A Travellerspoint blog

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21 °C

I am Cheese Master Lauren. It's official, here is my certificate:


We went to Reypenaer for our cheese tasting course. We tasted 6 cheeses, each with an appropriate wine - Viognier (white), Syrah (red) or Port (Ruby). Julie cut the cheese, and I handed it to her. She used a guillotine. We both had to buy one and a trio of cheese.


We learned first and foremost: Gouda is not Goooooda, it's "kh-ow-dah"
[Now when you try it, for the "kh", you must dig deep in the back of your throat to get ample gutteral-ness.]
Gouda is the common name for any pasturized cheese that is in a certain shape (round, but flat on the sides -good for rolling)

It was the perfect frivolousness after our Anne Frank Huis experience. Julie stalking their website allowed us to buy two tix in advance, while others waited in a very, very long line. Our entry time was at 9:20. It was intense, there were a couple times I had to try to hold it together. Eight people in those little rooms for 25 months. Not making a sound, no fresh air. All died in concentration camps, just weeks before the liberation, but one: Otto, the father. He made Anne's diaries into a book. Both Julie and I bought that book at the end of the experience. It was hopeful to see the people who helped them while in hiding.


We hit our 10,000 Julie steps goal by 3:00 because it took us 2 hours to find our way home. Some call it "lost", others call it exploring. It was nice out.

The other night we passed this boisterous restaurant that seemed to be bursting at the seems, so we returned to Pho 91 today for lunch. J: pho and me: bun. We embarked on a outdoor-seating-bar-crawl of sorts and returned to our roof deck.

Fitbit: 15,375 Julie steps (6 1/2 miles)

Posted by LaurendeMatt 12:00 Archived in Netherlands Tagged anne_frank reypenaer_cheese Comments (0)


Just like Jesus intended, on the 7th day we rested.

Posted by LaurendeMatt 02:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Dank u wel, Amsterdam!

31 °C

I could live here. Amsterdam is a real, live-able city. We mastered the narrow Dutch steps and we nailed crossing the street without getting hit by a car, tram or scooter and we had avoided being angrily ringed at by a bike for at least two days now. (The trick is to look left: bike, left: car, left: tram then tram right, car right, bike right. Warning: Vespas can be anywhere).

I would totally blend like a local, all I have to do is dye my hair blonde, grow 8 inches, don a leather jacket and buy a basketed bike. (Added bonus: there are no hills.)

Like the U.S., Amsterdam has a variety of ethnic cuisines. We ate Javanese and Pho, Moroccan and burgers. Stroopwafel and all-day pancakes are traditional Dutch, as is their love of mayonnaise. It's no Heinz though, they make their own. (I will still pass on the herring, thank you anyway.)

Unlike the U.S. in some ways, the Dutch are tolerant. In Amsterdam, it is not: "this is legal" and "that is illegal", things are not criminalized. Even the Belgians rent out The Netherlands' jail cells. Things are tolerated and society takes social responsibilities.

The sky is constantly changing. Better dress for all weather- bring an umbrella, even if there is not a cloud in the sky. You just never know.

We will take that kooky weather over the hotbox that is Rome. In the matter of a less-than-two-hour flight, we went from 58 degrees to 96. And that is at 5 in the afternoon. Our last European destination is for just one night, solely for cacio e pepe. We will be here less than 24 hours.

Arco del Lauro, our B&B, arranged for a private taxi for us. The Travestere neighborhood is a tangled web of Roman streets and our hotel could be hard to find, so they sent a taxi. Once here, we shed a layer and went for a stroll to get our 10k steps for the day. Of course we checked with Tony's cacio e pepe place first, just to make sure they will be open and see if we could secure a table. Roma Sparita is in Piazza de Cecilia, right around a corner or two from our hotel. The Boss said "open at Sete y mezza - no problem". So, in the meantime, we walked and had a prosecco, and then listened to nuns singing at the square's cathedral.

At last, at the opening minute of 7:30, we were seated and ready to eat, and very happy about that:


We started with a bottle of wine (bianco, of course), antipasti: fried zucchini flowers and rice croquettes, primi (really the centerpiece of the meal):


Cacio e Pepe in a Parmesan crust. Obscene.

Secondi: involitini (beef rolled over veggies in a tomato sauce) dolce: tiramisu.

Limoncello was waiting in our b&b fridge, and we did not want to keep it waiting.

Posted by LaurendeMatt 13:24 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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