Disclaimer: The following observations are things I noticed during my time living in Holland.
They are in no way about certain people and the opinions stated are just that, my opinion.
I don’t mean to portray anything as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ difference, simply ‘different’ then what I was used to.
As time goes by, I plan on sharing some of the things I learnt/noticed/experienced during my time living and traveling in Europe.
This is the fourth such post and I apologize in advance if I repeat some things, when moving around the different subjects.
Out and About: A Smorgasbord Of Things
After we leave the **cozy** Dutch home, we exit onto a small car port, generally occupied by… a small car 😉
(It became an exciting thing when we would spot an actual, real, big, truck on the roads😋)
Whether you walk or take the car (or you’re Dutch and take the bike), a grocery store is usually no further away then 5 minutes and the journey will be taken mostly on a cobblestone street.
How a rock, cut a certain way and laid in the ground can add so much charm? I don’t know, but it does😁
(Someday in the far future, Michiel and I plan on incorporating some cobblestone into our landscape so there’s a hint of Holland for him, in that very eye pleasing way 😉)
To the grocery store.
Those weren’t as hard to adjust to as you’d think.
From woman, that was usually the question I’d get, ‘Oh is it very hard to find groceries there?😬’.
The answer? Nope, for the most part it was pretty easy to find the things I usually looked for, once I figured out what was what, due to different packaging and looking for things much larger than they have available 🙈
Sour cream came in little, almost half cup sized containers and salted butter isn’t a very popular thing, so Mike had to look for it with me. Sour dill pickles were never found, after about three jars and some other failed attempts at locating any, I gave up.
The jar that had stated ‘extra sour’ was full of bologna (not literally) and they were still a ‘sweet’ pickle.
‘Paprika’ is probably the most popular chip flavour (it’s a flavouring found on many other things as well) as the other options are generally plain or cheese… I still don’t understand how Holland doesn’t have ‘Old Dutch’ potato chips, what could be technically more wrong? 😜
I did search long and hard for plain puffed wheat cereal (never found it) and corn syrup was no where to be seen and its substitutes weren’t as thick and also on the healthy side, so super expensive 🙈
Holland has one thing we never found anywhere else though… cold, carbonated , Lipton Iced Tea… HOW I MISS YOU 💔
Baking powder and vanilla come in small, paper packages of a couple of tablespoons worth and it took a special request to the vegetable man to get a spaghetti squash 😉
Leaving the store you’ll pass by the flowers but unlike here in Sask. where you avert your eyes and say, ‘No, I just bought $89 of groceries and a Starbucks to get me through it, I don’t need a $45 bouquet flowers’, you’d probably say something more like, ‘Hmm, three bunches (normal to large sized) for €10? ($15) Why not?!’.
(Though rarely would you catch me saying either of those sentences because I’m not a big flower person 😂🙈 This bouquet Mom and I made there one spring is the exception though 💕)
Going out of the store, possibly with flowers and groceries in hand, there is a good chance you’ll smell someone smoking, as it’s allowed to do everywhere there.
In Sask. smoking in public places/near entries etc. is not allowed and hasn’t been for quite a few years, so going from that, to a place where it’s quite popular, you do notice it a fair bit.
More so in Amsterdam then the smaller towns and villages.
But back to town/food stuff and less about the air pollution 😏
Certain days mean certain food trucks are around, depending where you are.
Our favourites were the loompia truck, fried spring roll like things which sound super delicious at this moment😬
The kibbling, which was fried fish with a special tartar like sauce and of course, the occasional cheese truck 😉👌🏻
And though it’s cold out and what I’d consider unpleasant to sit out in, many a restaurant/cafe has outdoor seating with some blankets (or not even) and people will be sitting outside, coats and scarfs on, being *cozy, sipping their warm drinks.
I never did that and I hope I never have to… they also have seats inside, for a reason 😜
They do have many restaurants there, though eating out isn’t nearly as popular as it is in Canada or the USA.
The variety in Europe beats both though, in the sense that you can easily find a Greek or Italian restaurant, owned and run by a true, Greek or Italian and the taste proves as much.
The Chinese restaurants proved to be a great disappointment to me though, having variety of dishes but all generally the same flavour, which wasn’t much flavour at all 🙈
The amazing Greek restaurants made up for that though 😉👌🏻
A Dutch’ snack bar’ is somewhere the younger crowd could be found grabbing a quick bite to eat.
Where fried foods and ice creams are made fast and cheap and it is something they grow up with and love.
My first few trips to a snack bar were a little sketchy and hunger inducing until I adjusted to the usually, slightly run down, cold atmosphere and found ‘snacks’ I liked, opposed to Mikes choices 😏
( They also have these scary looking, self-serve counters😜)
There are fewer, large chains and Starbucks are found few and far between.
If you’re going somewhere early in the morning and want to grab breakfast and a coffee to go… it ain’t happening.
That isn’t a thing that is done and it was a little hard for me to get used to, since I don’t like morning tasks and would usually opt for coffee on the road before thinking to wake up earlier to enjoy my cup of coffee at my house.
While I lived there, ONE drive through coffee place opened.
If you are tempted to go into a ‘coffee shop’ to warm up and you’re in Amsterdam, proceed with caution 😏
A ‘coffee shop’ is a place to go smoke/buy drugs and or space cake and ‘plants’.
If you’re looking for the liquid, caffeinated, brown kind of coffee, you’ll need to find a cafe with a name, not a ‘coffee shop’ 😋
One of THE most used words of a Dutch person😏
Actually they say ‘Gezellig’ and when translated the closest word is cozy.
Everything, is cozy.
Oh your house has a fireplace? How cozy! (that example I do understand).
Oh your house is small? So cozy!
It’s 4 in the evening so let’s turn off the lights, light candles and make it cozy.
It’s cold out so let’s drink coffee and be cozy.
You joining us would be cozy.
And on, and on 😉
You could say I really, don’t much like the word cozy anymore after having almost everything turned cozy for over a year 😉
If that’s their thing, great… but it’s just not something this Canadian could adjust to 😋