We loved the hotel in Amsterdam. It was nice, cozy, and clean. Had a great view of the canal, and Jerie had her own “loft”. We were using on Eurorail pass to explore Gouda and Delft, but didn’t want to take our backpacks. The hotel had free luggage storage. We found that most luggage storage consisted of leaving your bags next to the front desk. As a safety precaution, we got in the habit of using a carabiner to hook all the bags together.
Our first stop was Gouda, famous for cheese. We missed the weekly cheese market but the town square had an interesting church and a cheese shop. We met the owner of the cheese shop, who makes all of the cheese. We bought a 4-year old Gouda and an award-winning cheese that will last 3 months with no refrigeration. He even gave us a postcard with a picture of the cow that the milk came from.
We decided to explore the town and got walking directions to a working windmill used to grind flour.
We found an interesting child carrier for a bike as well as an interesting walk-way to a house.
We stopped at a pastry shop and indulged our sweet tooth. Bought an apple croissant type pastry, 2 plain croissants,
and a package of Syrup waffles. They are like a thin, sweet graham cracker with a thick syrup in between.
We headed back to the train station to travel to Delft, Home of the Blue China factory.
Once at the Delft train station, the information desk was very helpful. She gave us a map of the town as well as showed us how to scan our Eurorail pass to enter back into the station. We had been struggling with how to open the stalls. We had been sneaking in behind other passengers before the gate closed, which sounded an alarm. No one seemed to mind but still bothered us. The clerk showed us the bar code hidden on the backside of our folded ticket. An aha moment for sure. We walked around the town square and found another cheese shop, called Cheese and More. Tons of samples and the best mustards. Jerie could have stayed there forever. She especially like the garlic and herb cheese and the honey mustard. Way better than American honey mustard. If it had been at the end of our trip, we probably would have bought some, but it was in a glass bottle. We headed toward the Delft factory…
It was a self-guided tour with head phones. There was a display room with examples of the China. Cindy’s grandmother had blue china, probably not Delft, but she was excited to see the process.
An artist then draws a design in black ink on the unglazed china. Through a chemical process the black ink is changed to blue.
They had a beautiful courtyard in the middle of the factory, so peaceful, could have stayed there all day. We purchased a small plate, a ceramic “wooden” shoe. Had a discussion of whether to ship it home, plus how to get the tax refund. Decided to carry the items with us and save the shipping. We would have to get the tax refund signed in Venice before we flew home.
We headed back to the train station for our journey back to Amsterdam to collect our bags. We had reservations on a Train to Duisburg at 8:31pm where we would then catch a sleeper train to Berlin. We had a few hours left to explore Amsterdam so we went to the tulip market. Absolutely wonderful.
We went to the train station and decided to grab dinner. We ate Smuliers burgers and fries. The information man was quite rude but the Smuliers clerk was very pleasant, so it all works out even
The train was not reserved so we found an earlier train, but that meant a longer wait in Duisburg. Once in Duisburg, there were no seats in terminal. Found a McDonalds and ordered some snacks. What we assumed was a homeless gentleman, would come around and ask if you were done with your tray and he would put it up for you. He would then take it into a back booth and eat the leftovers. Made us really appreciate what we have in life. Boarded the train for Berlin.We get on the train and the conductor does not smile. We were in a 6 person sleeping compartment. While we were getting undressed for bed, conductor comes in to collect our ticket, didn’t realize we needed to lock the door. Picked up 2 more “bunk mates” at first stop, 2 girls travelling from China. Lets just say, sleeping on the train was our least favorite accommodations of the entire trip.
So day 8, is the rest of our sleeping train trip and our adventure in Berlin.