Greg’s birthday started with hugs and kisses from our hostess, who congratulated him on his fortieth which is a ‘crown year’ in Holland, very important! She also tucked a sweet birthday card in with our breakfast this morning. We enjoyed a lazy day in the cottage enjoying a quiet lunch at home watching the sideways rain roll by. Some crazy weather blew through today!
The skies cleared enough in the afternoon that we could venture out to explore a bit and have a special birthday dinner. Even before we embarked on our trip, Greg had been eager to try rijsftafel, an Indonesian specialty meal popular in the Netherlands. Historically the connection between the Dutch and Indonesia goes back to the spice trade in the 1600s, colonialism, to Indonesian independence (pardon the nutshell approach to history, trying to keep it brief.) There remains a significant Indonesian influence in the Netherlands and part of that is maintained in a delicious and exotic twist to the Dutch cuisine. We were able to find a very up scale Indonesian restaurant less than a five minute drive from out cottage, just goes to show you that this part of the culture exists outside of the big cities. The concept of rijsftafel is that you get a pile of rice in the center of your plate, then a variety of little dishes of meat, veggies and sauces are placed on a grate that runs down the center of the table which are heated with tea candles to keep your food warm while you sample the deliciousness. There was soo much food! Luckily out waiter offered to make us one book with the food we did not yet eat. (He meant box but book is so much more fun, who wouldn't like a book made of their leftovers?!)
Finally the rain had stopped and we were so full! A long walk was in order. I suggested a game, where we tried to see who could spot the most animals. I was four points ahead but then as usual we forgot to keep score distracted by the adorableness of this tiny toad and those playful llamas. One of my favorite things about this location is the Bosweg that runs behind our cottage, bike and foot trails that seem to run endlessly into the forest, around ponds, into recreational areas and parks, then back into the wild. If I lived here, I would be out there during every moment of good weather. Those moments have been limited during our trip, yet we have managed a good balance of exploration, rest and adventure. I so enjoyed spending this mellow day with the birthday boy!