Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rotterdam and Delft

I've always wanted to see Piet Blom's kubuswoningen (cube houses) in December when it's foggy, rainy, cold, and my fingers numb so I could barely feel my camera's buttons.  

No, not really.  Just the first part of that sentence.  So off to Rotterdam we drove.

Over two hours of driving and fighting with TomTom - our un-updated but indispensable satnav.  That thing, by the way, managed to get us off the motorway for a bit of rally driving that cost us about 20 minutes; nevertheless we arrived at our destination.

One of these are open to the public - the show cube.  True to Dutch architecture, these houses have very steep, ladder-like stairs.  Climbing up going up is easy; going down...well, is a challenge. 

Profuse are the angles and corners, plenty.

Apart from these abodes and a number of museums, there wasn't a lot more to see.  Rotterdam was bombed almost to oblivion during the war so most of its architecture is modern save for a few.

Bicycle-friendly steps.

How many bikes can you spot in the water?

Lunch time.  Bittergarnituur: an assortment of cheese souffle, chicken nuggets, bami, and bittertballen (beef croquettes).

A bowl of fries.

And cold beer.

Half an hour's drive away from Rotterdam is the charming city of Delft, famous for its beautiful blue and white pottery.  Since we were close to it and ready to leave Rotterdam, why not.

But the sun went down too fast.  Although it was only about half past four, it was already dark.  I totally forgot about the days being short - too short - in winter.

That meant shops and museums closed early.  And it also meant shooting on a tripod, which was stowed under the bed back in Deventer.

I love how the houses in Holland have huge windows.

The Grinch tree!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Christmas market in Oberhausen, Germany.

Good thing the weather cleared up after a few hours of snow.

Nevermind the sub-zero temperature, as long as I get to eat bratwurst.

But not before some gluhwein and spaetzel.  And chocolated-covered strawberries and apples to take home.

And one of those big, fat, pretzels.

My non-food purchase:  a couple of cute hand-painted drawer pulls.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dickens Festival Deventer

Every year for two days in December, the beautiful city of Deventer, Holland pays homage to one of the greatest writers of the 19th century, Charles Dickens.  In this event, all the characters in his novels come to life, parading the narrow streets of this old, old city.  It truly is a wonderful spectacle; and one of my most unforgettable travel experiences.

I saw Scrooge.  Tiny Tim.  The Fool.  The ghosts in A Christmas Carol.  The artful dodger.  Aristocrats.....chimney sweeps....beggars....and many more along the streets.  Well, not only in the streets but also in shops and houses in the area where the event took place.

I made a slideshow of the photos I took at the festival.  Enjoy!

And of course, here are the food photos:

Brood met worst en uitjes - bread with sausage and onions.  My best Dickens Fest food experience.  How I loved the sound of crisp sausage skin snapping between my teeth with every bite, followed by the taste of wonderfully seasoned, tender. and succulent meat.

Assorted pastries and bread.


Bread houses.

Hot punch (Gluhweijn)!  Holiday spices simmered in red wine.  Great way to fight the cold weather while walking the streets.

Poffertjes - mini pancakes (heavily) dusted with powdered sugar.  Warning (and note to self): it's probably best not to inhale through the mouth when eating this.

Of course there's beer.  It's Holland.

More sausages...

Waffles with hot cherries and whipped cream.  Delicious.

Dickens Festijn

for information about this year's upcoming festival (Dec. 2013):

VVV Deventer
Brink 56 (De Waag)
7411 BV  Deventer
tel. +31 (0)570 710 120
website:  www.vvvdeventer.nl