redeye to Netherlands

How motivated I am to sleep on a redeye: I’m publicly testing positions on the floor in front of our economy comfort seats. Jim upgraded us, the kids were thrilled.

I’m shushing the girls beside me so I can hear the flight attendant share her announcements. I’ve heard it dozens of times, but I’m trained to listen. “Oh wait, I can’t understand dutch, forget it!

The tasty root beer flavoured gum ready for lift-off was melted to its wrapper, but I was ecstatically crying happy for liftoff anyway.

Toward the end of our time in Ghana, I was having real difficulty eating in House Six…anticipating bugs, smells, all-aged sweaty hot flashes. I cannot tell you how wonderful that warmed roll and butter were in my mouth. This little piece of westernized heaven in my mouth was brought to me by KLM Airlines (advertisement earned). Eating that fish curry, with tears in my eyes, I turned to Jim and said, “This is sooo good”. And he wholeheartedly agreed.

The fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate croissant for our 0430 breakfast at the luxurious Schipol Airport made my mouth want to dance.

As quickly as we walked outside the Amsterdam airport, I heard the remark, “Okay, we need to get back to Africa; it’s too cold!” We’ll have a rude awakening when we return to Canada.

Hello Amsterdam–where mom insists on seatbelts, grocery stores bursting in plentiful options, including fishheads and cheeses, streetside tulip bulbs and pot shops, Van Gogh posters and WiFi.


November 4, 2014 122


November 4, 2014 123

Hemp shops (I saw an ad for “magic mushrooms & PCP inside”)…

November 4, 2014 116


November 4, 2014 074

Did I tell you the story about tulips? I declared that the first man to buy me tulips would be the man I married. The morning after our third date, my roommate wrote a note: “Congratulations, Mrs. Wiedrick”. And so our story began…

Our first authentically Dutch breakfast was pancakes, of course, and eggs and cheese on toast. We went for breakfast on a maximum of three hours of sleep apiece…mine was in the hour range.

Breakfast eggs and cheese pic…nothing exciting. When I asked what traditional Dutch fare was, I heard: potatoes.

November 4, 2014 064

Madelyn’s food art: Van Gogh toast (get it? he has one ear).

November 4, 2014 066

We did manage to stay awake until the afternoon, settling into our Frederick apartment.

November 4, 2014 076 November 4, 2014 101 November 4, 2014 083 November 4, 2014 086


We should have tried Indonesian food, but I was convinced to try an Indian restaurant instead. 8000 restaurants in all of Amsterdam. We could never get bored. Since both Indonesia and India were colonies of the Dutch, I think either qualified as an ethnic experience. We’re nasty to the kids to take them to an Indian restaurant the first night post Africa hey? Maybe India will be our next volunteer destination.

Not everyone was motivated to fill their roster with Rijksmuseum this morning. I brought my museum companion, Hannah. She’d rather gaze at oil paintings of historical figures than bicycle around Vondelpark. Bicycles are to Amsterdam as motorcycles are to Roma. I comment to the taxi driver that they’re a healthy city, everyone on their bike with their long, lean, blonde headed bods. The driver said they’re not trying to be healthy; it’s simply cheaper than parking fees, and easy to get around on this flat terrain. I asked him what the accident potential is without any helmets. Huh, don’t know. Everyone just watches. And watch they do. These people can zoom through airports and city streets, passing safely while anticipating timing. Later, I would hear that Rachel pounded a man’s car tire with her front bike tire. He didn’t care.

I’d much rather be Lost in Amsterdam than bike through busy city streets with three newby child bicyclers. And so Hannah and I did, got lost that is. One hour to Rijksmuseum. But we found it!

But we can still pose for a picture…

November 4, 2014 125 November 4, 2014 126

The first piece I viewed was an oil painting of a stout fellow from the 1600s. He was painted by Cornelius Troost, from a wealthy Mennonite family. He looks like a Friesen, no? Oh bah. He’s actually a Van der Mersch.

November 4, 2014 004

Hannah doing research for her art history research paper, just kidding…

November 4, 2014 007

This cupid has a Latin inscription declaring that whatever your heart loves is where your mind will be.

November 4, 2014 008

Rijksmuseum is home to Rembrandt’s Nightwatch…he’s the focus to the museum, so everyone is crowding around him. Not good for a pic.

In 1975, a museum patron clumsily fell into the painting, with a knife. How does one accidentally fall into a painting, with a knife? But fall into one? I understand. Nearly did it myself today, gees, embarassing.

November 4, 2014 021 November 4, 2014 049 November 4, 2014 025

Apparently, Van Gogh painted Hollywood. Hannah recognized Tina Fey…

November 4, 2014 036

My favourite painting was new to me, reminded me of Amsterdam, and was created in my first artistic era, Impressionism…

In the Month of July” by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel

November 4, 2014 038

At present, the light is going behind the trees while we are training it to Brussels, then overnighting in Bruges.

November 4, 2014 056

I had just finished telling Jim that I absolutely love European backpack travelling, then we had a half hour to shop before our next train. I’d wandered into the Eurocool station boutiques and accrued a half dozen Christmas gifts.  Where to put them, where to put them? Stuffed in Jim’s backpack, of course. “Okay, so I’ve changed my mind–I absolutely love European luggage travelling”.

Hannah shopping…(we have a LOT of these photos)…

November 4, 2014 113 November 4, 2014 119