Amsterdam, Netherlands – Eating in the city of bicycles
June 24, 2011

Amsterdam offers breathtaking views around every corner and boasts an attractive lifestyle! You do not have to venture far before encountering tall stylish people zipping by on bicycles creating a wonderful ambience as you soak in the warm morning sun while you sip on your latte. And what better compliment to this beverage than an appeltaart (apple pie). The Dutch have struck a perfect balance in the art of pie making: a slightly doughy crust, thick firm apples and instead of cheap jelly, apple puree with the odd raisin.

For the more daring, pull up along side a local and have your try at raw herring. While it might not look so appetizing, it is surprisingly mild (do not mind the bones) usually served fresh, complimented with chopped unions and sweet pickles. Order it cut and eat it with a toothpick, on a hotdog style bun, or grab it by the tale and throw it down the hatch.

For a not so sweet treat try poffertjes: perfectly light and fluffy mini pancakes sprinkled in icing sugar often served with ice cream.

To satisfy your sweet tooth you might try a stroopwafel: a layer of sweet caramel between two super thin waffles.

Whether you walk or bike the canals, ride the tram, or lounge at various cafes, there is much to keep you satisfied here.


“Appeltaart” photo provided by Flickr user: druif56 .

“Stroopwafel” photo provided by Flickr user: onedaylingers

“Poffertjes” photo provided by Flickr user: David Visser

“Herring” photo provided by Wikitravel user: Jpatokal


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You’re up, Europe!
May 5, 2011

What do Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon all have in common? In short, ME!

While we recognise how fortunate we are to travel, it has been an outrageously long two-year wait since my wife and I have stepped onto European soil. Once in your blood, travelling is a powerful self-indulgence, next to impossible to ignore. Needless to say, our next adventure was long overdue.

Many homebodies shutter at the very thought of: getting lost in winding cobblestone studded streets, zipping their way through over crowded streets on a scooter, pointing to a completely unrecognizable item on a menu, gazing straight up to admire hundreds of year old architecture while a city seems to revolve around them, or making over emphatic gestures while getting directions from a local who does not speak their language. But to an adventurous traveller this is a recipe for freedom, a chance to feel completely alive, to temporarily push aside any responsibilities and contrive an onslaught of selfish gratifications.

Six cities in seventeen days and a long list of local delicacies to indulge in. This trip is shaping up to be yet another amazing journey for the books, but a complete nightmare for the waistline. Say hello to six European cities and goodbye to Mr. Six-pack. The fact that much of our transportation involves getting around by foot, you would think this would offset any ill effects due to bad eating habits. But like every trip prior, I am expecting that loud SNAP from the switch in my brain, immediately causing me to devour everything in site.

It is the same story every time; while perusing the salad section on the menu of the very first restaurant all hell breaks loose! I suspect it has something to do with multiple overwhelming sensations constantly flooding my various senses at any given time. The eye catches sight of a local strolling by as he leans gently to the side, slightly tilting his head to better hear the whisper of his embraced female companion, as he smiles and pulls her closer. Behind you, you may hear the whooshing sound of small cylinder cars, tightly wound scooter engines zipping around like screaming bees, bicycles almost silently slipping by if were it not for the air they push aside, or the flapping sound of numerous wings lifting from a square in a hurry, as a flock of pigeons give way to a young child’s attempt to trample them through. The smell of dusty, damp, almost musky air, that could only be attributed to aged interiors of museums, palaces and churches, lingers in your nostrils as you imagine the greatness that once stood in that very spot. Little wonder why your sense of taste is dramatically heightened and honed as you touch different foods revealing their unique textures. This grand concerto of culminating sensations provokes a perfect storm of vivacious flavours.

Follow me as I tantalizingly savour many sinful cheats in Europe. But whatever you do, do not try this at home! I will be the one enjoying the flavours. Why? Frankly, because I worked my butt off for it.

“Good food is like music you can taste, colour you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only be aware to stop and savour it.” -Ratatouille-

*Photo provided by themed home decor


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