Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The ways of the Dutch

Holland Vacation Album

Our vacation in Katwijk is almost over. We'll pack up our bikes and beach gear tomorrow and head back to Essen (my home town) for a few days before leaving for Helsinki to visit my friend Anna next Wednesday.

This was our second time in Katwijk and overall the Dutch and the German ways are very similar. This time we stayed at a very nice campground in the Noordduinen, where we rented a house in the dunes that we shared with my parents. My brother and his family stayed in the house next door. The weather is somewhat unpredictable. The day might start with rain but it'll likely clear before too long and the sun will break through. It often is very (very) windy, which makes it hard to ride the bike especially if you are pulling a trailer with two toddlers. Temperatures are in the low to mid 70s.

Naturally we took it easy most days, strolling into town for our morning coffee when the kids didn't sleep past 6 am or taking everybody on a ride for after dinner espresso, hoping the kids would go to sleep on the way home, which worked sometimes.

I don't think I ever drink as much coffee (cappuccino that is) as I do when here on vacation. For one, the coffee here is pretty great and you always get a little cookie to go along with it. There is also no escaping the Dutch equivalent of burger with fries: Frikandel with fries. As a matter of fact, it almost seems like the Dutch and everybody else who spends an extended amount of time in Holland (more than a day) eats fries (usually with ketchup and mayonnaise) during every meal of the day except breakfast. We successfully avoided the Frikandel and tried our best to keep the fries at bay.

Interesting is also that at all restaurants and bars in this area, waiters use electronic hand-held devices to take your order. It may be that this is done all across Holland, but I can't really says that for sure.

The waiters all walk around with these things that look like an over sized remote control, which they use to key your order into the system right then and there. That's pretty smart and efficient. The other thing is that any of the waiters around can pull up your table on his/her system on the spot, which means that you can order that second glass of wine from the first waiter that comes your way and you also don't have to wait for "your"waiter to pay. Pretty cool.

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