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Published: April 24th 2015
Day 8 - April 22 Nijmegen, Netherlands
We arrived in Nijmegen at 8:30am. This is a very old city in the Netherlands dating back to the second century A.D. The German border is only 80 miles from this town which is also near Arnhem. For those that are familiar with WWII history, "Market Garden" was a major Allied offensive. The largest airborne invasion in history, thousands of parachutists landed and advanced towards a neighboring town of Arnhem. The goal was to secure the bridges near Nijmegen and Arnhem and nearby towns which were held by the Germans. The allies, in error, dropped many bombs on the town of Nijmegen destroying much of the town. They mistakenly thought it was a German town because it is close to the border. Ultimately, the allies were successful but the British were stalled and the success was delayed. Finally the offensive was a success and the Dutch were freed and the German invaders had to leave the area.
We went on a tour of a town called Noonen. This was where Vincent Van Gogh lived and his father was the town Protestant minister. We toured a museum about his life there and where he
lived, painted and about his life. Many of the paintings we think about the early Van Gogh period were painted here. His most famous painting "The Potato Eaters" was painted here in 1885. Vincent wanted to send this to his brother Theo who was living in Paris. He painted the scene and was in such a hurry to send it he lacquered it before the paint was dry. The original now resides in the National museum Rijksmusem in Amsterdam. Our guide told us that to this day the paint is wet and the piece is very fragile.
We also went to the church that his father preached. His mother broke her leg and was unable to attend church so Vincent painted her a picture of the church. A few years ago, this painting and ONLY this one was stolen from the Rijksmuseum and has never been found. Sad.
We returned to the ship for lunch then headed out to visit the town of Nijmegen on our own. There is a roman chapel that still stands up on a hill across a grassy park, another lovely quaint chapel. There appeared to be quite a gathering at the newer chapel
including several police and K9 dogs. We were able to get a couple of photos but were soon asked to leave as there would be a wedding. We found that both parties getting married were police. One a high ranking and the other a K9 police. Pretty soon we heard police syrens and here came 4 motorcycle police with A white BMW following with a bouquet of flowers on the hood. All the guests and about a dozen police lined the pathway to the chapel to welcome the couple. Turns out the couple were two brides. Yes, we were witnessing a gay marriage. Both women wore the same gorgeous dress and looked beautiful and happy. Each woman walked into the chapel on the arm of their father then they closed the doors and we walked away. A lovely occasion to witness. We enjoyed wandering through town. After a while we found our way back to the river and our ship.
Tot: 1.224s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 10; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0293s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb