If we don't find a laundromat soon we're ...

Trip Start May 11, 2001
Trip End Jun 16, 2001

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Friday, May 18, 2001

If we don't find a laundromat soon, we're going to have to buy new clothes!

This morning, after another hearty breakfast in our room (soft rolls, cheese, sliced meat, strawberries we bought in Bruges, coffee, juice), we drove into the nearby Volendam, a village where most of the residents wear traditional dress. We did see a few people dressed in the old-fashioned clothing, but 9:00 am seems to be too early for these folks. We wandered around the harbour, but none of the stores were open until 10. At 9:45, the church bells started ringing . . . and didn't stop for at least 15 minutes. No sleeping in here!

We stopped at the tourist information office to see if they could direct us to a laundry place and, as usual, the talk turned to the cold, wet, windy spring they're having. It sounds as if their weather here is usually more like Vancouver than Toronto. The woman working in the Tourist office told us about a winter they had that was remarkable for its snow and ice. The Winter of '63 had so much real winter weather that schools were closed for a week.

We still didn't find a laundry. Dad thinks we should throw all our clothes into the Jacuzzi for a while.

We headed next to Haarlem where we wanted to visit Corrie ten Boom's house - a must-see on our list. However, as we drove down the highway, we rather spontaneously decided to stop at a small outdoor folk museum (since it wasn't raining at the moment). This turned out to be a great stop for us, for several reasons.

1. They had great souvenir shopping. Mom and I had a great time browsing through the souvenir junk, while Dad videotaped Japanese tourists posing with giant wooden shoes. OK, Mom and I posed with the shoes, too.
2. We watched a demonstration of how to make wooden shoes. It was really interesting especially when, after explaining how they use wet wood for the shoes, the shoemaker put his mouth to the newly made shoe, blew hard, and forced a rather large amount of water from the wooden soles. There was also a fascinating exhibit of the history of wooden shoes (they've been around for at least 800 years). Not that I'm planning to buy any, you understand!
3. We also watched a licensed Delftware painter working on one of his plates. Very expensive stuff this. We didn't buy any.
4. Then we passed my favourite kind of store ... antiques and collectibles, housed in a very, very old house. (This is all on the property of the folk museum). One thing that caught my eye was a group of old wooden skates (they do have metal blades) that were worn over wooden shoes. We're talking about Hans Brinker here. The top of the skates (where the bottom of the shoe would be placed) were painted, rather like Grandpa Beurling painted on saws. I couldn't resist and now own an antique wooden Dutch skate.
5. The real highlight of this visit was the fact that one of the several working windmills they have at this museum makes linseed oil. The windmill's turning causes the mechanisms inside to pound and press linseed and rapeseed so that oil is produced; this is called olislaght-something. Dad and I watched it working from inside (very, very noisy process). Here's the significance: my great-great-great-grandfather, Fredrik Hassels Beulink, the Beurling who emigrated from Holland to Sweden about 1810, was a master oljeslagaren. In other words, producing linseed oil was his profession. We've known the Dutch and Swedish words for his occupation for some time, but no one - until today - was able to tell us what it meant! Needless to say, we were excited!

Later in the afternoon, we hightailed it to Haarlem 'cause Corrie was waiting. After driving fruitlessly in circles around the canals and teeny-tiny streets, we finally found a parking spot and walked to the ten Boom house. The bottom of the house is still a watch and jewellery store. The sign on the door said to stand in the street until the tour guide comes at 4:45. It was 4:30. We were really relieved that we'd arrived in time to catch an English tour. The guide was very relaxed and told the story of Corrie and her family and how the Lord worked in them and through them. It was quite thrilling. We were led through the family house (it's small, but not as cramped as I'd imagined) and, of course, the peak of the visit was in Corrie's bedroom where the actual hiding place is located. Six people hid for 2 1\2 days in that tiny space. Although Corrie and her family were arrested and sent to the camps, the Jewish people they were hiding there were never found by the nazis and escaped safely. I think this was our best stop in Holland.

Tomorrow morning we need to get up very, very, very early so that we can catch our 8 am plane to Norway. We still haven't found a laundry. The Jacuzzi is starting to sound better and better!
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