Tulips and Van Gogh

After our amazing food tour today, we spent the afternoon at the Tulip Museum and then the evening at the Vincent Van Gogh museum.

The tulip museum was only small, but I learnt a few things about tulips that I didn’t know. One, they originate from the mountain regions in Central Asia, and two, majority of flowers in tulip fields are stripped and feed to love stock, as it’s the bulbs that are exported, not all the flowers. Cutting off the flowers early makes the bulbs a better quality as the plan then expends more energy on the bulbs.

With the Van Gogh museum, it’s four floors of a large building all dedicated to his life and art work. Just like the Anne Frank House, entry is strictly time controlled in 30 minute blocks.

Even on a Thursday night at 5:30pm it was packed. I’m not really an art lover by any means but could really appreciate his use of colour and technique. Contrary to popular myth when you get the electronic audio guide it does actually have a left and right ear piece.

I did think it rather ironic that all these bright colourful paintings are displayed in this dark dimly lit building which in some ways made it difficult to appreciate them. Crowds of people don’t help either. I’d expected we spend at most an hour inside (it was just one artist after all) but we ended up spending close to three hours inside.

Lots of people looking at colourful paintings in the dark :-

We had dinner at a small restaurant right near the museum. Sharon and I had Pasta

Another nice canal shot:-

Dutch Food Tour in Amsterdam

Today started off really wet and cold (again), pretty much now 14 days straight with rain since we landed in London. The only day with some real sunshine was our day in York and the day we spent on trains and ferries getting to Amsterdam. I’d really been starting to think holidaying in this part of Europe at this time of year was a huge mistake and should have gone to Spain and southern Italy instead. However rather than going to the airport and getting a flight to Barcelona, we braved the rain and made it to the food tour starting point. Just before we started the food tour we grabbed coffee from the nearest place on the corner. It was only machine made but anything caffeinated and warm was welcome on such a horrible day.

Spot on time, Judith from the Secret Food tour company met us at the designated point and ushered us into the first stop on the tour. This is my third tour and one thing I hadn’t thought of before, is that food tours are so much better than walking tours since they are mostly indoors out of the cold and rain. A real bonus today…

This was the 1st stop of 6 on the tour. Here we were in a pancake shop and we were served Dutch Poffertjes, which are mini puffy pancakes with sugar, butter and syrup. We were offered any coffee we wanted, so I chose the way most Dutch people choose, which is black coffee with cream. This was absolutely a cure for the cold weather and everything was extremely delicious.

Coffee with creamy milk and a Stroopwafel.

Judith started to tell us some of the history of Amsterdam, it’s creation, the canals and interesting things that make it what it is today. Through out the tour you also learn many things about the city and how it functions, such as why the houses lean all which ways, have hooks about the top window, items that get regularly fished from canals amongst many others

Stop 2 was a cheese shop where we sampled some amazing Dutch cheese, one of the most interesting was a jet black cheese which I’ve never ever seen before.

trust me, the black cheese tastes better than it looks

This cheese with green and red speckles was interesting

Stop 3 was a fish place with traditional herring with pickles, then battered and fried cod. I’m not a seafood eater so I didn’t try this, but Sharon assured me it was absolutely delicious. All the more for her since I didn’t eat any.

Stop 4 was at a Dutch pub where we had a Dutch Beer and some traditional Bitterballen, a traditional fried pub snack which is dipped in mustard before eating. Best described as a small round croquette. Really really delicious on such a cold day. I could have eaten more of those.

We learned about the gardens that are behind many houses in Amsterdam and were able to take a peek in some. You would never know they were there unless you were in the know. Many are a little oasis in such a densely populated and busy place such as Amsterdam.

Old water pump

Stop 5 was another pub where we got to sample some more beer as well as traditional meatballs, sausages and a potato dish called Stamppotten. All delicious stuff.

Stop 6 was a shop dedicated to spirits where the main thing sold was Jenever, which is a juniper flavoured spirit, but it’s nothing like Jin. It’s more like whiskey.


Judith then took us back to the original meeting point and gave us a stroopwafle each, which is a delicious, chewy and sweet biscuit.


This is now the third tour I’ve done with Secret Food Tours, one in Paris and one in Tokyo. You can read my previous entries below, this was equally as good as the others and I’m sure I’ll be doing another next time we are in Europe. (I’m predicting Spain or Portugal…)

Paris Food Tour 2017

Sharon’s Paris Food Tour 2018

Tokyo Food Tour

You can find the Secret Food Tours web site here https://www.secretfoodtours.com