Edam and Marken

Jane’s plan for today was to explore the local area. Checking out local cheese was high on the agenda but the specifics were open. One suggestion was to hire bicycles and ride to a cheese farm but there was a degree of weather dependence.

I woke early to the sound of rain on the window and water running in the roof gutters. I rolled over and waited until my Fitbit alarm went off at 7:00 am. Majella stayed a bit longer but we were both downstairs for breakfast a bit before 8:00 am. After breakfast Jane went to sort out arrangements for laundry.

By 9:00 am the rain had eased, Jane had gone to deal with laundry, and the rest of us were on our way to find the nearest post office. It was an agency within a DEEN supermarket in middle of a residential area at the back of Volendam. Despite the time Virginia had spent last night packing and weighing her boxes to ensure they were within the 2 kg limit for the cheaper postal rate her first box weighed in at about 2.26 kg. That pushed it into the next weight category, up to 5 kg, at a substantial increase in price. In a moment of inspiration Virginia wondered what the combined weight would be and put her second box on top of the first. The total was less than 5 kg so that it would be more economical to post the lot in one package. Rather than repackage in a larger box the woman at the post office assisted with taping the two boxes together while Virginia completed a new form for the combined contents. Her package was posted but unfortunately we were too near a shop. Within 10 minutes, Virginia had bought enough new items to fill the spaces vacated by her posting. Newly stocked, we headed back to collect Jane for our next activity.

That took us to Edam where we spent some time in the museum annex on the first floor of the city hall and in the museum proper. Both had audioguides in English that offered enough interesting information to keep us there for a considerable time. None of us was very impressed with the modern art works in one room of the annex but we were intrigued by some of  the stories of characters from the past of Edam. The ‘big girl’, Trijntje Keever, was born in 1616 and grew to 2.57 m but died at the age of 17 from cancer associated with her condition. Another interesting character was ‘long beard, Pieter Dircksz, who grew his beard to more than 2 m. The actual museum was in a very old building that was leaning to one side and had floors at odd angles. An interesting feature was the cellar which floats on water and rocked when we stood in it.

DSC_6482Edam itself is a beautiful town with interesting old buildings and tree lined canals. We spent some time wandering the streets and bought cheeses from a shop in the main street before finding the market and buying some fruit there. We continued wandering through the streets and visited a few more stores before heading back to our apartment at Volendam where we ate a very simple lunch of honey from the wedding of Anna and Bas on bread.

DSC_6493Our next activity was a ferry ride to the former island of Marken. It is a ‘former island’ since a land bridge was built to the mainland some years ago. Because the ferry left from Volendam harbour we walked the kilometre or so to the ferry terminal rather than try to drive and park. The ferry runs every 30 minutes or so and we did not have to wait long after we had bought tickets before it arrived and we boarded. We each had coffee with apple pie on board to supplement our lean lunch and then enjoyed the cruise across the bay to Marken. There were other craft on the water as we cruised. There was a stiff breeze but the rain held off during the trip to Marken and back.

DSC_6501Marken is a tourist island with multiple stores selling local souvenirs and a clog factory. We walked around the island looking at the traditional buildings and watched a demonstration of the machines used for making clogs. I bought a ball of Gouda cheese and Majella bought some fabric which will feature in a future project. One of the highlights of our walk around the island was the pair of swans swimming in one of the small canals which are actually at a lower level than the water in the bay we had cruised across. A raised dam wall surrounds the island.

We were back at Volendam before 4:30 and spent some time looking at the tourist stores there. Majella and Jane had their photos taken in traditional costume and were recorded doing karaoke in Dutch. I declined to participate in that performance.

Our plan for dinner tonight was based on the variety of ingredients that we had gathered from the supermarket this morning, various cheese shops, the market in Edam, and other pieces we had in the apartment. We were getting short of wine so I called by the park shop on the way back to our apartment. It was closed so once we were back at the apartment I set out to walk to the supermarket near Volendam harbour. That was about a kilometre each way and was no bother on the way out but I was caught in a shower of rain and drenched on the way back. Jane kindly attempted to rescue me with an umbrella but I was already wet through. 

We spent the evening in the apartment eating the goodies we had gathered with good red wine. Majella insisted on playing five hundred and had to teach Jane and Margot how to play. She managed to persuade me to play a few hands before we gave up and finished the evening in conversation and plans for tomorrow.