Bldgs

We walked through the parliamentary buildings, where she pointed out that the members of parliament regularly ride their bikes to work, just like everyone else.

Bill and I went to the Escher museum, but since they had seen that museum so many times, Sara and Linda chose to visit another. It was pretty cool to see the real pieces, even though I have often seen many of the images.

Included were some nice interactive exhibits, including a silver sphere you were supposed to orient in order to generate an image similar to one Escher produced.

On our way out of De Haag we passed the Peace House, where war crimes are prosecuted.

A little further on, we were greeted by the ocean after a rise.  Wonderful humorous bronze sculptures welcomed you, including a cartoon "Little Dutch Boy" trying to plug a leak, which was basically a fountain.

The bike path along the ocean was parklike, traveling through old dunes. We came across this sign.  I burst out laughing. The "LET OP!" part I knew was "look out" or something akin to that, but the rest totally baffled me. Later I asked Sarah about it and she told me it was something like "wet cattleguard".  There were several long running references to glad wildroosters hereafter.

Then came the rain, cold and wind. The wind was welcome, because of our mostly northern travels.

Not much further on up the coast, along a dune path, we came to our campground. The sign here said "Camera Bewaking". We finally had a chance to try the Dutch version of French fries, which are served with a type of mayonnaise. Not bad. The showers and laundry I found confusing, but if I had just thought them out a little before hand I probably would have figured them out.  For the showers, you had to insert the money before you entered the shower room...

No comments: