Friday, 25 November 2011


Went to Holland and had a lovely time. We arrived in Amsterdam Monday evening, and took the train out to Haarlem (15 minutes away) on Tuesday and Utrecht (20 minutes away) on Wednesday.

In Amsterdam I had a hot chocolate which was a chocolate lollipop in hot milk. The lollipop melts in the milk.

Occupy Amsterdam were camped outside the stock exchange. It was a cold and strange, very foggy night.

There was a little building near our hotel that leaned forwards.

Holland has lots of cheese. I had lovely cheese, called Old Cheese and Young Cheese. The young cheese is softer and creamier.

We then met Mimi. This is Mimi, she's named after the sister of a little old lady who told us about her. She lives in a seed shop, and has a young family near the concert hall.

A FEBO is a little chain place, where you put some money in a coin slot, open a window and take out a kroket. A kroket is a small Dutch snack food that looks like a vegetarian sausage but is made of mince (beef, there's a choice of veal, and a satay option) in a kind of cream gravy, covered with breadcrumbs, and fried.

I'm going to try to make a kroket, a proper one not from a window.

We took the train to Haarlem, and saw Occupy Haarlem.

Here are some Zwarte Piets casually dangling from ropes in a bakery window. It requires a slight mental shift to see the shopwindow below as a happy Christmas scene.

Dutch Santa is recognisably different from the other Santa, as he wears a Pope hat and is accompanied by Zwarte Piet, his helper friend. There were Zwarte Piets all over Haarlem.

We wandered around Haarlem for a while looking for lunch, but most of the eating places looked closed. We ended up going to a very nice cafe called Anne&Max. Their customers were mostly women. Their sandwiches were awesome.

There is a choice of teas.

I had the 'oude kaas' sandwich, with olive tapenade, rocket, and aubergines. It's a sandwich I will recreate. The bread had a crunchy crust I really liked as well.

After lunch we walked around looking for the vast park in Haarlem. We saw something amazing in the distance!

Llamas! There are llamas in a park in Haarlem. Or, you know, alpacas, or whatever. It was magical.

The park continued to be magical. It was like little, quiet woods, with comfortable walking tracks.

We had to leave the park before it got too dark. Saw a cat in a shop window, next to a unicorn hand puppet.

I loved Haarlem. It feels kind of like that Amelie movie, that European feel, with everyone cycling around on cobblestone streets, and neat red brick houses with tall windows.

We took the train back to Amsterdam - trains come about every fifteen minutes to Amsterdam Centraal station, and take about fifteen minutes to get there. We wandered around Amsterdam for a while and later that night had apparently authentic Mexican food, which I'd never had before.

Nachos came with different dippy things and a salsa. Wasn't sure what the dippy things were, the salsa was good.

I had enchiladas with shredded chicken and mole sauce. It was a thick, kind of sweet and spicy sauce, and it came with a dark side sauce of some kind. I have no clue what it was, it all tasted nice and was really substantial.

James had the enchiladas with salsa verde, which I really liked. It was the same format as mine, but with a fresher taste.

The Grasshopper, the coffeeshop-restaurant extravaganza building, with funky neon sayings. We didn't go there.

Instead I recommend the Dolphins, which has vapourisers on colour changing lights on the ground floor and a good sized sitting area downstairs with a snack vending machine. The drink I most enjoyed in Amsterdam is a chocolate milk called Chocomel. It's a Dutch chocolate milk and is made in Amersfoot. It's thick, and chocolatey. I saw an ad for Chocomel Dark, but couldn't find it.

The Dolphins is away from the main stretch of coffeeshops and slightly dodgy-seeming people, which is the main alarming thing I find about some streets in Amsterdam, an otherwise safe-feeling city.

Graffiti down Spuistraat: Live Without Dead Time. And happy grinning dude face.

On Wednesday we went to Utrecht, a university city about twenty minutes away from Amsterdam. We saw, Occupy Utrecht, on week 6!

We had lunch in Utrecht, somewhere very similar to Anne&Max, called Tastoe.

I had a super-awesome sandwich I'll definitely try to recrete. It was an open-faced sandwich on crusty brown bread, and was a chevre with apples on top, and I think grilled so the chevre melted. This was topped with a sort of fruit chutey, pecans, and accompanied by a salad.

James had a sandwich with young cheese.

I totally rate the sandwiches I'd had in Holland.

Windmill near a crossing in Utrecht:

We returned to Amsterdam later that evening and wandered around. The canals are romantic at night, and kind of what I wish Paris was more like. Possibly the best thing about Amsterdam is the layers of traffic, and you're segregated from cyclists and traffic. There are substantial pavement bits to stand on when you cross the road so you aren't tottering on a road divider. I was puzzled when trams seemed to stop for me at pedestrian crossings, but I'm unfamiliar with the habits of trams.

Another cat in a window.

I also totally rate the Vlaamse fries I had, with satay sauce. They were light crispy, 'fries' type fries (not thick cut 'chips' type fries), but the fries were crunchy and not floppy, and covered with a sweet satay sauce. I didn't take a picture of it but these were definitely way more awesome than I expected fries in a cone to be. They were from Vleminckx Sausmeesters, with whole range of sauces, including the satay sauce, sambal oelek and regular mayonnaise. They're near the Tweede Kamer coffeeshop, which is a nice, small coffeeshop that plays jazz music.


  1. harlemstraat
    dampkring 2 = best music
    -> ginger ale (sativa)
    -> king hassan hash .. just okay

    barney's = volcano per table, lable per bag
    -> liberty haze (which won the cup),
    -> some hybrid buddha/bubba kush?,
    -> blue cheese (indica) nice

    dampkring 1 = ceres hilton (sativa) -> 9 month cured, awesome
    chocolope (indica) -> nice, similar to blue cheese
    nepalese (gummy hash) -> like jamaican gum, very oily

    babalon = tidighin (pure sweet, not too dry or wet) -> as always

    near spui
    tweede karmer = coolest, 90% dutch people
    -> master buddha hindu kush (or something) was
    fruitiest tastiest of all.