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Can you say Voorburggracht?

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Friday, May 25, 2007

   Last night we arrived at the Amsterdam Airport, after a short, pleasClick here for an enlargementantly uneventful, day of traveling from Glasgow.  We were met at the airport by Alex Braad, Robert's friend since 1983.  We are staying in their home in Zuid-Scharwoude, about an hour north of Amsterdam, near the town of AlkmaarClick here for an enlargement, which is where Alex took us on Friday morning, to see the famous cheese market.  We watched a re-enactment of how the huge rounds of gouda & edam cheeses were carried to market and auctClick here for an enlargementioned off.  The weight of each round is about 25 - 30 pounds, and the weight of each of the sleds (called berries), once it is loaded with 8 rounds of gouda,  is about 300 pounds.  We also watched a man making wooden shoes by carClick here for an enlargementving out a piece of something like poplar wood.  There were some ladies dressed in traditional dress, and they kindly obliged to pose for us. The buildings around the market were mostly apartments and small shops, originally built around the 16tClick here for an enlargementh century, very pretty.  Alex had fun teasing us about Robert's lunch of raw herring, and he got this silly shot of us as cheese makers. 

Next, Alex drove us over to the quaint vacation town of Bergen, wClick here for an enlargementhere Alex's wife Chiely owns a salon, "Slender You Bergen".  She has several pieces of unique "passive" exercise equipment for maintaining muscle tone without actually exercising!  The Dutch are really on to something now!Click here for an enlargement

We met up with Alex & Chiely's son Axel & his girlfriend Lotte the next morning, and they took us back to Alkmaar to do some shopping and tasting in the Saturday markets.  The delicacy of the day was my personal favorite, fresh stroopwafels, thin waffles with hot butter and syrup smeared in between.  Yummy!!  We also bouClick here for an enlargementght some licorice drops, a local favorite treat.

We returned to the Braad's beautiful home at 91 Voorburggracht in the evening, Click here for an enlargementand the next day were joined by their daughter Michelle & her boyfriend Jacob, and their Jack Russell terrier puppy, Bo.  He is curious, very photogenic, and a ham.  He even has his own passport.  Lucky dog!




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