Posts Tagged ‘food’

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19 July 2017

AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam

Doing the miles this week.

It all started on Sunday when we had to vacate our gite in Southern France to return to England for a night so that we could repack and head to Amsterdam the next day.  This mammoth trip involved 12 hours on the road using rental car, taxis (2), trains (2) and the underground in Paris.  Like some military exercise, we knew how many minutes we had between rides and thus the pace was picked up when necessary and with much gesticulating, the 5 of us agreed long enough on which direction was probably the best to head to catch our next mode of transport.  We made it though.

The next day involved a simple drive to the London City airport on the banks of the Thames.  Due to traffic snarl-ups, we ended up driving on and off a car ferry that went from one side to the other and almost at the airport.  By this time we just wanted a sit down but and hour later, we were able to check our voluminous bags and head upstairs for the usual immigration and security regimes. It appears the Brits are more than a little gun shy currently, both V and I had our bags emptied, items of clothing removed and rescanned and rescanned. I had to remove my belt and shoes and place them in to a plastic bin held by a bombing suspect family member.  As I did, he moved the bin and a shoe fell out.  So I picked it up and as I went to hurl it in he moved it again.  Luckily my shooting was better than his catching. He then looked up at me (he was also vertically challenged from the weight of his bomber jacket I suspect) and asked if I was alright.  I acted all grown up and told him it was but wanted to tell him that he would never make my football team as goalie or did he need a hand to hold the tray? Allah my arse.

Amsterdam also gave us a wait at both ends.  The KLM ground staff need to take a clog up their arses. Over an hour to check in and over an hour to produce our bags at the other end.  This meant our taxi driver had to wait around also but he charged us so he was at least placated.  Even tying a tie for him for his next job didn’t seem to help.

V and I are about museum’d out after today.  We hit the Rijksmuseum at 9.30, the Heineken museum and tasting at 12, the market at about 2, the diamond museum 3,30 then the Van Gogh museum at 4.30.  Probably a record but we are so smart and so enlightened as a result of it.  Very much enjoyed learning about Vermeer (Girl with the Pearl Earring etc) and Rembrandt. Seeing these paintings that are so old and famous sent shivers down my spine.  Just about got the hang of avoiding being collected by cyclists and scooter pilots.  Not only do the trams that run up the middle of the road have the right of way, if you stray on to the clearly demarcated bike lanes, you will be lined up and bowled by these two wheeled projectiles….and they ride on the wrong side of the road so come at you when you are right-left-righting when you should be left-right-lefting!

There is the smell of dope everywhere and dope products for sale next to the souvenir t-shirts and clogs in the numerous shops including some in a museumwinkel we went into today,  Pot flavoured chupa chups for god’s sake.

Going to see how to make clogs today.  With the management structure at work skewed towards those that chew tulips, I feel it will be a good career move to learn such skills or at least purchase some.  Take care,

V and Me (Hans)

Capture

14 July 2017

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Check out those Prices

Another day, another wine. Another wine always means another cheese

Rather than be seen to be taking advantage of the well-priced wine and goodies, we like to think we are trying hard, exceedingly so actually, to support the local growers and producers…le vente directe or du Producteur au Consommateur.

We have visited a lot of markets and supermarches and been buying up a storm….. to keep the locals in business of course.  At an average €3 a bottle (NZ$4.75), we are having to up our fluid uptake to help the local economy.  But even at those prices, the red wine is still more than drinkable….so we do.  Vanessa picked up a litre of Rose the other day for less than NZ$3 and pronounced it to be better than wines at home costing 5 times that.  Then there are the comestibles from the local boulangerie, fromagerie and markets where a baguette will cost you less than a Euro.

Of course buying all these delights forces us into having gourmet sessions to reduce our growing stockpile and to also discuss the merit of a particular $4 wine versus another of similar value.

So determined are we to understand the back story and history of our food, we chose to drive for 2 hours the other day (admittedly, 40 mins of it was when we got lost) to learn about the art of gavage or force feeding ducks and geese so you can produce the king of pates, foie gras.  The brochure said ‘degustation gratuite’ and we have learned quickly that whenever you see that it means free tasting!  So we lined up with 20 or so others to be enlightened when this charming young man I recognised from the brochure turned up and commenced the lesson … in French. Completely in French. La petite histoire was a waste of time except for the degustation gratuite.  My finely tuned French language skill could pick out words such as duck, goose, foie gras, wine, walnuts and acorns (duck food).  The wine was terrible, like some 70’s Lincoln rd Dally plonk dad used to drink.  Vive la France.

Vanessa has taken to the Confit Duck, even having the confidence to order it at restaurants (using her newly found French speaking skills).  When done poorly it is like KFC for duck, when done well it is a crispy leg and thigh of soft ducky greatness and mostly served with salad (lettuce) and frites (chips).  An epicurean delight. We are still over ordering on the baguette needs of the group, feeding the local chooks most days with our superfluous daily bread.

On a Tuesday and a Friday, a little French woman beeps and toots her way up the hill in her van, stopping to tempt us with her freshly baked goodies.  You can buy any number of varieties of bread but we have a liking for her croissants and pain au chocolat.  This morning V and I had one of each because we could, because we hadn’t had breakfast and because they are about €1 each!  Washed down with a coffee and a glass of Pamplemousse (grapefruit juice). Not sure if the juice was local.

Today is Bastille Day, a day our family has celebrated since my sister was born (July 14).  So this evening, we are off to the local village hall for a soiree to celebrate both.  It includes free wine to go with the €12 BBQ.  There is a trend.  They butcher animals from this rural town and the town pitches in to feed everybody. The horse from the paddock next door has gone this week….just wondering.  V has an extra zing in her step today as the posters promoting the event make a big point that Rose will be available and free. Let’s support the locals!

 

Next time we speak, V and I will probably be in Amsterdam as our English and now French sections are coming to an end.

V and Me (Jean Pierre)