On Sunday morning, we took off for Apeldoorn, Netherlands. It was a beautiful country drive through a bit of Luxembourg and into Belgium, where a cow welcomed us as we passed by taking a huge, marathon, liquid dump. Seriously… it was quite impressive. I thought we’d never get past that bovine, though Bill and I had a good laugh. We can’t help it because we enjoy juvenile humor very much. I got a kick out of all the signs for frites, too.
Bill has a conference all week and I had never been to The Netherlands, except in transit through the airport. I was excited to see yet another European country. I have seen a lot of Europe and quite a few countries more exotic than The Netherlands. Or so I thought before we got here. The truth is, things are different where the Dutch are.
Our nannyish rental car tells us we are in The Netherlands right after it demands that Bill take a coffee break…
We stopped at a Texaco for a potty break and coffee, since the hotel’s coffee wasn’t doing it for Bill. I was impressed when I found this…
Yes, that is fresh squeezed orange juice. I bought mine already squeezed, but the Texaco actually had a machine where people could make and bottle their own. And the mineral water has a slight essence of mint. How refreshing! This isn’t your German mama’s mineral water.
Bill figured out the coffee machine, which required him to use coins, got himself a healthy shot of Italian java, and we were soon back on our way. If we had wanted to, we could have used a tunnel under the autobahn/interstate/whatever the Dutch call it to access a full service restroom on the other side of the road. It was pretty cool. As it was, just trying to use the bathroom at the Dutch Texaco was confusing since men were using the “ladies” room.
Our drive was maybe three or four hours. I was enjoying all the weird sights on the road, including a lady biker with a sidecar occupied by dogs, a couple of guys riding in a classic Triumph with the top down, and what looked like a very muddy military style obstacle course on the side of the highway. I noticed it; then Bill had to tell me about his days as a young cadet, writhing around in muddy obstacle courses.
When we got to Apeldoorn, I immediately appreciated the very cute Dutch houses with their steep slanted roofs or barn style roofs. So many houses look like showplaces with perfectly manicured lawns and shrubbery, beautifully painted and accented exteriors, and huge picture windows. I thought Germans had big windows but they have nothing on the Dutch. Contrasting the lovely Dutch architecture was a huge sign featuring a picture of a dog and the caption, “No shit!” The Dutch would like to remind everyone to clean up after their pets, but I saw lots of evidence that many people don’t follow that rule.
Our hotel is the Bilderberg de Keizerskroon, which is an older chain hotel property located on the outskirts of town. It’s right next to the Palais Het Loo. I should probably go tour that, but I don’t feel a pressing need to. What I really want to do is see the monkey zoo, Apenheul. And I don’t want to go see it alone. Maybe I’ll manage it before we leave this cute little town.
We checked into the hotel, which has a large free parking lot. Our room was ready, so we dropped off our bags and had some lunch…
They brought out some nice bread and garlic butter…
We both enjoyed the local brew. I don’t know why, but beers here are smaller than they are in Germany. However, they are also a little more interesting.
This asparagus and ham soup was delicious. It had gotten chilly outside, so this really hit the spot. I probably could have just had this and been happy, but…
I had a grilled tuna salad and cheese sandwich, too. It came with a nice sweet chili sauce.
Bill had an open faced smoked chicken sandwich with Dutch cheese.
And we both enjoyed more beer…
After lunch, we went back to our room. Bill did schoolwork and I passed out for a two hour nap. It was very nice. Later, we had a fabulous dinner at the restaurant right next door to the hotel. The place is called De Heerlijekheyt. Don’t ask me what that means… All I know is that the food is exquisite.
They brought us a smoked salmon and seaweed amuse that tasted like it had a light peanut dressing on it.
And a small loaf of bread.
We were still somewhat full from lunch, so we didn’t have starters. Bill ordered a South African sauvignon blanc to go with what turned out to be a delightful fish dinner.
I had sea bass with littleneck clams, rosette biscuits, and a delightful cream sauce. Under the fish I found some very fresh carrots, snow peas, tomatoes, and something that I couldn’t identify. It looked a little like asparagus, but was much thinner.
Bill had half a lobster and the “fish of the day”, which we think may have been halibut. It came with a tomato risotto.
Service was professional and very unhurried, with two handsome waiters taking care of us and the few others in the restaurant. There’s a large open kitchen and you can watch the chefs work. It was a far less chaotic scene than what I remember when I worked at a restaurant. But then, the restaurant wasn’t all that busy on Sunday night.
For dessert, I had a coffee creme brûlée with a side of vanilla ice cream and crushed pecans. Bill had a small cheese plate that came with an apple syrup and a few small pieces of fruit.
And we capped things off with a double espresso, which came with a small plate of sweets. There actually was no need to order dessert, but I’m glad we did.
As we walked back to the hotel, I took a shot of the front…
You can rent a bike here. Bikes are EVERYWHERE in The Netherlands. I used to ride a bike all the time as a kid, but I’m not sure I’d remember how to now. But they do say riding a bike is as easy as riding a bike, right?