Grocery shopping, Dutch style

It's actually a blessing in this country that there is some sort of competition between supermarkets without domination by two major players.  Within walking distance of the apartment is the local Dirk Van Broek, a bit further on towards the waterfront is Albert Heijn, closer to the train station is Plus and Aldi.  I have to say that groceries here are cheaper comparatively to Australian prices, although fruit and vegetable variety is a little more limited (think yourselves lucky, Aussies, we are spoiled rotten there!). 

For non Queensland readers, the next part is not so shocking … but you can buy your beer and wine in the supermarkets here!  Product layouts are a little confusing but I am getting used to it LOL.  If it means you find your eggs in the coffee section, so be it.

Our 'local' is Dirk van Broek – or Dirk's as I've been affectionately referring to it as.  Dirk is very basic (think Franklins, or Jack the Slasher), but has pretty much everything we need.  The somewhat standard these days 50 euro cents to get a trolley (I'll post later about my love of the 50 euro cent piece – the real passport of Europe), then you enter the supermarket.  The idea is not to go Saturday afternoons or Wednesday afternoons, as these are the days that there seems to be an abundance of children with their parents.  You fight your way around the place hunting for your groceries, usually in a completely different place to what you expected, and then line up at the supermarket.

At all supermarkets here, you bring your own bags.  You unload onto the conveyor belt, careful to spread your groceries over as much of the belt as possible so the person behind can't unload just yet.  If you can successfully place the divider at the very end of the belt, you have done your job well.  The scanner will greet you with something that resembles 'Hallo!'' then proceed to process your goods at high speed and send them flying down the chute at the end where you can play a bizarre form of catch and stuff into your bag.  (Best done with 2 players – one to catch, one to pay).  You then are asked if you want a receipt – hand over your cash, and then juggle the change whilst you're trying to place the last few items (usually stuck at a really odd angle or just out of reach) before the next person's stuff comes flying down at alarming speeds.

Still, it's not a bad experience, just different to what I'm used to!

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Finding my Fiets … Part 2

The one thing you should do with a shiny new bike is ride it.  And you'd think with a fairly flat landscape, and designated bicycle paths it would be pretty easy.  But with a headwind?  Hell no.  Still, had a lovely bike tour of the city and saw some new areas to explore.  However, I do have to admit that I was a little out of breath when we got back to the flat!

My totally awesome new wheels!

Finding my Fiets … Part 1

Things here in the Netherlands are a little different to what we’re used to in Australia.  Public transport actually goes to where you want it to go, and cars are really a last resort, not a first resort.

Continue reading Finding my Fiets … Part 1

Adventure with Immigration, Dutch Style

So today was the day that we had to show up to the IND – Dutch Immigration Department.  As per the earlier post about the town hall, it was a relatively simple experience. (except for all paperwork being in Dutch – handy to have a native speaker in the house!).  Our appointment was at 10am – we ended up actually seeing someone at 10.30am. (Hooray for government departments world wide!!) Continue reading Adventure with Immigration, Dutch Style