Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know
"Nothing else matters" - Metallica
(the ballad of the nineties!)
A PILGRIMAGE TO THE PLANTIAC FACTORIES
JUNE 19TH 1991
(Accompanied by some miscellaneous tourist notes for foreigners)
by Richard Karsmakers
The time: 12 AM. The date: June 19th 1991. The location:
Utrecht, The Netherlands. The people: The ST NEWS editorial
staff. The weather: Lousy. The gear: A walkman, two cameras, some
audio cassettes and a note on which it is explained how to reach
the Plantinga Distillery. And a car.
How it started off
Everything started about three weeks earlier, when I found out
that my boss is the proud owner of all the Dutch phone books,
stacked on one of the many shelves in his office.
Before the ST NEWS International Christmas Coding Convention
happened, we had already tried to contact the Plantinga
Distillery - which was mentioned on each bottle of Plantiac Vieux
to be in Bolsward. We wanted to get our hands on huge quantities
of the Divine Fluid, possibly including some merchandise.
Unfortunately, the Plantinga Distillery did not seem to exist
according to the telephone number inquiry surface. Strange but
true. So we had to do without It at the Convention.
So when I discovered all these phone books I went to look for
someone named Plantinga, anyone named Plantinga, in the phone
book part covering this town in the Northern part of Holland by
the name of Bolsward.
There was one Plantinga, and it wasn't the Distillery so it
seemed. But I wrote a long letter anyway, explaining everything
about ST NEWS, the Atari ST, our worshipping of the Divine Fluid
and several other such things. This letter was very difficult to
write, as the person in question might be man or woman, ancient
But, just like I expected a True Plantinga Heir to do, it
eventually got forwarded to the proper people who answered me
As it turned out, a fusion with another large distillery by the
name of Sonnema had caused the actual company to be called
Sonnema-Plantinga Distillery - hence the problem with finding it
through the telephone inquiry system (where the employees would
certainly not tell one that such a name happens to exist, not
even if they knew it).
The letter contained an invitation to come and visit the
Distillery, together with some information pertaining the stuff
that they make there. It clearly seemed that Plantiac Vieux was
but a relatively minor product there, as they barely mentioned
it. What they did mention, however, was that Sonnema Berenburg
and Plantinga Beerenburg were made there. These were obviously
their major products.
Note #1: Be(e)renburg
Beerenburg is a kind of gin (or maybe you'd call it geneva) that
has had herbs soaked in it for a certain time. This gives the gin
a special taste. This soaking time is different for different
Beerenburgs. With Sonnema, for example, it is 24 hours. With the
Plantinga Beerenburg, it is three times 12 days. The amount of
herbs can also vary, as well as the fact that these are or are
not completely replaced after the soaking. More about that, and
the origin of the name 'Beerenburg', later.
So I contacted a PR person by the name of Mr. van Zee. He told
me it would be no problem at all to visit during any of the tours
that they had. They had three tours a day - at 10 AM, 1:30 PM and
3PM. We were welcome to come any day we wanted, as long as we did
it before the end of August.
So we made an appointment for 3 AM on June 19th, 1991. Stefan
and me both had a day off then, as we had taken into
consideration that we would rather not work after coming home
late from the Eureka Experience of having seen Vangelis (see
another article in this issue of ST NEWS for extensive coverage
I had Mr. van Zee explain to me how to get at the actual
Distillery, as neither of us had ever been way up in the Northern
part of Holland (a province called Friesland). I scribbled the
directions down on a note.
The Pilgrimage starts
That was the note I held in my hands as we left my humble abode
for the Pilgrimage to the Plantiac Distillery. It would have been
even more perfect if it would have been a happy day with sun
shining and all, but unfortunately some God had considered it
necessary to make this a particularly dreary day with lots of
showers and a total lack of sunny intervals.
Whereas I had doubted the existence of any Deity the day before,
when approximately half a million people had been watching a
concert in the rain, the remainder of my faith was now again lit:
Obviously, whatever Deity reigned Up There, was not content with
us going on any Pilgrimage to a place where something was made
that we called the Divine Fluid yet which was not his blood -
which was not even cheap wine!
Although the tires of Stefan's car were well worn, we decided to
do it anyway - nothing would keep us from this Quest, this
Utterly Holy Crusade For The Divine Fluid!
Note #2: Plantiac
In case you don't know (i.e. in case you haven't read any
previous issues of this disk mag): Plantiac Vieux is a rather
nice and smooth liquid, about one third of it consisting of
alcohol. Not only does it taste flimmin' brilliant, it also makes
sure that you do NOT have a hangover the day after (unless you
drink it in large quantities after not having eaten for a whole
day, which happened to me only once). It gives you a feeling of
warmth, it is quite sweet, and the colour is a deep, rich brown.
It is not available outside Holland as far as I know - the name
'Vieux' does not even allow translation into English as it simply
The finishing of ST NEWS (nor anything else creative I do with
others) has for the last couple of years not been done without at
least drinking one litre of this fluid. It is known to offer
loads of inspiration for hidden articles.
So we left at about noon on that fateful day; the Day that was
to enter history as the Day of the First Plantiac Crusade.
Apart from some heavy showers, where reduced visibility forced
our master editor to slow down a bit, we crossed Holland at about
135 km/hour. We had no desire to admire the landscape, because we
felt we should avoid arriving too late at all costs - one simply
does not arrive too late on a meeting with people that have to do
with the Divine Fluid.
On the way to Bolsward, we went through Flevoland (which is
Holland's 12th and most recently assigned province, solely made
of polders) and the Noordoostpolder (North-East-Polder), until at
last we entered Friesland.
And now it's about time for some notes.
Note #3: Polders
Originally, Holland was not as big as it is now. The Dutch,
however, are just like busy bees and somewhere around the 15th
century I think it must have been when they decided they were no
longer content FIGHTING water in order not to get drowned. No.
They wanted to CONQUER the sea, and so they eventually did.
You know what a dike is? Well, a dike is a wall made of sand and
stones and other stuff that may be handy and heavy, that is put
on the land near a water surface to prevent the water from
flowing over the land in the case of an increase of water level,
or in the case of a storm. It is used to make sure that rivers
don't drown all the people living next to them when it has rained
a lot in Switserland and Germany. It also functions to keep out
water on places where no natural defence against the sea (i.e.
Well, the Dutch reckoned that if they would just build dikes
straight into the more shallow parts of the see so that they
would form a closed shape with existing land on one side, they
could simply get rid of the water and have another bit of land
So they did.
Most of the famous Dutch windmills (yes, those things that are
operated by men with wooden shoes who are married to women who
perpetually wear traditional clothes with small mirrors attached
to them) were primarily used to make sure the water was pumped
out - and that it would STAY out. A mill like that is called a
'gemaal' (which is Dutch for a 'pumping station' or something).
Anyway, once the sea had gone and the bottom was dry, it was
inhabitable. And that is what is called a polder. Flevoland is
entirely built up of two enormous polders, which consist of what
used to be the Southern Sea (more about that at a later stage,
where I will tell you something about the Afsluitdijk).
So when Stefan and me crossed Flevoland we principally moved
over a road on the bottom of no sea, where less than a century
ago rugged fishermen sought their prey.
Note #4: Friesland
The fact that Friesland is not yet independent (like the Russian
Baltic states want to be) is not to blame on the Friesians (i.e.
the inhabitants of Friesland). They have tried hard to become
independent in earlier centuries, and none of them now seem to be
satisfied with the rest of Holland much. They have an own
language, an own radio station, and terrifyingly few people
living in it (relatively speaking). I guess one could compare it
with Wales, with the exception that it ain't half as inspiring
since it is, just like the rest of Holland, completely, utterly
and blatantly flat (except for the dikes, of course).
Friesland is known for its coffee creamer, its Friesian cows and
its many lakes. I guess Friesland is a bit like Finland in that
respect. Watersports are very popular - even when the water is
frozen, in which case they skate themselves to bits in the
Elfstedentocht (see separate note, below). The image of Friesland
further involves old men chewing tobacco and the Berenburg I
Note #5: The Elfstedentocht
This is without doubt the thing that is most typical for
Friesland. It has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Plantiac or our
Quest, but I guessed you might be interested to know. Literally
translated, this means 'eleven cities journey', and this journey
is performed entirely while skating (and a bit of kluning as well
- more about that in a minute).
Every winter when it is cold enough, water tends to freeze. If
it freezes long enough, the ice gets thicker. When this happens,
a chap called Sipkema (a legend in Friesland, and a bit of a well
known person in the rest of Holland) probes the ice and says
'yes' or 'no'. If he says 'yes', this will mean that a lot of
people will soon be skating along eleven cities, all over frozen
rivers and brooks. Someone who merely finishes this event, which
takes 200 km of skating as I seem to recall, is a winner. The guy
who gets at the finish first is a Legend, and he will be used for
peanutbutter commercials as well.
The problem is that only a limited amount of people are allowed
to enter - namely the people that are a member of the Elfsteden
Vereniging (Eleven Cities Club). And it's a tad difficult to be a
member of it unless you're called Willem Alexander (our heir to
the throne) or you're an ancient Friesian.
Anyway, this event is of such importance that, whenever it
happens, it is broadcast 'live' on TV. It starts at about 7 AM
and the last people arrive about fifteen hours later. Last time I
saw it I didn't even have to follow my lessons in school as we
were allowed to watch TV (that was the winter of 1987/1988). The
Elfstedentocht does not happen very often, as this Sipkema chap
is rather choosy and the ice had better be damn good (which it
rarely is in recent years). There are spots where there's no ice,
and the skaters have to walk from one brook to another over land
(this also happens at some small bridges that refuse ice to form
under them). This walking is called 'kluning' and I am not going
to attempt to translate that. It means, however, that you're
walking with your skates on. Usually, a lot of people fall
themselves to bits there, which is the reason why most camera
positions are near kluning sites and all students are allowed to
Our current Elfstedentocht Legend is called Evert van Benthem,
who is a farmer in Friesland. He has won the last two official
In the years when we don't have a real Elfstedentocht, an
alternative Elfstedentocht is often done in a land where there IS
ice, like Finland or so.
It was about 1 PM when we crossed the border to Holland's most
unique province (maybe except for Limburg, which actually has
hills that are not composed of household garbage). We felt a
peculiar feeling draw upon us: A feeling of Purpose we had felt
but the day before when we crossed the bridge over the river Maas
to get to the proper side of the Vangelis concert.
In this country, ancient with tradition, the Divine Fluid had
been born. We felt a deep and sincere gratitude and admiration
towards the very soil that sped past us under the tires of
We arrived in Bolsward (which is called 'Boalsert' in Friesian)
at around a quarter to two. There was still time aplenty for us
to have a go at finding out peculiar things about local customs
and, more importantly, to grab a bite to eat as we hadn't even
bothered to break our fast.
We had expected a distinctly different culture, but were
pleasantly surprised at the striking similarities with the
culture of the rest of the Netherlands. Apart from the fact that
all the names of people seem to end with '-ma' or '-inga',
everything was actually pretty identical.
OK, there were a couple of old men wearing wooden shoes that
cycled past us on pre-WW-II bikes, but that was about it.
We briefly visited a shop where they sold replicas of the coat
of arms of ancient Friesian families. Unfortunately, we couldn't
locate that of Plantinga. What a shame. We would have liked a
banner or so with his family weapon on it.
So we decided to have a go at probing Friesian Chips instead.
Note #6: Speciaal
In Holland, we know a kind of junk food called 'friet', 'frites'
or 'patat'. This is known as 'pommes frites' in French and
'chips' in English. You are probably familiar with it, and it
consists of rectangular potato parts fried in vegetable oil.
This is, as you'll most likely know yourself, quite delicious
and quite horribly fattening.
When ordering it in a Dutch chips shop (which we call 'Friet-
tent'), you can usually order 'friet met' (with mayo), 'friet
oorlog' (which translated to 'chips war', which is with mayo and
peanut sauce) and 'friet speciaal', among others.
I would like to mention this 'speciaal' (which means 'special').
This generally consists of mayo plus cut unions plus curry sauce.
In the western part of Holland, you can sometimes get tomato
sauce instead of curry sauce. This is inedible.
The curry is the main difference in the various kinds of
'special' you can get throughout Holland. I consider myself
somewhat of an expert on this field, as I have had chips
'special' in just about every part of Holland and I know what I'm
In the south (where I was born and where I have lived most of my
life) they put a very nice curry sauce on it. It's very spicy and
tastes great. It's made by Hermann Laue in Germany. In the
western and central parts of the Netherlands (including Utrecht
where I live now) they put another kind of curry sauce on it.
It's spicy as well, but tastes a lot more like pepper. This is
not as good as the southern one. It is made by Heinz.
In Friesland, we discovered that the curry sauce tastes somewhat
like tomato sauce. It was quite OK, but not even as good as the
peppery curry sauce.
So much for this brief introduction into the 'special' junkfood
culture in Holland.
When you're hungry everything tastes OK, and Stefan is a
cultural barbarian who rarely doesn't eat microwave food so I
considered his opinion on the curry sauce ("tastes OK to me") to
After our internals had been strengthened by this mass of
cholesterol accompanied with some Coke, we were fit enough to
venture into town itself.
Bolsward is quite a dull town, though it may be lethally
exciting to people from Klaxos 9. Not much is going on and the
shop centre is about 500 feet in length. The main tourist
attractions seem to be a picturesque building along a bit of
water, a rather derelict completely roofless church and a rather
idyllic little brook with some fresh green trees next to it known
as "The Green".
After we had tried Friesian junkfood, we strolled a bit through
town until we had seen them all. Especially the derelict church
was fascinating. It looked like a complete and utter ruin, but
some historic pictures and stuff were located on the walls, and
four speakers supplied the place with moody Gregorian singing.
That was rather strange, and at once we felt as if we were back
in the middle ages - even before the time of Plantiac.
When we realised we were walking over the graves of 14th century
monks we decided we'd better leave that place. Coincidentally, it
had started to rain a bit.
The clock now signalled us that it was about time to go and find
the Plantinga - excuse me - Sonnema-Plantinga Distillery. It was
half past two.
The Sonnema-Plantinga Distillery
It was actually a branch off the 500 metre long shopping
precinct annex main road, and could therefore very easily be
Unfortunately, we didn't know this fact. So we had to resort to
asking someone at a local gas station to explain how to get
there. A slightly shabby and flop-bellied female eyed me
suspiciously while she answered me, completely failing to hide
from me the fact that in her eyes I was but a mere barbarian from
beyond Friesland's boundaries.
So we entered that same main road again, but this time from the
other side. While we were fighting down a wild fit of deja vu
that nearly rendered Stefan unconscious, we drove into that
branch, the Turfkade, that after some hundred metre changed its
name to Stoombootkade (which means 'Steamboat Embankment').
That was the place. The place where the Divine Fluid was
supposed to have been born, brewed and bottled since 1870.
We felt powerful feelings of emotions slither through our veins
as we conquered the last bend in the road, revealing to us a sign
that pointed at the parking lot of the Sonnema-Plantinga
We jumped out of the car after having parked it quickly. We
hummed ancient chants, knelt down and prayed as we kissed the
ground solemnly. This was Holy Soil we were treading now, and we
felt it radiate with an ancient kind of eerie power, that seemed
to envelop our bodies and penetrate our beings much in the way
half a litre of Plantiac Vieux would. Only this time we didn't
stagger. Instead, we purposefully strode towards the front door.
A woman had already seen us taking pictures of the One
Distillery, this Sacred Spot, and had come outside with the
mundane question whether she could perhaps be of some assistance.
We gasped as we, nonworthy humans that are in no way connected
with the production of the Divine Fluid, were addressed by a
woman who apparently was a Disciple of the Fluid. We could barely
find the decency to nod in answer, after which she lead us up a
winding staircase into the visitor's centre of the One
The visitor's centre
At the end of the stairs was a small hall, that lead into a room
where Ancient Relics were displayed. However, these relics were
primarily pertaining Sonnema Berenburg and thus not of much
interest to us Sonnema-infidels. Only a couple of pictures seemed
to display something with regard to Plantinga, and none indicated
even the existence of what we considered to be the best drink
anywhere in the place we call 'world'.
Obviously, it wasn't a major product here. Everything was very
much narrowed down to Sonnema Berenburg.
Two doors opened to the display room, and when we left through
the other we entered the actual visitor's centre, which was a
reproduction of a typical old Friesian pub primarily painted
brown and red. The bar was located in front of another door,
which lead into the kitchen. In the far wall was another door,
that would turn out to lead to the production room.
This visitor's centre had been opened up in June of 1988, and
since then there had been 25,000 visitors (gasp!).
As we looked around slightly uncomfortably we got offered coffee
(which we both don't like so we got tea instead) and sat down.
Feelings of Divine Reverence had transmutated into feelings of
uncertainty. Apart from one bottle of Plantiac we had not seen
any evidence that the Divine Fluid was made her at all.
Our stomachs knotted in uncertainty.
Well, no matter what happened, at least we could get maybe a box
full of Plantiac at a reduced price, a load of little 2 cc
bottles that we had seen on display, and maybe some
Plantinga/Plantiac merchandise like little glasses and such.
The shock to me could not have been less than the one Caesar got
when he felt Brutus' knife penetrate his chest. Dazed and
confused, I staggered back to the table that held our tea. With
trembling hands I tried to sip some of it, but couldn't.
They did not have a full license and were thus not allowed to
sell any of the goods, except for demonstration packages that
only existed for Sonnema Berenburg and Plantinga Berry Liquor.
The little bottles of Plantiac we saw on display next to the
door to the production floor turned out to be very old and they
doubted whether they were actually still made. There were no
little glasses with 'Plantiac' written on them, either.
The disappointment was immense.
I felt much of the enthusiasm leave me, and I am certain Stefan
felt much the same way. But, though luck or not, we would at
least get to see the location where Plantiac Vieux was made. We
would get to make photographs of ourselves standing next to an
enormous kettle (or whatever) of the stuff. A part of our Purpose
About half an hour late due to the fact that a group of people
refused to appear and only then called to say they wouldn't
come at all, the presentation started. Mr. van Zee, an authority
in the field but not the most enchanting of narrators, spoke to
us of the history of Sonnema and Plantinga Be(e)renburg, the
history of the One Distillery (which he just called 'the
distillery') and more such. We got a slideshow presentation that
looked OK, with good background music and narration.
According to something akin to legend, everything started in the
Northernmost town of Holland, Dockum (also in Friesland). The
year was 1860. There lived a chap called Fedde Sonnema, who was a
landlord. Instead of selling his clientele pure gin he sold them
gin that had been soaking through herbs that he used to pick
himself in the Friesian landscape. This was a very common thing
for landlords to do, but our friend Fedde just did it a tad
different so that more and more people wanted to drink that
He had to take things on differently. He arranged a chap called
Beerenburg from Amsterdam who was a herb specialist and Fedde
called his drink Sonnema Berenburg (with one 'e' missing because
he was a stiff-necked Friesian and wanted it that way). He used
71 herbs, by the way (the combination of which is top secret).
Eventually, it became a true distillery - the Sonnema distillery.
When Dockum became too small, the company that Fedde had built
up wanted to work together with someone who had a bigger
distillery and more space, and that's when the Plantinga
Distillery came into the picture, in 1967 (which is the year of
my birth, coincidentally).
Plantinga was at the time reknown for its Vieux and its own
When the slideshow presentation ended, the lights were turned up
again and Mr. van Zee lead us through that mysterious door in the
far wall. We gazed at the 2 cc bottles in the display near the
door with a kind of distant longing, filled with immeasurable
sadness (not the bottles, but us two).
The sound of many bottles moving on a conveyor belt came towards
us. The most remarkable fact was that it did not smell like any
kind of alcoholic liquid there. Whereas we had expected a smell
like a zillion drunkards' breath, this was not the case.
We were standing in an open hallway with quite a large
production floor annex storage room to one of its sides, where
people were producing Sonnema Berenburg. No Plantiac to be seen
so far, but we guessed that maybe this drink wasn't as popular as
Sonnema so that the tour would not include it. At one of the far
walls there were huge metal tanks where thousands of litres were
soaking with herbs (10,000 litres, to be more precise). Against
the other far wall, opposite the open hallway, were located some
tremendously huge wooden barrels where the Plantinga Beerenburg
was soaking with herbs.
Sonnema Berenburg takes 24 hours to soak, and herbs are added
every day. Plantinga Beerenburg takes three times 12 days to
soak, and between each soaking the old herbs are completely
removed and fresh ones added.
Mr. van Zee told us that the taste was vastly different, and
that people should preferably take small sips of the Plantinga
stuff should they decide to taste it after this tour.
Stefan and me were certain: We simply felt in our guts that we
had discovered what may very well turn out to be the Divine Fluid
II - Plantinga Beerenburg.
After we had looked at the conveyor belt enough (bottles put on
belt, bottles being cleaned with air, bottles being filled,
labels being put on the bottles, bottles being put in cartons
that were assembled in real time), and after I had made a picture
of a solemn-looking man with reading glasses who was in charge of
the quality control, we went back to the visitor's centre to have
a go at tasting this stuff.
Surely, Plantinga Beerenburg would be the perfect drink to adopt
as the new standard. It was told to be very spicy, it was fully
natural, and still made in a very traditional way!
Mr. van Zee asked me if I was the guy that had phoned him
earlier with regard to Plantinga. I nodded emphatically.
"OK," he said, "we'll go down after the others have gone to have
a more in-depth look there."
In my eyes I saw visions of another working floor where the
Divine Fluid was made. I blinked away the monks that
mysteriously penetrated those visions. My enthusiasm, which had
ebbed away as I came more and more convinced that Plantiac
actually didn't exist here in Bolsward at all, was slowly
So with new vigour I went forward, trying not to point at a
bottle of Plantinga Beerenburg too frantically when the lady
behind the bar asked me which drink I would like to taste. She
poured it in a glass. Stefan took another glass and held it ready
for her to pour some in that as well. A strange gleam was in his
The Divine Fluid II. Plantinga Beerenburg.
It had everything it needed. Heritage. Tradition. The way of
I took a sip, and so did Stefan.
Have you ever tasted a mixture of chewing tobacco and ground
wood? Well, that's approximately the taste of Plantinga
Beerenburg. Stefan pulled an awkward face, and promptly told the
lady 'he still had to drive', putting down the glass.
I wasn't yet too sure about the taste. Maybe I shouldn't take
those tiny sips, so I emptied the rest of the glass in one swig.
I had anticipated my throat to get burned, or at least my stomach
to get very warm, but neither happened. And it still tasted like
chewing tobacco mixed with ground wood (i.e. like complete and
utter shit in a liquid form).
We quickly revised our nomination of a new Divine Fluid. There
will forever be none, I think, as Plantiac is simply the best.
We also tasted Sonnema Berenburg (which doesn't taste too good,
but which is suddenly heaven on earth if you've done the
tobacco'n'wood thing before), Plantinga Berry Liquor (which is
OK) and some juice to wash it all away.
By that time, our greedy eyes full upon something we wanted to
acquire. You ever seen people in a pub pour strong drinks
straight from the bottle? Bet you haven't. They use a thingy to
put on top of the bottle that allows a thin 'beam' of fluid to
appear from it when held upside down.
We now both gazed greedily upon a metal one of those that had
the word "Plantiac" attached to it. We asked the lady behind the
bar but she told me they weren't for sale.
Darn! Hellfire and mutant zombies!
Now everybody was slowly leaving the place, and Mr. van Zee came
to us. Now, we could go down onto the production floor, where we
could make pictures in detail of those huge Plantinga barrels.
When we carefully, hesitatingly, told him that this was all very
nice but we now really wanted to see the place where Plantiac
Vieux was made, he looked genuinely surprised.
"Don't you know? Did nobody tell you?" he asked, "It's made in
Note #7: Schiedam
You know where Rotterdam lies (the place were we happened to be
the day before, to witness the Eureka Experience)? Well, Schiedam
lies attached to the west of it, which means that we're talking
about 180 or more kilometres' (about 120 miles) distance from the
place we had gone to. Even though each Plantiac bottle states
"Plantinga Distillery Bolsward", A: The Distillery is called
otherwise and B: It is not located in Bolsward.
Now it was our turn to be surprised, carefully trying to hide
the ultimate disappointment that had now struck our eager souls.
It was like looking at naked girls dancing in Moulin Rouge, to
discover that it was in Lourdes that Maria was sighted and not in
a nightclub. Or like seeing the Virgin Mary appear when you're
expecting topless girls.
Mr. van Zee sensed it, and sought ways to consolidate us.
Well, after all we had seen the place were Plantiac was born,
right? Yes, we were right there. It was indeed Bolsward where it
Lucky enough, Stefan and myself did now how we could be
consolidated: After the poor man gave us a phone number in
Schiedam to call, we looked around to see if the lady had gone
and then asked him whether that metal 'drink pouring cap' (or
whatever it may be called) we had discovered on those bottles
were for sale.
He didn't think long and gave it to us. He even found a second
one so Stefan and me didn't have to slaughter each other.
Deeply grateful for the acquisition of these items ("Well," Mr.
van Zee said "I guess those were the last two!" after which he
replaced them by cheap plastic ones that he had hundreds of), we
spoke our farewell and headed back to town to see if the local
licensed victualler might perhaps sell Plantiac at a reduced
price (or perhaps in those cute little 2 cc bottles).
Nope. It was priced much like everywhere else in Holland. It
only succeeded in us getting slightly soaked as we got hit by
quite a heavy shower on our way back to the car.
The entire day we had succeeded in surviving heavy showers in a
very dry fashion, but we could have guessed that God would have
his way eventually with us heathens.
The end of Part I
And thus endeth part I of the Pilgrimage, that had turned out to
become a regular Quest after all. At least now we knew where It
was really made, so we knew the destination of our Second
Plantiac Crusade - Schiedam!
We left Bolsward at about 5 PM. We stopped at a fuel station to
get some gas and Coke, pumped up the volume of one of Stefan's
'Metal Mania' tapes and drove home.
As both Stefan and myself had never been at the Afsluitdijk
before, we decided to go that way now, and drive through the
province of North Holland instead of Flevoland (i.e. the other
At a quarter to seven we were in Utrecht again, were Miranda had
created a delicious and plentiful dish of meat loaf, crushed
potatoes and endive.
Note #8: The Afsluitdijk
Which is Holland's most prominent dike, maybe with the exception
of those of the Deltaworks in the Dutch province Zeeland.
A long time ago (before WW II anyway), the lake we now call the
Ijsselmeer (Ijssel Lake) was no lake but a true sea called the
Zuiderzee (Southern Sea). It caused floodings all the time, and
Dutch do not tend to like that.
So that's why, at the mouth of that Southern Sea, they wanted to
build a dike that would cut it off completely from the North Sea
(yeah, the very same sea that's between England and Holland).
So they built the Afsluitdijk (Cut-off Dike), so now the
Zuiderzee became a lake that was fed by the river Ijssel - the
Ijsselmeer. The Afsluitdijk also connected the provinces of
Friesland and Northern Holland, now no longer making it necessary
for people to traverse around the entire Southern Sea should they
have the tendency to visit each other.
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