I took myself on a mini break in Mach with a couple of girlfriends to Delft in Holland. It was a super easy and painless train ride, coupled with a short métro ride to Delft from Rotterdam. This was all possible due to the superb organisation of my friend, M Van Opstal, who in her spare time as alumni mum to the ISP organises tours around central Paris and sometimes even beyond. Her Paristours has gone from strength to strength, an activity she started when her daughters were at the ISP as a way for her to visit Paris and get to know other parents at the school. She has became synonymous to Paris Walks, the company that supplies her the animated English speaking art and fashion tour guides who talk about their passions with in-depth references and knowledge.
For her efforts, Mona collects only a 3€ buffer fee to cover some costs and an average of 12€ for each tour. She doesn’t make on any of the tours organised, the 12€ fee goes to Paris Walks.
The trip to Delft was organised for girlfriends,that means sans enfants et maris. So the gang only consisted of me, CB and Mona. We had a fun filled weekend, staying the Leeuwenbrug Hotel. This is a charming little hotel housed in a 15th Century mansion house typical of Delft.
Delft is famous for amongst other things, Vermeer and the Delft Blue Pottery.
Vermeer who was born there, painted the daily scenes in Delft that made him so famous. His most famous painting to date is “Girl with the Pearl Earrings”. This sits in the art museum, Mauritshuis, at the Hague. “Girl with the Pearl Earring” made literary history when Tracy Chevalier wrote a book entitled the same, a romanticised story of the subject in Vermeer’s portrait based on the life and times of Vermeer. This novel has since become a motion picture star Scarlett Johannson.
It was interesting to read the copy of the book that I had purchased at the Vermeer museum and finding the references that Chevalier wrote about in her novel. For example, the star in the main square that she referred to and the New Church built in 1381 and 1496 where some members of the Dutch Royal family are buried.
Delft is also famous for Dutch pancakes! Well, Delft is as famous for Dutch pancakes as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, being in Holland. Lunch on the day of arrival was at a Dutch eatery that serves traditional Dutch pancakes and other Dutch delicatessen. The difference in the Dutch pancake from the French, bretagne one is in the consistency and the thickness; the Dutch version is more dense and the ingredients are mixed into the batter. Secondly, the Dutch love to combine their savouries with fruits, usually cooked fruits. This is the pancake that CB ordered which is filled with ham, onions and cheese topped with pineapple.
Mixing flavours is actually a rather Asian thing. In Szechuanese cuisine, mixing sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavours is very common. The magic is in the mix of the right amounts of everything. In Thailand, main dishes are served with a variety of condiments that include sugar, chillies, fish sauce and lime juice. I love making a dipping sauce of naam plaa (fish sauce), sliced chillies, sugar and minced garlic. It’s totally divine served with pan fried fish or doused over fried hor fun noodles, if you were me!
I had a wonderful time in Delft. It was a short trip which worked out well because the Italian only had to feed the children for 2 nights. I returned home tired but elated to a happy husband and satisfied children. They missed me but not that much!
** We went in March just before the Pâques vacances. It was an agreeable time to go, the weather was a little chillier than anticipated but I had my warm coat and a scarf with me, so it was a rather toasty trip. So if you are considering travelling at this time of the year, dress warm, even if the weather forecast promises bright skies and sunshine. CB will vouch that this is the best advice.