We leave the Van Gogh museum and are shocked to discover that we have spent nearly six hours. Our plans for a return to the Rijksmuseum dashed, we venture to the boats where we can enjoy a canal tour.
The tour is relaxing, we sit back to listen to a history of Amsterdam through our head phones. The homes are stately, the ground shifting beneath them has my carpenter husband constantly tilting his head to make them square.
We complete the tour, find the metro station, and wait for the wrong train. We have learned as John questions our choice, asks a helpful young lady and soon we are on the right train zipping to Nelda and Marieke’s home.
We have been invited for dinner at Aunt Emmy’s home in Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. It is a perfect ending to our trip to the Netherlands. Aunt Emmy visited us in Canada a few years previous and sparked our desire to visit the Netherlands, it is a full circle moment. Marieke and Nelda have bought sunflowers as a hostess gift, fitting after our day at the Van Gogh museum.
We arrive to Emmy’s bright, cheerful home and are treated to a tour of her cozy home. She has prepared a wonderful dinner for us. We begin with avocado and tuna as a mousse and enjoy with lettuce. The main course, “gourmetten” has us interactively cooking our own fish and vegetables in small pans at the dinner table. It is a sociable, relaxed experience. The food is to our taste as we cook it ourselves adding condiments and spices as desired. This method of cooking is popular at Christmas in the Netherlands, a cozy, family experience and we are touched that Aunt Emmy has gone to all this trouble for us.
After dinner we enjoy coffee and look at photo albums. The photo albums have been lovingly created and are shared with all family members by a rotation schedule. John enjoys seeing photos from the times that he visited the Netherlands as a child and young man and seeing photos of his Dad as a young man. We hear stories about John’s late father and learn more about him. John finds it interesting to hear a different perspective about the father he knew and loved and the people who loved him.
The hours zip by, night has fallen as we begin the journey back to Amsterdam. We speak about the amazing trip that we have enjoyed, all the things that we did, our desire to come back, our hope that many family members will visit us in Canada. We have been here for only 8 days, though it seems like months as each day filled with family, experiences and love. We are truly blessed.