If It Ain’t Dutch, It Ain’t Much

People don’t take trips; trips take people.

John Steinbeck

Day 1: Rotterdam 

We left Maastricht at about 7am to arrive in Rotterdam at about 10am. It was already super windy, but in the 50s so it felt nice. We started our day with a tour of Markthal, a giant market and apartment complex. It is decorated with beautiful metal tiles of the different fruits and produce that can be found in the market and large glass panels at both entrances.

Fun fact: The artist who designed the inside of Markthal was high when designing the art of produce (guess it worked out well). 

At the Markthal, we had fish and chips and the best Nutella stroopwafel. It was as big as my face and a very typical Dutch treat. After we ate lunch, we decided to explore the surrounding area. We visited the cube museum, which is a bunch of houses designed by a Dutch architect. It is a huge optical illusion and being inside one was super trippy at first. People actually live in the other cube houses, but the one we turned was specifically a museum. After the cube houses, we walked to St. Lawrence Church (see pic). This man in front of us stopped by this metal stall and just started urinating. I was super caught off guard by this, but apparently public restrooms in the Netherlands are very public. The church was somewhat similar to the other churches that wet ave seen so far in Europe, but nonetheless beautiful.

After admiring the church architecture, we took a tram and bus out to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site an hour outside of Rotterdam. Navigating public transportation in Rotterdam was slightly easier because we have cards for public transportation use around the Netherlands, but it was still different because Maastricht doesn’t have trams. The journey out to Kinderdijk had us switching between modes of public transportation, and we ended up running at one point because the bus we were trying to catch was a lot closer than we though it was and we were on the other side of a main road. It all ended up working out, and we got to the windmills when it was nice and sunny out. We walked up and down the dijk for a bit. It wasn’t busy probably because it was so cold, but it made it easier for for us. After the windmill, we came back to the hotel we were staying at and took a nice long nap.

We went to a ramen place called Takumi for dinner and it was incredible (shoutout to Dom for the recommendations)! It was so yummy and much needed after the cold windy day we had. After dinner, we walked around and got a couple of drinks around Witte de Withstraat. It was lined with cute lights, cafes, bars, and restaurants.There were plenty of people out and about that night, with most of them looking to be around our age.

When we arrived back at the hotel, there was a herd of people dressed up for what looked like a prom. Super wild. And with that, day one was done.

Het regent pijpenstelen (It’s raining pipestems- equivalent to raining cats + dogs)

Dutch Saying

Day 2: Royal Delft & Zaanse Schans

The Dutch weather was not kind to us this weekend. There were winds up to 40mph and the second day of our trip it was pouring rain. We started off the day by going to Royal Delft Museum and saw the fine earthenware that has been made since the 17th century (and taken from the Chinese!!). We saw the plates that they make for the royal family (hence why it’s called Royal Delft), as well as re-creations of some of the most famous Dutch art (Girl with the Pearl Earring).

After touring the factory and various art exhibitions, we got the chance to make our own Delft tile! As you can tell by the pictures, Delft earthenware is known for that shade of blue (called Delft Blue). It is made of cobalt oxide, and turns blue after being placed in the kiln. It was a little bit like calligraphy because we each had a little slab of some of the paint and then water that we could add to make the shade either lighter or darker. I ended up recreating one of the famous windmill patterns that they have (see the middle picture in the gallery above vs. what it’s supposed to look like next to it). Can’t wait to get my tile back once it’s done!

We then headed to see Zaanse Schans, which is a tiny village about 15 minutes north of Amsterdam. It’s known for the green wooden houses and windmills, as well as clogs and cheese! It was pouring rain (as you can probably tell by the pictures). Our tour guide was actually born and raised in Zaanse Schans, and he had a lot of stories to share with us about what it was like growing up. There were lots of chickens and goats (still are too!), and plenty of unique details in the various houses and buildings that reflect the families that owned them. There was one house that was lined with honeycombs and surprisingly, they were known as the Honey family. We also saw the first Albert Heijn (the Dutch equivalent of an Aldi or Times).

We also got to see how clogs and cheese were made, and try some of our own. The cheese was incredibly (minus my lactose intolerance), and the clogs were really interesting to see because they were a lot lighter than I thought they would be. And just as our tour was ending, down came another rain! Everything of mine was completely soaked, which made for a very cold bus ride back.

Stay tuned for some Carnival adventures and another upcoming trip!

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