A visit to a local family is one of the distinguishing activities on a Grand Circle tour. The cruise line may not be the only one that arranges such interactions with local residents, but it claims to have initiated the activity. This morning, we passengers were divided into groups of eight or so before being directed to several private houses in Enkhuizen. Our Home Hosts were Tamira and Marcel, parents of three grown children. They had prepared diligently for the visit. They were an attractive couple, eager to divulge the details of their household improvements and domestic routines to us. The youngest member of the family was a daughter in high school. All five lived together in the house, one of the newer dwellings in the town. None of the offspring were in evidence. The house faced a canal and had two levels, with bedrooms on the upper story. The house was erected on the last tract of farmland adjacent to the town. It had to be designed to blend with the prevailing style of much older blocks. Tamira and Marcel spoke openly about their backgrounds and opinions as they plied us with strong coffee and homemade stroopwaffles (syrup waffles, a type of filled cookie). Before our hosts walked us back to the dock, they introduced us to two liqueurs popular in the Netherlands. One was Avvocat, whipped with eggs and more like pudding than liquid in consistency. The other was Kruidenbitter, a powerful herbal brandy regarded as a medicine. These refreshments may have contributed to the pleasure that we took in perambulating back to the ship in the sunshine, through the storybook precincts of Enkhuizen. The ship proceeded to Hoorn, another former trading port for the Dutch East India Company (abbreviated VOC in Dutch). On the way, we observed a lock built as an overpass above a four-lane highway. The Naviduct, as it is known, looked like an optical illusion. Some of the crew and sailors came out on deck to see it, and to savor a few rays of precious sunshine.
Tamira and Marcel, our hosts for “Koffie”
Enkhuizen on a flawless morning
The Naviduct, another Dutch engineering feat