Saturday, July 30, 2011

If you’re not Dutch you’re not Much!

Angela writes:

If our visit to France was about us being tourists, and our visit to Germany was about visiting friends, than Holland was all about enjoying the company of our dear family!  Although no trip to The Netherlands could be complete without a quick trip to Amsterdam.
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We arrived via train to Den Bosch where my dad’s cousin Maria and her husband Hans greeted us with open arms and the customary triple kisses on the cheek.  I last saw Hans and Maria in Ontario during the summer of 2009 but it was as if no time had passed at all.  I guess that’s a luxury of being with family. After stopping off at their beautifully renovated heritage home in Erp, and meeting their 7 month old puppy Yarah, we were whisked away to the Uden fair for food and laughs and more family.  We met my dad’s other cousin Hariet and her daughter’s Louisa and Simone a few days later.
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We tried oliebollen (a deep fried dutch donut covered in icing sugar) and dubblesaut dropes (double salted black licorice) and washed it all down with some lovely port.  I even ran into another cousin Barry who was also at the fair who didn’t know that I was in the country yet. I’m glad we recognized each other after 19 years!  I’d like to think we haven’t changed much.  I met another cousin of my dad’s, Maria’s brother Martin and his girlfriend Herma.  We have now nick-named him “Juke-box Marty” after I asked him if he had learned to speak English after singing English songs.
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In between the showers of rain we took a field trip to Kinderdyke for a lovely walk among the windmills. We also received a personalized tour of the mill that Hans works at that produces pig and chicken feed.  A very high tech process all managed by machine and computers.

Hans & Maria
It was with a heavy heart that we parted company with Hans and Maria with promises of seeing each other in Canada soon.  Daryll and I were warmly welcomed into our second home with Willy and Jose who I had last seen in Ontario in the fall of 2008.  They had arranged to have their sons and their families home for a joyous Sunday night dinner.  We laughed, told stories and shared photos well into the evening.
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Willy & Jose, and dogs Triksy and Torsca
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Barry, Karin & baby Minke                   Roel, Lizet & baby Teun
Next time we visit Holland we will have to make sure it coincides with a performance from my cousin Roel’s Metallica tribute band “The Unforgiven” who plays throughout Europe. 
We had a wonderful visit over a couple days and tried more yummy new foods like raw herring and bitterballen as we strolled through the quaint little city of Oss.
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Willy and Jose kindly drove us to the airport in Eindhoven for our flight to London.  It was a tearful good bye with promises of seeing each other in Canada soon.
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