Day 14: Deventer

I was woken rudely at 6:21 by a bird call that sounded exactly like an alarm clock beep. I tried to get back to sleep with no result, my brain hammered by this bird. I listened to its call, a repeating pattern: 5-5-4-5-5-4 (five beeps, followed by a pause, then five, pause, four etc). Being the only one awake I got up and went downstairs and made a coffee. I decided to watch my first Dutch sunrise by drinking the coffee outside on the balcony. In the cold I waited, and waited. The sun did not come up. It was quite light, there were no clouds, but the sun did not come up. Then I remembered the twilight. The sun did not come up for over an hour.

As the light increased towards dawn I noticed something. The bird’s beeping had changed. It was now a pattern of 8-8-7-8-7 etc. As the light increased, so did the bird’s call. Someone should do a study on this phenomenon and, once complete, make the species extinct.

Maybe a little bit of jet lag left.

After breakfast Kirsten went downstairs to the kapsalon to get her hair cut and coloured. This gave Bea time to take me on a bike tour of Zutphen. I saw a lot more old cool buildings and saw some of the gates from the Old City. In a main square type area there was a market happening, and it was here that I bought and consumed my first real Dutch kroket, which is a fried snack food. I would describe it as a crumbed chiko roll skin filled with pureed Tom Piper Irish stew and 15% meat pie filling. Quite tasty, probably very good drunk food.

We returned to the salon and Kirsten was ready, so Bea drove us to the nearby city of Deventer where we had arranged to meet Michel and Marjolein. The weather was sunny and warm* (18°C) so of course everyone was taking advantage and sitting outside in the sun. We went to a cafe and did the same. In the Netherlands, cafe means pub, eetcafe is a pub with food and coffee shops sell marijuana. Being as how we were at a cafe, we ordered some beers. Tasty, tasty beers.

After a few, Michel introduced us to the game European Roulette, which I suspect he invented on the spot. To play, you set the timer on a digital camera and pass it around the table, lens out. It is like a hot potato that sometimes takes photos. Good clean fun, too bad the photos didn’t exactly turn out to be gold. I had to match Michel drink for drink. We had five, but one of those was a double and another a triple so by the time Henk and Bea arrived for dinner we were both a bit happy, lightweight Michel a bit more so.

A note on Dutch culture – I was treated as very strange for ordering some water while drinking. They brought out a tiny one litre carafe and four small glasses which were finished in one minute. I ordered another, which brought a strange look, and she brought out another small carafe. When pouring, I noticed that the carafe was covered in dust. They are never used. I was given a few strange looks. In supposedly sophisticated Europe they still think you’re a bit of a poof for drinking water. In Australia when you order your first water your mates tease you a bit, but they all get a glass on the next round. We are smart.

We went to an eetcafe for dinner, tasty but there was certainly price shock, especially after Malaysia where everything is effectively free.

*There is a nationwide translation problem, where Dutch people use the English word “warm” where the word “cold” should have been used.

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