Trying to recover from jetlag and Europe trip withdrawal.

I love quaint little towns in Europe like Ghent in Belgium and Leiden in Netherlands. Especially those where not many people visit or know about because it is more quiet. Leiden is one of them.

Next time if i were to go to Europe , im gonna stop by the little towns via train.

Here is Leiden in Netherlands.

We took a train from our home base in Rotterdam Central to Leiden and it only about 20 minutes.

Leiden is famous for tulips in Spring. You can see tulips fields in Leiden during Spring. The canals are beautiful and you can rent a boat where you can have lunch , picnic and chill out with your partner. But you need to have a license. Oppa holds a license to operate ships/vessels because he was a 2nd officer on a ship back in Korea. We wanted to rent a boat but we ran out of time and have to continue our journey to Amsterdam.

 1185793_10152817558633885_4457570115639961949_n

Weather was perfect for ice cream. Not too hot and not too cold.

10620526_10152817556853885_4355075205503963154_n

Bubble gum chocolate mint ice cream cone at on only EUR 1.25 . Soo yummy !

1461099_10152817556758885_827654267368070562_n

We walked along the canels where there is the weekend farmers’ market.

1509277_10152817558243885_7717910839786662488_n

The architetures in this little town are so beautiful and traditional.

1512672_10152817559228885_1971925726289963940_n

1970772_10152817558328885_4354333688248083849_n

This stall sells the famous raw Dutch brined herring. Like sashimi , it is raw and you just gulp the whole fish down.

You definitely have to try this if you are in Netherlands. One of their famous traditional food.

We ate it the traditional Dutch way .

It was freshly prepared. This stall is so popular that the owner just kept scaling and removing the bones for his customers. Once he is done , he just pass you the fish on the plate where you drizzle it with onions and just pop the whole thing into your mouth.

OMG IT IS SO FRESH and YUMMY !

We had 4-5 of them.

Just tooo fresh ! Everything done on the spot and you just eat it all raw.

1782070_10152817557938885_280124183015078046_n

See that pail of fresh Dutch Herring fish ?

1151023_10152817557063885_1291592450466408584_n

We just stood at the side of the stall and ordered one after another. I prefer this than Japanese sashimi.

Yes , it is raw and soo tender. The skin , bones and head were removed on the spot after you place your order.

10336714_10152817557808885_1815735715232013516_n

10348523_10152817558048885_603398995965059186_n

The locals standing beside us taught us how to eat the Dutch way. Which is to hold the fish high up and just put the whole thing into your mouth and chew.

Both of us really enjoyed it. The Dutch were kinda amused and amazed how we “dare” to eat this raw fish and  how we kept ordering for more. Probably because this is a small town and they don’t see alot of tourists here except locals. So the locals were very kind and helpful teaching us how to eat it the Dutch way. It cost only EUR 1.75 per fish.

1891039_10152817557628885_6313886555761536955_n

10671213_10152817557503885_8554703344838219704_n

After our Herring fishes , we walked along the canels and shopping street at Haarleemstraat.

10155887_10152817558803885_1811653455932082443_n 10176211_10152817556318885_4374194377495533206_n

Hongkong cuisines are quite popular here. You can see some Hongkong immigrants opening restaurants here.

10704059_10152817558918885_5093041197937727263_n

10456262_10152817559043885_5912984535696510719_n

Rent a boat and enjoy a picnic or twosome time with your love one. So niceee !

10460364_10152817556528885_2051918502720184666_n

10606564_10152817558418885_5473010926692421716_n  10645127_10152817559333885_1987239404352851503_n

The Herring fishes really make us soo full and bloated that we decided to just go for street food as our lunch.

10649547_10152817557158885_5786080373940171866_n

Fried mussels and shrimps with mayo. Soo nice ! I can have lots of it. Only Eur 3.

10653685_10152817556978885_8419112194596561485_n

I love farmers’ market. A place where you can find fresh seafood , cheese , breads , flowers , vegetables , candies etc etc.

10665762_10152817557243885_4680891249817384420_n

10672273_10152817558543885_3238691876341128628_n  10711035_10152817559158885_2281803801755131014_n

Ahh i should have went to Haarlem , Delft , Den Haag and Maastricht by myself when D was at work. But i have to work in the day and can only travel from Fri to Sun . Maastricht will definitely be on my list if i were to go to Europe. And Bruges in Belgium too ! These are beautiful towns.

Being in Netherlands for 3 weeks and just got to know how to read Dutch menus because in places like Leiden , Rotterdam and some other towns/cities,  you can’t really find menus in English though Dutch all speaks really good and fluent English. And i just got to learn how to pronounce the words.

Broodjes means sandwich

Kip means Chicken

Garnalen means Shrimps

Bier means Beer

Frites means Fries

Welkom means Welcome

Dank Je Wel means Thank you

Goede Morgen means Good morning

Zeer Bedankt means Thank you very much

There are many more and as time goes by , i can read abit of basic Dutch menu. Some are pretty similar to English.

Ahhh i wish i can turn back time and start my trip all over again.

Advertisements

So , i just came back to Rotterdam from Paris , France last night. Back to the land of tall and lean people. Everyone here is soooo tall and lean. It makes me feels like a dwarf. I look so tiny here. Paris is only 2 hours train ride away. Well , i still have to blog about my Prague and Belgium trip before i move on to Paris blog post. My favourite is definitely Belgium. I am not really impressed with Paris after i have been to Ghent and Prague. Paris is a good shopping place and good food but i prefer the architectures in Belgium and Prague. Paris is just too crowded and you get photo-bombed in every photo.

First weekend in Europe.

So , we travelled from Rotterdam ( Netherlands ) to Ghent (Belgium) and on the way back to Rotterdam ,  we stopped by Antwerp (Belgium) for half a day. You can read my blogpost about Ghent here. It is  a pretty small top with beautiful architectures.

I love Belgium !

Antwerp central station is beautiful and i love the architectures. It really has a strong European feel.

You can buy strawberries from the small stalls found in the central station. They sell really nice strawberries. I have strawberries almost once every 2 days here in Europe.

DSC00602s

DSC00396

 DSC00398

The city centre and square are just 5 minutes walk from the central station. Everyone in Belgium is really helpful and they speak good English.

The Cathedrals are soo pretty and architectures are soo damn nice. I just wanna find a cafe , sit down to have my cup of coffee, desserts and enjoy the view. Never get sick and tired of it. Shops closed after 6pm and every Sunday. So the town is alittle bit quite on Sundays.

DSC00568s DSC00571s

DSC00578s

DSC00577s

Check out the staircase edges-shaped roofs in Belgium. You will know that you are in Belgium ( if you travel by train ) by spotting the difference in the shape of the roofs.

DSC00579s

Travelling by bicycle is a good way to explore the city. Or you can walk.

Trust me , you will lose weight. I lost over 3kg over here in Europe. Because i walk alot EVERDAY. At least 4 hours per day non-stop and the maximum was 10 hours a day in Prague and Paris. Even my tights felt so loose now and D commented that i really lost weight. Actually both of us did.

Walking or cycling is the only way to explore the small towns or cities. But becareful when you rent a bike because cases of bicycle thefts are common.

DSC00596s DSC00600s  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Having our lunch at an Italian bistro , enjoying the breeze , sunshine and view of the Cathedral. Weather was cool but turned cold when there is occasional wind.

Sometimes hot , sometimes cold ..so it is better to wear in layers and bring a thick jacket along.

DSC00584f

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You definitely have to try the street food and the Belgium mussels , waffles, chocolates and ice creams. Everyone knows Belgium is well known for chocolates and waffles.

DSC00593f

One more local food that you have to try is Frites ( fries with several choice of sauces ) . You definitely have to have it when you are in Belgium and Netherlands. Frites are popular local snacks. Go for mayo sauce and with onions if you like it.

So we had Frites in Antwerp at a popular frite store. The queue was so long.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Serving was huge and it was only about EUR 3.60. We went for the mayo sauce with onions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Antwerp is a small town and you probably just need few hours here. Ghent and Antwerp in just 2 days.

Glad that Rotterdam is just an hour train ride away from these cities and we can go there over the weekend for a day anytime.

My 5th day in Netherlands now.

I had a good sleep during my 12 hours plane ride and coincidentally , a friend of mine was a cabin crew on the flight 🙂 I haven’t seen her since after graduating from Uni.

D was attached to Rotterdam in Netherlands for a couple of months and we will be flying back to SG in October together. Rotterdam is the 2nd biggest city in Netherlands. His company gave him an apartment and im currently staying at his apartment in Rotterdam. It is our base and it is so near the train station and travelling to places like Germany , Belgium , Paris and Spain is easy and probably need 30 mins-2 hours at most. The house was really nice except that i have to climb that steep stairway everyday which is really tiring and tedious for my thigh muscles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at how steep it is. I have to climb up like a ladder everyday. Good thing is that he lives on the 2nd floor. I cannot imagine climbing up to the 3rd or 4th everyday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes , i have to climb these everyday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My first meal when i touched down in Amsterdam and 15 mins metro ride to Rotterdam.

The most yummy meat balls i ever had. Seriously nice. The outside was cripsy hot and inside was soft and tender. OMG. Heavenly !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spicy Tuna Pasta was really addictive and the most popular dish at the restaurant – Atlantic Lunch Room. The price was reasonable at about EUR 10 each. Portion was huge and will suggest 2 to share 1 bowl instead. I was struggling to finish my bowl even though it was really nice. Just too much and i wanna sleep after every meal here. Too much carbs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our neighbourhood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The park was just beside our apartment. It was really nice and clean. Infact , Netherlands is a really clean country. The food were fresh and organic too. That’s why you will see the expiry dates on every food packaging because there are no preservatives and really fresh. They are cheap too ! It is cheaper to eat at home than eat out actually. So i try to cook once every 2-3 days. Breads were fresh and were made on the same day itself. No leftovers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walking around the park which is just beside our apartment.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shopping in Rotterdam City Centre – Lijinbaan .
You will see lotsa of Zara , Pull and Bear , Berksha , H&M etc etc. They are everywhere and every buidling and they are huge. The shopping area is just 5 mins walk away from our apartment. The good thing about living near the City Centre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In Netherlands , you will see a mixture of old architectures and sky scrapers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I make breakfast or D once every 2 days and sometimes he will pass me allowance and i will buy ingredients to cook lunch or dinner for both of us. He receives allowance from his company every week so basically , our meals are provided.

The groceries are not expensive. The 6 pairs of chicken wings (with drums)  marinated with spices was only EUR2.49 and broccoli was EUR0.49. Udon was from SG at $1 per pack. Our ice tea was only EUR 1.29. So this meal costs us less than SGD 8 for 2 pax to  cook at home. Healthy food.

Yeah..i cooked our lunch today ! So nice right. I can’t believe my cooking skills either lol. I made Kimchi Soup and Korean BBQ Pork Belly on the first day in Rotterdam last week. Because someone was craving for home cooked Korean food.

Kimchi Udon Soup , Boiled Broccoli fried with oyster sauce and Marinated spicy chicken wings and Sparkling Ice Tea. Oh i love this Sparkling Ice Tea and probably gonna bring few bottles back. Can’t find it in SG supermarkets.

I love the salads,  pizzas , pastas and sandwiches here but i cannot imagine myself eating that everyday for 2 meals. The menu are always the same in the restaurants here in Netherlands. It is either smoked salmon , tuna , bacons , beef patty , chicken patty etc etc etc. Abit sian already just after 5 days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Last weekend , we took a train to Belgium which is just next to Netherlands. 2 days 1 night in Belgium. Will blog about it once i loaded all the pictures from my camera. There are more than 600 pics. Gosh !

Anyway , have a good day and im heading back to work. Lol im not really on a holiday or travel trip. I have to wake up early to work before i go out and hang around.