June 9, 1968
Had worst coffee so far at 6:00 a.m. and went on deck to watch our ship come in. Quite a thrill for all of us. Go through customs and never saw such a bunch of strangely mixed people.
Had to cart luggage ourselves to taxi stand. Rather odd anyway but get to Hotel Anja. It is on canal and old old old. Steps steep like climbing up to hayloft. Room small and narrow on second floor, kids on third (better than ours). No heat they say in summer but it is cold in Amsterdam but almost nice. We do have free showers and nice too.
We check our luggage till rooms ready and go to General Travel office for tour tickets. - have coffee and sweet at side - walk cafe - have the boat trip same as last year and thoroughly enjoy it again. Girl is another young lady; dutch girl. See the four or five type of facade narrowest homes; corner section training sailing ship, hospital boat, - Go out into main canal which is a fresh water canal with no high or low tides as the locks across North lee halt this, otherwise city would be flooded off and on.
Holland is also three feet below sea level - but more about this later -
Go back to funny room. A double bed on the small side. Clean up and off to bus trip to Markham and Vrendam(sp?).
We have one of the best guides ever. Named Henri or Hamre in a too different Dutch surname to even try to put down. He's engaged, (probably a long time) but in Holland they live together until the girl gets pregnant - then they get married!
He says he is a drawing teacher in the winter but I suspect he is an Artist (later about this)
It is sunday and the people in Markham are very religious. We are told not to ask them to pose for pictures (they, that is some of them dress in nature costumes, wooden shoes and all). Town is a dream out of a Disney movie! Old old, but kept up. It is back in history for us.
- Pointed out a new highway being built that would connect Holland with Spain and Copenhagen.
- Story of windmills, which are now unnecessary with new control for power for the draining that goes on and on constantly
- St. Nicholas is patron saint of Amsterdam Harbor
The only trouble is the tourists - thousands and thousands of them. The ones on our bus leave plenty to be desired too. An odd bunch !
Some of the things the guide told us.
Road going to Markham one year old. Used to be the sea.
Showed us the polders or poulders opposite of filled in waters - water made into land. Dig canals in and all around an area, drain water out , build dykes. Keep water out by draining each night. Voila! pretty soon another poulder in the Zider Zee and more precious land.
Sailboats we see in water part alongside are higher than we are.
Houses too, everything oddly different in perspective if you think about it as you look. Very much of interest.
Have to leave bus at Markham - forgot to say went over by ferry - beautiful ride - Get in boat now and go to Volendam. Another lovely town but tourists under almost every rock and crack!
Guide shows us a map on the wall and gives us a very good lesson in geography of the Netherlands. Hague the capitol of Holland. Amsterdam the capitol of Netherlands. Queen resides in neither. Forget the town. Shows us what they intend to do further in the Zider Zee. Much more he tells us. So very enlightening!
First visit the cheese farm and see process they go through to make the Edam cheese. Saw the cheese in various stages. Had a couple of examples and it was delicious. Gouda cheese made elsewhere.
Edam cheese is made with cream and milk and milk right from the cow is in yellow parafin and then wrapped in red cellophane.
I buy Louise a 'Delft' in blue ash tray for $4.60. Also a pair of earrings for pierced ears. Have tea with Ray in beautiful tea room - time runs out and off, back to Markham again on boat.
(Remember boat man and baggy dutch pants) Pick up bus and go back to Amsterdam.
To beautifully educated guide , " I like the Dutch, they're so civilized!" Gar!!
Ask henri to write name of good second class restaurant and he most obligeingly does.
What a grand treat. This is no second class place but a small intimate place, proudly serving French cuisine. Music and good atmosphere. Het Begyntje (look up name)
We order meats. Sauces are as follows: I and Ray have Marseille, Dave Bernaise, Tom Dijon. Beer for us, cake for kids. good soup and coffee. Table was reserved but the waiter accommodated us for one hour 10 min. but then let us leisurely finish even when the party came in. It was expensive. 23.60, but we thought worth it and we considered it one of the few splurges we will have.
Back to the hotel down interesting streets - and so to bed.