Holland Highlights, Days 3-5

Stroop Therapie

                                    (Dutch translation = Syrup Therapy)

An Evolutionarily series chronicling the moments that left their mark during a time of self discovery and self  renovation.

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Hallo! Welkom terug in Nederland.

(Hello! Welcome back to Holland.)

Day 3:

Spent hours at the Rijks Museum, awed by the detail of Dutch artists including Rembrandt and Vermeer.

 

Bitterballen (potato & meat balls) and Coca-Cola.

 

Boat tour through the Amsterdam canals.

 

While walking to the restaurant where we had reservations Barbara said, “I have a surprise for you.” In a brick wall, like many others I had passed, we came to yet another beautiful door. This one led to one of my favorite places I visited.

We walked through the tunnel and into a secluded little neighborhood founded in the 14th century called The Begijnhof. Traditional and historic connected homes (said to house “single women of good moral character”) encircle a church and a courtyard.

Among its many unique qualities, this sanctuary is located in the innermost circle of the Amsterdam canals and was originally surrounded only by water. You would never guess it was surrounded by a city now. Once you walk through that tunnel, it’s hard to speak above a whisper.

The rest of the 20 minute walk was perfect. The streets were quiet, the lit canals serene. “One of many moments I wish I could capture in a bottle and view months from now,” I wrote in my journal.

We walked on and met Olav at Pata Negra for dinner. They serve Spanish (as in Spain) Tapas for dinner. Mmm-mmm!

This was also the first outing Olav had with us and I got to know him better.  Met Barbara’s mom after arriving home since she was there watching Quint. Here, is where I got it down–the traditional Dutch greeting of kiss. kiss. kiss. Olav noticed and praised me. I was proud of myself for acting comfortable with it.

Day 4:

Due to the rain we scrapped an outdoor activity and hung out around home. It was lovely.

 

Day 5:

For some reason I didn’t learn from my Mom’s lesson in Hawaii and it was my turn to forget my temple recommend, but here I am in front of The Hague LDS Temple, actually located in the cute town of Zoetermeer which has streets that looked like this

 

and a building that looks like this.

Now you know I really mean “cute”.

 

We next visited Madurodam–Holland in miniature.  Fun and interesting.

 

Afterward came a little drive to, followed by a long walk through, the capital Den Haagen or–as we know it–The Hague.

(At the gates of the Parliament building.)

I was enthralled with this city, its elegant restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops and stately buildings, oh my! It definitely had a more sophisticated feel than Amsterdam.

After The Hague, Barbara took me to her parents house where we had dinner and visited.

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The most impressive thing about my first 5 days in Holland wasn’t in the form of architecture or magnificent paintings, but by way of observing Olav. Here was a gentleman like no man I had known. He worked hard for a computer company, but he made time to be with his family. He took care of Quint so that Barbara and I could roam wherever, whenever. AND he joined us on several occasions, acting interested in this American visitor. Bab and Olav weren’t married, but he was committed beyond belief.

I would ponder over Olav’s behavior for the next 5 days and beyond.

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Today’s Syrupy Moment: My short hair is growing on me. Not literally though because I just got it cut two days ago.

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