Day 255: Zaans Schaans and Alkmaar

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I like coming home from vacation with still an extra day or two of vacation time left before we have to get back into our routine again. I love having a routine and then shaking it up and recreating it again. We came back from Dubai on Thursday and still have another day to play before Monday returns.

Today we enjoyed a lazy morning. Juliana and I got out our Smash books and started organizing all of our postcards and receipts and entrance tickets and bus tickets etc to smash into our scrapbooks. The boys soon joined us and we spent several hours gluing and writing and remembering where we’ve been so far. It’ll be interesting to compare our books to see what made an impression on each of us and how we chose to represent and document our journey. I opened up my blog pages to recall the details and order of events. Looking at all the posts made me really happy that I’ve taken the time to write a written log each night, otherwise there is no way I’d remember it all. We sure have been busy!

After sitting for a long while and doing several loads of laundry, we ventured out to see something new. We went to Zaans Schaans, an old, Dutch, 18th century working village. The highlights were the working windmills we got to go inside and the wooden clog factory.

We wandered through the museum and learned about the 100+ year old bisquit baking and chocolate factory, Verkade. This company was very successful and one of the first companies to successfully create and market their brand name. They had art contests and created collector cards and albums that people could collect and create. They also used tins with the company name on them, that people would collect and reuse.

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Outside, we walked through the cheese factory,

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pigment windmill,

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spice windmill, and baking museum.

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We also watched wooden shoes being made and played outside with old fashioned toys like stilts.

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The museum closed at 5 pm, so we decided to venture into a nearby town called Alkmaar.

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I love the quaint feel of the small Dutch villages with locals out and about, enjoying each other. The shops were all closed by the time we arrived, and the weather started to become very cold as the sun went down and the wind came up. The cold is now officially old! It was hard for us to even want to go out today, but I didn’t think it would be fun staying inside with stir crazy kids either! We were going to go for a bike ride but were afraid we’d freeze.

We walked through the streets and past old churches. There must have been a farmers market today as vendors were cleaning up and taking down their stalls by the time we arrived.

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We found an Indonesian place called Cafe Bali for dinner. The food was delicious and the service great too. My favorite dish was the sayur lodeh. It tasted like the one my Opa used to make when I was a little girl. I am part Indonesian, part Dutch and part Italian. Did you know that? 🙂

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At dinner, Charlie was so cute. He said, lets play the I love You game. You have to swirl your finger around and point to someone and then say what you love about that person. It was very heartwarming to hear all the nice things we had to say about one another. I felt proud that everyone actually likes each other. I knew that and see that every day, but it was nice to hear. And to keep it real and funny, afterwards he said, “lets play the what I don’t like about you game!” That little rascal! He is so funny, and we all cracked up. Luckily nothing was said. Phew! Keep focusing on the positive and hopefully that’s what we’ll keep creating, right?

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I hope you’re having a good weekend!
Love, Adriana

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