Last October my husband surprised me with a trip to Europe. At the time he was working in Qatar and I was on my way to meet him there. He decided to meet me in Amsterdam and take a week off of work. At the time I was staying home taking care of my babies, age 20 and 22. I know you are laughing but just wait till your kids reach that age. You know what they say: 60 is the new 40, well 20 is the new 10. Anyway, that is a whole different topic. We decided to travel throughout Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium.
I reserved a room for 2 nights at the Hotel Koophandel in Delft. There are not too many hotels in this city and this hotel was made famous because it was the birthplace of Johan Vermeer Van Delft's father. Mr. Vermeer was a famous painter who lived in the 17th century and painted the Girl With the Pearl Earring:
I booked the hotel using Tripadvisor. I verified the pictures, its location (walking distance to old Delft, the price and felt very safe that I had made a good choice. Here is the picture of the room I booked:
There was also a beautiful courtyard. When I arrived there, I was disappointed. First the room that I had wanted was not available. They gave us a room way at the top almost in the attic. Not a big deal, but we had 4 giant suitcases and there are no elevators in most of these hotels/museums. Past forty, this is risky business. The most deceiving part of the hotel was its location: it was sitting on top of a drinking establishment....The Billy Beer bar and grill.... If you look way up, you will see a couple of windows: that's where our room was. It was Friday night and of course there was drinking and shouting and partying till 3:00am. They say that we attract what we fear.....My husband slept through it all and I had a good book...
Before I went to Holland for the first time, here is what I knew about it:
LOTS OF TULIPS
WOODEN SHOES (that's not me)
There was also the infamous red light district and pot and hash cafés. It was all there of course but I wanted to see what else Holland had to offer. I've pretty much visited every major city in Holland but Delft is my favorite. Here are a few pictures that explain why:The Saturday flea market full of antiques,
fresh flowers, local cheeses, etc.
The old Delft with its many stores
selling mostly Delft pottery.
The beautiful architecture
The canals dotted with coffee
This was the view from my room. The
food was fantastic in every restaurant
that we went to. Their butter "caken"
City Hall. The second day of our visit,
which was on a Saturday, we were lucky enough to witness a wedding in front of City Hall. Very beautiful and
Delft is highly populated but
very quiet. Most people dont
drive but ride their bicycles.
The Delft pottery. If its Delft
pottery you want, this is the
place. In the 16th century, only rich
people could afford Asian pottery.
The Dutch decided to design their own.
Its reputation for beauty became popular in many other European countries. It was even exported to China and Japan.
See that strange vase in the center. Do
you know what it is? I bought something similar.
Try and guess what it is. I will tell you at the end of this post.
We were told to always check
under a Delft piece to verify that
its not a fake (as in made in China)
which is ironic as its inspiration
originates from Asia.
This is also very beautiful.
The more colors there are,
the more expensive it is.
This is hand painted and
Cute fridge magnets that
I bought as souvenirs but
ended up keeping. My
husband was very patient
as I stopped at every store
to pick just the right one LOL
Now my fridge looks likethis display....
No trip is complete without a visit to HEMA. Hema is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926, in Amsterdam. Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands.
Have a look at their website just below. DO NOT click on any of the items in the picture, don't scroll, just wait and see what happens. This company has a sense of humor and a great computer programmer who does the company justice....and maybe has a little too much time on his hands.
Click the link below and enjoy - you'll need sound to enjoy it to the max!
PS. That odd looking thing is a tulip vase. When I arrived in Qatar I could not wait to see how it looked with flowers in it. Did you ever try buying flowers in that part of the world where everything is dry and beige and sandy? I think I paid more for the flowers than I did for the vase. Anyway, the ugly looking vase leaks....I should have bought those cheesy wooden tulips LOL