Vermeer tour Delft holiday

Sleeping in Delft during Pentecost

Early Saturday morning. A couple of students wake you up by loudly ringing their bicycle bells right in front of your door. This way sleeping in Delft during Pentecost is impossible!  With the sanddust stil in your eyes, you look outside. The group carries big crates of Dutch doughnut look-a-likes. Your curiosity is sparked & you decide to follow them.

Whitsun sleepy head

In West Holland the Saturday before Whit Sunday is known as Luilak. It was an exciting day for young people. They rose early morning to make noise, shake up the city and wake up those who were sleeping long and being lazy – the so called ‘luilakken’. It was the time to say goodbye to winter, clean the house and welcome spring. There was no room for lazy people.

Morning Delft countryside tour Verita's Visit
Early morning view over Delft church from countryside

Sleeping in Delft for the holidays

In the 19th century this was still a decent festivity, if you came to work late, you had to buy your colleagues some drinks. That was it. Like any celebration, Luilak took on a different form as time went by. Just like New Year’s Day nowadays, the youngsters started disbehaving. Riots & vandalism became a common sight on the Saturday morning before Whit Sunday. There was no way to get any rest in any of the cities where the celebration. Government & municipalities looked for solutions, created their own parades and bonfires.  Sleeping in Delft during Pentecost became a challenge and while a group of Delftians lay awake at night an idea emerged.

Delft tour start historical centre Verita's Visit daytrip
No youngsters waking you up in Delft anymore

Food is the solution to sleeping well in Delft

For centuries bakeries made a special treat for Pentecost: de luilakkenbol, a sweet bun similar to a Dutch doughnut. This group of Delftians came up with the idea to create a parade for the youngsters. At the end a full load of luilakbollen would be thrown on top of them. It became a huge success and it was the start of an annual Delft festival called the Delft Bun Saturday or Delftse bollenzaterdag.

Nowadays Luilak is not celebrated any more. Its means sleeping in Delft during Pentecost is relaxed and quiet. The luilakbol is not sold by Delft bakers. But, you can make them yourself, they're similar to the English scone.

Vermeer tour Delft holiday
Pouring the milk like Vermeer's maid in Delft

Recipe for Pentecost luilakbol

  • 40 grams of yeast
  • 500 grams of flour ( of which 2/3 wheat flour and 1/3 rye flour)
  • 250 grams of milk
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 20 grams of brown sugar
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 300 grams of raisins
  • 100 grams of currants
  • tea spoon of cinnamon
My homemade luilakbol. Will you show me yours?

Step by step making of Delft bun

Mix the yeast with 4 spoons of lukewarm milk. Take the flour and mix it with the salt and sugar. Then make a little whole in the middle of the flour. Pour the melted butter in the yeast mix and add this to the flour. Knead until you have a smooth dough. Cover with a clean cloth and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.

Wash the raisins and currants and make sure they're dry. Then add them to the risen dough with the cinnamon. Knead and leave to rise for 15 minutes. Set the oven on 240°C.  Out of the dough, make buns of about 60 grams. Put them on a well-buttered baking tray, cut each bun on 4 sides.  Leave to rise for another 15 minutes. Then brush them with egg and bake them for 15 minutes.  Eat them with butter and syrup (or jam).


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Sources of inspiration:

https://www.bakkersinbedrijf.nl/recept_artikelen/recept-luilakbollen

https://www.maxvandaag.nl/sessies/themas/terug-naar-toen/luilak-het-uitstervende-kwajongensfeest/

https://www.beleven.org/feest/luilak

 

 

 


Where to shoot tulip dance movie Keukenhof Amsterdam Verita's Visit Holland

Tulip dance movie Keukenhof - Silsila

There is one ultimate tulip dance movie Keukenhof all flower fans, travel addicts ánd dance lovers will enjoy. Perfect for rainy days, to get into the mood for your spring tulip trip to Holland or just learn some new dance moves. Head over to your favorite video store and get your copy of Silsila!

Sing and dance video tulips

Silsila, it will definitely ring a bell to most of the Indian readers. If you are a non- Indian reader, do see the movie Silsila. It really makes you want to head over to the tulip park near Amsterdam and shoot your own tulip dance movie Keukenhof.

Let me explain the main idea behind Silsila. It’s an incredible Bollywood movie made in the 1980’s. Romantic, colorful. And like any good Bollywood blockbuster, it is full of passionate songs. The most famous song is partly shot in the spring flower fields. Two lovers sing and dance in the tulips.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dO_MS9tZ5E

How to create the ultimate tulip dance movie Keukenhof?

Now, the main goal of many of my Indian participants is to dance in the tulips and create exactly the same video as the one you can see in Silsila. They visit Keukenhof and are disappointed. No possibility there to shoot a tulip dance movie Keukenhof. First of all, because in the Keukenhof spring garden there are no flower fields. Second, angry bulb growers & gardeners will come after you when you try to get into the tulips. So how do you create the ultimate tulip dance movie Keukenhof?

First step for that perfect dancing with the tulips video: step out of your comfort zone, leave the Keukenhof gardens and get into the Dutch countryside.

Second step, or maybe that’s the first, plan your visit to the Dutch tulips in the right period of time. For a long time this was Mid- April, the last years tulip fields bloomed early April. At the moment you’re booking your tulip travel to Holland, ask me to confirm the right dates for blooming tulips with you.

Third step:  Where do you dance in the tulips? Better question is: where are you allowed to film & go into the fields?

Where to shoot tulip dance movie Keukenhof Amsterdam Verita's Visit HollandWhere are you allowed to go in the tulip fields?

Well, as I’ve explained before, it’s probably not a good idea to do it in Keukenhof. The gardeners are quite sensitive when it comes to their well-designed inspirational gardens. So the Amsterdam tulip park is a no-go.

You might be greatly attracted to gracefully float through the flower fields around Keukenhof, but be careful. Here it is not the gardeners getting angry, but the tulip cultivators. These days the flower fields are fenced, it’s impossible to really get into them. Fortunately there are a couple of places where the bulb growers allow you to enter their colorful fields and take flower power selfies and shoot that a tulip dance movie that looks a lot like Silsila. Want to know where? Let me take you in the bike tour flower fields plus visit tulip farm.

https://youtu.be/d0OR_ElEVj0

 


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team building based on King's Day Verita's Visit Holland

Team building based on King's Day - 3 tips

Put on your orange dress, drink some Oranjebitter and get ready to sing the national anthem.  The best way to bond is to celebrate a national holiday together. So, let's create that ultimate holiday feeling. Here are 3 tips team building based on King's Day in Holland.

National holiday to unite your team

Once upon a time there was a little princess called Wilhelmina. She lived in the Netherlands, a country that was extremely divided. People didn't want to do any activities together. Now, Wilhelmina celebrated her 5th birthday on August 31 1885. 'A great day for a national holiday', a newspaper thought. And so a new national holiday was born.  It was called Princess Day and became a huge success. The Dutch people united, the nation was one.

I know it is a bit too much to ask you to create your own national holiday. It is a good idea to look at national holidays though.  You can get inspiration on how to build & strengthen relationships . Let's have a look at King's Day!

old Dutch games King's Day teambuilding

Holiday feeling with old Dutch games: team building based on national celebration

The first tip for team building based on King's Day actually comes from Princess Day. In that time the holiday did not have the same dimension as nowadays. Focus was on strengthening relationships within your family & local community. That happened through games. Using these old Dutch games  for teambuilding is perfect as rules are simple, you don't have to use your brain a lot. They're just a fun activity to do together and a way to release any tension. Best part is also that you feel like you're getting a taste of Dutch culture. Add some orange clothes and an orange drink (Oranjebitter) and you feel like you're on holiday.

Why the royal birthday & flower parades in the Netherlands are connected

As the years went by princess Wilhelmina got older. In September 1898 she became Queen of the Netherlands and so Princess Day became Queen's Day.  Thanks to these two royal celebration; the birthday and the inauguration, the flower parades in the Netherlands became popular. Now, I let you think about it for a moment…Why is Wilhelmina’s birthday/ inauguration as Queen a good time for the flower parade? The answer is in the next blogpost.

other flower events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit HollandTeam building based on King's Day flower parade

Tip two on team building based on King's Day, is about these flower parades. Before WWII these flower processions were strongly connected to the royal family. Nowadays  the processions are used to underline the local identity & the small community feeling. Now this team building tip decorate your bike, car or other vehicle. Set some rules before you start this activity. One of these rules should be about how you combine local, regional aspects with national cultural elements. What is typical of your city? What is unique about your family or friends? When you do this group activity with your colleagues, you can also include the corporate culture and team culture in these game rules. For complete instructions & customisation of this teambuilding activity based on King's Day, contact me or book the We are one on King's Day game activity.

Team building based on King's DayBe like Dutch kids: sell what you love & they don't need

Another typical Dutch element of King's Day is the vrijmarkt, or garage sale/ flea market. This is one of the youngest traditions of the royal celebration. In the seventies, Beatrix was Queen. She is the mother of our present King Willem-Alexander and the granddaughter of Wilhelmina. She had married a German man and not everyone in the Netherlands  liked that.  Besides, you could again feel some tension building up in the Netherlands. The vrijmarkt already existed, but was not centrally organised. Here and there in the suburbs of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities these flea markets popped up. The idea was to bring these markets to the inner city centre, so the Dutch would get together in a central point. That worked!

How can you use this in a team building activity? The King's Day vrijmarkt is the ultimate way for kids to practise their entrepreneurship. So tip three in the team building based on King's Day is about negotiation skills. Try  to find some traditions or habits in your family, group of friends or team that you like, but others dislike. Imagine these habits are one of the items you sell on the vrijmarkt. You are attached to them, they see no value. How would you sell these, the Dutch way?

Liked these 3 ideas? Then contact me for the full We are one on King's Day teambuilding game.


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https://youtu.be/lt2KSwzXFCE


Dutch royalty & the kingfisher Delft blue Verita's Visit nature & culture tour

The Dutch royalty & the kingfisher

Are you a colorful bird with mythical powers: steadfast and calm in bad weather? Do your feathers happen to be orange, white and blue? Congratulations! You’ve been chosen as a national symbol. The Dutch royalty & the kingfisher go back a long way. For William of Orange it was love at first sight. In his opinion the bird represented everything he stood for.

Dutch royalty & the kingfisher birdwatching tour leiden Verita's VisitNickname William of Orange

Nicknames can be a man’s best friend. William of Orange went into history as De Zwijger - the man who doesn’t - want to- speak. In English he is referred to as ‘The Silent’. In tense political situations he would remain calm and say very little. His opposers would depict him as unable to choose a side, make decisions and being astute There is an anecdote before the start of the Eighty Years of War which nicely shows how these traits:  "The King (of France) talked on thus to Orange in the full conviction that he was aware of the secret agreement recently made with the Duke of Alba for the extirpation of heresy. But the Prince, subtle and adroit as he was, answered the good King in such a way as to leave him still under the impression that he, the Prince, knew all about the scheme proposed by Alba; and on this understanding the King revealed all the details of the plan which had been arranged between the King of Spain and himself for the rooting out and rigorous punishment of the heretics, from the lowest to the highest rank, and in this service the Spanish troops were to be mainly employed."  

 

I am a rock

William the Silent wanted to be seen as the rock people could hold on to in times of trouble. 

In 1568 the Netherlands was ruled by the King of Spain. William saw the effect of the King’s oppression and the raise of taxes on the Dutch people. In 1568 he started the Dutch revolt.  It led to the Eighty Years of War - The war ended in 1648- In 1581, that was even during the revolt!, William got many of the provinces of the Netherlands to sign the Act of Abjuration. This Act was a declaration of independence of the United States of the Netherlands. During these years of war William lived by the motto: ‘Saevis tranquilus in undis’, calm in stormy waters. And this motto is linked to the Kingfisher. 

Dutch royalty & the kingfisher or falcon? Verita's Visit
https://www.mun.ca/alciato/f179.html

The character the Dutch royalty & the kingfisher have in common

The great traits of the kingfisher first appear in a Greek myth. The bird would build its nest on top of the waves, proud, persistent and not afraid for wind or storm. Centuries of myths and legends followed untill Basilius the Great thought it nice to connect the motto ‘tranquillum esse media bruma’ - to be calm in the middle of a storm-  to a picture of a kingfisher calmly sitting on its nest on stormy waters. Centuries later this motto was slightly adjusted by humanist Alciatus. In his Emblemata he speaks of ‘tranquilli in marmoris unda’ - calm in the marmor wave. The bird he speaks of, unfortunately, is a falcon. Nevertheless his work may have been brought to the attention of the Prince of Orange, aka William the Silent.

The other link between the Dutch royal family & the kingfisher

It was at that time that the link between the Dutch royal family & the kingfisher was first made. It was the peace loving, steadfast character of the bird that attracted William. Moreover the metallic blue bird with his orange breast and white stripes, was a perfect match with the colors of the House of Orange.

The Queen mother is calm

The kingfisher was a loyal companion on William the Silent’s journey to independence. Then he was forgotten. Queen Wilhelmina started using the motto again and had a kingfisher on her desk. And then,then William Alexander came. At the time of his coronation, 30 April 2013 he thanked his mother,  Beatrix for her hard work and for being ‘calm in stormy waters’. 

Dutch royalty & the kingfisher Delft blue Verita's Visit nature & culture tourRoyal Delft blue pottery and the kingfisher

The link between the Dutch royal family & the kingfisher is immortalised in the Royal Delft Blue plates King William Alexander had made for his 50th birthday. The royal earthenware collection depicts the bird peacefully moving around  in a sea of blue. See if you can find the motto, it encircles the stamp on the backside of the pottery.

--

The anecdote of William of Orange &  the King of France is taken from https://fampeople.com/cat-william-the-silent_6

For this article I used the website of Royal Delft & my contacts there and Wikipedia


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online workshop edible tulips Verita's Visit Holland

Free online workshop edible tulips & King's Day celebration

A gorgeous looking treat for holidays such as Easter and King's Day ánd the way to impress friends & family. Get your kids together, ask your grandkids to join online and get ready for this free online workshop edible tulips.

online workshop edible tulips Verita's Visit HollandThere are two things I miss right now: you, my participants & the sight of the tulip fields. So, my idea is to do an online workshop edible tulips. This way I can see you, connect with you ánd we can make these tulips together. As this treat looks great on the Easter brunch / dinner table or at any other celebrative event we will connect online on Good Friday 10 April. For those who can't make it: there's a 2nd session on April 27 ( our King's day).

What do you need to participate:

  • cherry tomatoes - I've bought cute tomatoes already shaped like a tulip
  • cream cheese
  • spring onion or green beans

For the King's Day session it is nice to have some orange ones.

If you already made these, or have some ideas of your own, bring them on the table during the online workshop tulip making!

 

When there still is time we can also make an origami tulip. For this you need to square papers of the same size.

As this is mainly my way to connect with you, this will also be your chance to ask questions about Holland & typical Dutch stuff!

I will be going live on Facebook  on

Good Friday April 10  3:30 PM Amsterdam time (CEST) - 

And we'll be doing a Zoom session on

King's Day April 27 5:30 PM Amsterdam time (CEST)  -

Sign in for the zoom session through the link You'll then receive  a confirmation with all the meeting details.

You can check your time on https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/

 

See you there?


Delft & Gouda light festival: December in Holland

The Delft & Gouda light festival are two charming December events in Holland. They take place in the historical city centre and put their own unique local culture in the spotlight.

Gouda activities group Verita's Visit groepsactiviteiten winter

The night is dark. Darker than usual. All lights in the city have been dimmed. The Dutch usually stay inside in the cold December months, but tonight everyone is out on the street. Do like the locals, follow your nose. The scent of glühwein, hot chocolate and oliebollen - Dutch doughnuts-  fills the air. It leads you straight to the main square where a choir is singing and a huge Christmas tree is waiting to be lit.

When is the December Delft & Gouda light festival?

Lichtjesavond, Dutch for Evening of Lights, is the Delft December light festival. It takes place on Tuesday 10 December 2019 and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  The Gouda light festival is 3 days later, on Friday 13 December. It’s called Kaarsjesavond, Dutch for Candle Night. 

Are Delft Evening of Lights and Gouda Candle Night the same?

 These two December events in the province South Holland are very much alike.

  • The Christmas tree lighting ceremony starts at 7 PM on the main square and is the main attraction of the Delft & Gouda light festival.
  • All churches in the historical city centre open their doors to the public and have special activities.
  • There are stands selling artisanal products and very typical Dutch food and drinks.  Besides the Dutch doughnuts- oliebollen- , the pea soup – erwtensoep- is also very popular
  • Choirs pop up on every corner. Dressed in Dickens’ costumes or santa’s costume the choirs from the region bring the top Christmas pop and classic songs.
  • There are different routes through the city centre to enjoy the light festival.

Which December event in South Holland to visit

Should you visit both when these two Dutch December festivals are so similar? Yes, do add it to your list of Holland light festival visits! There are some details which make Lichtjesavond in Delft differ in feel and looks from Kaarsjesavond in Gouda

The main differences of the Delft & Gouda light festival are:

  • the routes
  • the locations of the markets
  • how the cities use their traditions.

Choose a light route

For the first time in the history of the Delft Evening of Lights festival you can choose between a couple of routes. They lead from the market square to the different festive hubs and pass various historical streets full of music, food and local products.

Tip: take the route along the oldest street of Delft, the Oude Delft. The canal is very picturesque: all buildings are lit by colored flood lights and light guirlandes hang over the water. Do stop by the Maria Jessekerk, a small, cosy church.

The Gouda Candle Night has used routes before. Gouda works with themed routes, which is great! You can choose to go arty or historical. 

Go christmas market hopping

Gouda’s December event offers a lot more activities inside monumental buildings and churches. Unlike Delft, the festive markets are mostly inside. 

Tip:  visit the St Jan church for free, gaze at the huge stained glass windows and stroll through the covered market where locals sell their artisanal products.

Uitjes winter Verita's Visit family corporate events Gouda

Dutch traditions in the spotlight

Delft 2019 was a celebration of the Golden Age, Delft Blue & Vermeer. This theme will also come up in the Lichtjesavond on the 2nd Tuesday of December. Check the website for all activities, performances and routes.

The Christmas tree on the main square of Gouda is a gift. The city’s Norwegian sister town sends a tree to Gouda every year and has done so the last 60 years.

The lights in the tree itself are not real candles anymore. Gouda, city of candles does like to keep the tradition of lighting candles on this special evening - hence the name Candle Night-. Just before the lighting of the tree, the city’s electric lights are turned off. In Gouda’s City Hall and in some of the houses on the market square, real candles are lit. 

A last tip: For me, the lighting of the tree is not the highlight. I love the atmosphere, the activities. Like any other festival, these two Dutch December events are great opportunities to get #socialwithalocal. Do ask, do sing along, do join the celebration. The Delft & Gouda light festival program already start at 4 PM. Around 6 PM the atmosphere in both cities is best. If you do decide to join the lighting ceremony on the market square, make sure you’re there at 6:30 PM or earlier.

For more info on the light festivals'program:

Delft Lichtjesavond

Gouda Kaarsjesavond

 


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Verita's Visit City Game Leiden corporate challenge culture internationaal teamuitje

Challenge Leiden local festival 3 October 2020

Mark your calendar! On Saturday 3 October 2020 the Leiden Ontzet challenge takes place for the second time. Registration with your own team of 3/4 people is possible. In this group outing you and your team follow a trail through the historical centre of Leiden. At different historical locations there's an assignment. Enjoy the Leiden local festival, get social with a local and become the hero of the challenge.

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The Hague bike tour - typical Dutch food stop

Dutch pancakes. Not the American one, more like the French crepes. Something in between. And apple pie. Cold or warm creamy chocolate milk.  On the most popular The Hague bike tour you'll eat typical Dutch food. In a place that looks a lot like grandma's home. Your Dutch grandma.

Water supply management tour groepsreis Verita's Visit Den Haag The Hague

The real The Hague bike tour with Dutch food

"This is like a real cycling tour!" Questionmarks are all over my face when I look at her. She laughs. "In most city bike tours the guide stops every five minutes to tell something. You stay in the city centre, don't really get anywhere. This is an ideal tour with kids as we actually cover some ground ánd get to know more about life in the Netherlands."

Family tour bike The Hague surroundings natuurtocht fiets family groep Verita's Visit

Typical Dutch food stop The Hague bike tour

The best stop on the Sea & the City The Hague bike tour for kids is the food stop. Ah, who am I kidding? The best stop for everyone is the food stop.  Often, when I stop at the water tower and explain that 1.3 million people living in The Hague and surroundings get their fresh water from the dunes the question the kids ask is: "Is there some food nearby as well?" Then something starts to tickle inside - I'm a real foodie-. "It's just around the corner, let's go!"

Den Haag natuurtocht nature tour The Hague Verita's Visit

Food motivates people. You should see how fast we get from the water tower to that cosy place that looks like grandma's farm! The red-and-white curtains, the wooden picnic tables, the cosy garden with view on the ponies. What's not to like?

Local food The Hague bike tour fietstocht Haag gastronomie lokaal

The menu is full of typical Dutch food: from fries with kroket to authentic Dutch pea soup. The pancakes and apple pie usually are the winners. Warm and with whipped cream. And for drinks: a good Dutch beer or a chocolate drink. The typical Dutch, nice and creamy one. I enjoy watching my participants eat and always wonder: will we continue the The Hague bike tour city & sea? And how? :)

Dutch beer stop The Hague tour bier fietsen Verita's Visit


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When small town boys visit the canal parade

When small town boys visit the canal parade they get hyperactive and super excited. Maybe it is the surrounding. The story about Vermeer and his secret marriage. All of a sudden they fall silent and look serious. Not for long though.

Windmill on Delft bike tour molen fietstocht Verita's Visit

Secret marriage in Delft countryside

We’ve just walked through the chapel and the group’s laughter and chitchats turn into a respectful awe. Now the three men sit opposite of me, hands supporting their heads, eyes looking straight at me. I tell them the story of protestant Vermeer and his marriage with the catholic Maria. Catholicism was forbidden in those days so they had to get married in secret in this village not far from Delft.

 

Back home in Dutch farmland

The handsome small town boys know how it feels to hide your true self and sigh. “North of New York is where I grew up, but it wasn’t like NY at all. Just farmlands. Nobody travels, everyone stays in their comfort zone.”, one says. He almost jumped up and down on the bike when we started the tour. Now he looks at the others and finds comfort in their expressions.

When Fields of Dreams meets the Big Apple

“Do you know the movie Fields of Dreams?, that’s where I’m from”. The guy who’s talking is quite the opposite of his friend. He took his time to take in the scenery while cycling. You can see he thinks before he speaks and right now he has a stern look on his face. A mix between melancholy and pride. He’s clearly goal driven: “When I was young I told my mother I wanted to live on Sesame Street. Now I live one block away from it”.   They moved from small countryside villages to the Big Apple. Dreaming of a good job, meeting like-minded people and being accepted for who they are. They succeeded and are proud of themselves. So they should be.

Delft countryside flower parade bike tour fietstocht natuur Varend corso Verita's Visit

Birthday celebration in and out of Amsterdam

These three beautiful men celebrate a birthday in Amsterdam. At their arrival they stumbled upon the first Pride parties. They’re all excited for this afternoon, when these small town boys visit the Canal Parade. An endless flow of questions runs through the air:

“Will the Canal Parade be like the one in New York , celebrated in different districts? Will it be as big?”

Juicy stories and good food in Vermeer's wedding town

They left big city Amsterdam and Pride to wonder through the countryside near Delft with me. Even if they would have liked to be at the Canal Parade the whole day, they don’t show it. Their attention is on me and that makes me feel real special. When one of them gets a flat tire, we’re all sad. I promise them beer and good local food. Their laughter and juicy stories can be heard from far away. Somehow, with some effort, we make it back to Vermeer’s wedding place. In my favorite restaurant we savor local delicacies and good beer. More stories, more questions follow. They miss their train back to Amsterdam. And the next one. And the next one. Then they decide to really make a move. Ready for Pride Amsterdam!

local food tasting gastronomy tour Delft gastronomische tour reis Verita's VisitWhen small town boys visit the canal parade

When the small town boys visit the Canal Parade, they make a trip in Delft to visit the farmlands. I’m happy they did.


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