Friday, June 30, 2017

Dad and Mom on a Canal

After we'd taken the train from Haarlem and made it to Amsterdam, we put our luggage in a locker again, and looked for a canal tour. That was the only real thing on the agenda for the day. There are several tour companies that depart from right by the train station, and they leave pretty often, so we picked one that was semi open (so we wouldn't die of heat and so that we wouldn't have a glare on our pictures) and bought tickets. The company we went with was called Lovers, which initially sounded like it would be a tour of seedy Amsterdam, but I think it's just the name. This tour had audio tours in a number of different languages and it was pretty comprehensive. The tour lasted one hour, and we got off at the same place we'd gotten on the boat (there are hop-on-hop-off boats too, which would have been a good option maybe the day before).

The Basilica of St. Nicholas. Carson loved this church the last time and basically forced us to visit it again.

Carson also told us to go to this place because he'd wanted to the last time but got voted down. We didn't really want to go there this time either so we took a picture with it instead, and ended up looking like we were taking a picture of this girl. Sorry there!

We didn't really have a lot left on our list to see in Amsterdam. There were plenty of things we could have done, but the consensus was NO MORE WALKING PLEASE from the peanut gallery (mom and dad), so we just stayed not too far away, visited some souvenir stores, and took it slow.

This picture doesn't even capture how many people there were. 

Here was lunch that day: an unintentional strawberry theme. Dad had a strawberry crepe, Mom had a pesto panini and then ordered both strawberry cheesecake and strawberry pie, and I had a few bites of all of that and a strawberry smoothie, which was being made when I took the pictures.

I asked someone to take our picture with the station in the background and they mostly captured the ground, but we're all smiling and it isn't a selfie, so it's okay, I guess!

We took a train back to Amsterdam Sloterdijk and then were the first people to hop on the bus when it arrived. Mom wasn't thrilled about sitting in the front on our way there, so she sat behind Dad and I, and we enjoyed our front row seats!

When we got back to Münster, we were hungry, so we grabbed Döner at the place across the street from the bus station. Carson met us there!

Little sunset as we walked back home (this is after 10pm)

Everyone packed up that night since we'd be leaving for Frankfurt/the airport the next day. Wow, that went by fast!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dad and Mom see Haarlem

We didn't have to be at the Ten Boom Museum for our tour until 10am, so we got a bit of a later start in the morning. We had breakfast at the hotel and then walked around a little bit. I wish we'd budgeted a little more time in the morning because we definitely could have seen so much more than we did, but it was okay! The streets we did explore were very cute.

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch woman whose believing family helped the Jewish people. During the years of the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, the ten Boom family hid and helped over 600 Jewish people! Corrie wrote a book called The Hiding Place which is how I became familiar with her story. The family were all believers, and Corrie and her sister Betsie were middle-aged unmarried women who lived with their father and a couple of aunts in this home, along with the people they were hiding. I'd seriously recommend the book because parts of it read like fiction, hearing stories of how they lived with lots of people hidden in the house and how they were arrested and taken to concentration camps. Corrie survived Ravensbruck in Germany and returned, eventually traveling around speaking about her experience and the amazing things God did during this time. That's such a basic description, but she really had an amazing life story.

The tour is free, with only a suggested donation. They allow 20 people to do the tour at once, and the tours are given by volunteers. Ours was a sweet elderly lady named Ety, who was a child during the war and so could tell her stories of what it was like living in those times. 

This is the view from the roof.

Why do pictures never do justice to steep things? These stairs were steep and narrow.

There was a hiding place built into a wall in Corrie's bedroom. They had a bookcase with a hidden door for those in hiding to sneak into. The place in the wall is very narrow and small, but when the ten Boom family was arrested, the people hidden in their house were never found! They have opened up the wall so that visitors can look inside and stand in there, and you can also go through the hidden door if you desire.

Hidden ration cards

They used this signal in the window to indicate that things were "all clear" and that no Nazis were inside. 

Mom with our tour guide.

We picked our bags up after this and walked back to the train station to spend the rest of our day in Amsterdam.

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