Thursday, June 14, 2007


Holland is a picture perfect land of tulips, windmills, canals, scandalous shops, apple pie, painters, East Dutch India Company, bikes, delftware and some of narrowest houses in the world! I'm writing this entry from Amsterdam. This weekend was the "free" weekend for the students in Oviedo and so I was able to travel a little too. :) I like Holland and here are some reasons why...

Everyone speaks English and are very friendly and helpful - sometimes I take it for granted that I can travel in so many (Spanish speaking) countries and not have to worry about the language. Yet don't forget that the Netherlands has a Spanish connection since it was part of the Kingdom of Spain for a long time.

The architecture en Holland is very appealing. I love the tall narrow buildings with very high ceilings, fun staircases and little attics. We had the chance to explore several beautiful houses that are now museums. Two of the houses have powerful stories to tell about the Nazi occupacion of Holland during WWII. One of the houses is the Anne Frank house which was very interesting. The other house, and my favorite, is the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem. I read been reading The Hiding Place which tells the life story of Corrie who worked with the Dutch Underground and hid people during the war. It was amazing to be in a house that was so well described in literature. It felt like the Ten Boom family could still be living there. I highly recommend the book and the house.

There are two more things that I enjoyed about Holland (well actually there are more but only two more I'm going to mention right now). As I mentioned before Holland is a picture perfect place and that may account for all the amazing dutch artists either that are else there might be something in the water here (and there is a lot of water here!). I really enjoyed the Van Gogh museum which has about 200 of his paintings. A few years back I read a biography on Van Gogh, Lust for Life. It was very interesting to read the life story who never was very famous during his life and yet today to super famous. The book also talks about several paintings and when and where Van Gogh painted them; it was extra nice to have this little background. I also enjoyed the Vermeer and Rembrandt rooms in the Rijksmuseum.

Finally one can't talk of Holland without thinking of tulips! Unfortunately tulip season es mostly done for the season. But you can still see this dutch symbol everywhere. I took advantage of the opportunity to make a long term investment in tulips. hahaha I bought a large collection of dutch tulip bulbs and they are being sent to the USA. In order to get tulip bulbs into the USA you need to have them certified. Now before you think I spent tons of money let me tell you that it was a very good price and they are going to be lovely flowers. It will be an investment that will sprout every Spring and last for many many years; something I can look at each Spring and remember my visit to Holland!

I amsterdam

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