Tuesday, June 11, 2013

For Bill and Ange

On my Shutterchance photoblog (where Astrid and I met virtually back in 2007, remember?) will be the following collage tomorrow, in honor of Bill and Ange's 4-day visit with us from England this past weekend:

It's a nice little overview of what we did/saw.  All thumbs up!
[click any collage to enlarge]

Bill is one of The Three Stooges on Shutterchance, along with Chris and Chad (who come to visit in September, sans wives).  Chris is the one with whom we've stayed the last 2 years in Bath, England.  As you see, our little blogging community has reaped many wonderful benefits.

So, on Friday morning Astrid and I drove to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam to pick up our guests.  And because seeing Amsterdam was on their list of wishes, we decided to "do" it that day.

Even the airport is a photo op, you know!
We were especially happy that I AMSTERDAM was waiting for us as we departed the terminal.

From the airport we drove to the AJAX soccer arena to park
and then headed to city center via the Metro...first to eat lunch before, anything else,
at De Drie Graefjes (The Three Counts) near the Dam and the Royal Palace.
We all had uitsmijters...to start off some Dutch "introductions."

Then we took a one-hour boat tour around city center to get an overview.
Just what the doctor ordered...before continuing on foot.

There's so much to see in Amsterdam!  How do you pick-n-choose when you have only a couple hours?
We chose to zig-zag our way to see the Rijksmueum, as well as the Van Gogh and Concert Hall nearby...
before ending up at the one Wagamama I know like the back of my hand...
and then headed back to the arena to get the car and drive home to Gorinchem.

That was Friday, the warmest and sunniest day of the year to date!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On Saturday, after breakfast, we had another agenda but not nearly as taxing as Amsterdam.  Good!

Our first stop was the Wijnhandel van Ouwerkerk wine shop in nearby Arkel.
It, too, is a photo op and one all photographer visitors will have to see when they come.
(We took Robin when she was with us last October, remember?)

From there we drove to Buren, less than 20 miles away, with ties to Dutch royalty.
The Prins van Oranje windmill, from 1716, was open to visitors so Bill got to see the inner workings.
(Ange is afraid of heights...just like Peggy when she and Bob visited us 2 years ago!)

Our main destination of the day was Wijk bij Duurstede to see the castle and drive-thru windmill.
By now some of you old-timers here will probably recognize these places!

We ate lunch at De Engel, our favorite café there, which never disappoints.
First the windmill, lunch at the café, the castle...and then home via the back roads.

That evening for supper Astrid made her famous spinach and apple tarts.  LUCKY US!
Afterwards we watched "Casablanca" on the couch...my first time from beginning to end!
It happens to be one of Bill's favorite movies and we had just bought it for €1 at our Open Harbor Day!

Another wonderful, sunny, full day.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Sunday was our last full day together, so we decided to stay relatively close to home, driving along our side of the Merwede river before crossing over to see the castle and sister city we can see from our citadel wall.

On the way we stopped by the stork village to see the "spring love."
Bill and Ange said later it was probably the highlight of the trip for them.
Have you ever seen storks?  They're a protected species in the Netherlands!
(I threw in the old Fiat and 3-wheeled motorcycle for fun.)

The Loevestein Castle is a medieval castle from 1357.
We can actually see it from across the river when we take walks here at home!  Seriously.

It was a good place to eat a light lunch of asparagus soup.
Just what the doctor ordered.

Then we explored...and had fun.  It's an interactive castle!

And as you see, it was another sunny day...but cooler than the first 2 days.  Perfect.

Then we drove to Woudrichem, Gorinchem's sister city across the river, and 2 miles from the castle.

One thing Bill mentioned over and over again:  water is everywhere!  It's so true.  
No matter where you go in the Netherlands, there will definitely be water nearby!
Water and dikes.

By that point we were ready to go back home to rest an hour before supper 
at our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant out in the polder.

We ordered 4 different pannenkoeken:
shoarma with pineapple and cheese
chicken ragout with curry
farmer's tomato, ham, onion, pepper, and cheese
goat's cheese, honey, bacon and grapes

We each ate a quarter and passed the plates for the next quarter.

That evening we ate the last of Astrid's apple tart and watched "The Adjustment Bureau."
Another full day!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On Monday morning, we stayed at home and took a walk around our citadel city where we live, here in Gorinchem.  

Last but not least...we wanted to show off where we live.
We LOVE our city.  We LOVE where we live.
And we're thankful whenever we have the time (vacation days for Astrid!) to entertain visitors.

We ate erwtensoep (pea soup) with roggerbrood (rye bread) and brie for lunch, 
before leaving for the airport.
We were so determined to give them a real taste of Dutch life.

And we did!  What a great visit! Thank you, Bill and Ange.
All thumbs up!


  1. Absolute fabulous and an amazing job done in 1 (one) day. By the look of all the pictures, it shows we had a wonderful time, we saw a lot and we covered a lot of ground.
    The weather was our best friend, dry and not too hot or too cold.
    This (everything showed in the pictures) is what makes life very pleasant, good food, good drinks and GOOD company.
    Thank you for showing these pictures. A great memory to keep.

    1. It couldn't have been better in any way! I didn't try to get pictures of everything we saw (since I've shown those images before on this site) but mostly pictures of the 3 of you at those places. That was what was fun for me this time around. :) Hartstikke bedankt for being my partner in crime. :)

  2. It is a wonderful collection to remind us of the great time we had. Thank you so much

    1. You're so very welcome, Bill. It really was important for me to do this for you and Ange because we had such a great time! As I told Astrid, it couldn't have been better. :)

  3. you two are great hosts. and there's so much to see in your neck of the woods.

    i've met wonderful people at shutterchance too. hope to meet eye to eye someday.

    1. It's a small world after all, Maria! I do believe one day we'll meet you and hubby! Absolutely. :)

  4. What a time! Ginnie , you are a marvel with your style here. I'm tired just imagining all that you did that weekend. Wonderful recollection.

    1. Thank you, dear Mary. The good news is that each consecutive day was less and less strenuous, on purpose. Still, we kept seeing a lot every day!

  5. Bloody hell ... you pack it in! I'm feeling a bit footsore just from looking at all the fun stuff you go up to :-)

    1. We did have a blast, Geoff, and packed a lot in...but not too much. We didn't kill ourselves, which is the good news. HA! Thanks.

  6. Wagamama? That's so un-Dutch. He he...
    A proper rijsttafel would be nicer. :o)

    Great fun!
    You both really know how to entertain your guests. ;o)
    When are you coming to England again?
    It's just across sea.

    1. HA! You're definitely right about the Wagamama vs. a proper risjttafel, LC. However, whenever we're in Amsterdam, we just HAVE to get our Wagamama fix. :)

      Our next rrip to England is in May, 2014, staying in Bath again with SC friends. Once Astrid retires, we'd like to fly over more often. More vacation days! :)

  7. Looks like a wonderful visit ... I would think starting out with that boat tour was an excellent idea. So much good food, too, and your friends seem to be such a fun couple, just what the doctor ordered! Thanks for sharing it all.

    1. Astrid was the one who came up with the scenic boat tour, Susan, and it was exactly the perfect way to start the day after lunch! One of these days I hope you and Larry can come visit us!!! :)

  8. I read all your past posts I missed. I have been away from the computer and am truly behind this time. What a multitude of picturesque photos! I have all these images of timbered houses, bridges, swans and the medieval cities swimming in my eyes. I could stay a week or more in these lovely cities. Also I have not seen so many churches in a long time but they certainly are ornate and beautiful. The little towns look great under the snow but it was nice to see the sun when you met you English friends. You certainly showed us well how your cruise went – I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your colorful photos.

    1. Thank you, dear Vagabonde, for taking the time and effort to backtrack over all these posts. You're quite the trooper, as Astrid would say. Catch up at home now and pamper yourself a bit!