Day Four: Delftware and Dutch Vodka

A morning run through Delft is perfect – the streets are quiet and running past the old city gate that Vermeer painted, and along canals sided by pretty Dutch houses makes the experience more than just good exercise.

After breakfast, we walked from the boat to the Royal Delft Factory (http://www.royaldelft.com) where we toured the factory and museum and visited the showroom.  I was very tempted to buy a piece or two – blue and white china is a personal weakness – but the real, hand painted and signed pieces are expensive and carrying them home would be problematic.  So I controlled myself. (Though I have bookmarked the website, and they do ship anywhere in the world!)

Lunch on board was stellar – fresh shrimp with red chillies and lemongrass on a marie rose radicchio salad, greek salad, green salad and pear and Roquefort salad.  The cheeses were a Swiss appenzeller and a brie de meaux, served with a Sanserre Les Belles Vignes and Fleurie Grille-Midi.

It was tempting to contemplate an afternoon nap after this, but there was more to explore.

The boat sailed through the busy harbour at Rotterdam, and we had a fine view of the ships and the bridge.  We sailed right by a huge cruise ship and felt very small.

We take a short drive to nearby Schiedam to visit the Nolet Distillery, makers of the famous and newly hot Ketel 1 Vodka. There’s a tour – a bit long on detail and not of great interest unless you were a true vodka aficionado, – but they serve excellent coffee, and the goodie bag at the end included a bottle of Ketel 1 vodka plus small samples of their citron and orange infused vodkas.

The old restored windmill that is used as a visitor centre is worth seeing.

Then we sailed through green fields and farmland, to the old city of Dordrecht.  The city looked like a Golden Age painting in the late afternoon sun, and I wished we would have more time here.

Tonight is the chef’s night off, so we dine at a local restaurant, a short walk from the boat, called Le Blanc.  The name becomes obvious when you enter – everything is white, except for lilies in a large glass vase.  The food is good – though not up to Sebastian’s standards. We start with gazpacho shooters followed by seared scallops, fillet of beef with white asparagus and end with pannecotta and fresh fruit.


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