Tag Archives: Netherlands
First and foremost I am glad that I got to spend a day in one of “the most beautiful cities in the world.) That being said, it is a dirty city filled with bicycles, motorcycles, trams and cars. These forms of transportation will go down any street as long as they fit. Pedestrians seem to have no right of way so you take your life into your hands in a seemingly quiet walk way.
A city of canals, they are brown and decorated with houseboats that may or may not have curb appeal.
The most important thing on my agenda was seeing the Anne Frank Huis. An important help tip – buy your tickets in advance on the Internet. The lines are long and in the sun. With tickets in hand we bypassed the queue and walked right in. There are many things to see, hear and read but the highlight is standing in Anne’s room imagining her writing and dreaming of a better world. Knowing that her dream was not realized makes you ponder destiny and your place in this world. Did she accomplish much more for dying??? They have the actual diary under glass – how awesome.
The book shop was a teacher’s delight! I bought so many that the cashier asked if I was an educator. They had books that I would never had been able to get in the US or Amazon.
We then went to the Rijks Museum – the home to many Dutch Art Masters. I stood in front of and learned about Rembrandt’s “Night Watchman” and “The Jewish Wife” but the highlight for me was the three Vermeers. After watching “Girl With a Pearl Earring” I developed an appreciation for the camera aspects that Vermeer applies to his work.
The day was concluded with a requisite canal tour that provided a different perspective of the houses and an hour to relax your feet.
I was glad that we were able to return to Drenthe, a quiet province to the northeast. Amsterdam was too busy (it even gave Mike a headache) that the peacefulness gave us a great night’s sleep.
In spite of all of the touristy things, the highlight of my day was noticing a real hedge hog creeping about outside our window. I have never see one especially in the wild. It looked exactly like a Jan Brett illustration. I was thrilled. This area’s love of animals – geese, ducks, cows, sheep, goats, cats, ponies and dogs can be seen almost everywhere helps to keep me from missing my own too much.
Arrived in this rural northwest area of the Netherlands late afternoon on Friday, June 19, 2009. We are staying in a Bungalow Park which is kinda like fancy camping. The two bedroom unit is sparse which is normal in Europe with the basic essentials and nothing more. At first I wanted to bolt for the nearest four star hotel but knew that that was not going to happen so I decided to make the best of it. After purchasing an extra pillow, towel, chocolate and pastries, I have decided that the unit will do for the week.
Landal Greenpark is in walking distance of a windmill and quaint thatched roofed farm houses. The people all speak “a little English” and are very friendly. The Dutch LOVE their dogs so the four legged critters can be found everywhere – restaurants, shopping centers, etc.
We have mostly just driven around (a car is necessary to really enjoy the region) and stopped when something looked interesting. This included the megaliths (prehistoric burial tombs), pannenkoek shops (pancake houses), Boomkroonpad (a walk across the top of a forest) and Westerbork (the transit camp Anne Frank was sent to before Auschwitz).
The Dutch put any possible combination of fruit, vegetable and meats in their pancakes so you can eat these high calorie yummies everyday (and I have). They also have a bakery in every hamlet that is filled with many delicious breads and pasteries.
The Netherlands is flat which makes it a great place to run so I have continued my half-marathon training. The weather has been cool so the minutes tick off much faster than they have in Clarksville.
This is not a popular tourist place but that has been a definite advantage – there are plenty of things to see, do and eat but no throngs of people.