Monday, October 29, 2012

. . . say cheese!

At the beginning of September Liam and I headed up to the north of Holland to go to a cheese market with Lindsey and Jackson. This wasn't just any cheese market though -- Holland is one of the biggest exporters of cheese in the world, and this is one of the biggest markets! At the Alkmaar cheese market it was so interesting to watch the time-honored traditions of cheese traders, sellers, makers, and buyers. This particular market runs for two and a half hours every Friday from April to September. It was super crowded, but I don't know if it's because we were there on the very last Friday of the year or if it's always that busy.

After parking nearby we walked through the Alkmaar city centrum where there were lots of shops, restaurants, a church, etc, and continued until we got to the square. They had the middle of the square sectioned off so that the professionals could do their thing. The men were dressed in interesting garb, and the ladies looked like they were straight out of the Sound of Music (but with wooden clogs). Two men would run across the stone square carrying a low-swinging board between them, piled with gigantic wheels of cheese. They do taste-testings, weigh the cheese, and then price it. It was so interesting to watch!

We then decided it was time to let the boys out of the stroller because they were beginning to get restless. We walked to a nearby church that had a nice side yard where two toddler boys could so some exploring. I think they ran around for a good 45 minutes, just checking things out and seeing what trouble they could get into!


After playing for a while it was time to eat -- which can go either way these days. Sometimes restaurants are fine and Liam does great, but if we're waiting around too long he lets us know he needs a change of scenery very quickly! We attempted a little cafe for some tostis and frites . . . they were doing fine until they weren't, at which point we said, "Check please!"

We began to make our way back to the car, stopping for a little ice cream treat -- as much a treat for us as for the boys! This was Liam's first taste of a milkshake and he LOVED it, of course.

milkshakes and Mom's leftover cones -- YUM!
We also found another little park by the parking garage for them to play in one more time before our long drive home. There was this HUGE wooden platform that Liam and Jackson were running ALL over and climbing in and out of -- so fun for two little boys! It was great for them to get all their energy out before being strapped in the carseat again. What a fun day with friends!


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