Sunday, September 30, 2007

Old Churches in the Old Country

netherlands 550-1

We were always told the story of how Oma was afraid the church in Bedum was going to fall over on her when she went past, so she would run by it on the way to school. You can see how it leans in the picture below. Someone told me it has the same tilt as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

netherlands 418

netherlands 421
I thought it was interesting to see the repair that has been done to the windows and the cat that was snooping around.

martini torren
While John was running the marathon in the city of Groningen, I was able to get this quiet shot of the Martinitoren.

monastery netherlands 614
Later in the week, we ate lunch next to a monastery in Ter Apel which dates back to 1465.

netherlands 611
Marianna, Paula & Mom felt the urge to play "Doe, A Deer" like the Von Trapps, (also with my urging.)

netherlands 714
At the end of the week, we saw the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam located in the Begijnhof and established in 1607. The pilgrims worshipped here before they came to America, and we also did in 2003.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Search of John's Ancestors


Another highlight of our trip to the Netherlands originated from our trip back in 2003. At this time, we had walked into the above corporation with hopes of finding out more of John's ancestry. The CEO of the company Dirk invited us in to his office and we left with a complete geneology which included John much to our surprise! Over the years, we have kept in touch with him and he invited us to visit his home. On this visit, we were able to stay at his guest home and see some of the city of Heerenveen where John's grandfather was born.

netherlands 443 netherlands 456
We toured the factory where they make butter and also the streets where John's ancestors walked.

netherlands 460-1
Dirk and his wife, Han, took us out to supper at a Chinese restaurant. Dirk saved us from the challenge of ordering from a Dutch Chinese menu by ordering a great feast from which to choose. It was lekker!

netherlands 485-1
This is the guest house where John & I stayed. It was built in 1856 and had many antiques and old Dutch paintings.

netherlands 478-1 netherlands 474-1

netherlands 531-1 netherlands 532-1
Dirk & Han were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed visiting with them very much!

netherlands 534-1
I will never forget our visit with them and how they so sweetly waved us off as we left. Earlier, when we were having coffee in their own home, he took me back to his office and showed me the picture on his desk that we had sent to him of our family back in 2003. He called us his "far-away family."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Cousin Henry

One of the highlights of going to the Netherlands is seeing cousin Hendrik Jan Zijl, aka Henry. We so appreciate his enthusiasm and expression! When we arrive in Bedum, he comes immediately to the hotel to see us. One of his most memorable expressions is "Fantastic" but he says it like this: "Fon-TAHS-teek". One time he said to me when we were talking about what there is to do in Ohio, "Well, they have the Aim-ish." It was so cute.

netherlands 122-1 netherlands 121-1

Henry hangs with us much of the time and it is so fun. He knows the roads of Holland like the back of his hand.

netherlands 182-1
Waiting for John at the train station with Henry

netherlands 185-1
Henry saying something profound.

netherlands 530-1
Henry visiting at John's cousin Dirk's house with us

henry diner
Henry at a Diner in Bedum with John & I waiting for croquettes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tea With the Queen Mother

netherlands 103
As I mentioned before, we stopped by the palace of Het Loo on our way up to Bedum. We walked around the beautiful gardens and went inside. Photos, however, are not allowed inside the palace. I learned that my namesake, Princess Juliana, had a daughter Maria Christina just like me, so I felt at home.
het loo merge
I slapped together this quick and dirty panorama to give you an idea of the size.

netherlands 055-1netherlands 057
Marianna & Paula enjoyed the stables and the tack rooms.

netherlands 064 netherlands 066
The trees were outstanding. They even had an orange one for the House of Orange.

netherlands 090

This is just a piece of the gardens - you can see how well maintained they are. After an enjoyable lunch and tea with the Queen Mother, we headed up along the Smildevaart towards Bedum. We saw a boat named "Julia" and the significance of a Julia on the Smilde was not lost on us.
netherlands 108

We drove through the town of Smilde but because John was not yet with us, I didn't want to take a picture. I thought it would be sad, like Princess Di by the Taj Mahal. So I present herewith a picture taken in the town of Smilde with John & I in 2003 - our very own carved bushes!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Aldert & Nicky

"Whenever we go to the Netherlands", cousins Aldert & Nicky who live outside of Amsterdam have greeted us at Schipol airport. This time, they graciously hosted us with coffee, lunch, and an outstanding gourmet meal prepared by Nicky. We loved walking around their little town of Nieuwveen and enjoyed the flowers and greenery.

netherlands 028-1
Mom, Nicky, Paula & Marianna in front of their house

netherlands 031
The little canal behind their house is so picturesque.

netherlands 040 netherlands 034 netherlands 027 netherlands 026netherlands 039-1 netherlands 029-1
When we all say "Proost", I can still hear my Dutch Oma roll her R's.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Bricks of Bedum

Bedum was the primary destination of our trip and these are some of the landmarks in the town which we have always heard about. Each of them is a story in itself.
The Gemeentehuis, or City Hall, where Oma & Opa were married

School of the Bible where Dad went to school

hotel gem
Hotel Gemeentehuis where we stayed

netherlands 550-1
The Church with the leaning tower.

netherlands 419-1
The house where Oma lived.

netherlands 431-1 netherlands 596-1
The garage where Dad was born and the house where he lived later