Sunday, August 16, 2009

The irony of the blog. that, when I've got a few things to say, I never seem to have the time or impetus to say it. Then of course there are days when I seem to have all the time in the world and bugger all to talk about.
This can make for a few gaps from time to time, but I do hope that you appreciate that I'd prefer not to bore you to tears any more than I already am.

You need to refer back to the sailing analogy I guess, since we've been tacking a fair amount in the last week.

It just so happened that I was on the way with the car to refuel on Tuesday afternoon when my cell phone rang, (or whatever it is that it does....some sort of vibrating/bleating conniption) and it was Adriana, who confirmed that she and Bonnie were in fact now in Amsterdam, and that we could meet on the Wednesday at the airport and the two of them would come back to Delden with Gabe and I.

This was a "cunning plan" that I had put forth when we knew that Gabe and I would be staying at the Sheraton at the airport on the Tuesday night.

Now I realise that I am repeating myself just ever so slightly here, but it never hurts to do a little "review" from time to time. And since Bonnie is a retired teacher (seven years! where did it go?) and Adriana is still in the trenches, I thought a review would be appropriate.

At this point I need to digress just a bit and talk about the airport.

Whereas most airports seem to be just another form of urban blight, I find that going to Schiphol is an experience I'd almost call "pleasurable". I say "almost", since well, it is an airport. But it just seems to have a lot to offer is all.

There's shopping, accommodations, a museum....a train station...
bus station....

Just a couple random pics taken around the time I got there Tuesday evening, after checking in to our room at the Sheraton.

is the view down to the lobby from the sixth floor.

These kind of things always remind me of the Friendly Giant

I'm just saying.

Living at the airport would be do-able, although you'd certainly need deep pockets, since our room would have normally been in the range of €400 for the night. I mean it was nice, but c'mon? We didn't pay that, since the other part of the cunning plan was that Gabe used some of her points that she gets by staying at Sheraton Hotels whenever on business.
Sometimes it doesn't completely suck to travel a bit.
As long as one doesn't spread oneself too thin, loyalty schemes can pay off...

So saving a whack of dough, not having to drive home at night, picking up our visitors so they needn't take the train, plus the fact that the 11th was our wedding anniversary meant it was all good.

As I was wandering around evaporating some time, I couldn't help but take a photo of this airstream sitting outside the front entrance, since these rather iconic trailers have a way of showing up in some of the darndest places.
It may seem like a rather obscure thing to do, since we don't own an airstream, but there are a couple airstream blogs that I follow, so now of course this sort of thing isn't about to escape my attention.

Thursday and Friday can be summed up by the following photos.

Research....and development....

For whatever mysterious reasons known only to those who are vastly more familiar with the Internet than I, it was easier to do local research from our home base here than from Canada. I've had similar issues with some online stuff from I sort of get it.
The thing was, Adriana's sole purpose for coming here was to try and re-connect with a host of relatives, both living and dead and over those two days, we did manage to pick up the trail here and there.....
I should mention that, in the above photo, she's holding a map of Hilversum to the right, and a laminated map of one of the local cemeteries on the left.

This was all part of the adventure.

We were assisted by a very nice gentleman at one of the administrative offices attached to the larger grave site in Hilversum.
The somewhat amazing part to me was that, he was willing to lend us the laminated map of the other cemetery, and then made sure he explained to us all the little nuances we should look for. He knew his stuff, (i.e. cemeteries) and we could see that he was in the midst of cataloguing all of the burial information and putting it on computer, and ultimately online. It may have very well been that we were a welcome diversion from that job, but he was fabulous just the same.

My biggest challenge, and I dare say Bonnie's as well, was trying to keep a lid on our emotions each time we made a little discovery and were able to put together yet another piece of the puzzle.
I'm pretty sure I was never the same after Old Yeller, since I'm getting a lump in my throat just typing this.

Thankfully, each little new piece of news was delivered while we were in the car, so there was no need to worry about any blubbering in public.

We'll just gloss over that, shall we?

Needless to say, our visit was all too short, since our intrepid travellers had been invited to stay at an Uncle's place in Utrecht, and then will go on to the airport and back to Toronto on Tuesday.

There's always Vienna.

Train travel in the Netherlands can be quite simple, if you in fact know all the nuances. Turns out that tickets can be purchased on the train if you can't manage the vending machine.

We did manage to extricate one ticket, but didn't have enough coins for the second, and the only card that worked was my ABM-Amro card.
I didn't think to try my new visa card that came with a chip, and we'll never know if that would have worked.
Having messed about in this fashion meant that the train was coming and I knew for a fact that you needed to be on the platform, or you were out of luck.

There was some hussling.

We made it.

I did receive an email later yesterday that they had in fact made it to Utrecht, and had managed to stop off in Apeldoorn, which just so happens to be a twin city to Burlington, Ontario.

Who knew?

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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.