March 23, 2012

Day 10, Feb. 5, 2012

Is it really the last day of our trip already? Wow where did the time go? We have had the most wonderful time and enjoying it with everyone we have met has made it that much more beautiful. The four of us attended church at the LDS Chapel in Leiden. Then our day would be full of sightseeing in this lovely town with Rennie and Rene', Dove and Jon.I think we have created an Angry Bird monster. Alex enjoyed playing it on my tablet.
And I guess it's really coming to an end. Stuart thought we better get all checked in for our flight. This means good bye, so sad!
I told you he was having fun, look he's still playing!
Yvonne has all sorts of picture's, which she calls her memory wall. Anybody recognize the three sillies up in the left hand corner? It's the Carter clan! Yvonne has trip pictures from the past, newspaper clippings and Rosa all posted up.

We met the other couples in Leiden, jumped on a bus to the center of town.
More ice skaters enjoying the fresh ice.
Welcome to Leiden!
And their quaint little streets covered with snow. I'm sure there is no snow there now, all the flowers are blooming now.
This is the city hall, the bells were ringing loud and strong in the background. What a pretty sound it was.
This is a museum Rene' had remodeled through his work.
Leiden is the home of Rembrandt. He was born and raised here. This picture and statue stands on the location of his birth home. It was torn down before he was famous.
This is the school where he studied and learned art.
Something new they are trying here in Leiden is called "Tree Knitting", their goal is to have all the trees covered to keep them warm in the wintertime. Now isn't that something unique?
This is the Pieterschurch in the back ground, built in 1121. This was Leiden's first church.
This is one of the pillars in the church. You can see how big they are compared to me, they make me look tiny!
Inside the church is a cemetery for the rich or elite. You can see the head stone carvings on the floor.
The only covered bridge in the Netherlands and it's right here in Leiden. It was used as the market place where all would come sell their wares.
A castle called the De Burcht or Citadel. This is the oldest surviving example of a motte castle.
Hi Jon and Alex!
And look at this they keep the "royalty" from falling on the ice!
This is great, we found a place to warm us up with hot chocolate and a pound of slaagram. Catching up on some laughter with great friends also warms us up.

Rennie and Rene' hosted our going away dinner that evening. They live on the 11th floor (or as I call it, the Penthouse). Wow what a view of the city.
Our gracious hosts.
And their greeting committee, James and Oliver.
We start off with tea and cake. Look at the variety.
Cheese and mustard to try as an appetizer. Liverwurst was also provided for us newbies. Stuart had some but me, "no thanks". Raw and steamed oysters were also provided, look at Stuart go for those!
Rennie had the table set so perfectly. She makes one heck of a hostess.
They had fixed mussels and all the trimmings.
They spoiled those of us that wouldn't be dining on mussels with a delicious chicken wrapped in ham and baked in cream sauce.
For dessert, apple tart and ice cream.
What a beautiful view, great conversation and food. What could be better?
Not having to leave!
Now parting gifts, let the crying begin! Dove surprised me with the picture we had taken at the Bloggers Bee. I will cherish this day for a very long time.
Getting late, there is packing to do and goodbyes are never fun.
But for this group it's not
"tot ziens"
"tot wij elkaar weer"
Until we meet again
(maybe I can learn this language)

March 9, 2012

Day 9, Feb. 4th A super Saturday!

Today would be one of the funnest of our trip. We really did do a lot things the dutch are known for. We encounterd this young family on the ice, the first for the skating season.
Our tour guides for the day Alex and Yvonne first took us to the old village in Markem.
We stopped at the wooden shoe factory. What a neat, neat place. I was so excited because this is something I wanted to see right from the get go! I love shoes! Alex and I had to try on the pair outside. Not our size!
The shoes were hanging everywhere. They are hung to dry out before they can paint them.
Some have very intricate designs carved into them. Aren't these a pretty pair?

And then me and Yvonne had to give the shoes a try. Still to big!
We strolled through the village and "just" had to stop for apple pie and hot chocolate!
And there it is again, slograam! I shared mine with Alex of course.
The morning was beautiful. Here we are all standing in front of the fishing boats at the pier. This is just like I pictured Holland to be. Something right out of a history book.

After our stop in Markem we drove over to Volendam, another quaint little village by the sea. We browsed a bit and of course we couldn't leave until we had had our authentic dutch picture taken. Aren't these the cutest little dutch girl's you've ever seen? We laughed and laughed about this, it was so much fun. Even Stuart got in on the action and dressed up. I didn't even recognize him when he came out all decked.
We stopped at a cafe for french fries, mayo and a little drink called Diet Coke! The fries there were so good and crispy. You could eat til your sick! Wonderful food in the Netherlands, have I mentioned that before.
Great company, good food. What else does one need?
The seagulls at the pier in Volendam.
Our next car ride would bring us to this neat site of the old working windmills in De Zaansche Molen.

We got to take a tour of one of them. They were making flour and colored dye for paint.
Just like the dutch people do. A kiss, kiss, kiss!
While we were there we visited a cheese factory. They have the best cheese in the Netherlands. Let's just say a few blocks made it in the suitcase headed for home.
We were going to be having dinner at Rennie and Renae' home on Sunday, a tradition they share with each other over there is taking flowers to the host of the party or get together. So after we returned back to Katwijk from a great day of sightseeing, we shopped for flowers at the nursery right by Alex and Yvonne's home.
They had the most gorgeous flowers. I wanted to bring them all home with me. If this place was next to my house, I would have fresh flowers all of the time! I can still smell the aroma of the flowers as I type. Heavenly!

We visited awhile and made dinner reservations for the evening. Yvonne and Alex surprised us with all of these going away gifts. They really did to much. We are very spoiled by them. But we love every minute of it!

Candy, candy dish, a beautiful picture frame and the cutest little dutch couple salt and pepper shakers, and guess what? They're kissing!
For dinner that night we went to a very nice steak house called the "Orion". We thought the shrimp cocktail would be a good starter. Not quite what we expected and not the prettiest picture I know, but it was so yummy. These tiny baby shrimp were all peeled and piled on top of a bed of cabbage. The sauce reminded me of pink sauce like we have here in the states for our french fries. And the steaks, well they were yummy too!
Once again, great company, great food. It seems all we did on this trip was eat! But hey, isn't that what vacations all about!

So much shopping today and guess what? We didn't even hit a quilt shop! What's up with that! How in the world are we going to get all of this in our suitcases?
And my favorite find today, my new slippers. They look just like the real things huh? Oh they felt good after being on my feet all day. And very warm too.
One more day to go and then to start packing. Do I have to?