Monday, 23 June 2008
We plucked the children out of school two days this week in order to take a trip to Amsterdam and Haarlem. I know, it sounds like we're sliding down a slippery slope, skipping school and heading to Amsterdam, but really, it was all very above board.
The Van Gogh museum was our first stop, which contained many diverse paintings from the troubled painter who only painted from the his mid 20's to mid 30's. Ten short years and such work!
We also toured the Anne Frank House where she had hid, along with her family, until someone tipped off the Nazis that there were Jews hiding in the building. A very troubling and compelling museum to visit. The kids had some very thoughtful questions about the Frank family, the war and what followed.
The next day we continued with our canal boat pass and toured the city by its waterways. What a fun city, full of boats and bikes. There were three story parking garages full of nothing but bikes. It is a flat city which really helps with the bike riding. However, it is not a sunny, warm climate, and I can imagine that people bike in the cold and the rain.
In the afternoon we met up with our brave and free-spirited friends who are beginning a year long world tour with their nine year old twin girls. The kids had a fun time playing at Vondelpark together, and we all headed to Haarlem where they have rented a charming house. While at the house, the kids spent the next couple of days preparing fairy snacks and accomodations for the Midsummer Nights, when the fairies have a great big party.
We explored parts of Haarlem and we traveled to Zaanse Schaanse which is a magical little village where working wooden windmills can be toured. We also entered a wooden shoe museum where a worker demonstrated how a wooden shoe can be made with machines in five minutes, as opposed to three hours by hand. It was a picturesque area, and we enjoyed lunch at a pancake house next to a canal with goats and ducks nearby.
My hat is off to our friends who have done so much research and planning for their yearlong, worldwide trip, and are actually able to enjoy the fruits of their work. They are off to a wonderful start. Not every coulple could do a trip like this, and with kids to boot! A fun adventure lies in store! I appreciated dropping in on part of their adventure. Bon voyage!