Sunday, July 19, 2015

Good Bye Gouda....

This would be our last day in Gouda and our last day of biking in Holland - sigh!! I do love putting down roots, staying for a while, blending into the woodwork, as it were, and pretending that you have lived in a place all your life. Well, even three days, in a small place, can give you a sense of permanence and a strong reluctance to leave. I made a list of the reasons I had to come back.

1. We had missed one whole itinerary on our biking tour - Day 2.
2. We had missed the tulip fields north of Amsterdam.
3. We missed seeing lots of windmills.
4. We should really go Edam, if we've been to Gouda.

I am having trouble separating, as you can see.

For our last day, we decided on a short biking trip, because we had to travel back to Amsterdam to catch an early flight the next day for Marseilles.  Since, we had cut short our day 1 itinerary, we still had about 10kms of lovely canal and lakeside vitas to see, just North of Gouda. Goudse Hout is more of a vacation area with clear lakes, ancient dikes, small bridges, impressive homes, large gardens and narrow roads. I'm glad, we didn't miss this part of the trip.

The weather changed often from heavy cloud to brilliant sunshine, back to cloud again, but there was, fortunately, no rain. We spent an idyllic hour or two peddling through very pretty scenery and chatting, when lost, to very pleasant people. Around noon, we returned to Gouda, did the necessary checking out of hotel and bike rental, walked to the station and caught the first train back to Utrecht for lunch.

I love returning to places, we've been to. We revisit old spots, find new ones and generally feel like a seasoned traveller. For lunch, we ate inside, because rain threatened even more this time, than last. I can't remember what we ate, but the beer and wine were good!!

Back in Amsterdam, it was raining. We decided to walk to our hotel, which was fairly close to the station, even though we weren't exactly sure where it was. Fortunately, my husband's sense of direction was working and we got to our three star, $300.00 per night - this seems to be the going rate - lodging, without getting totally soaked, by rain that is. Our Home Away apartment, our first week in Amsterdam, cost us about the same, but we got a canal view, two large rooms with kitchen facilities, separate bathroom and toilet and a built in exercise area - 60 stairs to it :)

Anyway, tonight, we were just here to eat, and sleep. We needed to be up at 6:00am for an early flight out in the morning. Across the street from our hotel, we found a restaurant that actually served traditional Dutch fare. I can't remember the starter, but I know it wasn't pickled herring - you get these at the kiosks on the street. I just didn't want to eat herring from a street vendor. I wanted it at a restaurant. Then again, in North America, what better restaurant serves hot dogs as a starter?

Ironically, my main course came close to the proverbial "hamburger," over here. On my plate there was the biggest meatball I had ever seen. Piled beside it was a mountain of mashed potatoes laced with sauerkraut. There must have been some green vegetable some where, I just couldn't see it. I'm sure I had dessert and coffee too. It was all too good to pass up!!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for an early night. 6:00am comes way too soon on holidays.

Have a great day!