Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Amsterdam

Day 267 (p.m.):

Here are a few photos of Amsterdam this evening. We walked in the opposite direction of the Red Light District tonight. It is quite different if you go the other way!













I said in one of my previous posts that I would be happy if Jeff did his next sabbatical in Ireland. Now that we are in Amsterdam I am starting to think I would be happy if he did his next sabbatical here. This seems like such a fun, vibrant, and lively city. I am loving it here! 

Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Groesbeek, Netherlands

Day 267 (a.m.):

Dad and I made our way to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery today. I was relieved that we had no difficulties getting there. The first train from Amsterdam Centraal to Nijmegen took 90 minutes. After that, we took a city bus from Nijmegen to Groesbeek. Thankfully, Jeff pre-loaded a few maps on my phone so I could track where we were going and get off at the correct spot. Once we got to Groesbeek we walked from the bus stop to the cemetery.

I cannot get over how bike-friendly Amsterdam is. I think there is more danger of being hit by a bike than by a car. There are bikes and riders everywhere. It is fun to watch them cruise by and many people are looking at their phones as they bike!

I am also amazed at how many waterways go through the fields. We could easily see these from the plane as we landed.

Some information about the cemetery:
The Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery and Memorial is located about three kilometres north of the village of Groesbeek, Netherlands. The cemetery contains 2,338 Canadian soldiers of World War II.
The cemetery is unique in that many of the dead were brought here from nearby Germany. It is one of the few cases where bodies were moved across international frontiers. It is believed that all fallen Canadian soldiers of the Rhineland battles, who were buried in German battlefields, were reinterred here (except for one who is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery). General H.D.G. Crerar, who commanded Canadian land forces in Europe, ordered that Canadian dead were not to be buried in German soil. 
Thousands of Dutch children tend the graves of the soldiers buried here as they do throughout the Netherlands.
The cemetery also has a Cross of Sacrifice within it. [source]

The woman who has been tending the grave that we visited has been doing so since she was a little girl. The woman, who is now likely in her 60's, has been looking after this grave for all these years. We had her phone number and tried contacting her but unfortunately, it seems like the number is no longer working. It would have been neat to meet her.


The walk took us about 30 minutes. My dad did a great job!

The entrance to the cemetery.



Here is the grave site of my dad's uncle.


Alan John Gee

Alan is my grandfather's (Roger Gee) brother.

There are many, many graves here.


Cross of Sacrifice




We wondered how many of these 
surrounding fields were once battlefields.




We passed this canal on the train ride back to Amsterdam.


We stopped for a drink before going back to the hotel.

I am so happy that my dad got to visit his uncle's grave.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Day 266:

After an amazing trip to Ireland and Scotland, I can hardly believe that I am now in Amsterdam. I am here with my dad and the purpose of our trip is to go to the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek and see where my dad's uncle is buried. We arrived in the early evening and after having dinner at an outdoor cafe we went for a walk.


I can't believe how many people are here!

I also can't believe I wandered around the Red Light District with my dad. In the RLD we saw groups of guys, groups of girls, couples, elderly people, families - everyone seems to be checking out the RLD!


I have, of course, heard of the Red Light District, but I had no idea what to expect. Within a few minutes of leaving our hotel we saw scantily-clad women standing in windows and peering at us. I was shocked, I guess! I had no idea what to expect, but it wasn't that! Thinking of all of the kids I saw tonight in the RLD, I am trying to imagine how I might explain the women to my kids if they were with me. That's a tough one!











Amsterdam seems like an amazing place. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stonehenge and Bath

Day 265:

We were so thrilled when some friends from Canada contacted us a few months ago to tell us that they were going to be in the UK. This family has 2 girls, one girl the same age as Heather, and one girl the same age as Lauchy.

They arrived in the late afternoon on Easter Sunday and today we went to Stonehenge and Bath with them. My dad is still visiting, too, so it was nice for him to see some UK sites.

We went to Stonehenge in the morning and Bath in the afternoon.

Stonehenge (again)




The last time we were in Bath we had the pleasure of seeing Joel Grainger perform. After seeing him last time we downloaded his music from iTunes. We saw him again today.









Today was also my friend K's birthday and the one thing she really wanted to do was go to the Jane Austen tea room. The girls came with us and we had a lovely time.


Addie is trying to appear regal.


The scone was delicious! 


While we were at the tea room, Jeff and Lauchy wandered around, and my dad went to the Roman Baths.



And then my dad went to this store and bought a T-shirt:

This place is beautiful!

The Circus is an example of Georgian architecture in the city of Bath, Somerset, England, begun in 1754 and completed in 1768. The name comes from the Latin 'circus', which means a ring, oval or circle. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. [source]




We ended our day at Victoria Park playground. The kids were exhausted by the time we got home just before 8:00. Another fabulous day!