we found cheese, candy and darts in Edam

I really liked Edam. We spent two nights there, in our first ops de fiets.

Ops de fiets are places we sleep; people rent out rooms in their homes to cyclists at a good rate, and it usually includes breakfast (ah, a good application for renowned Dutch thriftiness). We also stay in hotels and bed & breakfasts, but love the experience of staying in homes.

In Edam we stayed with a precious old lady who knew almost no English, smiled a ton and had false teeth. She, like many Europeans, smoked. Since 3 out of 4 of us have smoke allergies, it was quite the lesson. In the future, we will confirm 'no-smoking.'

Though despite this gliche (which we made work with allergy pills, open windows, closed doors and allergy slip-cover pillows...if you know me all that contingency planning just put a silly smile on your face), it was a great location and the woman was lovely.

In Edam, we visited a tiny cheese warehouse, where we tasted Gouda cheeses that had been aged various lengths---and most notably were able to taste the May Cheese, which was just released for sale.

It is a quaint town, with tiny cobblestone streets, smallish canals, a few token hotels and a few restaurants and pubs. We managed to land in one of the pubs for the Mancester United v. Barcelona soccer game. Notwithstanding our disappointment of the game's outcome, the boys DID learn how to play [bar] darts. It is fabulous to have them be able to go into pubs. (Recently, at a quick hotel overnight in Amstelveen, Caleb and I shimmied up to bar together: he ordered a Cassis Fanta and I a Duval beer. Lovely.)

Edam was also the boys first introduction to Holland's candy shops. Dutch are quite known for their collective sweet teeth (note false teeth, above), and Anthony and Caleb were more than happy to tow the line. The shop had all sorts of gummy goodness, from chocolates to taffy and licorice, cola treats, gobstoppers and the like.

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