It was time for us to leave the charming little city of Delft…..we packed up, checked out and headed to Keukenhof Gardens…..a beautiful park who’s exquisite flower gardens are open only two months a year.
It was late morning when we arrived…..not yet crowded but the parking lot beginning to fill with other visitors out to enjoy this sunny day. We entered the luxurious grounds and were immediately enveloped and uplifted by the sweet essence of myriad flowers. We wandered along the paths, enjoying the sights and scents of this horticultural haven.
As the time passed, more and more people joined us…..crowds thronged each and every pathway. Taking pictures of these beautiful displays was increasingly challenging and took more and more patience. When delight gave way to irritation……it was time to leave.
Our destination was Edam. We drove through the pastoral backroads…..past striped flower fields, swans swimming on small canals and, of course, windmills…..thrilled each time we saw one of these wondrous sights.
Edam is a small town……extraordinarily quaint. We easily found our hotel, L’Auberge Damhotel, next to the canal and across from the town hall. As with many hotels in Holland, check-in was handled in the hotel’s restaurant…..a captivating concoction of chandliers, angels and plush purple.
We were led up unusually steep stairs, around a corner, up a short flight of stairs to a spiral staircase and then to our very romantic room.
But romance could wait…..we headed downstairs and across the street to the town hall to pick up a up a delightful little booklet titled “A Stroll through Edam.” With today’s itinerary in hand, we adjourned to the hotel’s terrace for a snack of…..what else? Edam cheese.
This small, low-key town was the perfect retreat from the hoards of humanity we had just left. There’s not much to do here but slowly wander its few streets hand-in-hand, so that’s what we did…..stopping in one store to pick up a bottle of wine and cheese and in another for some delicious Dutch chocolates.
This little candy shop had everything…..from penny candies for schoolchildren to sumptuous chocolates for connoisseurs. As we surveyed our options, we were actually embarrassed to see chocolate penises and vaginas (that’s how they were labelled and what they looked like) in awaist-high glass case right next to the jelly beans and peppermints. We know that the Dutch have a very liberal attitude toward sex but this display went way beyond the bounds of common sense (and, no….we didn’t get a picture).
A walk through Edam can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. We wandered up and down the streets along the canal, past centuries-old homes, over to the church and then back through town to another canal and the De Fortuna Hotel and Restaurant, where we stopped for dinner.
We were seated at a table by the front window and presented with menus. There were so many choices but my eyes focused on only one…..beef carpaccio with clove cheese. I love cloves….their scent, their flavor…..the zing they add to any dish fortunate enough to include them. Clove cheese! I couldn’t even imagine what taste sensation this would be. This was to be my starter.
Craig’s mushroom soup was good but my choice was better. Forget the carpaccio…..I gave it to Craig. I took a small slice of clove-flecked, yellow-orange cheese and bit in. My mouth exploded with the zesty flavor of cloves. Their tang was tempered by the soft, creamy cheese…..a perfect marriage of taste and texture.
Spices that you can’t resist
Curl around and resound
Through caverns that the breeze has kissed……Phish