Dorine said it was impossible to eat a Bosschebol without a knife and fork. Frank, being Frank, took that on as a challenge. I declined to enter the competition, however he assures me they are delicious and that using your fingers is definitely an option, just not a particularly attractive one to watch! Bosschebollen are famous in Den Bosch and it can be tricky to know which bakery sells the best ones if you don't have a native with you. Luckily, we had two, and Dorine and Fred led us to the perfect place to sample one. A bossche bol is a pastry similar to an eclair, full of whipped cream and covered in chocolate. Frank highly recommends them. I think it's something you probably try once.
Den Bosch is only about 20 minutes from Eindhoven so it was an easy drive but interestingly, it's not somewhere Fred and Dorine go often, so they had as much fun as we did exploring. As we wandered into the old town in the rain, there were flags and posters everywhere advertising the Jheronimus Bosch exhibition. It has been a big deal in Den Bosch this year and very hard to get tickets
to the exhibition.An old-fashioned organ grinder added to the atmosphere and seemed to follow us around all day! The advertisement that I particularly liked was a decal on lots of shop windows saying "Welcome Home, Jheronimus", as though the medieval painter was a prodigal son who had just been away for a while! It was amazing looking at his work - it was quite surreal and done long before the surrealist movement. When you first see his paintings it's hard to believe they were done in the 1490's. We drifted through the museum, seeing more Van Goghs and the Jan Fabre exhibition, which was also a tribute to Jheronimus Bosch. His art is amazing, all glittering emerald greens and blues as it's done using the beautiful wings of jewel beetles. He builds them up to make a raised image which looks embossed. I loved it, although some of the images are pretty macabre - the exhibition is about colonialism in the Congo so there is some uncomfortable material.
We were really lucky because Dorine had been able to organise tickets to another special event - a tour of the ramparts of Sint Jan. The flying buttresses feature both people
and gargoyles in various poses depicting various occupations and sins! Apparently when the cathedral was renovated an additional statue was approved, of an angel wearing jeans and talking on a mobile phone. We laughed at the poster suggesting people "Dial an Angel". It was a great view of the city from above, and a great contrast with our next bit of fun, a trip in a boat through the underground tunnels and canals of Den Bosch. Must say we have seen quite a few of the amazing canals in The Netherlands! Afterwards, Frank took the opportunity to visit a barber for a beard trim - something he's never tried before - and came out looking very dapper! Persistent rain started to fall again as we made our way to dinner and afterwards, listened to some great strolling buskers. I made sure to add them to my collection of photos of the buskers of Europe! While Dorine and I explored a few shops - in particular a fantastic deli which lured us in from the street with magnificent aromas, but also impressed with beautiful little pistachio green pastries - Frank and Fred explored the pub. They are working their way through
a few Dutch beers this week and tomorrow night the plan is for the girls to go out to dinner to meet some old friends, and the boys to do a beer crawl on bikes. Should be interesting.
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