Day Eighteen: Volendam and Marken

Up at 8am and had to wait for the shower as there were four of us this morning!.

Bram (Jip's brother) and his girlfriend Eva arrived at 9.30am and we piled in the back of their car. Saskia (Jip's mum) and Wytske (Jips other brother's girlfriend) were in the other car with Lotje the dog.

We drove to a fishing village near Amsterdam called Volendam. Volendam is a big touristy fishing village that surprisingly wasn't too much of a tourist trap as the yearly carnival was on so all the locals were in full swing! We walked around the wooden houses and had endless cheese samples at the cheese museum (where Lotje cleaned the floor of all it's cheese)(actual cheese count minus tastings: 14) before getting on the ferry across to Marken.

Marken is less touristy and more traditional as all the houses look as though they belong in the 19th century. The township is surrounded with sheep grazing beautiful, lush green fields. Lotje was not impressed!

We had lunch along the harbour at a family owned and run restaurant since it had begun. I ordered the croquettes. They came with fresh bread and a ‘tube’ of mustard. Delicious! Jip had the traditional smoked eel on toast with herbed butter.

We walked around the island before finding the Klompenfabriek - Clog shop! This was the place that actually makes them (compared to the generic souvenir shops in the town centre). Jip managed to find a pair of lovely blue metallic ones whereas I bought clog slippers for easy packing and more use around home.

Back on the ferry, the sun had disappeared and that made the wind feel very icy. We walked back through Volendam and the carnival was still going strong with loud music and every pub full to the brim with people. Reminded me of St Patrick's Day in Dublin. We got snacks before leaving - pickled herring and deep fried Kipling. I actually enjoyed my herring (without the layer of diced onions) and it was quite sweet. I would definitely have it again! The fried kipling was also nice but was a generic white fish taste.

We drove home at 6pm and we were exhausted after being our in the wind all day. We ordered pizzas and sat on the couch watching mind numbing tv.