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In an effort to make the best of what time we have left on this side of the pond, we took off Thursday night and drove a little over 5 hours to spent the night in western Holland.

The next morning we drove 7 kilometers west to “Keukenhof” which is the closest thing to the Garden of Eden that we have found so far. It is about 70 acres of every kind of flower there is, in a park-like setting.

After that we spent a few hours driving around gawking at the tulip fields. It is quite something to look over hundreds of acres and just see row upon row of color. We timed it perfectly this year, which is much better than last when about all we saw was cut stems. We spent Friday night in Delft, which is our favorite city in Holland. After walking the streets/canals we had dinner outside in the “Billy Beer Garden” (“Beer” is Dutch for “Bear”), which is the Netherlands equivalent to Applebee’s. The next morning we took in the Flea Market (which is our custom) and made off with some copper pots and an antique pocketknife. From there we headed southeast to “Molens Van Kinderdikj” where we saw the largest collection of windmills in Holland (19 in all).

After that we headed for “Nijmegen” (pronounced Nymegan) to see the famous bridge of WWII fame. If you don’t understand, rent the movie “A Bridge Too Far”, as it was the second bridge in “Operation Market Garden”. We crossed it and headed north to Arnhem to see the 3rd bridge (the bridge what was “too far” i.e. the one where Robert Redford had to row across the river using his rifle as a paddle). Both crossings were surreal for me as I have read/heard so much about them.

Then we headed east into Germany for a visit to “Xanten” (pronounced “Zanten”), which is a super example of a north German redbrick city, complete with a windmill mounted on the city wall. Besides the town itself, the main draw is the fact that the “Battle of the Totenberg Forrest”was fought there in the year 9AD. You history buffs will remember that to be the reason the Romans never made it east of the Rhein. There are also some serious roman excavations and a re-built Roman City.

We spent the night in Xanten, at a 200-year-old hotel that once hosted the likes of Winston Churchill, and Queen Victoria. We loved it! Then we took the scenic route home.

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This page contains a single entry by Grandpa published on April 27, 2003 9:38 AM.

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