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Europe » Netherlands » Limburg » Sittard October 14th 2019

Aaaaand we're almost off. I've been looking forward to this trip for what seems like forever! Now that it's finally here I feel surprisingly calm. 😊 Suitcases are almost packed, trains are booked, and lovely Chris is picking us up tomorrow morning to take us to Geilenkirchen station, for which we are forever grateful. Thought it might be nice to do a blog again, let's see how far we get. Now, how to add photo's.... 🤔... read more

Europe » Netherlands » Gelderland » Gaanderen October 10th 2019

The years, like the seasons, like the Intermezzo's go by. They come and go, ever and anon. And so I find myself writing my 19th Intermezzo blog, or in Latin numbers: Intermezzo XIX! Who would have thought all those years ago? My travels have changed over the years, mostly in length to be honest. I used to travel up to eight months a year, now it is more like five. If I am lucky! Sometimes it is less. My Intermezzo's on the other hand have remained remarkably consistent. There is always the urgent need for money when I return, the frenzied search for a trial, the sigh of relief when I find one, and the even bigger sigh of relief when I actually manage to participate in it without it being cancelled, and the ultimate sight ... read more
Gaanderen
Gaanderen
Gaanderen

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 26th 2019

We left Utrecht for Zaandam a short 44 minute train ride away. Our last stop on our epic two month holiday, we decided to yet again finish our European adventure in Amsterdam and stay with my cousin Biab and her husband Douwe. Biab, who moved to the Netherlands 22 years ago from Thailand, and Douwe, live in Zaandam which is only 10 minutes north of Amsterdam. We had visited them twice previously and in 2003 I stayed with them for 3 months (I was 20). They met us at Zaandam station, then a quick break at their place before heading out to Amsterdam for the evening. We parked just outside Amsterdam and took the metro (very new it only opened a year ago) the rest of the way. We had some beers at a bar and ... read more
Bikes by the flower market, Amsterdam
Dam square, Amsterdam
Amsterdam

Europe » Netherlands » Province of Utrecht » Utrecht September 22nd 2019

We arrived in Utrecht from Antwerp (via Rotterdam) on the quick and efficient NS intercity rail. Our hotel was nearby to the train station and also nearby was the Hoog Catherijne - one of the largest shopping malls in the Netherlands!! After a quick rest, we went to explore the town on foot. Utrecht is basically a smaller, compact Amsterdam (and dare I say prettier). On our last trip to Europe we met two girls from Utrecht, and they told us their hometown was much prettier than Amsterdam (home pride) convincing us to visit. I'm glad we did now! We had a relaxing walk around town stopping for tea and pie by the canal. I then had to walk around the shopping mall while Bill waited at the hotel. Later in the evening, craving some Japanese ... read more
Bike city
Whale sculpture
Utrecht streets

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 20th 2019

Back onto the train towards Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS. Our lodging is in a cozy little room right on a canal. Trying to cross the road is like taking your life in your hands. There are 850,000 residents here, and 850,000 bicycles, and the cyclists have the right of way. Thousands of bikes are stollen each year, and many are found in the canals. Oh, and no-one wears helmets. A fresh day, and off to the Albert Cuyp Market. Many stalls sell the stroopwafels that taste like a waffle and caramel cookie combined. There is a bird of paradise tree for sale, huge figs, local art work, and tasty sausages, plus clothing booths. Our girls suggest we attend the Rijksmuseum. The building contains paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. You can stand and watch Rembrandt’s famous Night ... read more
Amsterdam Central Station
It is a busy harbour!
German train....it was late?!

Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » Leiden September 5th 2019

Today I took a side trip to the nearby cities of Leiden and The Hague. The first is a university town famous as the birthplace of Rembrandt and a place where the Pilgrims stayed for awhile before they sailed on the Mayflower to America. There are plaques in town honoring both, but I won’t waste you time by showing you photos of plaques. Leiden also has a number of good museums. The Boerhaave Museum specializes in the history of science, particularly medicine. There is a reconstruction of an anatomical theater that was once used for demonstrating dissections. There’s also a good section on water management, a very important discipline in this country that is largely below sea level. After lunch I caught the train to The Hague and visited two art museums. The first is devoted ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands September 4th 2019

Had an opportunity to tour the windmills and a cheese making farm in Kinderdijk. How interesting to see inside of a working windmill and how millers lived. Cindy loved seeing the storks and their nests Too. Our 8 day cruise came to an end in Amsterdam at 2:00 am. Yesterday we spent the day in Amsterdam. We toured the Ann Frank house and Heineken. We also took a beautiful canal boat ride just as the evening was setting in. It is hard to believe how many bikes and scooters are here in Amsterdam. Sometimes you have 50 people on bikes waiting at a stop light to cross. Yes we went to the red light district, no we did not stop. It smells like “weed” along the streets. Wish we had time to visit the smaller fishing ... read more
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Ann Frank House
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Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » Rotterdam September 4th 2019

Today I took the train to Rotterdam for a day visit. The city was largely destroyed in World War II and one of the few remaining buildings is the town hall which now has a statue out front entitled “strength from adversity”. Rotterdam has become an architectural laboratory where many of the world’s leading architects try out new designs. The library is a case in point with its multilevel white and glass exterior, neon lights, and yellow external tubing. The Cube Houses are something of a Rotterdam landmark. These are actual homes that are highly sought after by certain free-thinking individuals. I returned to Delft in the afternoon and followed Rick Steves’s walking tour. I visited the Old Church (1050) and the New Church (1381). Like most churches in the Netherlands, they have very plain, whitewashed ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Haarlem September 3rd 2019

Today I left Amsterdam and boarded a train to Haarlem, a town just west of Amsterdam. (When the Harlem in New York was named, New York was New Amsterdam.) The Dutch version is a lovely, quaint town that was enjoyable to walk around. I visited several sights that are worth mentioning. Corrie Ten Boom was a woman who lived in Haarlem during WWII and she worked with the Resistance and hid Jews from the Nazis. She was eventually caught, but survived the Ravensbruck concentration camp and then wrote a book (The Hiding Place) that tells the story of how she and her family hid fugitives behind a false wall. She is credited with saving over 800 lives and I was touched to be able to tour the house and see the hiding place. The false wall ... read more
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