Wednesday, May 11, 2011

France/Netherlands 1988 - entries 10, 11&12

Sunday, August 28

Mass travels to three towns here on the island and our church was closed. We rented bikes and saw the best of Texel today, biking first to Oast – about 6 miles and Oosterend, where we found an outdoor cafĂ©. There were some friendly people and we had a delightful hour. The waitress was Irish, from Kerry and her mother lives in Medford. We had delicious sausage in a roll with Orangiebroom beer. This town was so quaint we took more pictures of houses than we planned to. The bikes are heavy Raleighs and it is slow pumping against the wind. From there we went to De Waal – another small community. A pension called Rebeccas looked wonderful and we wished we had seen it first. We cut across country on a bike route that was on a dyke with the wind at our back. It was so beautiful we kept stopping to drink it in. It is flat land, but the water canals, the constant wind and ducks everywhere and sheep give it a special flavor. We pumped about 12 more miles back to De Cocksdorp and returned our bikes and ran to our hotel just in time to miss a humdinger of a thunder and lightning storm. Due to the weather we dined at our Hotel Molenbos and it turned out to be the best Dover Sole we’ve ever eaten. Of course, this is where all the fish eaten in Europe comes from. We each ate two whole fish – it comes to the table filleted so that’s a lot of fish. Back to our room for another English movie “The Corsican Brothers” – with Dutch subtitles. We’re enjoying the language and add an eua on everything we say now. Many words are similar to the English:

Lot = destiny
Door = door
De = the
Kaffe = coffee
Centrum = center

Weather today was great between 10 and 4 – the weather changes often. We both got sunburns today.

Monday, August 29

We’re up early in Texel – looks like another sunny day. We left on the 10:05 boat to Dan Helder and were on our way to Amsterdam. We made the trip in about 2 hours and drove through Amsterdam, trying to find our way. We drove to an area North of Amsterdam and stopped at a Budget Car Rental for advice. He sent me to a small town called Abcoude. This was a stroke of luck. The town is darling and the hotel brand new inside on a pretty canal. We were able to get a train in town to Amsterdam and took the canal cruise; the city has beautiful old buildings and canals that add so much char, but there is graffiti everywhere and trash in the streets, worse than Philadelphia.

Prostitution and drugs are open and it is very obvious. There are many young men asleep on the squares. It is very sad. We had some time to look at one street of shops before closing. We had dinner at a quaint restaurant and it was good, but not spectacular. Then we took the train back to Abcoude. During our trip to town we had the good fortune of sitting with a young lady called Stella who is an English teacher here. She was very helpful, telling us where to visit and about good restaurants. Then we had a nice chat with a family from Guilford, New Hampshire. It is a small world. We are having a great time.

Tuesday, August 30

Wake for our Holland breakfast of sliced cold meet and cheese, hard-boiled hot egg, coffee, juice and cold breads. We’re both feeling a little upset in the tummy so we’ll try to take it a bit slow today. Our train ride is interesting – we leave the ancient town of Abcoude with its narrow brick streets, old canal and picturesque shops and houses like a Lilliputian village, and speed by the most modern brand new industrial park with high rise buildings of mirror and steel on our way to Amsterdam. We visited Rijks Museum and it is special. The early 17th century Old Masters by Rembrandt including “Night watch.” We enjoyed the 18th & 19th century Dutch Painters the most, especially the works of Isaac and Josef Israel. There were Rubens and Gayans among many others. It’s a magnificent building and its massive rooms and high ceilings lend themselves to the huge paintings of Rembrandt. We went to Hoofdstroots again for shopping. We stopped at a sandwich shop for a light lunch. Our tummies are getting better. We found a sweater for Priscilla but the prices are ridiculous. Back to our rooms early and a light dinner of consommĂ© and quiche at “De Wak ende Haan.”

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