(Dutch translation = Syrup Therapy)
An Evolutionarily series chronicling the moments that left their mark during a time of self discovery and self renovation.
OK. I’m peetering out on my Stroop Therapie project.
Here’s the deal.
I started the series because it was Winter, I was sick, and I was depressed from being sick. I needed a diversion so I focused on some moments that got me through hard times before. BUT NOW,… here’s what I’m gonna do. Stroop Therapie posts end here.
It’s fitting since I began my trip to Holland five years ago this month.
These days I feel an aversion to reliving the past and am consumed with thoughts of making the most of each day and aspiring toward my new goals. This has a lot to do with having my guts ripped out.
And NOW, I’m not sick, I’m not depressed, and though it is still Winter, I’m much warmer these days (thanks to flashes-post-hyster). Now that my immune system is no longer at battle with cranky estrogen cells, life has new meaning, new purpose. I can’t be grateful enough.
So to end my Stroop Therapie sessions, I will leave you with several of my favorite photos from Holland.
Cobble stone floor of The Hague.
This is how they preserve the old buildings. It’s a pity this doesn’t happen as often in the U.S. At least not that I’ve seen.
And here’s what Naarden looks like from above (I didn’t take this photo; see link for origin)…
And here’s my pancake…
The town center bell tower in the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (just don’t ask me to say that). I think I heard the bells in every city we visited.
My scrumptious fish salad eaten in a restaurant that looked like this…
in a town that looked like this…
and had houses that looked like this…
The town is called Enkhuizen. It was my favorite town of all and we didn’t mean to end up there. I love happy accidents!
View #1 (of my feet and the street far below).
View #2 from the observation deck. Olav, me, and Barbara. Our reflection in the mirrored windows of the shop. We ate at the little restaurant inside. That’s where I ate calamari for the first time.
Then there was this cafe in Utrecht called De Bakkerswinkel. The front of the shop looked like this…
When you walk in the door, it appears to be a cute little (I mean little) bakery. But then you walk to the right of the selling counter and there is a door which looks like it’s leading to a back office.
But no. It’s actually a secret passageway. (OK, it’s not really a secret because there is a sign, but because I couldn’t read Dutch it was a secret.)
Through the secret passageway are winding stairs. They wind and wind and you wonder where you’re going.
Ahh, this is one of the places I wish to go on a cold night like tonight. Their chocolade warme was worth the trip to Holland! Apparently it’s the most popular item on the menu. I’m not surprised.
(That, my friends, is thick, rich chocolate syrup dolloped in the bottom of a creamy, frothy, warm milk.)
After the cafe we went to The Dom Tower…
and climbed the 465 stairs to the top.
View #1 from inside the tower stairs.
View from the top of the tower overlooking the 500 year old church and all of Utrecht.
They say on a clear day you can see all the way to Amsterdam–it’s the highest tower in the country.
So there you have it. Some of the best moments of my life.
To sum up the physical journey, here is an outline (in blue line and green lettered tags) of the places I visited.
Holland Day 10
February 23, 2006
On my last night in Holland, Olav and Barbara took me to one of their favorite restaurants, Pasta e Basta. Ol worked at the one in Utrecht while he was attending University. They have the frame of a grand piano in the corner with the lid up and inside (using it as a table) are all kinds of appetizers to feast on while you wait for your meal. Besides the great Italian food, there are waitresses and waiters who also study voice at the local music conservatory. Our waitress served us and then went to the mic where she sang an aria. A few moments later she sang a pop song. In between the singing servants, while eating our meal, the pianist played popular songs and many in the room sang along, including me, Bab and Ol.
As we laughed and sang and conversed, the sadness crept up inside me. I was leaving these lovely people and this inviting country the next day. I could not have asked for a better ending to my trip. I could not have asked for better hosts on my first trip abroad.
This morning, as Barbara took me to the airport, I felt split in two. I had to make a conscious and focused effort to bring the detached me into reality because she really felt like Holland was her home.
We left without waking Olav. Barbara talked to him on her cell phone while I was in the harried line, getting checked in at the airline; he was not happy that he didn’t get to say goodbye. What a thoughtful man. How do I find one of those?
Actually, I’m looking forward to starting a new life at home with a better perspective on the world.
It’s time to start anew.
Tot ziens, Nederland.