Broeke in Waterland, one of Hollands picturesque villages

Broke ( (pronounced ‘brook’) in Waterland is definitely in Waterland, not only  because it is in the municipality called Waterland but because Waterland is aptly named.   The village is about as small as you can get- little more than a row of houses along a canal.  But what houses!

Here we are standing on the bank near the end of the canal.  Beyond are large fields and a canoe rental place.

This area is just north of Amsterdam and easily reached via the fabulous public transit system.  We got on the bus at Amsterdam Central train station and got here in an hour.

Much of Holland is on recovered land, called polders.  Holland is essentially the delta of the Rhine and sits at sea level at best-  what I jokingly refer to as Mount Holland is just 1000 feet

The Waterland area began life largely underwater, according to a map of the area as of 1000 CE I saw in one of the museums.

It was after 1:30 when we arrived at the town’s only eatery, Pannenkoekenhuis de Witte Swaen.

Pannenkoeken is Dutch for ‘pancakes’ but they are not limited to sweet ones, like thoses Americans eat for breakfast.  We ordered two ‘pizzas.’  They are not very much like an Italian pizza (neither is a Turkish one).  The pancake itself is more like a crepe than an American style pancake.  The one you see below has bacon and onion with parsley prinkled on top.  The other had tomatoes and some sort of Dutch cheese bearing no relation to mozzarella at all.

At other tables there were plenty of pannenkoeken mit slagroom, whipped cream that they dispensed from a large stainless steel aresol can, not a can from a grocery store as in other restaurants we’ve been in, so I think they whipped their own cream.

 Not far away is the town of Edam (and Gouda is in the area too).  It is larger and perhaps a bit less charming than Broeke.  The clock tower has some dancing figures that appeared as we walked by at 4 p.m. A bir further on we came to the port, where the others ate ice cream and a bit later we shared some fries.  A group of locals drank at the bar next door, sitting on the sidewalk telling stories and jokes.  Across the street a couple and one of their friends sat in front of their garage drinking beer.  It was a pleasant, sunny afternoon in paradise.

About Gary Kirkpatrick

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