We took a 2 week autumn trip to Europe that I will document in 3 posts. First stop was Wassernar to visit our expat American friends. (Their faces have appeared in lots of other photos in this blog!) Lucky people who get to live and work in this beautiful place!
The perfect walking town, Wassenaar boasts a lively town center with cheese shops, bakeries, boutiques, cafes, library/cinema, and historic monuments. One morning we enjoyed a mechanical organ "wagon" with our coffee.
We spent a morning in Haarlem, visiting the Corrie Ten Boom house. She wrote the book/movie "The Hiding Place," which chronicles her Christian family's hiding of Jews and other local people who refused to join the Nazis. They were successful for a long time (estimates say they saved 800 people!) but finally were caught and ended up in a concentration camp; Corrie survived to tell the story and to evangelize the love of God until she was 91. Look her up at http://www.biography.com/people/corrie-ten-boom-21358155
Here is the house (still the family watch/jewelry shop) :
In the museum:
the "hiding place" between the walls that was accessed through the bottom of the linen closet:
The town square and beautiful cathedral (now de-commissioned)
with its organ that a young Mozart played:
and a lunch of dutch baked treats, looking across to this amazing old guild hall:
The next day we headed out for The Hague by bus; everyone else, it seems, rides bikes! This is one of the train station parking lots:
We went to the Mauritshuis Museum to see Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring
and then Hendrick Mesdag's Panorama. Wow. This is a small museum that features a round tower room, where the visitor is surrounded by a gigantic painting of the beach near The Hague in 1880. The cylindrical canvas is 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference. Imagine you are standing in the round tower:
It is awesome, really. Here is a video on youtube...you are standing in the middle, looking past the "real" sand dune down to the water and overlooking the villages.
That evening we acted like the "natives" and biked down to the beach for a seafood dinner. The Dutch sky is ever-changing with clouds and sun and colors.
Saturday morning we awoke to this pretty scene out the window of our friends' apartment. It is the day the windmill is open to the public - they really mill grain there, still!
Another local habit - biking to your favorite cheese farm! We watched the cows, sheep and goats, then sampled the cheese and bought some for lunch.
Then we biked to the bigger town of Leiden, a canal and market city. This is the town that the Pilgrims sailed from and also famous for the artist Rembrandt.
Our cheese lunch followed by a cleansing pilsner:
Our final evening was spent with other friends at their beautiful home. The view from their back garden over the canal. Ahhh.
Our trip ended in Amsterdam.
The child seat!
Lots of great beers
The Van Gogh Museum and a special Munch exhibit
The Anne Frank House
And tulip clogs!
Next stop: Prague!!! Stay tuned!!