Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Summer 2006

We had so much that we wanted to see in Holland that we hired a driver for the day... well worth it... He spoke English and was very patient with us... Our first stop was Amsterdam and the canals... My only regret is that we were so limited on time that we could not wait in the very long line to visit Anne Frank's house -- definitely will make the stop next time. We did take a tour of the canals on a river-taxi/bus...

There were little houseboats all along the canals... very cool. This is a tulip market... seriously... it was so stinkin' cute!

Now, Amsterdam is well known for its red-light district (not at all kid-friendly), legalized drugs and amazing museums... (at least that is what I hear...) Ohhh and apparently, tulips and windmills are a pretty big deal here, too ;-)
We did have a great lunch right in town with some of the best people-watching I have ever seen.

Now, we did have to explain the legalized drug situation to the girls (at least briefly and without too much detail) because we did have a lady sitting next to us at lunch that was having a very loud argument with her "invisible friend." It made me realize that with legalized drug use comes a whole bag of worms, too. It sounds great if you are backpacking through Europe after high school or college -- why wouldn't you stop here to check out the scene? But, we got the feeling that it may attract people with other issues, like those suffering from mental illness or other psychological problems as a safe haven. Now, it seems harmless enough as a tourist. But, it is the one stop on our trip that we were warned to keep our kids close to us -- and watch our wallets and/or purse. Now, they say pickpocketing is something you have to be careful of in many places throughout Europe -- like Venice for instance. But, I have never been told to keep my "kids close."

In retrospect, it may not be any different than all of the poor homeless people who line the streets in Washington, DC who are war veterans or suffer from mental illness. Who knows... I am not here to answer life's mysteries... maybe you can.
Back to the tulips and windmills...
Speaking of windmills... check this one out... It was built when? Look closely at the blue sign...

Next stop -- the Van Gogh museum. Van Gogh's work is organized chronologically into five periods, each representing a different phase of his life and work: The Netherlands, Paris, Arles, Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise. It was amazing. It is the largest collection of his work in the world.
Then, we were off the the beach to see where the locals summer. Apparently, this has become a favorite beach town for Germans, which our driver seemed a bit annoyed by... Gee, I can't imagine why... yikes! It was beautiful, of course. But, it was pretty chilly for a summer afternoon...

No comments: