Surprise visit to The Netherlands, August 22-September 9 2014

A brainwave, acted upon immediately.
I did want to attend my brother’s 65th birthday celebration on August 24, even though his birthday really is 2 months later (but then he is on holidays….).
I flew Air Transat, with a stopover at Calgary, and was pleasantly surprised at the comfort and leg space. And at Vancouver airport, travelers were treated to live piano music.
Not a bad start at all for a spur of the moment trip.

On August 24 I showed up at my brother’s party. His reaction, spotting me between his other sisters and brothers-in-law, was absolutely priceless, and worth the 10 hour flight to get there!

A few rainy days followed. Good for family visits and a bike ride to the Municipal Hall in Oss, where, because of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Oss, my dad’s photographs were displayed. Afterwards we walked through town and I happily noticed the renovated “alley”, formally called “de Passage” but popularly called ” ‘t Gengske”.

Oss had a wonderful sand sculpture display, very originally set up with an old factory façade with its iron beam support structures and surrounding modern apartment buildings as background. It made an amazingly beautiful contrast.
This video shows the work that is involved to create sand beauty.
The theme for the display was: “A trip around the world … In sand!”

A very new road in Oss is the “Road of the Future“.
The latest technology has been used to build this road.

Another exciting visit was to the “Museum voor vlakglas- en emaillekunst” (museum for flat glass and enamel art) in Ravenstein. A wonderful display of art. I never realized how versatile glass and enamel could be.
Walking back to the parking lot afterwards we got caught in an enormous downpour and ended up soaking wet in the car, laughing our hearts out.

For peace and quiet, although lots of birds are audibly present, one does not need to go far.
My sister’s garden is a palette of colour and movement.

A market in Berghem almost drowned, but was still a lot of village-fun.
We had better weather at the tail-end of the “live statues” show in Oss.

One day we drove to Schijndel, to the Glass Farm. This was quite a surprise. A glass farm?
What could I expect? Well, not what I got to see. It was a shopping centre, built in the shape of an old farmhouse, an illusion of glass and photography. Truly amazing!

A visit to Amsterdam’s Rijks Museum was on the program too.
All 7 of us (!) hopped onto the train and, arriving in Amsterdam, on the tram which took us to the museum. First coffee and a bite to eat at one of the many little eating places on the Museumplein and then we were ready for our cultural experience. And an experience it was. What treasures, what beauty. 4 Floors of endless enjoyment. After hours of soaking up art in any form or shape my brain could not digest any more. I saw what I wanted to see and more. I’d have to leave some for a future visit. Thanks to the photographs I was able to take, I now can enjoy all this art over and over again. Please, take this photographic journey with me.

Enjoying the beautiful weather, we wandered through some of Amsterdam’s streets.
We walked through P.C. Hooftstraat, where many famous designers have their stores. Tired after a day of walking inside and out, we found a table at one of Amsterdam’s many patios along one of the many squares. Coffee, beer, cold drinks and bitterballen…..
Dinner on the way to the railway station, a quiet train ride back to Oss, and the last short but seemingly endless stretch home by bike…and this time it was not an e-bike!

And you thought we would take a break between day trips. No! The day after our visit to the Rijks Museum we hopped onto our bikes (yes, an e-bike this time, thank goodness) for a bike ride along the river Maas. Artwork was displayed at several places and we wanted to check it out. It was a beautiful day, we found all but maybe two of the displays, and ran into very good friends, Annemie and Bert. Just like us, they had gone for a bike ride, starting from a totally different city, but all ending on that dike along the Maas, a fortunate stroke of serendipity!
We rode about 45 km that day. A breeze with an e-bike!

And then there was of course “the girlfriend day”.
Laut and Prisca had invited me, on this nice, warm day, for a lunch on the patio of “‘t Bomenpark” in Heesch. After a delicious lunch we went for a walk in the beautiful area surrounding the restaurant and afterwards we ended up on the patio again, playing “6 Nimmt” also known as “Take 5”. It reminded us of the hilariously funny time we had together, when they visited us last year September in Canada. In the evening they took me to an Italian restaurant in Uden: “Bella Italia” where we were treated to a GRANDE culinary tour of Italy, a meal consisting of lots of dishes. Frankly speaking, I lost count! We spent 3 hours, leisurely eating, chatting and sipping wine, all outside, until about 10 pm. What a beautiful day! Dank je, Laut en Pris 🙂

Looking back, we did lots of things within the 2 1/2 weeks I was there.
One morning we got into the car and drove to Kevelaer, in Germany.
Kevelaer is a pilgrimage town, mainly visited by German and Dutch pilgrims (and tourists).
I have never seen before, in one location, so many candles, crosses, angels, rosaries and other religious items. The churches are being restored to their original, almost pompous beauty. Many restaurants and café’s are bordering the streets, serving delicious meals, very good coffee and mouthwatering pastries.

The day before I had to leave I was asked what I would like to do. Well, that was easy.
Another bike ride please. 3 Of us hopped on our bikes (2 e-bikes, 1 regular) and we took off direction “Maashorst“. It was another beautiful day. How lucky can one get! We went through woods, along cornfields, and blooming dahlias. We passed small lakes, biked through villages and through the still blooming heath. Scottish Highland cattle crossed our way, a very smart Border Collie kept a herd of sheep in check, while the shepherd sat on a small stool, totally at peace. We saw countless mushrooms in all shapes and sizes. My brother and I were literally lying on our bellies, trying to photograph them. It was a perfect last day of my holidays.

And then it was time to say good-bye, and thank you!!











About jospalsphotos

amateur photographer who loves to travel
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One Response to Surprise visit to The Netherlands, August 22-September 9 2014

  1. wpuserbergh says:

    Wat een kado heb ik voor mijn verjaardag gekregen: Jos heeft een overtocht gemaakt van 10 uur om mijn verjaardag en die van Gerard mee te vieren. Hét kado van 2014. Eerlijkheid gebied me te zeggen dat dit kado met zussen Birgit en Marie-Thérèse is gedeeld. Wat hebben jullie me gelukkig gemaakt. En het verblijf van Jos in Holland voor 2 weken is goed benut. Dat blijkt wel uit de prachtige foto’s. Hulde!!

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