Utrecht

Dutch Friends, Belgian Beer

Thousands of bicycles lined the lot outside of the Utrecht station. Spokes and tires and handlebars piled upon each other, I let a breath out and watched the grey mist settle into night-time. Our friend, Wynand had offtered to have a beer ready for us when we arrived. Usually I would forego this kind of offer. I am not what you call a real beer drinker. However, Wynand had too beautiful a set-up to pass-up. This was going to change me. I didn’t know it at the time that this moment would be one of those moments, but it was. A dubbel, a triple, a blond; dopple, triple, blond and one more belgian beer … For me? Oh the blond maybe, that doesn’t sound too strong. Well, no Wynand instructed me to drink the triple and I did. With a higher alcohol content than the average ale I didn’t expect to like it as well as I did… but drinking belgian beer is something like eating french bread. All the smells and all the goodness in my glass. Only one, I am so tired. Ok, one more, and Maxine joined us. They are both acting students in Utrecht, but Maxine is Belgian and Wyand is Dutch. She is elegant and talks about her family and the differences between Dutch and Belgian people, they both have a sense of humor that nearly puts me in tears. The night goes on and eventually I do make it to bed, exhausted and well served.

Wynand has no class in the morning, he gives us croissants for breakfast and walks with us to his favorite cafe-bar. The barista brings me a cup of tea, a mint plant (nearly the whole plant i think) submerged in water. The steam is brightly scented and I drink two cups of it. We walk the length of Utrecht. The town is picturesque, with classic Dutch architecture and canals stretching throughout. The weather is grey and dripping. We’re guided to a tap house, the men drink and I admire the cobbled and lovely streets. I learn the Dutch don’t drive much. it’s expensive to get a driver’s license and a car; it’s not uncommon for adults to be without both. Wynanrd cooks for us, a ragu, it was delicious. We learn about saucison- the coveted and moldy and amazing french sausage that is still plaque-ing my arteries. The stank, the funk, it is so good. We learn about the Every Man’s Right in Norway, that you can basically camp wherever you want in the country. We watch the Entourage movie, it was terrible and we laughed at American-isms. We couldn’t have had a more delightful stopover in the Netherlands.