Thursday 13th September
Cheese and Clogs, Volendam & Edam
Waking up to a beautiful Autumn European morning we wandered into the “tourist Cheese and Clog” shop where we overnighted.
Missed a bit of the tour of the cheese making talk, but have seen French and Swiss so assume it is much the same, this is Gouda country around here, my favorite. We had seen quite a bit of the cheese shop routine in Alkmaar yesterday so it was another chance to taste different flavors and ages. These guys here actually make a really nice smoked cheese which we have purchased for sandwich use.
The clog tour was quite funny, but pretty interesting, they assure us that clogs are still worn in everyday life, but I am not sure as I cannot for the life of me see how you can ride a bike in these things, the guy demonstrated how they made them with hand tools for a bit then made a of a set with the machine that is essentially a mechanical “extaskecta” with chisels. They evidently can make about 200 sets a day, which is a lot of tourist buses.
Interestingly enough the most type of clog shoe now sold is a “croc” style open back wooden soled shoe that is sold as orthopaedic shoe. We did notice that after work all the staff who wore clogs all day had their “NIKE’s” on when they left work.
Seeing its such a beautiful day a bike ride is in order, I must say not exactly challenging in this environment as the biggest hill climb is a 2m lift up the side of a “dike” and there are these amazing cycle paths that follow all the roads.
So we did about 25km loop that took us to the Tourist Trap of Volendam, onto the village of Edam then onto the ferry and across to the Island of Marken before cycling back to Miss Stella via the cycle path along the top of the Dike around Monhiekhenda. Volendam is a very historic fishing and trading port that is now wall to wall fish restaurants with lots of photo places where you dress up in traditional Dutch clothing for the tourist shot. The harbor is full of these lovely old wooden sailing boats and there must be a festival on of some sort as they are all out sailing, an amazing sight.
The village of Edam is a very nice traditional Dutch village, cobbled streets, canals, drawbridges amazing little gardens and more amazing wooden boats in the locks.
The island of Marken is described as “its own unique culture with its own unique population” it is tiny, most of it below sea level and the most prominent thing on it is the light house. However it is also quite the place to be seen eating, drinking and showing off your big wooden boat.
A great day finished off with a quick drive into Amsterdam. Well not quite, we are no good with Miss Stella in cities and certainly have no intention of driving in this one so we have parked up at a Train Station Zaanse Schans about 4 stops from Amsterdam Central, all ready for a big day tomorrow in this famous city.