This is not my first trip to the Netherlands but in the past we have stayed pretty much around Amsterdam, so this was an exciting opportunity to see some of the other areas that are as fascinating as they are beautiful.
|Taking a break in Breda|
Aside from the stunning gardens there are four large facilities stuffed to overflowing astonishing flowers. A person can get lost for days browsing through the seemingly endless parade of color. And then there are the smells. The intoxicating bouquet of the Keukenhof is simply otherworldly.
Nothing that I have ever experienced gave me a fuller and more complete understanding of the arrival of Spring. If the Keukenhof is not on your life's "bucket list" put it there STAT.
|Paleis het Loo|
|Coffee and King Willem pasteries|
It is also a good reminder of the recent change in the Royal Family. The beloved Queen Beatrix (Queen Bea) recently abdicated her throne to her son, King Willem and his wife, Queen Maxima. Long live the King!
|Oude Kerk in Delft|
|Sepulchral monument of Prince William of Orange|
The more adventurous travelers may want to climb the very narrow and steep spiraling staircase to the top of the Nieuwe Kerk's massive bell tower which was built over the course of a century between 1396 and 1496 and offers extraordinary views of the city... And one hell of a workout.
From Nieuwe Kerk and the main square, it's a short winding walk through more antique shops and cafés to reach the Oude Kerk (Old Church). While the Nieuwe Kerk is more for special occasions, the Oude Kerk is more of the everyday cathedral (if indeed there is such a thing). The places of honor in Oude Kerk are reserved for famous Dutch Mariners such as Petrus Heinius, and Marten Harpertzen Tromp.
Put all together, Delft is a photogenic, walkable, shoppers paradise, and has an amazing amount to offer tourists.
The Abbeys throughout Belgium are nearing their first millennium of brewing and the craftsmanship if their beer shows. Here is a short list of some of our favorites:
3) Postel tripel
4) La Trappe Tripel
As far as dinner items go, spring is the season for the white asparagus that is farmed in this area. Not as strongly flavored as the common green asparagus that I'm used to seeing, the white is also much thicker, roughly the width of a wine cork and when covered with hard cooked egg and hollandaise sauce is capable of being a meal unto itself.
The other entree that I couldn't get enough of was the pork with satay sauce. The thick peanut sauce is a decadent compliment to the meat and a recipe that I have sworn to master this summer.
As that we rent a car everywhere we travel, I thought that it might be fun to include a review of each car. Mercedes CDI
I was so happy to get a chance to see more of the countryside in the Netherlands, I have spent time in Amsterdam before but could never say that I knew the country well as a whole. So this was an amazing experience for me.
|Prince William of Orange|