On Saturday I went with Ivo’s daughters, Ylenia and Lara, Ylenia’s boyfriend, Danny, and Danny’s friend, Bob, to a nearby city, Haarlem. We walked on a walking only street and stopped at some shops. It was very very busy since it was Saturday and there were a lot of good sales, but I did find a few things…
There were a few bizarre finds as well…
After walking for awhile we entered a square that was filled with food trucks and tents of people selling things. There were so many beautiful flower markets selling huge bouquets of fresh flowers for very cheap! I think that is something we should get in the States for sure.
Whenever Ylenia and Lara come to Wisconsin to visit, they bring packages of cookies called Stroopwafles. Usually they are about 3 inches in diameter. There was a food truck at the square that was making them fresh! They mixed the dough right there, put it in the waffle iron, and spread warm, gooey caramel between two cookies. They were more than twice the size of the Stoopwafles I’ve had before and warm! Delicious.
Once we were finished shopping we found an outdoor patio and ordered a few drinks and some appetizers. Bitterballen are croquets filled with some sausage or other meat and cheese, deep fried and served with really tasty mustard. They are super popular here. I’ve had them three times already. (Not complaining at all. I could live off of these.)
We left Haarlem and drove about twenty minutes back to Hoofddorp where Ylenia and Lara live with their mom. It was the first time I’ve ever seen where they live most of the time, so that was super cool! Now I can picture what they are talking about when they come to Elroy and tell me stories about home. It is a beautiful airy space decorated with tons of plants and art! I’m still a little tiny bit jet lagged so I took an hour long nap before getting ready for dinner.
Ylenia and Danny have raved to me about how good the sushi is in the Netherlands. It is always fresh and prepared by chefs directly from Japan. I needed to see what all the buzz is about so we went to a really nice sushi restaurant, Kokusai, in Amstelveen which is very close to Amsterdam. It was all you can eat sushi! Each round, every person at the table can select up to four things off of the menu which also included salads, chicken, beef, noodles and some fried foods. The sushi was the best I’ve ever had. You could taste how fresh the fish and vegetables were, and the sauces were made very well! One thing I did think was a little weird, though, was that even though the sushi was all you can eat, the sodas did not have free refills. No restaraunts over here offer free refills, and if you know me, you know that that is a huge issue for me. 😛
On our way home, Ylenia and Lara showed me some Dutch rap music which was really cool. It was a lot different than the rap that I am used to. Every time I asked Lara to translate she said it was way too dirty for her to tell me what they are saying. It is very interesting to listen to people speak Dutch. Some of their words sound a lot like English words. For example, Kokummber is Cucumber and vijftien (pronounced like “five teen”) is fifteen. Also, they use all American English swear words, so you can sometimes figure out generally what someone may be talking about.
When we got home, Ylenia and Danny went to a birthday party (which they invited me to but I was exhausted and they said they’d probably not get home until 3 or 4). Lara and I watched some Modern Family and eventually went to bed. I listened to Big Sean on Apple Music before falling asleep jealous of my friends in America seeing him live that night.
Late Sunday morning, I woke up and got ready and Ylenia, Lara, Danny and I drove to The Haag (the nation’s capitol) to meet Shawn and Ivo for lunch. We ate at an up and coming restaurant, Catch by Simonis, near Scheveningen (the beach on the North Sea). I had an Aperol spritz (a very popular European cocktail made up of Aperol, prosecco, soda water and a slice of orange), a caesar salad and a vegetarian pasta with a parmesan sauce and roasted vegetables. We talked about our weekends and what Shawn and Ivo have planned for Lara and I next weekend (VERY exciting)!
Now for a quiet evening back at Shawn’s house to prepare for the next week at my internship!