Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spring Break in Holland

Because we have quite a bit of travel on the calendar for summer, we decided to take it easy over spring break. The 9th grader and I took my mother to Holland for a long weekend. Our host was a Texas friend I've known since fourth grade that went Dutch over 20 years ago and never looked back. 

Since my mother had never visited Holland, we started off with a lovely walking tour of the Amsterdam city centre. The canals were as picturesque as I remembered. 

We passed by the Anne Frank house. It gets me every time, that punch in the gut of all that was endured and sacrificed during World War II.

The adjacent church, Westerkerk, is mentioned by Anne in her diary. She listens to its bells and longs for an end to the war. Last time we were here, I missed this lovely little commemorative statue of Anne.

Our walking tour ended and then we hopped on the boat for a tour of the canals. As always, our Tours By Locals guide was excellent. We've used them in several European cities and have never been disappointed. 

Back at my friend's darling farmhouse near Bergambacht, we took a very picturesque stroll with her dogs. Gumbeaux, the dachshund, was mostly a gentleman on this visit. What's a little humping on the arm of your new friend, right? He's quite the handy fella to have around when you drop a bit of food on the floor. Texas, the St. Bernard PUPPY, was a hoot. She was at that stage where's she was all big and clumsy and awkward. A little slobbery and very enthusiastic about her toys. 

The next day, we all loaded up into the van and hit the road north to the coast in search of fields of flowers. It was a bit early in the season for tulips, but the hyacinths were really putting on a show. And how convenient that we ran across some fields with a windmill nearby. My daughter did her signature tourist move, the jump.

We ended up at a lovely restaurant in a cute little town along the North Sea. The decor was unique. Here are the daughter and my friend's son touching the butt of the ceramic statue on our table. Cautionary statuary if you make a habit of gobbling up the bread and cheese?

No visit to the beach would be complete without a cartwheel. 

Then on the way back to the van, the teen just had to duck into a local shop for some frites. This is my favourite pic from the trip. It was taken by chance before the smiley pic as a gull just happened to fly above her head as if it was considering a swoop down to snag a fry, but reconsidered at the last minute.

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