And the day started so badly. With Lexie closing himself in his room, protesting "I'm not going." "Brilliant", I thought. The day was barely started and already spoiled.
Dolores eventually talked him around. I'd already got past the "I'll smash all your toys with a hammer" phase. There's nowhere really to go after that.
For once the NS is doing something I applaud: upgrading Amsterdam Zuid station. Many trains now avoid overcrowded Centraal and call at Zuid instead. That's brilliant for us. Bus 15 to Zuid (when it turns up) only takes 10 minutes. The 2 tram to Central takes half an hour.
Here I am getting ahead of myself. I forgot to mention why we were travelling. Cheap train tickets from Blokker. They sell them a few times a year. You can travel anywhere in Holland (at the weekend) for just 10 euros. But they're only valid for a limited time. We'd only got this weekend or next to use them up. ("I'll take the 30 euros off your account", that was another futile threat I'd made to Lexie.)
There are direct trains from Zuid to Arnhem. It only takes an hour, despite Arnhem almost being in Germany. Very handy. The Dutch train system still isn't bad. The service runs every half hour.
What did we talk about on the train? Whether Stalin was in heaven, that came up. And The Crusades. The age of the earth. I'm sure I was right. It is 7,000 years, isn't it? Andrew came up with the ridiculous figure of 2 billion years.
Lexie had forgotten his opposition to the trip even before we got on the train. By the time we reached Arnhem there was just one thing on his mind: bacon. The ready availability of bacon sandwiches is the root of Lexie's love for Britain. "Let's go to the Albert Heijn." He's noticed they sell bacon and egg sandwiches.
On the number 3 bus to the museum we sat behind a group of weird South Africans. (Tattoos and purple-died hair don't really work for women over 50.) But at least we'd know when to get off. They were clearly headed the same place as us.
Before we go any further, I really hadn't looked this up before leaving home. I remembered reading something in the PINT magazine about them brewing in the Openlucht Museum. So the first thing I looked for on the map was a brewery. My god, there it was: brouwerij. "Let's get on the tram." It's never difficult to get the kids onto a tram. The brewery was just one stop down line.
I'd expected a few old tubs where maybe they did a bit of home-brewing now and again. The shiny new kit was a bit of a shock. What with the little lab and the sacks of malt, it was clearly a serious brewery. They were giving out free samples. Of quite a nice Witbier. "That's nice." Can't get higher praise than that from Dolores.
There was an old brewery, too. That wasn't for brewing in. You know what it reminded me of? The communal brewery in Windischeschenbach. The one they still brew Zoigl in.
Dolores asked the nice man giving out the samples "Do any of the cafes in the museum sell your beer?" "Yes, the one over the road. Just ask for beer." What were we waiting for. I felt like Digby Chicken-Caesar. "To the café!"
I haven't explained what an open-air museum is, have I? I'm doing this all in the wrong order. It's where they take historical buildings that would otherwise have been demolished and move them to a park. That's about it really. They like them in Sweden.
The café was very pleasant. Nice garden. And, doing the museum bit 100%, only sold period drinks. A bit rough on the kids, who wanted to rot their teeth with cola, great for me. There was a single beer tap selling a pils-like sort of beer. From the brewery, of course. It wasn't bad. Especially when Dolores wandered off with the kids and I had time for a second beer in peace.
After that we went around the rest of the museum. Then got the train home. I've truncated the last few hours. You're not really interested in textile workers cottages, are you?
I almost forget one of the most important pieces of information. The name of the brewery:
’t Goeye Goet
6816 SJ Arnhem.
Another sure sign it's summer. I've started writing about travels with my kids.
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