A Travellerspoint blog

Netherlands

Day 63

Essex Farm Cemetery and Antwerp

semi-overcast 21 °C

The first picture in this message shows the unusual chickens that were on the farm we stayed at last night. They looked like they had pom-poms on their heads and on their behinds. They were fun to watch. Reta looked it up on the internet and it seems this is a "Silkie" chicken.

Silkie chicken

Silkie chicken

This morning was cool and cloudy but not uncomfortable.

We drove from our farm stay in France to Belgium. Here we see the Belgium welcome. We are always surprised that English speakers have changed the names of countries and cities to suit themselves rather than use the names the residents of those countries and cities use.

Belgium welcome

Belgium welcome

We had decided that we did not want to go to Flanders Fields but to Essex Farm Cemetery where we believed John McCrae was buried. When we got to Essex Farm Cemetery we found that John McCrae was not buried there but that the aid station that he had worked at was near Essex Farm Cemetery. We were disappointed but share here some of the things we saw.

We were greeted by a local cat

We were greeted by a local cat

The original bunkers that were used as the aid stations were maintained. We have a picture of the interior and exterior of these bunkers.

Exterior of bunker built in a canal bank

Exterior of bunker built in a canal bank

Damp and dank interior of the bunker

Damp and dank interior of the bunker

There were some lovely tributes to John McCrae.

Story of John McCrae

Story of John McCrae

Picture of John McCrae and picture of aid workers

Picture of John McCrae and picture of aid workers

Story about the work John McCrae did

Story about the work John McCrae did

This is a copy of John's famous "In Flanders Fields" poem.

Poem

Poem

Essex Farm Cemetery is the resting place of 1,204 Commonwealth War Dead from the WW I conflict. There were no poppies there but bright red geraniums. Reta was expecting poppies as we see them growing wild all over Europe.

Our next objective was to find a car wash and somewhere we could vacuum the car out. We had thought we found one in Antwerp but when we got there we were disappointed. We looked on the GPS and found one not far away. This car wash was a hand wash place where the staff clean your car inside and out in one hour. We were pleased by that and wandered around this area of Antwerp while the car was being groomed.

- This arch was at the end of the block where we found the car wash.  It is called "Waterpoort at the Gillisplaats".  It was a gate to Antwerp at one time.

- This arch was at the end of the block where we found the car wash. It is called "Waterpoort at the Gillisplaats". It was a gate to Antwerp at one time.


The other side of the arch

The other side of the arch

The top of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts at Antwerp.  This museum is being renovated so we got a picture of the beautiful decoration on top of it

The top of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts at Antwerp. This museum is being renovated so we got a picture of the beautiful decoration on top of it


The Judicial Court House.  It has a very modern design.

The Judicial Court House. It has a very modern design.

Statue outside the Court House

Statue outside the Court House

We retrieved our sparkling car and drove to Amsterdam. We got all of our possessions out of the car and into the hotel to be sorted and repacked. We had a good supper in the hotel.

We need to leave the hotel very early tomorrow to drop the car off at the "Park and Fly" where we picked it up. We will need to do up some paperwork. We will then need to get to the airport in time so we can catch our flight to Toronto. We will be awake for 21.5 hours when our flight from Toronto to Regina lands. Looking forward to being home, just not the long flights and waiting in airports.

We will do a summary of our trip after we have had a few days to sort it all out.

Posted by A-RPoulton 12:56 Archived in Netherlands Comments (1)

Day 2

Keukenhof and Madurodam

semi-overcast

We went to bed last night exhausted as we had been awake for 32 hours by the time we got to sleep last night. Granted, we did have the odd nap but we were awake for the most part.

We woke this morning at 8:15 AM after a solid night of sleep. We had breakfast and, in spite of the rain, we set off for Keukenhof, a garden that we had been waiting two years to see. The rain stopped and we had a sometimes sunny, sometimes overcast day. The gardens were as beautiful as they had been described. The crowds were not as bad as predicted but bad enough. We can not even begin to count the different languages we heard spoken. The varieties of tulips and other flowers was astounding.

IMG_5057.JPG Historic Gate to Keukenhof
A beautiful tulip that looks like a chrysanthemums

A beautiful tulip that looks like a chrysanthemums


IMG_5026.JPG A new flower to us which was labeled as Fritillaria Imperial "Aurora"
IMG_5034.JPG A grandmother and mother encouraging a youngster to jump on the stepping stones in a pond
Two beautiful swans

Two beautiful swans


Pale yellow daffodils

Pale yellow daffodils


The colour stripes in this field are hundreds and thousands of tulips

The colour stripes in this field are hundreds and thousands of tulips

Bed of a variety of colours of tulips

Bed of a variety of colours of tulips


Whimsical tree full of birds - part of the garden art

Whimsical tree full of birds - part of the garden art


We are our lunch on a park bench enjoying our surroundings. We toured more gardens and then left for Madurodam. As we left the parking lot of Keukenhof the parking lot attendant spoke to us in French, we were surprised, until we realized our car has French licence plates.

Madurodam is another garden/park which was built after the Second World War. This park is just outside the city of The Hague. The park features displays which are miniatures of many famous sights and towns in the Netherlands. The displays have been improved and expanded to show modern technology. There are at least two or three new displays under construction at this time. Many displays are motorized, such as, the vehicles moving along freeways, trains, ships on channels and processions in front of churches or in squares. Some of the displays had interactive components that youngsters and the young at heart could participate in. Reta could not help but play at some of them.

IMG_5064.JPG Entrance to Madurodam

IMG_5065.JPG A sculpture of a man stopping a leak in the dam

IMG_5072.JPG Typical farm house scene

IMG_5076.JPG Windmill with cows grazing nearby

IMG_5080.JPG A race car spinning out

IMG_5089.JPG A depiction of Jonathon Swift's Gulliver being tied down by the Lilliputians

IMG_5091.JPG Giant tulips in a park of miniatures

We stopped for an ice cream break and then started back to our very comfortable accommodations.

It was a great day.

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:41 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Day One

Home to Amsterdam and the Afsluidijk

semi-overcast

We had good flights to Amsterdam. Reta watched "Wonder" and "Kinky Boots". Art watched "All the Money in the World", "The Shape of Water" and "Star Wars - The Last Jedi". We had two seats and no other passenger in a three-seat row for the journey from Toronto to Amsterdam. Thank you to our Air Canada Angels for arranging that for us.

After arriving in Amsterdam and clearing "passport control" and retrieving our luggage, we caught the "park and fly" shuttle that took us to our new white 2018 Citroen C3.

Our car

Our car


Isn't our car cute

Isn't our car cute

We then drove out to Afsluitdijk which is the main dike in this area that holds the North Sea back from the Netherlands.

Map

Map

We had a quick lunch at the café there and then walked across the highway to see the sign boards and statues.

Image 5001 is a worker building the dike.

Worker

Worker

Image 5002 explains about future construction.

Construction plans

Construction plans

Image 5004 and 5005 are at the statue of Cornelis Lely who was the engineer who designed the dike and oversaw construction.

Cornelis Lely

Cornelis Lely


Lely

Lely

Image 5006 is of the tower that you can climb to get an overview of the area.

Tower

Tower

Image 5009 is our nice little cottage that we are staying in in Huzien, a quiet neighbourhood near Amsterdam.

Cottage in Huzien

Cottage in Huzien

We walked to get groceries after arriving at our cottage and then made supper. Reta had a sleep while Art checked out all the details of our new ride.

We are both weary as it has been many hours since we left home so today is a short report.

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:30 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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