We’re staying in Kandelaar, a little hamlet between Delft and Rotterdam, for a few days. Our Airbnb accommodation is in a converted stables on a farm and it’s really lovely. Modern and comfortable, with a bathroom and kitchen downstairs, and a huge loft with living area and bedroom upstairs. There’s a fireplace in the living area and an almost-endless supply of wood, so we’re keeping warm, although of course it’s nowhere near as cold as what we’ve just experienced in Lapland.
Behind the property is a canal, the Delftse Schie, across the canal is the Hoftwijk Crematorium, and in front of the property are more farmhouses and fat, woolly sheep. To get here, we have to drive along a single lane road for a few kms. The road is also used by cyclists, walkers and horseriders, but there are small ‘pullouts’ every half km or so for cars to pass each other, no one is going fast and it all just sort of works. We’re close to Rotterdam Airport and can hear the planes taking off.
Yesterday, Saturday, we visited Delft and Rotterdam. There’s a Saturday flea market in Delft, in the streets around the old town square, so we went to have a wander and a look. First stall we spotted was selling stroopwafel and other sweet Dutch treats, but rather than jump right in and buy some, we walked for a few blocks to build up an appetite. Oh, the cheese shops! and the flower shops! and the smallgoods! Some of our Facebook friends are either Dutch, have Dutch relatives or have visited the Netherlands and liked the food, and we seem to have crowdsourced lots of recommendations on what to eat while we’re here. We popped into a bakery and tried a couple of sausage rolls – one with minced meat, the other with sausage. We ate half of each one, then swapped.
We didn’t find anywhere else selling stroopwafels, so went back to the stall and got a Super stroopwafel each, hot off the griddle, and a pack of smaller ones to take home. 2 layers of thin waffle with syrup spread between them. Delicious!
Then we headed to Rotterdam. Greg had read about the Fenix Food Factory in an old warehouse on the south bank of the Nieuwe Maas River, so we went to find some lunch. Great variety – Moroccan, Asian, bakery, cider, microbrewery, waffles, cheese. We had pork belly rolls from the Asian stall and they were delicious. This area of Rotterdam looks like it is being trendified, but I imagine in the not-too-distant past it probably went through a long phase of being the dodgy part of town. Just across a footbridge is the New York Hotel which is located in former head office of the Holland America Line. The HAL moved its head office to Seattle in the 1970s, and the hotel was opened in the early 1990s
We drove and parked in the Markt carpark in the Rotterdam CBD, so we could have a look at the Rotterdam Markthal Market Hall, a new building which opened in 2014. It has amazing artwork on its arched roof, and in addition to the food stalls and other shops on the ground floor, it houses offices, apartments and the city’s largest underground carpark. We found a stall selling hot chips friet in paper cones, so we shared a large one and watched the chips being cut from whole, peeled potatoes while we ate.
There’s a well-stocked kitchen shop in the Markt and we wandered around it for a while and found an electrical brand we had never heard of before – Expressions of Australia. There was an interesting-looking slow cooker / sous vide machine, some coffee machines and a portable grill all with this Expressions of Australia brand. Some online searching and it seems to be the Sunbeam brand, renamed.
By then, it was around 4pm and raining so we came back ‘home’, stoked the fire and settled in for the night.
I’ve just found a website called Stuff Dutch People Like and I think Greg is going to apply for Honorary Dutchman status – top of the list is Bicycles, and number 3 is Hagleslag chocolate sprinkles!