Three stops in The Netherlands

Big D and I set out on our first trip alone together (just two of us) on Veterans Day weekend 2010. He selected our destination: The Netherlands.

Our first stop was Rotterdam. It’s funny how little things cause us to either like or dislike a city. We had a small, smelly hotel room. And it didn’t just rain, it poured. We weren’t so impressed with Rotterdam… but we did hide out for the afternoon in a funky bar sipping wine and snacking on french fries.

hiding from the rain and wind in a cozy place

And then we wandered into the into a place called The Cinema. I am so disappointed (and surprised!) that I didn’t write in my journal about this fantastic dining adventure. We were early enough to be seated without reservations – in fact, we practically had the place to ourselves. The waitress struggled with her English and eventually we understood that we could either order off the menu, or just let them know what we liked and have the five course Chef’s Surprise. Who could say no to that!? I said I preferred meat and didn’t want seafood. And I wish D was here so I could rack his brain for the details of his meal… I know our first course was soup in a shotglass,  my meal featured a seared beef appetizer, and my main dish was venison with pears.

dinner at a great place called Cinema

The chef came out to our table, sat down and asked us what we thought, and spent what felt like a long time chatting with us before sending out our amazing, complicated chocolate desserts.

I specifically remembering asking the waitress if our check could possibly be wrong, because the total was too low. She laughed and asked where we’re from…It was the first (but not the last time) this happened. I’m always shocked when cocktails, a bottle of wine and a giant gourmet meal are affordable. By the time we left, the place was packed. And we eventually figured out that the first floor is fine dining while the other level is an exclusive nightclub with a red velvet rope to keep out the riff raff!

Suddenly, we were really starting to like Rotterdam! But we were underdressed and tired so there was no clubbing for us.

And not to make this a foodie blog, but breakfast the next morning at one of the world’s biggest ports was tasty and picturesque (and sorting through pictures for this post is really showing me how much my photography has improved in the last year or two – this snapshot does not do Rotterdam justice.)

Rotterdam

Next, we drove to Delft, an adorable little town where parallel parking is tricky.

Delft

You have to be really careful when parallel parking on a canal!

After shopping and lunch we were continued to Amsterdam where we spent a few days touring. We visited the Anne Frank House, quickly strolled through the Red Light District (truly something for everyone – ewwww), took a fun canal hop on / hop off boat ride, shopped at a flea market, ate a lot of tapas, bought a lot of cheese, spent quality time at the Van Gogh Museum, and much more.

Amsterdam

cheap!

Cheese, glorious cheese
I loved this cheese shop. Meanwhile, Big D said it smelled like feet and had to wait for me outside.

Amsterdam

A few more pictures from our first (but not nearly the last) trip to The Netherlands are on Flickr.

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