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Saturday, April 07, 2007

A LITTLE BONUS SIDE TRIP

I've always been interested in Holland, since the days when I was a kid and my favorite stories were Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, and the story about Pieter, the little boy who stuck his finger in the dam to keep the water from seeping through. I love tulips and would enjoy seeing the fields of flowers and canals that Holland is famous for. During the war, my dad was stationed with an army field hospital in Holland. He sent home lots of gifts including little Dutch dolls with porcelein heads and Delft china windmills and other delft ornaments, some which I still have on display. He spoke fondly of the Dutch people and made many friends while he was stationed there. And a few years after the war, when we moved to the Coast, we had a young Dutch couple who lived in our basement suite with their new baby.

One of my first stories which I wrote when I was twelve (a small part of it was published in a Girl Guide magazine) was about a Dutch war orphan who was adopted by a Canadian soldier. I was greatly influenced by the stories and news reel pictures of war-time Holland, and especially the Anne Frank story.

I've always wanted to visit the Netherlands, but somehow haven't taken the time to do so. This time, as we are flying KLM, it turns out that I have an 8 hour lay-over in Holland on my way home the end of June. This will give me plenty of time to take the sneltrein into the city for a look around.

I've browsed through a couple of books on Amerterdam to get an idea of what I'd like to see and do for that quick side trip. First I want to take a canal trip. It's possible to take the "Museumboot" which stops at various places of interest so you can hop on and off whenever you want to. Some of the places I'd like to see are Westerkirk (Rembrant is buried here)
Anne Frank House, of course!; and Canal King where you can see some of the elegant canl houses along the Golden Bend.

Amsterdam was one of the wealthiest cities in Europe until the early 19th century, although it had lost its domination as a trading country to England and France in the 1600''s.
It was also the home to famous artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrant and Jan Vermeer.
I'm not sure if I'll have time to see the Van Gogh Museum, but it would be my choice if I do although I've seen a number of his famous paintings in other galleries in London.

Just to browse around Dam Square and the Old Centre will be fun. And you can walk on the Waterside right from the Central Station. No doubt lots of photo opportunities and a quick peek at everything for future holidays.

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