On to the Netherlands and the celebrations!

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
Trip End May 08, 2010

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Flag of Netherlands  , Gelderland,
Monday, May 3, 2010

Hi again everyone!  Today we crossed from France and Belgium into the Netherlands.  This trip took several hours by bus, but the time flew by for the students as they  entertained themselves with terrible karaoke versions of classic Queen songs while we drove.  

Once we entered the Netherlands the mood turned much more sombre as we prepared for the first of many ceremonies of rememberance over the next few days.  Today was the offical "kickoff" ceremony at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, the largest Canadian cemetery in the region.  Hosted by the Canadian goernment and attended by the Dutch royal family, including Queen Beatrix, our students were quite lucky to be invited to this ceremony as only three busses were there representing our tour.  The ceremony, in the early afternoon, was very moving.  This ceremony was also attended by many Canadian veterans, and our group had the chance to meet many and chat with thema bout their experiences in war.  The local townspeople were also present and it was touching to watch them applaud as each veteran entered the cemetery.  One of our students had the privilege of speaking at the ceremony, and did a great job.  All in all, this was a very moving ceremony and a great way to kick off the week's activities. 

Following our dinner in the town of Groesbeek, the group make our way to the hotel near Apeldoorn.  I must say, this is quite a hotel.  Think of the layout as a "chalet" style, with a central main building, another building each for the restaurant, indoor pool and sauna. The students' rooms are located in multiple small chalet-style houses that are grouped in little pods.  The students certainy don't mind the accomodations but some of them need breadcrumbs to find their way back at times.  It took all of 15 minutes for half the group to be in the pool after check-in!

Tomorow we are heading to Holten Canadian War Cemetery for the official ceremonies of remembrance.  Should be a moving day! 

P.S. - This is for Graham: Cara says get over it, I'm here and you're not, deal with it :)
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Carol McKinley on

This all sounds incredible. I can only imagine how proud the veterans must be to have our youth show such interest in our history. I will continue watching for news broadcasts of the group. Enjoy everyone.
Hi Megan!

Katherine on

Very proud of all of you! Continue and enjoy

Stijn Hoppenbrouwers (Nijmegen) on

It's been a pleasure following your tour, even on Dutch national television. I live in Lent, a quarter of Nijmegen, in view of the Waal Bridge, which I cross daily as I cycle to work at the university. My aunt Lies Post-Hoppenbrouwers (from Westerhoven, the Netherlands) emigrated to Canada after the war; her grandson Brayden is with you (hi Brayden!). Have a great time, and keep remembering --we sure will!

Hendri Schut (Isendoorn College) on

Following your travel-blog and watching you on national and regional television I imagine you all are having a once-in-a-lifetime-experience here. Unfortunately we didn't meet, but as I heard Dave Robinson say "This should not be the end of the story, but a beginning.'
Hope you have a couple of nice and impressive days (perhaps with less 'karaoke' as far as the teachers are concerned).
Greetings from Isendoorn College, Warnsveld

Jo-Ann Murphy-Post on

Hi to All,

Today must have been incredible. I watched the coverage on a live feed from the CBC this morning and cannot wait to watch the repeated coverage again tonight!

The VE Day facebook group has had alot of updates and pictures today and I am hoping to see something posted from Anderson!

Enjoy the rest of the trip and see you all on Saturday!

Hi Brayden! -- Hi Stijn!

ann clarke on

These are life changing experiences for sure and memories that will never leave you all. It's awesome that you have the opportunity to take part!
Happy Birthday on Friday Heather!! We can't wait to give you a big birthday hug in person when you get home! Love Mom & Dad

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