Saturday, September 28, 2013

Naar Het Centrum in Amersfoort

Thank God it's weekend.

I'm on a long holiday from work but I still look forward to the weekends when the hubby and I can spend more time together. We visited the center in Amersfoort last Saturday.

Amersfoort is the second largest city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. Utrecht, Amsterdam, Den Haag and Rotterdam make up the "Randstad", the four largest and busiest cities in the western part of the Netherlands. There is a big difference between the Western part and the rest of the country. There you'll find more fields, cows and flowers. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a windmill or two.

I'd like to call this the "Tri-Sikad" mobile. This little guy can run on electric mode or if you would like to get some workout, on electric + pedal power mode to extend the range of the vehicle. It's weather proof and can carry two persons. Cool, eh?

Did you know?   
There are more bicycles in the Netherlands than there are residents. 
The Netherlands is such a small country, you can travel by train from the north to the south in half a day and from the west to the east in approx. two hours or so. 
This small country is the land of the giants. The Dutch are the tallest people in the world with an average height of 6 ft!

Welcome to the Centrum in Amersfoort.

The Centrum is surrounded by a double ring of intersecting canals and features many buildings and structures that have been well-preserved since the Medieval Ages. This is but a part of the 15th century koppelpoort - a combination of water and land/castle gates.

The whole inner city practically buzzes with life on Saturdays (Sundays most of these shops are closed). Here you can find most of the winkels (shops), the restaurants and cafes in Amersfoort. I loooove walking around in the Centrum! It doesn't matter what we do, it just feels great to be in the middle of all that action.The narrow streets get busy and crowded. People line up at their favorite "Patat" shop (french fries) or are contentedly licking their ijs (ice cream) at 10 degrees outside. Where is that hot bowl of good ramen when you need it?

The weekend market in the central square is also one of the things I look forward to on Saturdays. You can get lost here and you'll never be bored. Except maybe that you'll probably get hungry with all the food around you.

Freshly baked bread and Dutch pastries
(The Dutch their bread and cheese!)

How about some goat cheese (Geitenkaas) to last you for years?

Stroopwafels has got to be one of the best things I've tasted in the Netherlands. This is much better than that speculaas cookie butter spread! Two thin crisp wafels filled with a thick caramel syrup that glues it together.. it is soooo addictive! Look at that thing, it's bigger than my face! {MUST TRY}

If you ever get tired of walking, you can always hop on a boat for a nice canal tour to explore this lovely town and get a dose of its history. Blue marks the water routes of the canal tour.
Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren ("The Tower of Our Lady")
This gothic-inspired Medieval church tower stands at 98.33 meters high, the 3rd tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

It's fairly expensive to dine out here so most of the Dutch often have their meals at home. They even pack and take their own snacks/lunch to work even if there is a canteen. Why not? Fresh fruits, cheese and vegetables are cheap and easily available.

A small cup of cappucino and a slice of Kwark tart with fresh fruits can cost you 3.75 euros (x Php59) at La Place and that's already on sale. The regular price is at around 5.80 euros. Good news: It's a very generous slice that you can share for two.

Remember these? I know you do. 

Chocolate shoes.

"Draaiorgel music"
Colorful and beautifully carved "Barrel Organ" driven by a busker on the pedestrian street

"Kaboutertje (Dwarf) fries"- Dutch version of extra small serving size

In the Netherlands, they always eat their patat (fries) with a tiny fork and dip the fries in mayonnaise or "fritessaus". The Dutch really know how to make them. These are some pretty damn good fries.

 The young and old groovin' to one music
Don't you just love that little one sitting on the ground and beating the drums?

Hallo, Paard! After spending a nice day at the Centrum, it was a good surprise to pass by this friendly horse on the way home.

Happy weekend, all!