As you can tell from my previous blogs…I didn’t not enjoy Amsterdam.
However, I am LOVING my time in the other areas of the Netherlands.
Yolande’s family lives in Woerden, a beautiful semi-rural town.
There are deers living near the train station. (I know, right?!) Each house has a gorgeous, green front garden. The houses are little and huddled together (probably for warmth). The town is divided by lots of mini canals, in which Swans are regularly seen taking a leisurely swim.
Today (October 25th) Yolande took me to Den Haag (near the Hague) to see a Dutch beach and to visit Madurodam (a miniature version of the Netherlands).
On our way to the station, Yolande rode her bicycle and I dinked on the back (which means I sat on the back of the bicycle while Yolande kindly peddled us around).
Evidently this is a really common way to get around on the Netherlands. However, I could hear my mothers voice in my heard (shrill with fear and fury) “THAT’S DANGEROUS!”, “WHY AREN’T YOU WEARING A HELMET!”, “YOU’RE GOING TO KILL YOURSELVES!!”.
It was a little frightening at first. But once we got going, it was actually a gorgeous way to get around and see Woerden. AND I managed to keep my ‘unco’ in check long enough to not to fall off!
The train to Den Haag rode through luscious green countryside.
There were ACTUAL, LEGIT WINDMILLS!
Tourist bingo winnah!
Our first stop was Madurodam, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
It is a large park housing a miniature representation of the Netherlands.
Usually miniature cities aren’t super fun for anyone above the age of 5. But what makes this park special is the incredible level of interactivity! You can test how many cheeses your weight (I weigh 3 and a half cheeses, if your interested), you can check your olfactory skills with a sniff test (dw, it was mainly with types of flowers) or you can learn how to ‘play ball’ in the Dutch Flower Auctions. But the coolest thing by far was the scannable “passport cards”.
Upon entry to the park, you are given a map and a “passport” card.
At every ‘city’ in the Madurodam, you would swipe your card at certain points to watch a movie about the area or to collect stories and games that you could watch later using the special touch screens dotted around the park.
Each movie was narrated by a very sassy plastic figurine, who was full of nationalistic pride and Radditude. But the most clever thing about it was that the passes were set to translate the videos and games into Dutch, German or English! This meant that Yolande and I could laugh together about the silly dialogue and the ‘fierce’ little figurines.
I was very impressed.
Then Yolande and I headed off to the beach.
Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty freaking icy today. But we walked along the sand, watched the dogs splashing in the shallows, and enjoyed the (too cold) sea air.
It was here that we found an amazing collection of 23 sculptures inspired by Dutch and European folk tales. We found Gulliver from Gulliver’s Travels, Hansel and Gretle in their cage and a MASSIVE statue devoted to a Dutch character who liked to eat herrings.
Yolande excitedly dragged my shivering body into the local HEMA (kinda like Walmart) for a traditional Dutch Rookwurts.
Think massive, juicy sausage made of smoked pork, served with mustard and fresh bread. (LOLZ. Did I actually just say “Think massive, juicy sausage”!!???? I love blogging.)
Anyway, it was tasty as fuck!
By the seaside we had a snugly hot chocolate while sitting near an open fire.
SIGH OF HAPPY!!
We headed home to find that Els had prepared a beautifully cooked dinner. And now we’re spending our evening Facebooking/Emailing/Blogging/Editing side by side.
It’s so rare to find a true kindred spirit in this life. And I feel fucking blessed to have found my Yolande.
LOVE YOU LANDY-BOSS!
And love to all of you back home.
Pictured – a very busy Madurodam, Yolande and Korean Airways Gangnam Style, some sandy feets, our new FAVOURITE sculptures.