Going DUTCH!

Trip Start Aug 17, 2012
Trip End Sep 13, 2012

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What I did
The Corrie ten Boom House Haarlem
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Friday, August 31, 2012

We decided last minute to visit the Rhine River, and we are so glad that we did.  We stayed right near the river, beside the screaming loud train, on the 4th floor of a bed and breakfast.  The rail company gives the residents and hotel owners money to use sound proofing to keep their businesses there near the tracks.  It is a good thing they did, as trains pierce your conversations with booming noise, but with our double paned windows and doors, this did not bother us at all. Our hotel supplied us with free bikes to pedal down river to St. Goar.  We were able to ride along the Rhine and take in the sights of castles of long ago.  Most were used to collect taxes from ferry boats passing up the Rhine, and the others were just for showy displays of grandeur.  If one couldn't pay the tax to travel the river, they earned a nights rent in the prison in a raft in the middle of the river.  With all the taxes, I could easily see where one could just go broke trying to get the goods to a better location so that you could make money.  Some things never change.  On the way back to the hotel, we took a river cruise back to the hotel.  That allowed us to see the castles a little bit better.  We were able to take our bikes on the ferry, but of course, had to dish out a few Euros for that convenience.  As we were getting on the ferry, we were told to take the bikes to the very back of the boat.  We followed instructions like good little kids with our bicycles, and we never saw exactly "the back" where the bikes were to be put.  We looked around, and finally, peering through the dining room, we saw where other bikes were stored.  However, this meant rolling our bikes through a very lovely dining room.  Well, just as we were pushing though to the back, a boat worker started yelling, "nine, nine, nine!"  I do know that means NO!  They really should be more clear as to where one should put their bike.  After saying in my very broken German that I do not know German, he then simply used the Universal symbol of pointing to the side porch just before the dining room.  Why didn't they just point there to begin with???!!!  Thats on them!  The language barrier can cause a few misunderstandings, that's for sure.  Anyone would know that you should NEVER roll a bike though a formal dining room.  My mother would faint for sure.  And, deep down, it did just feel very rebellious!  bad, bad children. 

We only stayed one night on the Rhine, in a town called Bacharach.  I didn't expect all the vineyards up the hillsides.  They certainly use all the real estate constructively! 

So, after a good nights rest, we packed everything back up and boarded the train and headed off for the Netherlands.  From what we have seen of the town, it is very nice.  They people here are so beautiful.  They are tall and blonde, and ride their bikes everywhere.  They hold umbrellas over their head and pedal when it rains and other times, they talk on their phones and text while pedaling.  Just like we do in our cars.  You have to be very careful when walking around the town, especially at rush hour.  You could easily be pedaled to death.  There is very little pedestrian space, because the bikers rule around here.  So, walk at your own risk, and listen to the ching-a ching- ching bells on the bikes. 

We visited Corrie ten Booms house yesterday. I remember as a child reading, "The Hiding Place," which was also a movie.  It was a story of a Dutch family that helped rescue hundreds of Jewish refugees from WWII.  All her family was killed in the camps, only Corrie survived.  She became a famous evangelist telling the world of Christ love and power to forgive.  It was a very personal tour with the Gospel message being explained. 

Today, it is rainy.  But, our hearts are not downcast... we are headed into Amsterdam.  A rainy day is just a perfect day for Museums.  
Well, it's off to go grab a coffee and a train to the big city.  

Thanks for reading.  
We love you all back home very much! 
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