Bitterballen Tasting

Fietsen naar Loosdrecht (Cycling to Loosdrecht)

We didn’t manage to cycle at the weekend as the Dutchie only picked up his bike on Sunday evening (after it had been lovingly stored by a friend for the past 3 years) but we went on our first bike ride together yesterday. The Loosedrechtse Plassen didn’t disappoint and I’m so glad to have them on our doorstep! (In Dutch terms, 30 mins by bike is “on your doorstep” :))

Bike ride to Loosdrecht

Bike ride to Loosdrecht

I was quite proud of myself for getting there without doing something embarrassing like crashing or falling off my bike… you see, I’m not a natural born cyclist. The Dutchie on the other hand was born with a bike between his legs it seems. He was happily speeding along, beer in one hand, phone in the other taking photos!  (He’s one of those annoying people who are good at everything: cycling, snooker, darts, ping pong, even football. You name it, he’ll do it well.) But we eventually reached a happy medium once I’d gained a bit of confidence and speed!

Taken by the Dutchie of me lagging behind!

The Dutchie took this pic of me lagging behind!

We arrived at the lakes at the perfect time, just as the sun was beginning to set, which made for some spectacular views!

Sun setting in Loosdrecht

Sun setting in Loosdrecht

Loosdrecht ride2

Loosdrecht ride9

Loosdrecht ride3

We also saw some people water-skiing which looked like fun, but far too dangerous for a scaredy cat like me!!

Water skiing in Loosdrecht

Water-skiing in Loosdrecht

After we had soaked up the views and taken some pictures, it was clearly borreltijd so we went off in search of beer and bitterballen! Whilst we passed at least 5 cafes en route, it was hard to find one which was actually open at 9pm on a Monday evening. We wanted to stop at “The Quiet Piss” (De Stille Plas – it actually means The Silent Lake, but plassen also means to pee, so I prefer my translation!) but unfortunately it was gesloten (closed.) Sad face.

De Stille Plas, Loosdrecht

De Stille Plas, Loosdrecht

Instead we found Het Praethuys (Old Dutch, it means the Talking House) which was an excellent choice. The lady behind the bar was extremely friendly, nothing was too much trouble and the other patrons were really friendly too – greeting us when we arrived and when we left. It’s located on a caravan/ holiday park (one of many in the area) so maybe that’s just what the community is like there 🙂 Gezellig! 

Eetcafe Het Praethuys

Eetcafe Het Praethuys

We had some lekker bitterballen and kippen vleugels (chicken wings). If I’m Bitterballen Bruid, the Dutchie should be re-named Kippenvleugelman! He’s obsessed!

Loosdrecht bitterballen

Bitterballen at Het Praethus, Loosdrecht

I have to be a bit critical and give the bitterballen a 7/10. They were quite small, a bit too much colour on them for my liking and the coating was quite thin. I’ve had better… although they were perfectly edible and served with a tangy mustard (it tasted home made) so props for that!

Loosdrecht bitterballen, bijna op!

Loosdrecht bitterballen, bijna op!

I don’t think I’ve had a BAD bitterbal yet to be fair!

Loosdrecht pub

View from the cafe

A lovely evening in Loosdrecht! I’m sure we’ll visit again very soon! My best friend is coming to visit in 2 weeks, so I’m definitely adding this to our to-do list!

Where’s your favourite place to cycle?

Hayley x

 

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Een dagje uit in Culemborg

During the Christmas break, the Dutchie and I went to Holland for 10 days to catch up with family and friends. We often visit Culemborg, but normally we go straight to our friends house and therefore only see a glimpse of the town from the car window. This time we had a day out (een dagje uit) in this pretty town in central Netherlands…

Railroad bridge over the river Lek near Culemborg

Railroad bridge over the River Lek near Culemborg, The Netherlands

We went walking near the River Lek and despite the mud (!!) it was a beautiful stroll around the countryside.

Culemborg walk near the river Lek

Culemborg walk, – near the River Lek

Once we’d frozen our bits off on the walk, it was borreltijd! Roughly translated as happy hour although this doesn’t really describe it at all! It’s more “social time” or directly translated “drink time” – a borrel can be a drink or a shot. Basically, it’s time to sit down with friends and relax, grab a beer and a glass of wine… and of course, some borrelhapjes! (Snacks beside your borrel!)

We went to Bolderburen which is home to a pancake restaurant, a kid’s farm / playground and a beautiful windmill called molen Johanna (molen = mill).

De molen Johanna, Culemborg, The Netherlands

De molen Johanna, Culemborg, The Netherlands

Molen Johanna was built in 1888 as a grondzeiler – a windmill that can be operated from the ground. Originally, in 1878 a wooden mill stood in its place, however it completely burned down in 1888 and was rebuilt (in just 4 months) as the present stone mill in 1888. It has had many restorations over the years and is looking stunningly beautiful 126 years later!

Anyway, back to borreltijd… guess what I had?? BITTERBALLEN, natuurlijk!!

Bitterballen in Culemborg

Bitterballen in Culemborg

They were a definite 9/10… plenty of mustard, good-sized portion and excellent presentation. They only get one minus point for the lack of mini Dutch flags!! 😉

Have you tried bitterballen? Where’s your favourite place to eat them?

Hayley x