We were invited to Karel's sister's birthday party this weekend. She'd requested, for some strange reason, that I bake her a batch of muffins. I do understand why she asked for muffins: in the Netherlands, for some reason, everything pertaining to a baked good in that particular shape is called "muffin", as if it never occurred to anybody to put cake batter in it. I know it has, because I've seen demo cupcakes, but cupcakes in general, like your good ol' PB&J, seems to have evaded the Dutch hive mind. And, in her case, I'd made them for her before, when she'd stayed with us for a night.
Not that there's much of a difference between cupcakes and muffins, anyway: both overly sweet (I'd never call a muffin breakfast food, unless I cut out 1/2 the sugar) and loaded with butter. The only real difference is that icing a muffin is kind of weird, but nobody eats a cupcake without a great glopping heap of icing on it.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, and Karel and I are standing outside Heeze. The cupcakes are sitting in their boxes--I'm feeling thankful that I'd chosen a sturdier icing--and we're wondering where the hell Someren is. Probably, thinks us, at the end of the road Somerensweg. We can't be sure, because it's not on the map.
A brief moment of panic: Karel had planned this trip as far as Heeze, but from there, he was counting on being able to catch a cab to Someren--a hope that, as soon as we got off the train at Heeze, vanished. Heeze is one of those cute little Dutch villages where people have huge houses and nice gardens and everybody is prosperous and things like what happened at Alphen aan de Rijn simply cannot happen, because there are no malls. But nobody gets off at Heeze and decides to go anywhere; six taxi companies called, and nobody wanted to work this particular trip.
We were about to resign ourselves to walking the entire way--that would have been tragic, given how far Someren turned out to be--but Karel was able to call someone for a ride. Lots of Dutch was spoken, lots of vlaai was eaten, and a good time was had by all.