Before making my international move, a few friends joked that I was going to be a ‘ray of sunshine’ to the Netherlands. Stereotypically speaking, Europeans are known for wearing black and neutrals, where in my case, nothing is too bright, too bold or too blinged (Joost took a picture during one of my visits last year – you’ll find the Florida girl in a bright yellow coat and literally everyone else, decked in all black). However, I do have to give props to the men of Holland – colored pants are beginning to pop up everywhere and I love it (Joost’s, of course, still have tags).
Speaking of color, you can imagine my excitement when Joost mentioned the fair was in town! What better place for bursts of color, neon lights, nearly impossible, yet addicting, games and an overdose of sugary goodness? Naturally, I threw on my brightest (neon kiwi to be exact) sweater and was ready to bounce from ride to ride and game to game.
I was surprised to find the rides to be nearly identical to the ones I grew up with in America. Who remembers the one below? My childhood favorite, The Himalaya! I do have to say, I have no idea how my friends and I rode these rides for hours on end – the continuous spinning had me woozy from the ground – oh the joys of getting old.
Post fair, Joost and I decided to settle down from our sugar high and enjoy the beautiful spring day. We obviously weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the sunshine and 50 degree weather – the city center was packed and full of life. I find it funny that most terraces face outward toward the streets – so when walking by, you feel as though rows and rows of people are looking at you, waiting for a slight trip in the cobblestone street (or maybe I’m paranoid as I trip every 20 steps – darn cobblestone). On the flip side, when dining at the terraces, it’s a perfect place to be entertained, as ‘people watching’ never lets you go away without a chuckle.
After a short search, Joost and I found an open spot at one of the terraces and sat down for a drink (Cola Zero and Grote Koffie), natural Vitamin D and relaxation. A very important FYI – when ordering coffee in the NL, you always get a free, little treat – typically a small cookie or chocolate, but this cafe (now my fav), gives stroopwafels. Score!
Random tidbit – you never feel rushed by the waiters or waitresses and they certainly never bring the bill until you ask – so, you could sit and enjoy the terrace for hours with your one Cola Zero if you’d like. Why? Because they receive a base pay (tips are an extra bonus). Pretty sure we would have gotten the death stare in America if we camped out on a busy day with our one drink. Holland wins on this one.
Until next time – tot ziens!
XX – Whitney