A highlight on the Scenic Opal: Dinner at a local Dutch restaurant

Bicycles lined up for touring
Bicycles lined up for touring

ABOARD THE SCENIC OPAL – The third day of this cruise was quite lovely. We cruised all morning and reached the Dutch town of Veere just about noon. This little burg of 1,800 residents has a very long history and we learned all about it during a 40-minute walking tour. It is located among dikes, dams and locks and is very near the North Sea.

This was also the first day for bike touring and 28 hardy souls set off for two hours of exploring this region of Zeeland. Everyone I talked to after said it was a great experience. We were not sure that so many of this rather older crowd would be interested in the bicycle tours but they seem to be filling up.

Another group headed off by bus to see an overview of the Delta Works, a series of construction projects which protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Scheldt delta from the North Sea. It was built after disastrous floods in 1953 and is considered by some to be the 8th Wonder of the World. I will definitely make this visit if I come to this way again.

The coffee service area on the Scenic Opal
The coffee service area on the Scenic Opal

However, the highlight of the day was a dining experience: We were all treated to dinner at a local restaurant. Three options were offered: A restaurant on the beach or on a dike (both bordering the North Sea) or one in a village.

So everyone loaded up on buses and off we went. (I am also extremely impressed at how prompt everyone is for tours and such…a benefit of traveling with a small group!) The drive was about a half hour and our local guide filled us in on how World War II affected this region … dikes were bombed, fields flooded and the Nazis occupied it with little resistance. As a result, many left the region and it is still sparsely populated.

Our restaurant, the de Westkaap, was located on a dike in the town of Westkapelle right on the North Sea. The views were lovely and the food was way beyond our expectations. For example, the first-course offerings were Zeelandic Beach Crab Bisque (our choice), a fish medley (which turned out to be a huge platter of shrimp, mackerel, smoked salmon and a fresh oyster), tomato soup or beef carpaccio.

The entrees were either Zeelandic steak, sea bass or Atlantic cod – all were wonderful and that steak was filet mignon! Dessert was a crème brulee topped with butterscotch sauce or a luscious-looking caramel shortbread parfait.

Enjoying the sun deck while docked in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Enjoying the sun deck while docked in Nijmegen, Netherlands

On a past river cruise, we did go to lunch at a local home in Croatia but never have we been treated to such a great off-ship experience for a dinner! A very nice Scenic touch! (And I hope it was a nice break for the crew!)

Yesterday morning the weather was gray and rainy. During this morning of cruising, people were using the gym, catching up on reading, watching a cooking demonstration by the chef , doing crossword puzzles and I had a lovely massage! We then docked in the town of Nijmegen, reportedly the oldest town in the Netherlands, and soon set off on another walking tour just as the sun came out. We have been blessed with great weather so far on this trip.

June 14, 2015

 

 

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