Monday, November 26, 2012
Whistle-stop Tour (1)
As I mentioned, we had family visiting from The States. I don't like to write about it until they're safe back home, so when I saw the email this morning they had arrived back in FL I knew I could finally write a post. It was a short visit (hence the "whiste-stop tour" title) but still a nice one. My dad & his partner flew over to spend a week with us! They started off in London for a couple days, headed our way for a week, and then rounded their trip off back in London. A week doesn't allow for the grand tour of The Netherlands but luckily my dad has visited a few times before. A week does allow a quick mix of seeing some of my daughter's activities (school & swimming) and a couple short trips. This will be a 2-part post, mostly because I want to spend my time rambling on about Valkenburg in my next post. Today's post will be about a side trip we took during their visit to 's-Hertogenbosch (aka Den Bosch). If you ever visit The Netherlands I recommend a 1/2 day visit to Den Bosch. It wasn't hit too hard during WWII so there is a lot of great architecture and history to be seen. We were on crunch time, a rush between nap and dinner so it was a whirlwind visit. My main goal was to show them the incredible cathedral there, Sint-Janskathedraal (St. John's). It's one of those places you learn about in school but can't imagine ever seeing in person. The detail that went into the cathedral is beyond words. It's construction dates back to the 1300's, and if the outside didn't take your breath away the inside will. The paintings that are larger than life, the stained glass, the tombs, the fact that you can't even begin to count how many people have walked through there since it's construction. My dad has a great appreciation for architecture and I knew he would be highly impressed with this stop. Besides getting lost and struggling to parallel park we made it inside the church 20 minutes before it was to close for the evening. Once everyone was shuffled outside and the large wooden doors were closed we decided to loop around the center of town before heading back to the car. The town always has something to offer from restaurants to shops, and being winter it's also decorated with Christmas lights. The mix of old buildings and new shops is typical of The Netherlands, and the small canals winding throughout the city also add to its character. I think my dad & his partner were delighted with our visit, and maybe next time they fly over we can enjoy a meal on one of the side streets. My daughter wasn't as impressed with the cathedral as everyone else, she found it to be scary... maybe because of its size, the fact the sun was setting and it was dark inside, or possibly the freezing temperatures turned her off. At least the Christmas lights dotting the city and decorative stores made up for it!