Today was a pretty good day. It wasn't the best, but not too bad. Our morning started back in the Delft City Center with a visit to the Market. Thousands of people. Bicycles everywhere. The morning started cool, so I'd worn a blazer and Simon wore a sweater. The vendors lined the streets selling their wares. Everything from Fresh Cut Flowers, varieties of fresh vegetables, knock-off purses & perfumes, Pashima scarves to various Dutch and Ethnic food stands. As an American, this sight put me in mind of the French Quarter in New Orleans or Fanueil Hall in Boston. Though the one here in Delft is much larger with much more to see.
What I can say as the morning went on is that I became exhausted. It was a little overwhelming with so many people and so many bikes and cars to watch for. As the morning heated up, the blazer was becoming almost unbearable (but I didn't want to show my flabby arms beneath). And for some reason all the noise and chatter (in every language but English) began to wear on my fragile nerves. Being diabetic, I started the day without eating properly. It's possible that my blood sugar had taken a dive and I was becoming irritable. After a couple of hours, I advised Simon that it was necessary to stop in for a bite. There were loads of outside cafes, pubs, and fast foods to choose from, but I wanted somewhere a little dark and quiet. So we went to a favorite Pub of Simon's. There he drank a summer beer (with lemon) and I a bottled water.
The Dutch do not automatically put ice in your water, tea or soda. You must request it and in some cases your request can be denied. They may do it or not, Simon said. I figured if it's the custom not to have it, I wouldn't be the American to request it. But I must say it's been so strange for me. Within minutes the drink is warm. Even at McDonalds yesterday our drinks were served without ice.
The next observation...French fries are called Friet. They are served with Mayonnaise instead of ketchup. They are eaten everywhere, especially up and down the streets, as one walks. It's funny that the French fries are eaten with Mayo, because the sandwiches are naked. No mayo, no mustard, and no other spread. They are often eaten with eggs on top--which by the way, the egg yolks are not yellow here. They are kind of orange. The reason for this...not even Simon is sure, but a bright yellow egg yolk would be disgusting to him.
Please note my observations are not complaints. I am fascinated by all of these small observances. I feel like the Jerry Seinfeld of Dutch trip journals. My entries are and will probably continue to be "much ado about nothing." More seasoned travelers will have to laugh at my observations about these silly things.
After the visit to the restaurant, we continued to walk in an area quite aways from the Market and antique row. This area was mostly residential and you could tell quite expensive. They were homes along the canals and less congested streets. There we took a look at enclosed homes. They were enclosed like a courtyard setting. Very charming. Different because they were in that square, instead of in rows, with the front doors facing inside of the square. Each home had a front yard with gardens growing. Very neat, after seeing streets and streets of row houses. These homes were built in 1575. So cool.
After that visit, Simon gave me the choice to take the bus into The Hague for a visit or to head toward home. I chose to head toward home (I know, I'm a party-pooper). We took the trolley and de-boarded at the mall around the corner from his home. At the mall he got some fresh tomatoes (yes, inside of the mall) and I a Diet Coke (yes, without the ice).
Who knows what tomorrow has in store.
Tot ziens! More to come soon.