Being back in Waterford is so much like coming home; though I just left home to fly here.
Umm, maybe I have two homes: wherever Dauntless is and wherever Julie is. That’s simple enough!
So I’m back in Waterford to make plans for what needs to be done for winter. Dauntless and I want to be ready to leave Waterford, probably forever, by early April. Seems like months away; it is months away, but everything on a boat takes longer.
So this morning I made my rounds. Also walking in Waterford, being surrounded by friendly, warm people is the perfect antidote for the last day’s fiascos. I have described Irish as like Italians and Spaniards, but they speak English; but have now come to the conclusion that they are on a level all by themselves. Unlike pretty much everyone else in Europe, the Irish never had an empire, not even the inkling of one nor even the desire.
They use more terms of ___ then anyone else and they truly mean it. Need something; everything stops while they try to solve your problem.
And they curse more than New Yorkers also! Not like “F—k you”; but more like the exclamation, “can you believe we had a whole f—king day without rain!” And they drag out the sound so it is more like “foooking”.
At 3:15 p.m. the streets are full of uniformed kids of every age coming from school. It baffles me how Americans, who pride themselves on being egalitarian, can’t see how important uniforms are for kids. Umm, I wonder why those expensive private schools in New York, ($40k per year) make their kids wear uniforms and even limit technology in the classroom. Worst of all, they even make their kids learn the multiplication table. There should be a law against that. But I digress.
I made my little circuit of the town this morning deciding that I was going to make a wholesome dinner today. Yesterday, arriving from New York, I had my coffee in the morning and an ice cream bar, a Magnum Black, for dinner.
I like cooking for guests, but today I had decided I needed real food. So my first stop was the butcher where I got 4 lamb chops and Brussels sprouts. Then, the baker, where I got some crusty Hobbit bread. Then the second baker, the cupcake guy, as I love his apple pies.
I just finished making my coleslaw, No secrets there, real mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of Korean hot pepper paste with vinegar.
And in cruising through the World Wide Web, I found this link about mayonnaise which I thought to the point.
Well I suppose our Baltic Cruise did have other objectives, but let’s not minimize my fondness for morning baked goods, in particular Danish.
Now, you all know the capital of the Danish; no, not Copenhagen, but New York. And of course, we are talking about the morning pastry, not the people.
New Yorkers think they invented the Danish. That flaky, layered pastry filled with or with a dollop of fruit or cheese in the middle.
Never packaged in plastic, and not made from a lot of chemicals and artificial crap, that one gets in the rest of the country. Yes. It was hard duty living in places like Seattle, Denver and of course, the city with the lowest average annual temperature in the USA, Fairbanks, Alaska. But someone had to do it.
No our Danishes are always fresh. Places that try to sell day old stuff in NYC don’t last long; unless of course, they are in one of those “new’ neighborhoods, like Battery Park City, that is full people from west of New Jersey, who don’t know any better.
By the way, speaking of Battery Park City, this large deluxe apartment complex, built to the west of the World Trade Center largely on landfill from the WTC and other projects of the 60’s and 70’s. So during Superstorm Sandy, the Weather Channel had their goofy looking reporters in Battery Park City, watching the water rise to almost street level, as its inhabitants walked their dogs and babies, like every other rainy, windy day.
In the meantime, in Brooklyn alone, more than 500,000 people watched their cars float away in 8 feet of water! The water getting as much as a mile inland. Power in the Trump Village buildings, some of the buildings that made Trump senior rich and his idiot son think he “earned” his money just by being born, was lost for a week. Cars were left were the water dropped them for months. It was more than 6 months before banks and food markets were able to open again.
But since the Weather Channel did not show it, it must not have happened. This scene was repeated along the coast of Staten Island and much of New Jersey.
My point is that television seldom can give even a representative picture and never the whole story.
So, back to my quest for the Danish.
At $135 a day, this 120 day quest could have seemed like a waste of money. But, my attitude about money and Dauntless is simple: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. At least until after the fact, as my last post shows.
Our quest started in France, the town of Trebeurden. After the mile walk uphill, the offerings were a big disappointment. The little pastry places with coffee and wonderfully baked goods were not to be found.
Next country Belgium, Oostende, only 30 miles from Holland, but finding coffee in the morning was also not so easy.
Then Holland, Zuid Holland to be exact. Pastries much like I am familiar with both in NY and from 30 years of visiting the Netherlands. Delicately done apple and cherry turnovers, but layered far more than in the US. Also far less sweet than in the US and of course, made with mostly natural ingredients and not crap. Flakey, light croissants, almost as nice as the best of France. The coffee is also very good, and the prices are reasonable.
And not yet realizing how much I took for granted those Bäckerei und Konditorei would be open by 6 a.m. and always around.
Honestly, after three weeks winding my way thru the Netherlands, Holland, Brabant, Gelderland and Friesland, I was really spoiled. By far it would end up being the most convenient in terms of where the boat was and were the people were. I got very spoiled. Great pastries and coffee every morning. Always warm and fresh and costing not more than $5 to sit, drink a cup of java and enjoy at last one pastry (though I usually always got two).
Germany was next. Bäckerei und Konditorei. The western half, like the Netherlands, only slightly more dour, the people and the food. Not surprisingly, the eastern half, of the DDR, was noticeably more dour. Much like the dwarfs of Tolkien’s Middle Earth; but taller.
Poland was a treat in every aspect. The 8 days we spent in our four stops in Poland, were the absolutely best for eating. Morning was more about donuts and fried, filled things, but really good, really fresh, tasty and cheap.
Dinners were sublime. Every dinner was fantastic. Beef cheeks, pig ankle, herring tartar; all so exceeded our already high expectations. Prices more reasonable than lands to the west.
I had already planned a 2016 trip back, but Julie point out that Ryan Air would cost about a billion dollars less than taking Dauntless again.
Sad, but true.
After avoiding the Russian minefield, Latvia was next. We stopped in Liepaja and Riga, one of our goals for almost 10 years. Again, not enough time in a wonderful place. Riga was much as we expect, but Liepaja was a very pleasant surprise. Extremely inexpensive, one of the few Euro countries those prices did not rise overnight upon the birth of the Euro. The markets, both indoor and outdoor, were fascinating and full of stalls with berries.
More berries than you ever thought possible. In Riga, there were over a hundred stalls just selling baskets and buckets of berries of every kind. Tasty and cheap, after easting the berries of Latvia, you could never eat those cardboard tasting blue berries that are ubiquitous here.
Estonia was the last stop on the Baltic Republic hit parade.
More expensive then Latvia, but lacking some of the warmth we got from the people of Latvia, let alone the genuine warmth and friendship se experienced in Poland.
While the pastry choices were limited, the coffee was very good and they had a loaf of bread with butter and knife to cut bread, which was free for one and all. Right up my alley.
Coming up: Rocking and Rolling and Rocking in Scandinavia, I am Curious, Yellow and of course, Danishes in Denmark.