Friday, July 24, 2015

Grandson Nicholas in the Netherlands: Week One

A week is now under our belt, so to speak, and we're thrilled by what g'son Nicholas has already seen!  Remember that he just turned 15 and I just turned we're really celebrating big-time!

And for the record, here's a quick synopsis thus far, based on the collages I've been posting every day at Facebook.  Later, after he leaves, I plan to make a photo book with many more images in detail.

Day 1, Friday, 17 July:  Arrival at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam

Right outside the airport terminal is this art sculpture "I AMSTERDAM."
Talk about a tourist attraction we couldn't avoid/miss.

Later at home we walked into town to pick up museum cards...and an ice cream!

Day 2, Saturday, 18 July:  Fort Vuren, Loevestein Castle, and Woudrichem

We stayed pretty close to home but covered a lot of territory, starting with Fort Vuren.
It's an underground fortress from 1844.

We drove on the dijk along the Merwede river, crossed the bridge at Zaltbommel,
and drove back on the other side of the river to the Loevestein Castle, from 1357,
directly across the river from where we just were at Fort Vuren.
 With our museum cards we were able to go first time!

It didn't take Nicholas long to get the hang of walking on stilts.

Next door to the castle is a delightful town called Woudrichem,
our sister city across the river from us here in Gorinchem.
The "Nooit Gedagt" windmill sells the flour we use for Astrid's bread machine.
It also allows visitors to climb to the top, which we did.

While in Woudrichem we ate at the De Stroming restaurant.
It was Nicholas' first time to experience a Dutch uitsmijter!

Day 3, Sunday, 19 July:  Gorinchem Citadel Walk and Dinner with Jeroen and Eva

We had a stay-at-home day to walk around our Gorinchem citadel.
We stretched the normal one-hour walk into 2, stopping all along the way.

And as a huge surprise that evening, Jeroen and Eva invited us for Indonesian.
Jeroen is Astrid's son, so it was cool to see him, Eva and Nicholas interact.

Day 4, Monday, 20 July:  Kinderdijk and the Pannenkoeken restaurant

It happened to be a misty-rainy day but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
Nicholas said it felt "sacred."  His word.

And at our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant out in the polder,
Nicholas ate his first Dutch pancakes.  

Day 5, Tuesday, 21 July:  Paper Exhibition at the Gorinchem Museum

Again, because we had museum cards and were staying close to home,
we decided to see the Paper exhibition in our own city center.

Later that evening, Nicholas and Astrid did the dishes.
He's quite the sport, earning his keep.

Day 6, Wednesday, 22 July:  Amsterdam

 Have you noticed that we're pacing ourselves with days of rest between the big days?
Amsterdam was a long day but we did it, driving back-n-forth to the AJAX soccer arena,
and then taking the METRO into the city.

We started at the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt's "Night Watch" 
and then hoped to get into the Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums until we saw the long lines.
We walked by the apartment where Donica and I used to live, ate at Wagamama,
took the tram to the floating flower market, saw Central Station and the St. Nicholas Church,
and even walked the Red Light District, just to say we did it.
Nicholas giggled all day at the drug and sexual innuendos.

Day 7, Thursday, 23 July:  Malle Molen Restaurant and Mixed Fighting

  Besides going grocery shopping together and starting a 1,000 dot-to-dot drawing of Amsterdam...

 ...we went to the Malle Molen (Silly Mill) for supper (what the pot cooks),
and then immediately drove to Eva's father's house for  an adventure.

Nicholas had the chance of a lifetime to be mentored in Mixed Fighting
by Alex Hesseling (Eva's father), a real pro and instructor.

What a special and unexpected treat for all of us,
especially for me to watch and capture.

"Fighting isn't about winning or losing," the instructor said, 
"but about learning yourself and what you can or cannot do."
How's that for the first week!


  1. He is so adorable and what a GREAT SPORT to be photographed so much! Ha! Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy...and can't wait for more!

    1. Nicholas and I had a secret for a long time that we'd make a photo book for Amy of this trip...but yesterday, when she came up with the idea for me to do it, we decided to let her know it was already in the works. HA! Yup. And because of that, Nicholas has been a great sport. He knows he's making history...HIStory! :)

  2. Soooo glad to see all of the photos and the recap in one place. Thanks, Mom! I really do feel a bit closer to Nicholas being able to see and hear about the journey in such great detail. And I agree with Gotham Girl, he truly is being a good sport living in front of the lens!

    1. He has known for a looooong time that we were making a book for you to see of this trip, Amykins, which is why he's been such a good sport. He knows he'll appreciate it all years from now!! :)

  3. What an adventure and incredible memories you are giving him....he is an amazing young man of has he liked the food?

    1. He has been a good sport about EVERYTHING, Donna, for which we're very thankful...even the food. One full week is now under our belt with still more memories to come. YAY.

  4. How precious!!!!! He will remember this moments forever. So happy for you two.

    1. Thank you, Maria...and yes, let's hope he never forgets. I'm planning to make a photo book of the trip, so that will help! :)

  5. Love sharing your time together Ginnie! Thanks for sharing all of this - I'm looking forward to the second week as well. I know how excited he was to come visit and I can see he wasn't disappointed!


    1. Awww. Thanks for commenting, Judy. I hope to get the second week up by tomorrow since Nicholas is now on his way back to Atlanta as we speak. Well, the plane is scheduled to leave any minute now, that is. We just got back from taking him to Schiphol. Now Amy and Dennis will be awaiting him!

      It was a fabulous two weeks, no doubt about it. I plan to make a photo book of it all, to make sure he'll never forget it. HA!

  6. You know I ate up every photo and word about his visit. I can't wait to hear more in detail, maybe in skype this week?

    1. I know, Ruth. That's why I HAVE to make a photo book. And YES, let's Skype this week!