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Published: July 12th 2016
The attraction of Delft, believe it or not, wasn't the the beautiful blue and white china. We had been a bit disappointed that Gitte's university exams happened to fall exactly at the time we were in The Netherlands, but in a sudden lightbulb moment I suggested we drive up and meet her for lunch after her last exam today. It was only a 90 minute drive so it all worked out perfectly. We were thrilled to see her and were able to hand over some Freddo Frogs that we'd carried all the way from home! Gitte was a great tour guide of her new city. I had been keen to try real Dutch pofterjes, and she had organised for us to go to a great pancake restaurant on the square in Delft where we were sure to be able to get them. It was a bit of a grey day again (Come on Netherlands, we're tired of wearing down jackets in Summer!), but we dodged the rain quite well and were able to have a great tour of the city. Gitte showed us her student guild, but of course as non-members we were not allowed to actually go inside. A guild
is a bit like an American student sorority but the students don't live at the house. They do eat some meals there and just hang out, I think. Gitte belongs to the same guild, Virgiel, that her grandfather was a member of, so there is a bit of family history there, and it sounds as though she's having plenty of fun. As we explored Delft, Frank started cracking Monty Python jokes about canals (There have been a lot of them but they are all different). He was excited though as we crossed one bridge and noticed a water bird's nest on the edge of the water. It was in a little nook in a canal house's wall. As we watched, a baby bird came out of the nest still all wet from the egg and tottered toward the water. It was so amazing! Just like a David Attenborough documentary (But with a dumped shopping trolley in the frame). Apparently there are hundreds of bikes and shopping trolleys dumped in the canals each year and they have clean ups regularly to fish them out. Delft is a great place to go if you want to buy coffee, coffee percolators, coffee machines,
or coffee accessories. There were hundreds of very lovely shops and these were the ones you saw most. We also visited a great cheese shop with workers in traditional dress and a glass wall of cheese that we could see from a canal behind the shop, and the obligatory Delft china store. When it was time to get on the road so that we avoided a traffic jam on the way back to Eindhoven, we drove straight past a windmill - right in the centre of town again. We were so glad to have spent the few hours with Gitte, and we had a great time exploring, but there were Friday night plans afoot in Eindhoven. Dorine had organised for us to meet up with Monique de Leeuw and another friend from Melbourne days, Robyn, for dinner. Of course the minute we got on the bikes to ride into the city centre it started to rain - quite hard! So much for nice hair and make-up! Dorine says in The Netherlands you just ride and get used to getting wet. Can't say it was all that comfortable for the first couple of hours, but we all had a great time
at the restaurant she had chosen, Kazerne. The restaurant had an art gallery attached and was quite a modern, industrial building in contrast to our lunch today which was in front of a very traditional canal house. It was perfect not having to find a parking spot, and the riding home after dinner was lovely. The art at Kazerne was fairly fringe, but it all added to the atmosphere, and our candlelit dinner was fabulous. When we met up with the boys at home, Frank and Fred had also enjoyed their pub crawl on bikes, and Frank had tasted Bitterbollen for the first time. They are little fried balls you eat with beer, and apparently a must if you visit The Netherlands. Our lovely night was a fitting end to a fantastic week. Tomorrow we have to say goodbye once again to our friends the Hornungs before we fly off to Italy to begin our adventures there. Now to attack the suitcases - we have bought just a few trinkets which may make that tricky!
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