Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 8-9: Leiden

Yesterday, Frank and Ada drove us to Den Haag. After showing us parliament, the American embassy, and the Queen's residence, we had lunch at a local brown cafe. I ordered my first meal in Dutch (after a quick lesson by Frank and Ada). We spent the afternoon at a museum, of which I'll have to look up the name, that had miniature displays of all the major landmarks and historical buildings in the Netherlands.Pictures will be added later :)

Before we left the house, Frank called us over for our morning tea break. Ada had picked up some tom pouce at he bakery. This is a traditional Dutch sweet, and we had been warned that there is a very specific way to eat it. Using a fork or spoon would be a disaster! The top layer is a hardened icing...not not too sweet...with a thin layer of flaky crust. You have to lift this layer and eat it first. The layer beneath is like a thick vanilla pudding...custard-like...so trying to using a spoon for both layers would be an absolute mess.

We went with Frank this morning to the local market, where we both bought our own packages of stroopwafel. I might need a second suitcase to fill with stroopwafels! They're so good. We went to the grocery store and picked up food for lunch and dinner....even the grocery stores here are way cool. They've taken te self-checkout to a whole new level.

This afternoon they took us to the town of Oudewater. During the Middle Ages, people would come here from all over the Netherlands, even other countries, to get a certificate to prove they were not a witch. From 1450-1650, over 100,000 people were accused of witchcraft. 50,000 of them were found guilty and burned at the stake, most of them women. The Weigh-house in this village was the best pace to go to get this certificate. Witches were though to be really light (that is why they could fly), so people who weighed less than the normal amount, could be tried as a witch...and usually forced to endure other tests and torture. Today you can still go and have yourself weighed on the original instrument and get your certificate. Katherine and I both passed the test, in case you were worried : )

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