Monday, April 23rd - The flight was not full and both Scott and I were able to snag a row of three seats and slept the whole red-eye flight. We arrived about 2 pm, Amsterdam time.
|Flying to Amsterdam|
|Sleeping on the Red eye|
|Scott enjoying his breakfast|
|Sue and Jane|
|Citreon Cactus - a zippy, peppy car|
|Driving down Prinsengracht - a NARROW cobbled street|
|Dikker and Thijs Hotel|
|Bedroom with antique wood beam ceilings|
|Modern European Bathroom with a BEST shower EVER!|
|Scott called this little red car a "DUCK" on his mission. They are tiny and narrow.|
|This tiny car was so small, I could see over the top AND|
it was a two-seater without a center console. It was so narrow!
|Rozenstraat looking down to Laurierstaadt.|
|The Westerkerk - Protestant Church Built in 1620|
|Our tickets to the Westerkerk Tower Tour|
|We literally climbed up more than 1/2 the church tower - 48 meters high - 158 feet|
|The Carillon from 1620|
|One of the giant bells|
|View of Amsterdam from the cat walk|
|View of Amsterdam from the cat walk|
|View of Amsterdam from the cat walk|
|Stairs to took going up and down!|
|The EASY stairs - but very narrow|
|Anne Frank's Hiding Place|
|Front Door of 263 Prinsengracht|
|Anne Frank Memorial Statue|
Today, we walked...A LOT...and saw Rembrandt Square, the Walloon French Protestant Church where my ancestors attended church for a time, and then went over to the Museums in the east part of the Amsterdam ring.
|Walloon Protestant Church for French Refugees|
where my ancestors attended church
|East Indian Trading Building|
|Leaning Tower of Holland - The Sluysracht built in 1695!|
|Our tickets - Self Portrait via Pen and Ink c. 1639 age 36 years|
|Outside Rembrandt Van Rijn's Huis Museum|
|A few of the hundreds of painting there|
|Pen and Ink of Rembrandt's mother|
|Our Tickets - 5 Jewish Different Museums|
|The Hermitage Museum|
|Our Tickets to 4 Exhibits|
|My Favorite - Old Man in Red|
|The detailing is AMAZING!|
|The Bio of this painting|
|Rembrandt's Wife - Saskia but the painting is entitled Flora|
|The Bio of Flora|
|Vases in the Collection|
|Close Up of a Vase|
|Tulips in the Garden were even masterpieces|
|Close-Up of God's Handiwork|
|This is just a representation of suitcases of children - no other information|
|A poor exhibit to remember the holocaust!|
Next, we went to the Van Gogh museum. Did you know Van Gogh completed a painting or drawing every since day! Astonishing. I wanted to really see Starry Night, but it wasn't on display and I learned later it was in the Museum of Fine Art a couple miles away. Photos were prohibited in this museum.
Finally, the last museum for the day was the Diamond Museum. Very fun! The $1,000,000 Golden Racket along with replicas of crowns across the world was fun to view.
Today, we checked out of our hotel and drove to Lisse, Netherlands where the Keukenhof Tulips are located. It was a stunning display and array of beautiful flowers: tulips of all shapes and sized, crocus, daffodils and other spring flowers. The gardens were simply stunning. There was also a small windmill on site. I'll let the flowers do the talking.
|My ticket and guide book of the gardens|
After Keukenhof, we drove over to Delft and went to the factory and showcase there. We learned interesting things on REAL Delft and what marking to look for. I bought a beautiful Delft plate with money I brought to spend.
|Delft on Display|
|Master Delft Painter|
|Delft on Display|
|Delft for Sale|
|I wanted to buy this piece very much!|
It was my most favorite but I didn't have $679 Euros on me. 😢
|So I bought this piece instead|
|This is the markings of my Delft plate|
|Cute "Delft" car out front of the museum|
|Reading and TV Room|
|Our suite is at the end of this hallway|
|Half of the Bathroom|
|More Bathroom - the Toilet was in a separate location|
across from the closet
|View from the bathroom|
|King Bed with Cornice and Velvet Draperies|
|View from the bed with a double desk|
|Two Windows overlooking the Court yard|
|Our Euro Bed complete with Velvet Draperies and Cornice|
|View of the Court yard|
The hotel also had another building of rooms with a wellness center consisting of spa, sauna, pool, hot tub, foot soak, tanning beds, facials and massages. The grounds were stunning. Just a classy place.
|Our suite in the back courtyard are the two on the second floor left|
We had dinner at the Karel V Bistro. We watched the chef and sous chef prepare our food. I had the special and the food was delicious! It was themed around types of asparagus. Here one of my courses and dessert and Scott's dessert.
Friday, April 27th - King's Day (Dutch Holiday) in UtrechtKing's Day is the one day in the Netherlands that every city and town celebrates. Interestingly, it's also the only day of the year you can have a yard sale. So, we decided to change up our itinerary and just walk the streets of Utrecht and experience this once in a year day. There was lots of trash on the streets from the party atmosphere the day before and as the day progressed, more and more people came out dressed in their orange suits, shirts, hats, leis, shirts. Orange is Queen Beatrix's favorite color and so the new King is also named, William of Orange. Queen Beatrix abdicated the thrown in 2013 to her son, William-Alexander. I also got some frites on the street. So good!
|Trash for 2 days...usually the Netherlands is VERY clean. This is equivalent to our Mardi Gras.|
|My jacket score at a yard sale|
|Even the shopping windows are orange|
|They LOVE their orange!|
I had heard about the ladies outdoor toilets, so here's a showing of the mens, womens and pay potties. If you want privacy, you pay .50 - $1 Euro to use it.
|So unsanitary...but the way it is. Better that than nothing.|
|This is permanent fixture on the street for women! Yuck!|
We toured two placed today - first the LDS Temple in the Hague. We met a cute couple from Sandy, Utah - Cliff and Valerie Winegar (and ironically ran into them 3 other times throughout Holland! How's that for a small world!).
After the temple session we drove to Zaanse Schans. I wanted to go to Kinderdijk because the windmills there are in the country, but the benefit of going to Zaanse Schans was that there was more in this location to do such as the klompen shop (wooden shoes), chocolate shop, cheese shop, weaver's shop, etc. It's more of the tourist village of the traditional Dutch things, so it made more sense to head this direction. I loved the quaint Dutch countryside here. Did you know it takes less than 2 minutes to make one wooden shoes?!
|I loved these carved wooden shoes the best.|
|A few of the assortment of antique klompen|
|Yummy doughy waffles with Dutch chocolate|
Sunday, we drove 45 minutes south to Den Bosch for church. This was Scott's favorite place on his mission and he hoped to see someone he once knew, but unfortunately, after he left the Netherlands, the US Military shut down the Air Force base there and the little branch was disbanned for nearly 10 years. Now, there is a full ward, which a building of it's own. Back when Scott was there the branch met in the same building as the Jehovah's Witnesses. We did meet a man there who was in the same temple session as us, so that was fun. We opted not to have someone translate for us. Scott said he understand 50% of the meeting and I understood about 30% of the meeting with my six years of German in HS and College. It was a great experience and singing the hymns in Dutch really brought a tear to my eye. The members were so very friendly. It was a great morning.
|The small chapel|
|14 Missionaries from Den Bosch over the last 10 years|
|Upstairs was the family history center and classrooms|
We rented a private small motor boat and drove along the main canal and then into the lake and back to the starting point of the village. There are some regular homes with wood and a small mobile home park in the village by the lake, but on foot, you don't see these - just the quaint little thatched homes. In the day, the people who lived in the village opened their living rooms as their business or livelihood with the rest of the home as their living areas. People in the village would shop at your home for the thing you specialized in.
|We met a nice man who rented his boat to us.|
He said it gets busy there and they sometimes don't like tourists because it's always busy.
|Scott steering out boat|
|Enjoying the canal|
|Heading out to the lake|
|The water was choppy. We thought we would capsize. The lake looked like it was about 50 feet deep.|
When we returned to return our boat, I asked the man how deep the lake was. He chuckled and said
it was just as deep as the canal - 3.5 feet. Amazing!
|On the lake|
|Back on the canal|
|We love Giethoorn|
|Our lemonade you make yourself.|
Crush the lemon, lime, orange and mint. Yummy!
|We also toured the Giethoorn 't Olde Maat Uus Farm|
Today, was our last tour day. We chose to drive up to Muiderslot Castle - a castle dating back to the early 1200s! Looking at the flags of the castle we realized that originally English royalty lived here about the time the Netherlands became a country. The Netherlands never became a country until 1581 when they rebelled against Spain and before that the Franks.
The castle was really cool to tour. We took a self-guided tour of the exterior of the castle including the turrets, saw their potty system, how they defended the castle with hot oil over the drawbridge.
|Antique castle keys|
|Female breast plate. Notice the garters, too.|
|Ladies shoe from 1200 and small ring.|
|This was where hot oil or tar would be dropped on intruders to the castle|
|Stairs to the turret from the guards room|
|One of 8 latrines on the castle premises.|
|The "bowl" which dropped into the moat. Very unsanitary.|
(1) The children's bedroom - 3 children would sleep in this bed. This is usually not included on the tour, but since there were only 8 people for the first tour we were fortunate to see this room.
(5) The Prince's Chamber (where William I, of Orange - future king of the Netherlands once stayed).
|People slept sitting up as a superstition|
thinking if they slept flat they would lose their brains
|Babies were swaddles so that their limbs would grow straight.|
|Girls and Boys were gowns until about age two when they were fully potty trained.|
|Painting left of William I of Orange (Maurits of Nassau) on horseback (R)|
I loved driving in the village of Muiden with it's quaint cobbled streets.
After our tour of the castle and we drove into Amsterdam, which we found out was a BIG mistake. The GPS took us through Central Station - the biggest hub of the city with all the Eur-rail trails. The roads were FULL of construction AND we found out it was a children't holiday on Monday, we the parents as well as their children were flocking to the capital. We were trying to find a parking garage knowing it would be expensive, but then I remembered there was parking on the side streets to Laurierstraat and Rozenstraat where my grandparents lived so I headed this way and sure enough we had parking! Lots of handicapped options, too! Scott and I split up and I headed to the Westerkerk to see the inside and he headed over to the cheese shops where he wanted to buy more cheese.
You'll notice that the floor of the church is filled with graves stones likes the ones below. Most of the stones are only marked with a number. The church is trying to figure out who is buried under each one since the 1600s. My, that will be a task. My 8th great grandmother, Marie Lebeau is buried under Rembrandt's stone, however, the church doesn't know where it is exactly. Rembrandt was a pauper when he died so it wasn't marked. Marie Lebeau smuggles all the families gold and silver into her gowns but after being in Amsterdam so long, they must have used up all their money surviving.
|The only marker for Rembrandt van Rijn|
Amsterdam was starting to get ready for spring. Since land is sparse, people decorate their front yards as their gardens. Here's some photos of one pretty home near Laurierstraat I thought was beautiful will small pansys. It sure dresses up the street!We met back up in an hours and then drove to our last hotel, the Tulip Inn over by Schipol Airport. Scott dropped off the car and came back. We had transportation over to the airport provided by the hotel so we didn't want to deal with returned the car in the morning. Good thing, too because it took Scott 45 minutes to return it only 3 miles away!
We took the shuttle to Schipol Airport and fortunately for us, our hotel was the first stop. It's actually a bus - not a shuttle and the luggage was everywhere. Such a disaster. The next stop loaded up the bus nearly to full and by the third stop, it was the greatest amount of people to board the bus and we only had room for 3-4 people and their luggage. The other 35 people or so and their luggage didn't made the cut. However, another bus came to take them to the airport.
The airport was VERY strict on security and we must have showed our Passport and Boarding Pass at least 10 times throughout the airport even after we passed through security. We even had to show our ID at the terminal. While it was quite annoying, I'm glad they had it. The US should take note.
|Waiting for my Delta that had to be inspected.|
|This French guy reminded me of Jean Valjean|
|Scott watching a movie - one of three|