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 70...so 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 inside...my first time!
It didn't take Nicholas long to get the hang of walking on stilts.
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.
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...
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!