Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's pronounced Howda

Kinderdijk - Moving the cap on a mill to catch the wind
Windmills are in a row because each one moves water just a little way - from one canal to the next. So a row of them will move the water from the Polder to a series of canals – each one a little bit higher than the one below it. A Dutch person could explain it better.

We are now back in Vienna. Well – Gwenyth and I are. Cate was back for half an hour but had to go straight to Moscow from Vienna airport and will not be back until Friday night.

We were however very lucky that Cate was with us at the check-in in Amsterdam and did not have to fly direct to Moscow because without her illustrious status on Austrian Airlines we would have had no chance of getting our bags through without excess baggage charges – laden as they were with booty from Bruges and Holland.

We had gone no more than 100 metres from our hotel on the first morning in Bruges when Cate became transfixed by some crystal candlesticks in a shop window.

These were at a price which made her think they must have been made of plastic – accustomed as we are to Viennese extortion – but the owner – who for some reason was wearing what looked like a grey plastic squirrel on his head – demonstrated to us that they were in fact the finest quality German crystal and Cate was so pleased with this she bought three pairs – of varying sizes – each weighing about 10 kilos.

There were a number of less weighty additions to our baggage along the way but in the middle of Holland – temporarily forgetting about the candlesticks – and in a moment of cheese induced insanity – we bought an enormous quantity of Gouda.

Indeed the most delicious Gouda cheese (pronounced Howda) we have ever tasted. Not that we are experts but this had all sorts of flavours including pepper and nettle.

Well we just had to have it and hang the consequences - so we bought about ten kilos.

We realised – getting off the Elodie – that we had a problem – when we could not get our bags up the stairs and had to be rescued by Michel and Sander. I was imagining a scenario where a taxi driver grabbed one of our bags and tore the handle off and threw it into the taxi – leaving the bag sitting on the footpath.  

At Schipol we were well over the weight limit for mere mortals but Cate’s status saved us and we now have enough Gouda to last until we vomit at the mere thought of Gouda. 

My knees have recovered to the point where I can now walk up and down stairs without crying and my bum is almost back to normal.

The most danger we were in on the whole trip was from bicycles in Amsterdam.  They are absolutely lethal for newcomers and are silent and deadly. At night almost none has any lights and they are upon you like a Lion upon a Gazelle. I escaped death by a whisker on more than one occasion. 


  1. Cate must have an extraordinary visa collection in her passport.

  2. A grey plastic squirrel on his head? lol!

  3. smedette: Well she has more than one passport!

    Simon: It may have been a beaver.

  4. They could use some of those windmills here, might help with that green stuff covering all the water.

  5. Nice silhouette picture, impressive.

    Glad you survived The Low Countries.

    Today's Captcha Word: premed - looks like the system is hinting I should study medicine just so I can analyze your tests results.

  6. Simon: But it was dead

    fmcgmcclic: But it would only move it to the next windmill.

    esbboston: Thanks. Are you sure you have enough time for that.

  7. I can squeeze in a few minutes here and there. Actually I am very squeeeeeemish with things medical, so I have well defined boundaries of the things I am willing to learn about the medical field.

    "Howda" - that's almost how we say 'hello' in Texas.

  8. glad you survived the trip PP. I'm sure the thought of little cadel on the alpe d'huez spurred you on in those moments of cycling fatigue. the Gouda will help to fatten you up for xmas time in the artic.

  9. Thanks for the giggle, and the edjumacation (can't wait to ask for some Howda at the Woolies deli). I actually burst out laughing at the vision of the taxi driver throwing the handle into the cab. Thanks

  10. Lion - gazelle - (???) - I think I just now remembered reading in the barge bike pamphlet something about a gazelle. Yes, there it is, that was the brand of bicycles they advertised, Gazelles.

  11. esbboston: Perhaps psychology - I think you would be good at that.

    lenny: Thanks son. Surprisingly - I lost no weight at all - thanks to Sander's fabulous cooking.

    Sandy: Thanks for the kind words. I am glad I can make you laugh.

    esbboston: Now that is the brand I need - with an electric motor