How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

We’ve just returned from Croatia.

And OMG!

Even though I’ve travelled to 61 other countries!

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

My plans for 2017 (in alphabetical order) were:

  1. Austria
  2. Croatia
  3. Czech Republic
  4. England
  5. France
  6. Germany (of course. Ho! Ho!)
  7. Holland
  8. Ireland for TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference)
  9. Poland
  10. Romania
  11. Russia
  12. Slovenia
  13. Sweden

Let’s see how we’ve done so far.

Mozart & Vienna are adorable!

AUSTRIA:

CZECH REPUBLIC:

I went skiing!

I haven’t quite got around to writing about skiing in the Czech Republic this year yet, but this is what I previously wrote!

HOLLAND:

Dutch children in traditional costume.

CROATIA:

  • Yay!
Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now, to be frank, most people have never heard of Croatia.

Game of Thrones?

Yep!

I love that show by the way…!

But Croatia?

Isn’t it somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both surely?

The Music Producer in Split. Geographically, Croatia is one of the previous communist states!

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Don’t worry.

Breath!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as Central Europe too!

Croatia has such a Mediterranean vibe, that you could be in Italy or Austria!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Croatia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

I know!

Book your hotel here!

LET’S GET A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY!

Ceremonial Officers in Zagreb – Croatia

Croatia, otherwise known locally as Hrvatska, or officially – the Republic of Croatia – is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean!

Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and is on the Adriatic Sea coast, which contains more than a thousand islands!

Croatia’s population is just 4.28 million, and the capital city is Zagreb.

A traditional Busker in Zagreb – Croatia!

The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia way back in the early part of the 7th century, before becoming two Duchies in the 9th century.

Croatia became a kingdom in 925 and remained so, for almost 200 years!

After World War I in 1918, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Croatia declared it’s independence which sadly, between 1991-1995, became a bloody war with Serbia, then known as part of the ex – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia!

However, Croatia won it’s independence and since 2013, has also been a fully fledged member of the European Union!

WHY GO TO CROATIA?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Why not?!

Well, Croatia is in Europe!

It’s on the map where East meets West.

It’s entwined with civilizations, history and culture, that goes back centuries!

It boasts numerous architectural jewels and a world heritage that make parts of Croatia enviable. And UNESCO locations filled with buildings, marked by world history of thousands of years, that made me practically salivate when I saw them!

It’s modern, but also traditional with folk customs, rural traditions that are still adhered to.

In fact, we were all given traditional Easter eggs and Easter cake, handed out as gifts. And I can’t even tell you how many random people (many of them old), waved and smiled at me, on passing by!

The Tall Young Gentleman at the sea in Split – Croatia!

Croatia is near the sea.

It’s pretty cheap by West European standards.

Fairly developed in services and infrastructure.

And I’ve never been to the Balkans before!

Because Game of Thrones!

Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now when I pitched Croatia to my husband – The Music Producer – he wasn’t initially convinced.

He thought that Croatia would be too far into Eastern Europe, leading into the throngs of Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria.

He wasn’t excited at all!

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer were pretty excited once they got to Zagreb – Croatia!

However, one of the things that changed his mind, was the personal contact that I made with the Zagreb Tourist Board at the ITB travel trade fair in Berlin!

I was so excited to be visiting their country, and they were wonderfully helpful.

Thanks so much!

Is it any wonder that The Music Producer was caught up with my enthusiasm too!

I have a lot of things to write about, and you’ll see them all.

I promise!

No worries!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Croatia by ship!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

We had planned just ten (10) days in Croatia – three (3) days in Zagreb, three (3) days in Split, and four (4) days in Dubrovnik.

We wanted to spend at least 14 days (yes, please!) but school commitments meant that the German Easter School Holidays this year, only catered for ten (10) days! But as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

It’s not possible to fly non-stop from Berlin, so we flew with Lufthansa, via Munich on the way in, and Austrian Airlines, via Vienna, on the return leg.

Our outward journey from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Zagreb (ZAG) with a stop-over, took 6 hours and 20 minutes. Our return journey from Dubrovnik with a stop-over, took just 4 hours.

However, you don’t even need to fly, as you can either take a cruise ship in from the Mediterranean States, a ferry from Italy, take a bus-coach from anywhere you like, or simply rent a car and drive from Austria or Slovenia!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Zagreb – Split and Split-Dubrovnik.

Zagreb – Split was a straight-forward ride, and took 6 hours and 20 mins. Cost: €24.00 per person.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Croatia isn’t crowded in the Spring – Locals in Zagreb – Croatia!

Not in the Spring it isn’t!

In fact, there were very few tourists around as it wasn’t yet “the season,” and many a restaurant were luring customers in with 10% discounts.

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and it’s very small!

Zagreb is the capital city in Croatia, and it’s very small!

Split and Dubrovnik are even smaller, and receive up to 3,000 guests per cruise ship, in the summer!

I haven’t a clue how many cruise ships sail by, but it won’t be pretty.

Having said that, if that’s the only time that you can travel, don’t let anything get in your way, as most cruise visitors are only in town for half a day, so that evenings will all be yours!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS CROATIA LIKE?

Croatian food is most delicious!

We were only there for 10 days, but Croatia definitely made an impression on me.

It’s of historical and architectural interest, the food and wine is impressive, the waters are clean, green-blue, and crystal clear.

And it’s very, very pretty!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN.

Our guide speaks at least four (4) languages. Possibly, even more!

Not. A. Problem.

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

A stone house in Croatia!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This plate of Cevapcici was certainly pretty cheap. Ho! Ho!

Croatia isn’t cheap-cheap.

If you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at far cheaper prices!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking a few glasses of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

Booking an apartment in Croatia is by far better, than booking a hotel!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standards of apartments available, are exceedingly high. I’ll write more about it in the next few weeks!

Frankly, if you’re paying between €45.00 – €60.00 per night, for huge apartments with terraces, working kitchens, and a piano, you simply can’t go wrong!

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

The Adventure Begins – More next week!

Absolutely!

Too many to write at the moment.

More next week!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

A vintage car, ‘cos modern cars aren’t allowed in the Old Towns, in Croatia!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

In most cases, cars are not allowed into the Old Towns!

However, you could take the bus, the tram, or simply walk!

ANYTHING ELSE?

A Bosnian waitress - Don't forget if you're travelling to Dubrovnik, you'll have to go through Bosnia!<br /> ©Photo Adam Jones - adamjones.freeservers
A Bosnian waitress – Don’t forget if you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, you’ll have to go through Bosnia!
©Photo Adam Jones – adamjones.freeservers

If you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, note that there’s a tiny strip of road that’s actually in Bosnia! It only takes about five (5) minutes, but make sure that you have your passport with you.

The motto in Croatia is to relaaaaaax & not rush things.

I think we did that rather well!

MY VERDICT:

You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!
You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!

We all loved it!

Croatia has got art and culture, and has a vibrant history.

Because, Game of Thrones!

Just kidding!

Or am I?!

You know nothing Jon Snow…..!!!!

But seriously.

For many international visitors, Croatia isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, but if you’re in the Balkan area, make it a point of duty to spend a few weeks days, in as many cities as you can manage.

If you’re looking for a new destination that isn’t really on the beaten path, say hello – CROATIA!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Totally!

Croatia is a sunny dream, and I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

HOW TO VISIT THE BALKANS: INTRODUCING CROATIA – THE DREAM OF GAME OF THRONES!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the delightful cobbled walks that we happily rambled through, are my very own!

In April & May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting  Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re quite mad!

April is going to be superb!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Have you ever been to Croatia? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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How to visit Austria: Introducing Vienna – the most civilised city. Ever!

One of the best types of sausages in Austria – A most wonderful hotdog. In Vienna!

My! My!

I’m doing rather well!

So far this year, I’ve been to Amsterdam, I’ve been to Zaandam, I went skiing in the Czech Republic, and I’ve just got back from Vienna.

In Austria!

You know the one!

The hills are alive with music n’ all that….!

Visiting Vienna is quite delightful!

I’ve been to Austria before of course, and I’ll be telling you soon enough all about it!

Myself on the balcony of our room at the 25 Hours Hotels, Vienna!

This time however, the reason that I decided to choose Vienna was to celebrate the “0” birthday of my husbandThe Music Producer.

I wanted somewhere “nice.”

And I wanted somewhere connected to music.

Voila!

Austria!

Let’s get a little bit of history.

AUSTRIA

A horse & carriage in Vienna!

Austria, otherwise known as Österreich, is a federal republic, and a country of just over 8.7 million people.

It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Most of Austria is highly mountainous in the Alps with its highest point 3,798 m or 12,461 ft! In fact, only 32% of the country is below 500 m or 1,640 ft!

Most people speak a local Bavarian dialect of German as their native language, although Austrian German is the actual official language of Austria!

In fact, the last time I went to Austria about 10 years ago (cough! cough!) we went hiking for a week in the Austrian Alps.

Austria, Hungary and Slovakia are so closely connected that you can easily travel between them!
p.s. Not by the alpine lift obviously!

And it was all rather pleasant until we went mushroom-picking in the forest.

The guide was explaining where we were going, and the safety of identifying edible mushrooms.

Now I speak and understand German.

In fact, I’ve done a few TV / radio programmes and spoke quite successfully (I think), in the Germanic tone expected.

But I couldn’t for the life of me understand a single word he said!

I couldn’t for the life of me, understand a single word he said!

I was standing in the middle of our mushroom-picking crowd, so I moved to the front.

No can do!

I stood literally eyeball to eyeball with the fellow, in order to enhance my hearing.

Nope!

Nothing!

Nada!

I was quite distressed.

I was quite distressed.

And my husband wasn’t with us.

So I turned to my son who was five (5) years old at the time, to see if the guide was speaking utter nonsense, or if it was just me.

It was just me!

My toddler had to translate things so that we wouldn’t get poisoned, and die!!

Ooops!

I needed to know what we doing, so that we wouldn’t get poisoned with mushrooms, and die!!

Back to the history!

The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria retained its position as one of the great powers of Europe. However, after the fall of Napoleon, German Prussia emerged as the leader of the Germanic-speaking countries with the Austrian Empire reformed into Austria-Hungary, thus excluding Austria from the then new German Empire.

Sadly, it was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28th, 1914, and the troubles thereafter, that ultimately led Europe into World War I!

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, 1914 – whose death brought the onset of WWI.

After the collapse of the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria attempted a union with Germany which, by the Treaty of Saint Germain and the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, forbade both the union and the continued use of the name “German-Austria” – Deutschösterreich. Until Adolf Hitler invaded and annexed Austria in 1938.

As a result, the Republic of Austria ceased to exist as an independent state, and officially became a legalised part of Germany, until 1955!

If you’re worried, don’t be.

Present day Austria is a lovely country, and the locals are hilarious!

Present day Austria is a lovely country known for it’s human rights policy, democracy, skiing, hiking, music, classical ballroom dancing, art and culture.

Austria has a very high standard of living, and is one of the richest countries in the world!

In fact, even Germans flock to Austria because of it’s wealth of opportunity!

And many of them go to Vienna!

WHY GO TO VIENNA?

The majestic sight of St. Peter’s Church, probably the oldest church in Vienna!
Photograph ©Frank Böster

OhMiGosh!

Where do I start?

Vienna is an imperial beauty!

It’s the capital of Austria and the cultural. economic, and political centre of Austria.

With a population of just 1.8 million, Vienna is the second (2nd) largest German-speaking city in the world, after Berlin!

Vienna is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In fact, Prague, Slovakia, and Budapest, are but a few cheap hours away!

And just in case you have a couple more days to spare, this is what I wrote about them:

Myself as lovely as Prague!

PRAGUE:

BUDAPEST:

BRATISLAVA:

Look how wide and green Vienna is!

Vienna is not only the capital of Austria, but also the city in Europe with the highest ration of green space, woods, grasslands, parks, and gardens which make up almost 50% of the city, beating even my most beloved city of Berlin!

Vienna also has the most frequently photographed monument in the city – the golden statue of Johann Strauss, has the circus fairground of Parter, the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, the Vienna Woods, vineyards, farmlands, and the wetlands of the legendary Danube River!

A genius such as Ludwig van Beethoven.

Vienna has a history to be jealous of, going further back than roughly 15B.C!

A precious heritage, charming traditions, imperial architecture, museums, art collections, works of art, the world’s first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud, the home of musical geniuses such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms and Mahler, as well as the era of the Habsburgs who reigned for more than six (6) centuries!

Vienna is rich in baroque, historicism, art nouveau, as well as a nod to a world-class cultural complex and a future-oriented design of 60,000 square meters of space for a highly creative cultural scene in the Museums Quartier where we stayed, and in fact, all of the city!

Vienna is a city of beauty.

What not to like?

Wow!

Myself outside one of the Habsburgs palaces in the Museums Quartier, Vienna!
Photograph ©Frank Böster

I’ve got lots to say about Vienna, so I’ll tell you all about it next week. If you really can’t wait, there are loads of pictures and funny quips on Twitter!

Book your hotel here!

HOW TO VISIT AUSTRIA: INTRODUCING VIENNA – THE MOST CIVILISED CITY. EVER!

How to visit Austria: Introducing Vienna – the most civilised city. Ever!

This article is part – sponsored by the Vienna Tourist Board and I received a press discount from the 25 Hours Hotels, but all opinions and the charming traditions that I experienced, are my very own! Thanks so much!

In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in March, I really can’t help you!

How to visit Austria: Introducing Vienna – the most civilised city. Ever!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit Austria: Introducing Vienna – the most civilised city. Ever!

Have you ever been to Austria? Is Vienna a civilised city? Share & let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

OMG!

What a great reception we had about my previous post on Zaandam! Such a surprise and discovery for many!

For those of you just joining, and if so, where have you been all my life?

Here they are:

Dutch children in traditional costume.
Dutch children in traditional costume.

As promised, I’m going to write about Dutch food.

Now last week, was a bit of a long post..and after a week of skiing in the Czech Republic, I’m rather worn out, so I’ll just give you the barest of literature, and let the pictures speak for themselves!

WHAT IS DUTCH FOOD?

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

Dutch food, otherwise known as Nederlandse keuken, consists of the food traditions and practices, from the Netherlands!

Now it’s really confusing trying to explain what the difference between Holland and the Netherlands is, so I’ll let this hilarious video explain it for you!

Sadly, Holland, like Germany, is not really known for it’s excellent variety of food.

Traditionally, Dutch food is considered to be somewhat of the simple and straightforward variety with lots of vegetables, and very little meat. In short, quite rustic!

However, due to the influence of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies, and a contemporary international mix, Dutch food has become more interesting, more diverse, and far healthier, with sprinkles of stodge during the cold winter months!

Take a look below:

DUTCH FOOD AND WAFFLES: WHAT TO EAT IN HOLLAND!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

BREAKFAST:

A Continental Breakfast of crosissant, colds cuts, cheese, cherry tomatoes, and boiled eggs at the NL-Hotel Museumplein, Amsterdam.
A Continental Breakfast of croissant, colds cuts, cheese, cherry tomatoes, and boiled eggs in Amsterdam.

A Dutch breakfast is typically Continental in style and usually consists of a wide variety of cold cuts, cheeses and sweet toppings; such as chocolate spread, treacle, otherwise known as stroop, peanut butter and apple butter!

Dutch cake for breakfast!
Dutch cake for breakfast!

There is also a wide variety of whole grain bread as well as Dutch bread, with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, rye bread, a Frisian version of white bread known as suikerbrood, or otherwise known as white bread with lumps of sugar mixed in. Eeek!

Kerststol – a traditional Dutch Christmas bread made out of dough, sugar, dried fruits, almond paste and currants, and Ontbijtkoek or peperkoek – a Dutch spiced gingerbread type of cake often served at breakfast, with a thick layer of butter on top!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

In fact, a breakfast of everything that you could ever desire!

Cost: €4.99 – €22.00

SNACKS:

Dutch home-made chips with tomato ketchup and a dollop of mayo!
Dutch home-made chips with tomato ketchup and a dollop of mayo!

You can find a wide variety of snacks all over Holland.

Dutch fish and chips with a variety of Dutch seafood sauces. In Zaandam!
Dutch fish and chips with a variety of Dutch seafood sauces. In Zaandam!

They tend to range from french fries to mini pancakes. The deep-fried battered codfish, whiting or cod cheeks from the North Sea above is known as Kibbeling, and often served with a mayonnaise-based garlic, remoulade, or tartar sauce, as well as a variety of different seafood sauces!

We bought ours from a seafood stand in Zaandam, where all manner of herring and seafood is sold.

And very nice they were too!

Dutch chips and Mayo. Umm. They're alright. I coped!
Dutch chips and Mayo. Umm. They’re alright. I coped!

Most of the snacks are quite greasy, but nice and cheap.

Dutch mini-burgers from a vending machine!
Dutch mini-burgers from a vending machine!

Ranging from mini burgers to croquettes!

Dutch mini-croquettes from a vending machine!
Dutch mini-croquettes from a vending machine!

And when in Rome, do as the Dutch do and use a vending machine!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" was desperate to try something Dutch from the vending machine. And as you can see, it was perfectly fine!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” was desperate to try something Dutch from the vending machine. And as you can see, it was perfectly fine!

However, make sure that you use a “restaurant-bar” rather than at the train station, as you can be sure that the replacements are always fresh. There were queues of respectable people using these very same “restaurant-bars,” so no need to fear if they’re alright. They’re alright!

And make sure that you have the correct change, ‘cos you won’t get your money back if you don’t!

Cost: €1.50 – €7:00

CHEESE:

The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden!
The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden!

If you were to ask most people which food items remind them of Holland, as in Switzerland, most people would say cheese!

The Dutch have been making cheese since 800 B.C. and some say, that Holland is the largest cheese exporter in the world!

The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden!
The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden!

With an average of 21 kilograms per year per person, we can say the Dutch love their own cheese.

Dutch people eat cheese with everything!
Dutch people eat cheese with everything!

In fact, Dutch people eat cheese for breakfast, cheese on sandwiches, cheese for lunch, cheese as a snack, and cheese for supper served with mustard, and a lovely glass of Dutch beer!

The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden!
The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden!

The Dutch are very famous for their cheeses ranging from semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Leyden, and as such, the five (5) most traditional cheese markets in Holland can be found in Alkmaar, Edam, Hoorn, Gouda and Woerden.

In fact, you can still see how cheese merchants do business, much as they have done, for more than 600 years! And of course, “Old Amsterdam” cheese which you can get all over Amsterdam!

Cheese Connoissuers in Holland.
Cheese connoisseurs in Holland.

A typical Dutch way of making cheese is to blend in herbs or spices during the first stage of the production process, such as in cheeses with cloves (Friesian Clove), cumin (Leyden cheese), Dutch Farmhouse Cheese with Italian Black Truffle, and even cheese with nettles!

Cheese-tasting is very popular, in Holland!
Cheese-tasting is very popular. In Holland!

Cheese in Holland is exciting!

Cost: €1.50 – €..whatever!

DINNER:

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

Traditionally a Dutch dinner would have potatoes with a large portion of vegetables and a small portion of meat with gravy, or a potato and vegetable stew.

Beetroot and red cabbage are important Dutch side-dishes, and can be meals in themselves!
Beetroot and red cabbage are important Dutch side-dishes, and can be meals in themselves!

Vegetable stews are often served with side dishes such as rodekool met appeltjes, otherwise known as red cabbage with apples, or rode bieten, otherwise known as beetroot!

Yum!

Dutch food is also served with a variety of pickles!
Dutch food is also served with a variety of pickles!

They are also served with pickles, including augurken, otherwise known as gherkins, or zilveruitjes, otherwise known as cocktail onions!

A huge meatball with stamppot, otherwise known as a Dutch traditional meal of mashed potatoes and several vegetables, or fruit!
A huge meatball with stamppot, otherwise known as a Dutch traditional meal of mashed potatoes and several vegetables, or fruit!

One of the most popular traditional Dutch foods would be stamppot, otherwise known as mashed potatoes with a variety of mashed vegetables!

A Dutch appetizer of marinated seafood and asparagus!
A Dutch appetizer of marinated seafood and asparagus!

But, you know, you don’t have to contend with traditional food, and stodge, you can have “nice food” too. The like of which we had at our quirky Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam,  in the very nice and interesting windmill-filled town of Zaandam!

A Dutch dinner of guinea fowl, baked fluffy potoatoes, fried mushrooms, and asparagus!
A Dutch dinner of guinea fowl, baked fluffy potatoes, fried mushrooms, and asparagus!

Just look at this succulent guinea fowl!

A Dutch dinner of venison steak stuffed with lightly seared vegetables sprinkled with chocolate oil!
A Dutch dinner of venison steak stuffed with lightly seared vegetables sprinkled with chocolate oil!

Or how about this rather wonderful meal of venison steak?

Delightful!

Cost: €12.00 – €20.00

DESSERT:

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

The most popular Dutch dessert is that of the stroopwafel, otherwise known as a waffle!

The most popular Dutch dessert is that of the stroopwafel, otherwise known as a waffle!
The most popular Dutch dessert is that of the stroopwafel, otherwise known as a waffle!

It’s not any old waffle of course, as the stroopwafel originated from the town of Gouda, and was first made during the late 18th or early 19th century!

It was said that a baker invented the Dutch waffle by using leftovers from the bakery, such as breadcrumbs, and sweetening it with syrup.

The most popular Dutch dessert is that of the stroopwafel, otherwise known as a waffle!
The most popular Dutch dessert is that of the stroopwafel, otherwise known as a waffle!

Dutch waffles – the stroopwafel – is made from baked batter and sliced horizontally. Two thin layers of the waffle are filled with special sweet and sticky syrup, otherwise known as the stroop, and put in between.

Occasionally, crushed hazelnuts are mixed with the stroop, and the dough is also spiced with cinnamon.

We also had a Dutch speciality known as vla or vlaai!
We also had a Dutch speciality known as vla or vlaai!

We also had a Dutch speciality known as vla or vlaai!

The word vla was first documented in the 13th century and originally referred to any custard-like substance covering a cake, or any other baked good. The word vlaai is related and has since come to refer to a type of pie filled with either fruit, custard, rhubarb or rice pudding!

The vlaai we had was a sort of mini custard pie, served with whipped cream, and tasty ice-cream!
The vlaai we had was a sort of mini custard pie, served with whipped cream, and tasty ice-cream!

The vlaai we had was a sort of mini custard pie, served with whipped cream, and tasty ice-cream!

Cost: €3.00 – €6.50

ANYTHING ELSE?

Oh yes.

Try Dutch beer!

Cost: €3.50 – €5.00

Don't forget some Dutch beer!
Don’t forget some Dutch beer!

That’s it for now.

Book your hotel here!

See you next week!

DUTCH FOOD AND WAFFLES: WHAT TO EAT IN HOLLAND!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the marvellous Dutch food that we tasted and happily consumed, are my very own!

It’s February!

I’ll be at the Bistro France Mediatournee 2017 on 07.02.17.

If you’re a blogger or just like travelling, and you’re in town, then come and meet us at the Berlin Travel Massive February MeetUp on February 9th.

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, will take place from 09.02.17 – 19.02.17

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night will take place at the Quatsch comedy Club on 15.02.17. Save the Date!

If you’re not in Berlin in February, you’re missing all the excitement!

February is going to be remarkable!

Watch this space!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!
Dutch food & waffles: what to eat in Holland!

What do you think of Dutch food? Do you have a favourite? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

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