Traveling as a US citizen is amazing. Imagine not being stopped by surly immigration officers and given the third degree about why I was there and how much money I had.
We stagger through immigration and customs we draw Euro’s from an ATM and buy train tickets to Amersfoort. We are directed to platform 6 and told to catch the train to Amersfoort that arrives in ten minutes. In our befuddled jet lagged state we climb aboard the first train that arrives. Within seconds we realize that we had neglected to notice if the train was a). the correct one and b). we didn’t ask if the train was direct or if we had to change trains and if so when and where. A moment of panic. A lady noticing our concern assured us we are on the correct train but we did need to get off at the next station to catch the train through to Amersfoort. We hop off, said train arrives and we hop on, arriving in Amersfoort with no further drama.
Locating our accommodation is a little tricky but with a few false starts and the non-help of 4 different people giving conflicting directions we find our house. What should have been a 15 minute walk ends up taking 45. We chat with our hostess then rapidly shower and sack out until early afternoon.
We walk to the little supermarket Albert Hein and purchase dinner, wine and snacks. After dropping off purchases sit in the large square drinking a couple “flutjie’s of Pil’s” and eat “Bitter ballen” a typical Dutch snack. We plan to cook a dinner consisting of roast chicken, potatoes and broccoli but feast instead on smoked mackerel, crusty bread and cheese. Falling asleep is not difficult.
Feeling the effects of jet lag we both wake at 4 am. We drink coffee, eat a boiled egg and toast breakfast and take a long walk though the medieval town photographing it’s fascinating architecture and enjoying the extraordinary feeling of being in a totally foreign environment. We walk to a large market, “Supermarket Plus”. Similar to Whole Foods. After collecting supplies we find that our bodies are adjusting to the time change and are in constant need of fuel. We find some in the form of coffee and “huisgemaarkt applebak”. Quite delicious! We have a rough plan of what we really want to see and called at the TI office to confirm train timings and the locations of the Cavalry Museum, Fishing Village and The Drei Ringen Brewery. The TI is closed we pass the time with another coffee and chat with a lady who suggests doing a tour of the canals she say’s it’s a little touristy but at 4 Euro’s per it’s worthwhile. After changing my watch battery in a very smart jewelry store, we make our way home, wolf down a chicken sandwich and sleep until 3.30 pm. At 4.00 pm we hop on a boat with a bunch of Dutch tourists. Commentary is in Dutch. There is an English translation leaflet.
We glean that the town is first mentioned in writing, in the year 1028. The town had many brewery’s. The beer was excellent (it still is) and therefore the town was an exceedingly happy one. It still is!
In reality the water was foul to drink and beer was the safest method of quenching one’s thirst.
After the boat tour we drink a beer on what the locals call the “Hof” or the town square. We also share a “Krokett” another typical Dutch snack.
Dinner is finger food again as we are in no mood to cook. After sinking a bottle and a half of red wine we head back to the Hof and eat a “ ’n Potjie verse Mosselen” Another glass of wine pushes Christina’s language switch and she is now speaking broken German and Italian to our waiter who is rather confused.
Hic, I say… It’s the jet lag. 10.00 pm and bed.