The icons of Amsterdam and The Netherlands, though I'd seen and photographed them many times before, seemed to shape our pilgrimage and just like the tale of the brave Dutch boy who held back the swirling waters by putting his finger in a hole in the dike, we remained resolute walking, eating and snapping our way through four fabulous days.
And speaking of walking, what better place to start than the klompenmakerij, or the wooden shoe factory.
L to R: wooden shoe tree outside the factory in Marken;
carved shoes hung up to dry; souvenirs galore.
...but decided to buy the pair that she could actually fit into her suitcase.
Clockwise L to R: Bikes parked in Dam Square;
view from the canal;
the 'bike park' (how on earth do you find your ride again?)
Scenes from Zaanse Schans
The Netherlands produces three billion tulip bulbs every year. We found a few down at the flower market on The Singel in Amsterdam...and a few more of 'nature's gifts' on our travels.
Clockwise L to R: Tulips at the bloemenmarkt on The Singel; a very literal hash tag;
wheels of gouda cheese everywhere from Amsterdam to Volendam.
Speaking of nature's gifts, two particular girls would never have graced the world with their special brand of Aussie Dutch-ness without at least a little contribution from the bloke who lived for a while at 159 Amstelkade. So we caught the number 24 tram on Thursday night, walked about 15mins and found ourselves here...
Prodigal daughters - finding Dad's childhood home.
Pictures were duly despatched to said sire.
With all of this pilgrim-ing, we needed to keep up our strength and every day was punctuated with cries of remembered vittels from our childhhood.
Clockwise L to R: Enjoying hot chips and proper creamy mayonnaise;
waffles for every palate (including Lil Chicky's);
Dutch apple pie - chock full of layers of thinly sliced apple - evoked a real 'Oma' moment for us;
yours truly enjoying a well-earned oliebollen;
two excited faces waiting for our inaugural Amsterdam poffertjes; in the making.
And when all was said and done, and all of those memories were tucked away into the chinks of my mind and heart, I wanted to bring a little piece of it home with me...
My hand made Delft vase, a wonderful reminder of our trip.
...and while tulips will no doubt look amazing once they are in season, my irises look gorgeous at Gidday HQ.
So that's Amsterdam - and a day trip or two - done.
Until the next time I need a nostalgia fix!