Saturday, June 15, 2013

King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima visit Haarlem!

Yesterday King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima visited Haarlem!  Andrew was able to get home early from work so we headed down to the Grote Markt to see if we could get a peek at them. They were due to arrive at the Provinciehuis at 1620 hrs. (4:20 p.m.) and then arrive via car in the Grote Markt at 1645hrs. We noticed that the Netherlands flag was flying on the Stadhuis and Provinciehuis:

We arrived around 1515 hrs and decided to stop and have a beer and a snack at Stempels while we waited. We finished up there around 1630 and walked over to the Grote Markt. It was very crowded so we inched our way in as close as we could get. There was a choir there who sang as the King and Queen drove up.

We couldn't see anything......except a lot of people!  There were people all over the place.....hanging out of windows: 

Standing on balconies:
And even up on rooftops!

The only way we knew they had arrived was because everyone in the crowd had their cameras pointing in one direction and they turned as the King and Queen made their way to the Stadhuis!  

Soooooo, I took my camera and held it up as high as I could pointing it in the direction of where I thought they were and started taking pictures!  We never did actually see them....but my camera did!!! 

The Bergermeister (Mayor) of Haarlem gave a speech, the King and Queen waved and then left....Kind of a letdown. Everyone was hoping for a speech......
The Bergermeister:

There was an entertainer, by the name of Dolly Bellefleur, that everyone seemed to recognize who went through the crowds shaking hands:

On our way home we saw a few cute families on bicycles!


Yesterday I was walking back from the Haarlem Train station and saw a swan in one of the canals....and had to take some was just so beautiful to see!

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm baaaaaack!!! Kevin's two week visit May 26-June 8th

Well, the past two weeks sped by like the speed of light. Kevin was here to visit from California. We had a great time together! It was so nice to spend some one on one time with him. This posting is a synopsis of our two weeks together!

He arrived on Sunday, May 26th and left on Saturday, June 8th.

 The first day he arrived we stayed in Haarlem and just showed him around town a bit. We went down to the Grote Markt, and went inside St. Bavo's Church (de Grote Kerk)

 and walked along the Spaarne River

Monday the weather forecast said no rain (rare around here!!!) ....sooooo Kevin and I headed for Amsterdam while Andrew went to work. We took the bus to the Haarlem train station, the train to Amsterdam, then the tram to our destination.....first stop: The Rijksmuseum:

 Van Gogh:


We walked around town:
 The flower market:

 Street entertainer:

 Amsterdam Centraal Station:
 And back to Haarlem!
Tuesday...a sunny day! Hurrah!!!  Because it's so rare, we went to Duin and Kruidberg, where we sat on the patio and had a nice lunch:

 Then we headed over to Zandvoort.....
 and had an afternoon snack at De Haven:

The next day we decided to stay in Haarlem.....soooooo, we went to the only standing Gate to Haarlem:

 Stopped by the sporting goods store to take a look around...saw some unusual hockey sticks:

Then we headed over to the JopenKerk for a beer. At one time it was a church, but it's now a brewery with a wide variety of beers to choose from:

 When we were ready to leave it started pouring down rain!!! Luckily I had brought two umbrellas, so we were able to head home. The downpour only lasted about 15 minutes.

Thursday, May 30th.....We stayed in Haarlem again......We met a friend (Louise) for a cup of verse muntthee (fresh mint tea):
Then we decided to go over to the Haarlem Windmill where we were able to have a guided tour!

A view of the Haarlem jail from the top of the windmill:

**** Friday, May 31st ****ROAD TRIP ****
We left the house at 10:15 in the morning for the kennel to drop off the pets. They open at 11:00...we were hoping to be first in line!  When we arrived (about 15 minutes early), the doors were open and they were nice enough to take the pets early!

Our first stop was the Mardasson Memorial in Bastogne, Belgium

We drove on to the town of Florenville, Belgium...where we stayed at the le Prieure de Conques

We had a beautiful, delicious dinner:

Then went for a walk afterwards....

The next morning we headed towards our next destination.....the Luxembourg American Memorial in Luxembourg City.

We left there and headed for Trier, Germany:

 Street entertainers:
 Porta Negra (Latin for "the black wall), is a large Roman City Gate in Trier.
 We walked through the Trier Cathedral:

Then stopped for lunch in the town square:

 When we left Trier, we headed towards Piesport.....

 We stopped to do some wine tasting and ended up buying a couple bottles:

 We continued on past Piesport and into Braubach where we stayed at the Landgasthof Zum Weissen Schwannen:

 The Marksburg Castle overlooking the Rhine:
 We walked around the town of Braubach......everything was closed!

 Except this little restaurant...where we stopped for dinner:

Sunday morning we got up, had breakfast at the hotel and headed up to the Marksburg Castle. We didn't know how much time we would need, so we decided to drive up there and park the car in the lot.

 The Rhine River is flooding.....

 Inside the castle:

We headed over to the Schloss Stolzenfels, which was on the other side of the river after leaving Marksburg...We had to park at the bottom of the hill and hike up. It was quite a walk!!!

 This Castle is apparently on the Santiago Pilgrimage trail....
 A "Toi Toi" in the woods!

 They don't allow picture taking inside this castle........

 You can see how much the Rhine was rising!

 We left the Schloss and continued over to where the Rhein and Mosel Rivers meet:

I thought this sign was funny.......means "exit" in German!
 Our next stop was the city of Koln (Cologne in English):

 The only thing to see there really is the cathedral...... It's beautiful!!!

 We decided to get some dinner at the Cafe Reichard. Andrew and I had been here before and love the view from the outdoor tables!  It was sooooo cold though, we only lasted outside about 15 minutes!

 Soooooo....we went inside for dinner!
 Afterwards we went back over to the cathedral to take a better look. The large statue to the right of the "guys" is a replica of what is at the very top of the church.

 A gargoyle!

 We took a walk across the river to see the cathedral from the other pretty!
 There are locks along the entire bridge! People "lock their love" with small locks and throw the keys into the river!
 The back side of the cathedral....
 We stayed here, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Gummersbach, the last night of our trip.

The next morning we started towards home early.....we had to pick up the pets before 1600hrs. We stopped in the city of Maastricht, The Netherlands.....
 and went through the Dom:

 For lunch, we stopped at an unusual McDonalds!!!

 We picked up the pets around 1530hrs.....perfect timing!
Andrew and Kevin played chess a couple of times!

The next morning Andrew was back to work......Kevin and I went back to Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank House (picture from Google)
While we were standing in line waiting to get in there was a man in a little boat entertaining everyone! He would play his instruments and the church next to the canal would ring the bells to go with his was quite a duet!!!

After going through the Anne Frank House we went to the Wester Cafe for some lunch:
 Walked through de Jordaan area of Amsterdam......

 Then took the tram over to see the Heineken Experience!

 We got back to Haarlem and I realized I didn't have a key to get in the house!  Oh oh....locked out! Of course, it was one of those evenings that Andrew had to stay late....sooooo, we went and had dinner at Napoli:

The next day we just "hung out" in Haarlem. We walked over to the Elfenbankje Pannenkoekenhuis in the Haarlemmerhout and had lunch. Yummmm!

 On the way home we saw some of the Haarlem fire equipment. Their crew was over at the gelato place in town!

Wednesday, June 5th:
Kevin and I had some breakfast and headed out to Zaanse Schans. We took two trains to get took about an hour. Very very cute Dutch town!

 The first Albert Heijn store:
We had lunch at de Swartz Halvis Restaurant:

 We went through the was a lot of fun to watch a working windmill!

 There is a clog shop! They give demonstrations....but that part of the building was closed the day we were there:

 On the way out of town we stopped and had a cup of coffee and some apple pie. Our view......

That evening we went on a walk through the Haarlemmerhout....

The next day we stayed in Haarlem. We had guests coming in the evening and I had a few errands to run! Kevin was so good about helping me carry bags of groceries home!!!
We did go out for a nice lunch at Brinkmann's in the Grote Markt. From there we could see the Grote Kerk (St. Bavo's) and watch the world go by!

Friday night we had a few friend over.....Bruce, Michiel
 Linda and Hetty...

 and Tessel with Kevin!
 We had a great last evening with our friends and Kevin!  Roel and Mildred came by also, but couldn't stay very long. Roel went home and brought back a Netherlands Marine cap for Kevin--he loved it!
I think we have the best neighbors/friends anyone could have! We are so blessed!


Kevin's flight to LAX left at 0950hrs., so we arrived at the airport around 0745hrs. They've changed things around again, and now you can't see off your loved one to have to leave them at the place they check their bags!  It was difficult to say good-bye...but we did have a wonderful two weeks!