Favorite Quote

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel,
read only one page." St. Augustine of Hippo

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hirtshals to Bingelrade

Day 2 – Hirtshals to Bingelrade

We got up at 05.00 and at 05.30 they started with announcements in the cabins to get up.  They wanted all of the rooms cleared by 06.00.  I wonder if they had any trouble getting the drunks out of their rooms.  Or maybe they were sleeping on the floors out in the lounge.  Anyway, we went to the café, had some coffee, yogurt and bread and then headed up on deck to watch our arrival into Hirtshals.

Now we go back in the cars, waiting to get off.

And by the time it’s our turn to get off and the TomTom finds itself, it is 07.29 and we have 987 km to go to get to our friends house where we are staying.  For those who don’t know much about the Netherlands, Bingelrade is down in the southernmost tip of The Netherlands in Limburg.  The NATO base JFC Brunssum (use to be AFCent, AFNorth) is there and Ron worked there for 7 years before we moved to Stavanger.  The picture shows we’ll get there around 16.35 but it was closer to 17.30 with the road construction in Hamburg and stopping for gas twice.

And now we are back in the Netherlands after a long day of driving (well, Ron was driving and I was reading).  It felt like we were coming home.

We had time for a quick catch up with Theresa and David and a quick shower and then we went off to dinner at our favorite restaurant.   And because I know you will LOVE it, here is the contact information:

Otmar Pregled
Restaurant Thull
6365 AC Schinnen
+31 46 43 1768
Restaurant Thull

This gentleman has only a few tables in his place.  He does the cooking himself and dinner is a long drawn out affair. He is from Austria and all of the cooking is Austrian recipes.  There is no menu – the food is just whatever he finds fresh at the market and is different with each season of the year. He pairs a bottle of Austrian wine with each course.  Tonight we have a table for 4 and he brings us one bottle for each course …. But if we were big drinkers, he would have brought one bottle per 2 people.  As it is, we had almost a half a bottle left after each course.  We went through a lot more water than we did wine.  But if you love wine, it is all inclusive in the price of the menu.

Between courses, you are encouraged to get up, walk through the gardens, sit in the other room, talking with guests, relaxing. And he even remembered us!  He was so surprised that we had just arrived from Norway and headed straight to his place!  BTW … you need reservations and sometimes in the busy time of the year, you need to book months out.

We start off with spargel (white asparagus) with some vegetables.  He brought us a bottle of wine from a Monastery in Austria to go with it.

We had a huge basket of bread with butter and a garlic herb butter to go with it.

Cute napkins that we can wear around our neck if we are messy (he knows me so well!)

And there are only 2 tables of 4 tonight.  That may have been because the Netherlands was playing in the European Football Championships.

The second course was an oxtail soup with vegetables that had been simmering for over 48 hours.

And it was served with this bottle of wine.

This is the sitting room where we would go and relax between courses.

The next course has salmon that has had some grape seed oil drizzled on it.  He brought us out a small sample of the oil so we could dip our breads in it to get a taste.  He sells all of the oils and wines that he uses in his restaurant.  We ended up buying a bottle of this.  I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but I love buying and trying different oils and vinegars.

He is very happy to let people watch him cook.  The kitchen is within view of the tables.  Here is the salmon that is the next course.

While we are waiting for the next course, he encourages us to look at his picture albums with include pictures of Austria and from here in the Netherlands.  He has many different CD’s.  If we find one that we are interested in, we can change the music.

He also had cigars that you can buy and smoke, if you are so inclined.  We are not at all interested in cigars, but I asked him some questions in case anyone else was interested. 

The prices are on the cigars and yes, he has Cuban cigars.  :)

He also sells Limburg Pralines and Bonbons.


He does wine tastings with Ambassadors, Governors, Mayors … and the common people like you and me.

And now it is time for our next course.  Which I must say, was my favorite!  The salmon was cooked with the grape seed oil, and herbs served with shrimp, spinach and under the spinach was a delicious risotto.  And do you see the sauce poured over it?  It was a white wine and white chocolate sauce!  It was YUMMY!!!!!  And below that, is the picture of the wine he served with it.

When he brings out each course, he spends about 5 minutes telling us how he prepared it and answers any questions that we have.

By now I am stuffed and we still have 3 courses to go.  So I take a stroll through his garden and he comes out and tells me about his flowers.

His pride and joy – some type of orchid.  This is picture of what they will look like.

And here they are now.

Then he tells me he needs to go in to finish the next course so I sneak a peek to see what it is.

Here is his wife, cooking the white asparagus that will be served with it.  Seriously?  That much spargel for only 8 people??

First he brings out the wine.  He said this course needs a white and a red.

And then the food.

And right in the middle of the table he delivers rack of lamb and some type of veal.

While that is digesting, I wander back out into the sitting room and he came over and asked me if I would like a digestive.  Which is basically just more alcohol.  I declined but I asked him if it was included in the price of the meal or extra (in case any of you go and are interested).  This costs more and he said it depends on what you get as to how much it costs.  Some are just a few € more but this one is 89€ for a shot.  YIKES!  That’s more than the cost of the entire meal!

And if you are so inclined, he has many things to choose from.

Now it is time for the next course.  I have a video where he describes each cheese, but I can't figure out how to download it here.  But .... you can check it out at this link.  Cheese Board

Which comes with this wine.

And finally dessert.  This is an apple strudel, fresh strawberries in an Eiswien glaze and chocolate brandy mousse.  With, of course, its own bottle of wine.

Hup Holland!  He gave us these cool souvenirs of the game, but he didn’t give them to the other table.  He loves us best!  I think they may have been too drunk to notice anyway.

All in all, a wonderful night with wonderful friends and wonderful food.  And yes, we had a designated driver.

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