So on my final day in Brussels I figured out why I was having transportation issues. In Brussels many people speak both French and Dutch. Some people speak only French while others speak only Dutch. So many signs are in both languages. However, my Google maps tells me the direction to take the bus in in one language while when the bus shows up the banner on the bus is in another language. Know this and it will help many of your issues out. As the number was right, but I thought it was going in different direction. I would not have let so many pass by if I had known this!
I’ve had stroopwafel before. But while doing my research I heard about Albert Cuyp Market. I never had a stroopwafel warm before so I thought I’d check it out.
The market has many stalls selling everything from cheap household goods, clothing, stuff you can’t think anyone would ever want, produce, and other foods. Orginal Stroopwafels had a bit if a line.
You could order the original way or with chocolate added on. They had smaller cold ones pacakged up in 10 packs that you could buy. You would buy them with or without a canister to carry them in. The canister is some sort of metal and does better than just the plastic bag at supporting them and keeping them from getting broken. The cap appears to be of a thinner metal however and did get dented, but the stroopwafels were still okay.
The stand is cash only so make sure to hit an ATM before you go otherwise you’ll end up having to wait in line twice. The gentleman I met working at the stand was friendly and spoke English. He also had a bit of a Benedict Cumberbatch look to him.
The warm stroopwafel was lovely. You have to hold it flat otherwise all the sweet caramel goodness in the center will run out and not just be lost forever but make a sticky mess in the process.
If you have the time check it out. And while you’re at it, bring me back one?
Many places make you swipe a card when you enter a bus or to enter a metro station platform. And then you just leave when you’ve gotten to your desired stop. Do NOT do this in Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam you MUST tap you card against the ticket machine again as you exit. Otherwise they will shut off access to your card and it will be a waste of money.
I’m not quite sure why exactly you must do this, but after spending however many euros on the card and realizing I wasn’t going to get my money’s worth on the museum side I wasn’t about to test this rule.
Have you tested it? How did it go?
Parc du Cinquantenaire is beautiful. There is a huge fountain that reminds me a bit of the fountain in Washington Square Park in NYC. An arch that reminds me of the Wellington Arch in London or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is an impressive sight at the park as well. There’s a lot of grass to spread out on a nice warm spring day and relax or have a picnic.
Although the setting sun made for a nice atmosphere I wish I had gotten there earlier for more time in the sunshine.
I find it important for cities to not just have green spaces, but large ones. This one may not drown out the sound of the traffic like some of the large parks in London, but it’s not a small strip of green either.
Have a warm day? Pick up take away (aka take out) and head to Parc du Cinquantenaire to relax.
I read online to try the mussels at Le Zinneke, so I headed on over. I must say the menu was a bit overwhelming. They don’t have just mussels. But speaking specifically about the mussels, how do you want them? You have 37 options!
I was tired and just decided to order the first on the menu, the fishermen style. It was in a white / clear-ish broth and served with celery and onions. I like onions but this was a bit much for me and I’m not a fan of celery. The mussels were fine, but I’m sure I have had better, though it’s hard to really say for sure as I’ve never had them done in this particular style before. But I have come to expect mussels to be served with bread, these were not.
The service was okay. If you go, make sure you have a reservation because they were rather upset that I didn’t have one. It was 730 in the evening they said they could seat me but would need the table for a 9 pm reservation. I said it was fine. Currently I am unable to drink and the waiter who had greeted me seemed rather aggravated by not making a wine sale. He went through all the motions of what one should do to give good service but I could tell he wasn’t really happy about it.
When they give you the menu they also give you a comic book. He took it away before I had a chance to read it.
The most interesting thing was probably the sink. Downstairs outside the bathroom there was a sink and it is a replica of the Manneken Pis statue with the waterspout coming right out of his little you know what, like on the actual fountain.
I totally dig Croquettes and I totally dig shrimp. So when I read online about Noordzee Mer du Nord and their shrimp croquettes I knew I’d be taking a trip there.
First off their menu goes far beyond shrimp croquettes and it seems everyone loves them as they were packed.
This is a very large stand. The cooking happens inside but it an open building style where you walk up to the counter to order your name is called you grab your food then hope to find a place to stand at one of their standing room it tables. They have a lot of these such tables however they are very popular and every table was full.
Did you know croquettes could be grilled or fried? I didn’t. I know them as fried only. But the shrimp ones come only fried. So I placed my order.
My name was called rather quickly for how busy they were. It’s served on a small plate. There are two shrimp croquettes, a little dipping sauce, and a small salad.
These little guys were delicious. I must say however though being heavy, there’s only two so they aren’t very filling. They’d make a good snack or a great accompaniment to more food. The outside was fried to a perfect dark golden complexion and the inside was smooth and creamy with bits of shrimp both blended in and folded in.
If you dig seafood I suggest you check this place out. Everyone seemed to be ordering the soup. I’m unsure what kind of seafood soup it was, but it seems like another popular option, especially if you are looking for something to go with your shrimp croquettes.
Note that because it is a stand there is no restroom here.
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A Jet Set Lifestyle
I took a day trip to Amsterdam with dreams of seeing the Van Gogh museum, the Resistance Museum, and The Anne Frank House so with much to do I figured the 24 hour Amsterdam city card would be helpful.
I was dreadfully wrong.
You can buy tickets for The Van Gogh museum online but then you cannot get in free with the city card. You can buy tickets online for the Anne Frank museum as well but the time is from open until 3:30 PM, sell out months in advance, and again cannot use the city card.
Well, I hadn’t bought Anne Frank tickets ahead of time so I decided my plan would be to hit Van Gogh, Resistance, and Anne Frank.
The King and Queen were also in town for the day so many of the tram routes were rerouted and I was left stranded at multiple stops. I finally got to the Van Gogh museum in the early afternoon. Or should I say I got to the line. The queue just to buy tickets was an hour and a half, then there was the queue to actually get in. I sadly decided I needed to skip it.
I headed over to The Resistance Museum dealing with more transportation delays. This one I was able to walk right into. I spent a couple hours here. I’ll be writing a separate post about this museum specifically.
From there it was time to get in line for Anne Frank. Granted I could have lined up first thing in the morning but since all of the other museums closed earlier than the Anne Frank and they didn’t even start letting in people from the line until 330 I had opted to go stand in line after I went to the other museums.
I got over to the Anne Frank museum and saw the line went down the block, down another, and down another. The Anne Frank museum was not happening.
The city card was a waste as a 24 hour public transportation card would have been much less expensive, but how could one know this? Well, now you do. So don’t make my mistake.
I took a canal cruise just trying to try make the card worth something. I’ll be writing about my second chance on a canal cruise in a separate post.
So how does one make the most of a short amount of time in Amsterdam? Well if museums are important to you, I suggest knowing you want to go to Amsterdam far in advance and booking and paying for tickets and a time slot ahead of time. Then once there buying an unlimited transportation card.
I’ve been to multiple Barcades in NYC and the one in New Haven, CT as well. So when heading to Austin, Texas for the first time and hearing about Pinballz Arcade I thought I’d check it out.
Well Pinballz Arcade is an arcade as you remember them from your youth (if you’re my age or older.) This isn’t a bar, this is an arcade, and a huge one at that. There were multiple rooms to lose hours in.
Obviously there were rows upon rows of pinball machines, but beyond that there was skee ball, basketball hoops games, driving games, multiple player arcade games etc. And best of all you won tickets and could get prizes just like when you were a kid! And let me tell you, if you aren’t good at games, the prizes still suck, just like when you were a kid. But I love my little green plastic warrior man, because I won it and it’s nostalgic. So I suppose “suck” is relative.
Bring your young ones and check it out, or re-live your childhood with your adult friends. Just don’t expect a bar atmosphere.