Thursday is market day for IJmuiden! We woke up and got some absolutely delicious apple pastries from a local bakery and fruit juice (not a single coffee shop or resultant opens until noon or later) happy , fat and satisfied we took off for the city of Tilburg.
We pulled into the La Trappe abbey grounds and were greeted warmly by the locals (gotta love the Dutch) and happily waited to start our tour and tasting.
The abbey wasn’t all that old, built in 1880 or so, but the brewery had been upgraded to a modern production not long ago. It was great fun, we had a amusing tour guide , and he liked to pick on Kevin, the American. On the bottling line (the only not quiet place in the whole grounds) there was a few none monk workers and some fork lifts- who were listening to Toto “Africa” quite loudly- it was a funny sudden change in environment.
I tried the bock first then eventually had the blond, dubbel, triple and quad. And all the tasting plates of course. We had to walk it off a little before driving back to the hotel.
Our last night in Holland was cut a little short with some sickness, I picked up a cold or something annoying as heck. Wouldn’t be a trip for me without illness though. (Giant sigh)
Overall, This trip has been awesome, tons of time together and lots of new places. Here are some of the little things we noticed that didn’t really have a place anywhere else in any particular of the day entries.
The Belgians and the Dutch love them some French fries (they are not seasoned though, no salt) and they are always served with a large side of heavy mayonnaise.
The bike on the flat tire beers is truly inspired by the bike every single person has exactly 1.5 of themselves. Most of the city dwellers don’t own cars but rather a bike or two.
Dutch and Belgians don’t seem to like mornings and no ones moving around before mid day. Breakfast consists of coffee and a croissant or some such light fair. Lunch is a entree with fries, and dinner is also a main entree possibly with fries or salad. Cappuccino or Espresso and alcohol are acceptable meal accompaniments at any time.
The Dutch take English in school starting in primary! Almost everyone can have some sort of English conversation with you, but they appreciate you trying their language more. The Belgians on the other hand will typically say something like “oh you speak Anglais”… And then switch to English themselves to help you.
The Dutch are supremely friendly and smile a lot.
The Belgians tolerate you, and can be friendly, but don’t act American at all or they will decide you don’t deserve help or anything really. And by American I mean clueless and English speaking only. Keep in mind they are a proud people though and you will be alright.
The Belgians like to drink. Heavily in the evening and encourage those around them to do so by hosting many festivals and such in their towns.
People that like Belgian beer will be in heaven here.
Carry Euros. Any major city you are good with a card, but outside of that- they generally only like to take cash or local bank Pin cards. ATMs are pretty frequent though.
Hotels here are super basic, even more so than Italy. You can expect one or two glasses, soap, and shampoo with towels. Nothing more. No AC. Luckily there are Apotheks or pharmacies everywhere for little needs that come up.
The inside joke of the trip was the idea of a southern US redneck on Euro holiday. Kevins impersonation of a red neck interacting with people here had me in stiches. Rednecks asking for directions to the nearest Bojangles… Asking how they go mudd’n with their little cars…. The redneck attempts to respond to the Dutch with broken German not realizing the difference…. It went on and on.
This joke came about because whenever someone asked where we were from and we further elaborated beyond “the States”, North Carolina got some strange looks, mostly confused ones. Not that I blame them. Most people were curious about our election. To which the best we could do was shrug and explain our system is broken.
Your personal space bubble extends as far as your clothes and any backpack, but that is it.
No one is polite about walking around, everyone avoids eye contact. Think of it like always waking around a crowded amusement park.
The first thing I’m going to do when I get home, is give the little piggies the biggest hug ever and watch Netflix in AC on my couch for at least half a day drinking ice water. I have missed my shower and bed a lot along with all the little comforts that go along with be able to read street signs.
Kevin missed nothing and is rather upset he has to go back , minus the guinea pigs and some people from work & family.
Next trip will be on the US side of the world, while we save up for Vietnam 🙂