Saturday Ed and I headed to Giethoorn, (voted the prettiest village in the Netherlands.) It's about 2 hours Northwest of Enschede. On the way there we saw beautiful farms with the healthiest horses, cows and sheep I've ever seen. So pretty. We've gotten lots of rain lately so everything is bright green. Arrived in Giethoorn and had some lunch. I had my first official "Dutch" pancake, YUMM! We then walked around the old historic part of town. It has canals winding through it with rustic bridges crossing them. Individuals can rent boats to tour the canals. We ended up walking; I thought I would end up in the water if I tried to get in one of those little boats! Next year I will though when I'm in better shape! Giethoorn is a darling town; it's hard to believe anyone actually lives there.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Saturday we drove to Arnhem and visited the site of where Operation Market-Garden took place. That was the battle that had the most Allied casualties during WWII, most of them British. The book and movie "A Bridge Too Far" tells the story of this sad couple of weeks in September 1944. The museum is in an old hotel that was used as the Allied headquarters. There was such heaviness there. I've gotten the feeling maybe five times in my life of overwhelming sadness of tragic past events at locations I have visited or objects that I have been around. I know, weird. It's hard to describe.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Went to Amsterdam for the day a couple weekends ago. Wow what a crazy place! Ed, me and the kids were there about 14 years ago. I can tell I'm getting older! I prefer the quiet farm fields and cows these days! I didn't see many people younger than 30! Maybe they were all in the coffee shops! We hit the American Bookstore and picked up some books. I got a couple of books on Netherlands history; I hope I can get through them. They don't seem to dry. We then headed to an antique mall. A little overpriced, more "fancy" stuff. I love the more primitive style of everyday folk. I haven’t found any really good flea markets yet. That will be where I will probably find more items to my taste. We then drove up to Volendam, an old fishing village and had dinner. By that time I had a migraine. I finally found out what the Dutch word for MSG is. It's funny the things that you have to learn when moving!
I have been pleasantly surprised by the health care here in the Netherlands. I've gone to the dentist once and had a filling replaced. Met with our new doctor (female, very nice.) I have also gone to the physical therapist several times for my shoulder. Language is the biggest problem I've come across. Everyone speaks English, but sometimes word order and the "correct" word is hard for them to find. I went into an Apotheque (pharmacy) the other day to try to find Tylenol. They had never heard of it and suggested I try such and such. I ended up buying it thinking - well I hope it doesn't kill me! Turns out it was plain acetaminophen. Silly me.
London was awesome! I think my feet and back have finally recovered from the miles of walking we did!
Ed and I flew from Amsterdam to Heathrow on Saturday, August 5th. We took a cab to the London Bridge hotel located in the Southwark section of London. We then headed out to do some walking and find a place to eat dinner. We ended up at a pub called "The Anchor" which has been there a couple hundred years. Food was ok, but it was so pretty and right on the Thames River.
We took a double decker bus tour of London. Traffic was crazy due to a triathlon in town. Had lunch in another old pub. I was really enjoying the fish and chips! We headed to Harrods department store and spent $4.50 on a single scoop ice cream cone! Crazy! It's the most gorgeous store I have ever seen; too bad I can't afford anything in it!!! We then went to Harvey Nichols, another really pricy store and didn't buy anything there either!!! We walked around Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar square. Very fun!
Tower of London first thing in the morning. Very cool - I really enjoyed the crown jewels. So amazing they looked fake! Headed over to St. Paul's Cathedral, so beautiful. Took an in depth tour and was really touched to see the Memorial Chapel for US service members who died in the UK during WWII. At the entrance of the cathedral it was amazing to remember that Princess Diana walked to the altar in that beautiful wedding dress many years ago. We then headed over to the Churchill museum and under ground cabinet room. The Churchill museum was very well done, very creative. The under ground cabinet room was where Churchill and his staff were housed during the bombing raids on London during WWII. Very interesting. Several rooms were just as they had been left 60 years ago. Walked around St. James Park and fed the pigeons (flying rats) and ducks. Had dinner at the George Inn that evening, a several centuries old inn.
Went to Westminster Abbey. It's hard to wrap my brain around the idea of a building being more than 1,000 years old. We paid for a guided group tour of Westminster and I was glad we did. We were allowed access to many parts of the cathedral that were off limits. Went to the British Museum in the afternoon and checked out the Egyptian displays. Had Greek food for dinner (YUMM!) and then went to the Globe Theater and saw Anthony and Cleopatra. Globe Theater is the reconstructed 17th century theater of Shakespeare. I'm not a big fan of Shakespeare, but it was interesting. I only understood about half of what was said due to the accents and the Old English, but I got the jist of it.
Went to Buckingham Palace. During the month of July and August the State rooms are open for public viewing. I'm so glad we went, though the ticket prices were high ($36.) So gorgeous. We also went to the Royal Mews where the horses, carriages and cars are kept. I could travel like that, though I don't know if I could get into one of the carriages! Headed out to the Guards Museum. We then caught a cab to the airport.
We woke up Thursday morning at home to find out that we missed the closing of Heathrow airport by about 5 hours due to a terrorist plot to blow up planes to the US! I'm glad to be in my own bed!
It was a great trip! London is expensive but I'm so glad we went! The people were great and everyone speaks English!!!!! Plus I can read everything! We hope to get back soon - there is so much to see. Check out the pictures on Webshots!