Klein Centraal - Five star gastronomic cuisine by the railway tracks in Overveen

Now what? 

I’ve scribbled about storms, hail and gales galore and let’s not forget about schlepping cumbersome luggage up and down those dratted stairs, all the while enduring countless stares along the way.  No Pink Sneaker globetrotting sojourn is complete without some type of roadblock or annoyingly inconvenient disruption along the way, with twists and turns and curve balls just an expected part of the course.  So, it oftentimes comes as a complete surprize when hitches and glitches take a holiday from delay and interruption, gifting me a much needed – albeit temporary - reprieve and break.

A Pink Sneaker adventure wouldn't be complete without RAIN!!

So, it therefore seems fittingly appropriate that our last night in Overveen found us fine dining along the tracks of the local railway station, chowing down not on scavenged leftovers and scraps, but on five-star gastronomic cuisine.  Say, what? 

Well, to be perfectly honest, we weren’t exactly shivering outside in the biting cold, but nestled cosily in the quaintest of cafés, our picturesque window seat over-looking said tracks.  Our birds-eye view of the comings and goings of harried passengers darting for the train made for quite the entertaining spectacle, especially when an all-out battle with over-burdened baggage kicked up the drama a notch or two!

Desperate for a café au lait one bitterly frigid and rainy morn, yet later than late and on a marathon sprint to catch my train, I was faced with the prospect of once again boarding without my customary jolt of caffeine.  With not even a second to spare to hightail it to Klein Centraal to grab my much-needed Java, I could only stare longingly out my carriage window at the patrons milling about the conveniently located café.

So close and yet so far from my Java.

Just yet another run of the mill coffee shop strategically situated at the crossroads – or so I mistakenly thought – this non-descript edifice was so much more than just your average café.  Little did I know that it was the talk of the town and home to the most scrumptious of Dutch fare and cuisine.  Reservations were most definitely in order, and you’re so out of luck if you think you and a party of five could just stumble on in on a bustling Friday or Saturday night.

But, if you happen to be the Clueless Duo, you just saunter on in and ask to be seated in the most coveted of locations in restaurant prime real estate, nonchalantly requesting a table with a view!

And, so we dined – or was that gorged? - on escargots and wine on a random Tuesday eve in Overveen, watching the world skedaddle on by.

Come hang out with Travel Bud and I as we inadvertently end up in random pubs and diners on our gastronomic tour of the world.  Whether imbibing in copious amounts of vino or languishing the afternoon away in abandoned railway stations, our adventures were far from dull and mundane  – or, in retrospect, escapades worthy of a chuckle or two – checking off the check list of yummy cuisine!

Check.  Check.

Stay tuned for the continuation of the escapades of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora and Sidekick Oz in the Netherlands.

Next post – In three weeks!  - Wednesday, August 17th.  Stay tuned!!

First night in Overveen with lock-outs, storms, gales and golf-ball sized hail

Do I sense a pattern here?  Have those mischievous Gremlins of Travel Disruption hopped on our tail, trailing us all the way from Brussels?  We had now been driving around the outskirts of the outskirts of Overveen for a little more than an hour, and we were nowhere near our long sought for digs.  It was now approaching dusk, our tummies were grumbling and we were later than late.  Hitches, glitches and calamities of the annoyingly disruptive kind had tripped up this journey from the Get-Go.  What else was in the forecast for the Clueless Duo?  So glad you inquired.  Looming ominously on the horizon was inclement weather, sprinkled with a rush of storms and gales, not to mention wind shear and golf ball sized hail.  Hail?  Just wait.  More on that later…

Somewhere in Overveen...but where?

Starting out in Haarlem enroute to the Outskirts of somewhere

Surely Mr. Taxi Driver could speed it up a notch, consult a map or two and whisk us to our destination.  Was that too much to ask?  Apparently so, for the old chap hadn’t even an inkling as to which direction to take, let alone go right or left or just continue to spin round and round in circles, trapped in an endless cycle of confusion and disorientation.  On the road to somewhere and on the path to nowhere with anticipated arrival at our destination not anytime soon and most likely never!  Should we just jump on out right now and try our luck at pounding the pavement, over-burdened luggage in tow?  On second thought, best to stay dry and snug in our snail paced cab, as we had neither rain boots nor umbrellas and the darkened skies were threatening to unleash a tsunami of a downpour.  Nothing like a deluge of hail to brighten one’s day!  Hail, you say?  Just wait.  More on that later…

Should we bicycle there? Nope. No bike. No helmet. No wheels. No direction.

So, there we stood.  Two drenched rats pounding furiously on the guesthouse door, hoping beyond hope that Miss Landlord will take pity and invite us on in.  We could only hope and pray that our suite was still up for grabs and not rented out in haste to travellers of a more disciplined nature, respectful of check-in and check-out times and who rarely were late.  Yikes!  Looks like the welcome mat had been yanked out from under the gate, as the edifice appeared to be locked down and shut, with nary a flicker of a light in sight.  Now what?

Do we hail a cab?  No can do, as we haven’t a phone!  Do we embark on a quest to search for another hotel?  Like, seriously?  In the middle of the outskirts of nowhere?  Should we hop back on the train to Amsterdam?  A superb idea if one only knew where exactly the station was located.  Even Google and Maps were no help at all, as WIFI was needed to connect to the Net!  And I had absentmindedly forgotten my handy dandy guidebook, which was now collecting cobwebs and dust back home on the shelf.  Useful or what?

Almost there!!  Where??  In the Outskirts....

As luck would have it, whom did we see cycling up the path but the concierge herself, out on a mission to search for the wayward Canucks. The rain had temporarily subsided and so out she ventured, her initial fury at her MIA guests replaced with angst and worry over their disappearance – or was that non-appearance?  And, after explaining about the hurdles and roadblocks that we had encountered on our disastrous journey, with forces beyond our control sabotaging our punctual arrival, our initial misunderstanding now smoothed over and the key to our palatial digs graciously presented.

We're finally here!!  We hope.  Really not sure...

Knock. Knock.  Anybody home?

A celebratory feast was now in order – along with an over-due scrub in the tub – followed with a quick change into dry attire before scooting out for that much anticipated grub.  The closest eatery was a convenient hop, skip and a jump away, so off we scampered, oblivious to the ominous rumblings far off in the distance.

A drop.  And then another!  And, just like clockwork, the floodgates burst open…


Looks like those mischievous gremlins of travel disruption were up to their hilarious ol’ shenanigans yet once again!

Hailstorm!!  Stuck in pizzeria at least until breakfast.  Yikes!

Splish splash in the bath.  Or NOT!  Just jump right into puddles the size of lakes as you dodge gumball sized hail, and slip slide – or was that paddle? – the next couple of metres into the closest pub.  Pity then, that the diner we were headed to was closed down and empty, leaving us stranded yet once again.  NOT singing in the rain.  AGAIN?  Yep, as expected, we were living proof that history does, in fact, repeat itself, oftentimes, more than once!

Next blog – In three weeks - Wednesday, July 27th!!

Stay tuned for the continuation of the escapades of the Clueless Duo.  After all, there are only a limited number of hours that one can remain sequestered in pizzeria waiting out the storm.  Let’s hope they don’t run out of vino!  The saga continues, as does the incessant rain…

Yikes!  They ran out of vino!

Still in pizzeria languishing the evening away

At least we won't go hungry!  Pizza!  Yum!

Will the rain ever end??? And the wind....so much for a focused pic