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Divine Cheese and Cream Puffs

August 29, 2006

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We had our first adventure taking the tram into Amsterdam from the campground. That doesn’t sound too adventurous but it was just enough challenge to be fun. We had a nice hike over a long bridge to where we caught the tram and we all enjoyed the walk and hike. We got a tiny bit twisted by our map and almost went the wrong way, but a lovely lady on a bike helped turn us in the right direction.

This is the best way to explore cities in an RV, keep the camper in the camping park and walk or ride into the city on local transport,so it was good to have our first try at this method. Even tho we have been in two different campgrounds as well as the storage area for 2 overnights, we still haven’t really left Amsterdam. There is a circle highway that goes around Amsterdam and our locations have been at various parts of that. The first part was in the north and now we are in the south. It is far enough away to get more of a feel of the real Netherlands and everyday life.

Mozart loved our little excursion and her endless energy makes her a good hiker...she likes to be on the move. There was a separate lane for walkers, but it is next to the bikers and motorcycles and even tiny cars also take that path, so one needs to keep aware. She is used to a lot of freedom in the U.S. as we walk and she can jet ahead, but she is already trained here to stay close as the kids do, even much bigger than her. We have all had somewhat close calls with the endless bikes and cars in Amsterdam going both ways and coming out of nowhere, that we have it down now.

Mozart enjoyed her first tram ride and it was a very quick, short trip into Amsterdam’s central station which is close to all the areas that we know well now. We had several errands to do before sight seeing and one reason we picked this area is because we knew exactly where a wifi free hotspot was because we found it when we were on our boat that first night.

I am disappointed that it is so hard to find internet connection here, but you will just have to bear with us until we get our satellite on November first. I will post when I can and it will probably be a bunch at once as I will keep up the diary daily or regularly even tho I can not always post them when they are new. Or at least that is how it seems it will work unless I figure something else out. We still have not figured out how to add the RSS feed thing, so hang on with that too and just check every so often and you will find more written when I find a wifi spot as they are the only places we can upload it. I am not crazy about internet cafe’s and can not upload there or connect with slow travel people etc., but they are better than nothing for a quick email.

We found a little park bench in front of Frederic’s overlooking a beautiful canal and downloaded the latest entries from the blog onto the internet. I usually write in the early morning or late night as I tend to stay up later and get up earlier than my other two best beloveds here. DaVinci helps with the picture and look and feel. They went exploring while I answered a few emails and we went exploring while DaVinci uploaded the blog entries which took quite a while.

We really had such a lovely day, but there was some bad news mixed in as well. Last night I dropped our brand new camera by accident and broke it. So one of our first errands was stopping at a camera shop that Rene recommended. It just landed on some grass, so we had hoped it could be easily fixed, but alas the lens broke and the repair would be very costly. Sigh. Luckily the man had a connection with Cannon and might be able to get a more speedy repair. We need to talk to him again on Tuesday as he is closed on Monday. The repair is very expensive but it is less than half the price of a new camera which is the other alternative. We will have to see if we can figure out how to take still shots with our brand new video camera or else we will have no pictures with the blog for a while. Sorry. I don’t even know how it fell out of my hands and we love this camera. Bummer!

We were a little sick at heart about it that first night,but have accepted it now and managed not to let it ruin our day. One needs to role with the punches that life hands you and accidents will happen. Now we just have to hope we can get it back quickly.

So back to the good stuff, best cheese and cream puffs;). We already have a few favorite spots in this part of Amsterdam and one is a bakery and one is a cheese shop. On the way in Mozart wanted a snack so we went in the bakery and got a delicious little pizza bread for her, but then she spotted some little round balls of something and wanted one of those as well .We did not know what they were but they could only be sold by the box. DaVinci tried to negotiate for a single piece or  half a box as Mozart is a fussy eater and it would be a shame to waste a whole box if it was no good, but only a box could be sold.

So we sauntered down the street and found a bench outside a shop to get this little food into Mozart. We knew the pizza was good as we had tried it before, but little did we know our mouths would be in heaven with those little mysterious plain balls covered with a bit of powered sugar. WOW! They were the most scrumptious delights one can imagine and we knew instantly why they were only sold by the box. We were groaning with ecstasy as the bike and foot traffic past us by. Mmmmm,mmmmm,mmmm,mmmm.

Later we decided to rest a bit at an outdoor cafe with seats right on a main canal and just relax and
people watch on this beautiful day. DaVinci asked the cheese shop owner the absolute best question and
we were greatly rewarded by it. He asked what his favorite cheese was, thus we discovered another ecstatic experience thru the best cheese we ever ate. Mozart and DaVinci are not really cheese eaters and I am not suppose to eat it, but this one was beyond cheese and was a six year old melt in your mouth nirvana. I
wish we could give you the name of it  but it was one of those Dutch words that are impossible for us to pronounce. Perhaps we will have him write it down the next time we go to get some more (we have been feasting on it almost every meal since buying it as fresh bread is available at every campground) as it is something not to be missed.

I really did not expect to enjoy Amsterdam and the Netherlands so much. They are not known for their food, so I did not expect to find such good food. It is a great place to start because so many people speak English and that is such a big help when one is dealing with so much that is new. The people here are great (minus the purser from hell of course). It is also prettier than I imagined. I have passed thru Amsterdam many times, but this is the first time I have spent any time here and we are glad that we are. So far we are really enjoying this phase of our journey.

They also have the most wonderful and unique playgrounds in the Netherlands. We do not know what they are like in the rest of Europe, but they have things we have never seen before at every playground. Since I was not a parent on any of my other trips to Europe, I never remember seeing any playgrounds. I have some on video, but not sure I can show you how cool and interesting they are. It makes it quite a fun experience for Mozart.

After doing our errands, moseying around the city, playing on unique playgrounds, munching on delights and basking in outdoor cafes we did the obligatory canal boat tourist ride and enjoyed learning a little as we went. We enjoyed our trek home and felt very satisfied with ourselves as we savored a little more of that cheese before bed.

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L.

I know what these little white balls are which you are describing :) We call them soesjes or roomsoesjes. They also sell them covered in chocolate and I can tell you that those are even more delicious, yum! If you ever get back to the Netherlands now you'll know what to call them ;)

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