November 18, 2010


During our last full week in the Netherlands we went on an excursion to Twente. This is a region in the north-east central part of this beautiful land. Located in the province Overijssel, this region has retained much of it’s former charm; quiet and laid back.
Small farms and beautiful villas dot the landscape. There are bike trails, walking paths, wooded areas and small cafes to stop at and have some coffee with pastry. We spend a glorious four days together with two siblings in this area. The hotel provided a full breakfast buffet, you could even fry your own eggs if you so desired. Also included in the price were three full dinners, although the wine was extra! All guests had access to nice new bicycles to ride in the countryside, all without additional charges. Although the fall weather prdominated, we were able to go for some bike rides and also took a long

morning walk one of the days we were there. We enjoyed the (small) swimming pool and spend some leisure time in the bar - lounge. There were many comfortable chairs and reading material was provided as well. Daily newspapers and a plethora of periodicals were available to all the guests. Coffee or tea with a small cookie was readily available at reasonable cost, as was a well-stocked bar.

On our way home we took a detour to Harderwijk, to visit the “dolfinarium” there. Although it was a cool and windy day, to see these animals really warmed our hearts. There were a variety of presentations and we were able to attend three major performances of varied sea mammals. The dolphin show was inside a large dome so we able to enjoy their antics in relative comfort.

e seals and the pirates show was of great delight to both young and old. We could enjoy it from inclosed and protected bleachers, although the show was on an open stage.
A few days later we boarded the train to go to the airport, so we could fly back to our home in the U.S., where we arrived safely after an uneventful trip.

November 7, 2010


The city crest depicts a Pelican feeding her young with her own blood

Although we are back in the U.S. at this time, we fondly remember our visit to our home town, Appingedam. This very old city is located in the esat center fo the province of Groningen; which is the northern-most province in the Netherlands. We had the privilege to stay in a house which was built in 1631.

My cousin had very graciously agreed to open her home to us. We were free to
come and go as we pleased and really enjoyed this freedom without “expectations.”
As a side note, I must share that it is uncommon in the Netherlands for relatives to spend any overnights with each other. The country is small and compact. A one hour automobile ride from the cente
r fo the country will get you to any of the borders. So, even from Amsterdam it is only about two hours to Groningen. This affords most people to travel to and from home for just about any visit. Because of this, many relatives may not share intimate conversations with each other. Once you have left the nest, you’re on your own and are expected to stay on your own. Most people make new friends later in life and usually are very close to those friends, often at the cost of close relationships with siblings.

Therefor we were really blessed by the ability to have an extended visit to the area where we grew up, from toddlers until emigration in early adulthood. My parents are buried there and we were able to refresh the silk flowers on their grave as we reflected on their lifes and the impact it still has on ours. We roamed the streets of the inner city reflecting on the experiences of our youth. We did some shopping and talked with old acquaintances. We drove around the area with my cousin, visiting relatives and revisiting old sites, sharing lunch and memories. We also made new friends and hope these friendships will grow over time in spite of the distance.