Saturday, May 17, Netherlands (Sneek)

May 20, 2008

We were up at the crack-o-dawn hauling our luggage once again–this time to the bus stop for our 3.20€ ride to the airport. An hour later, we were waiting for our flight to Amsterdam via Munich, munching on a ham and cheese pie we picked up from a baker with 45 types of beer the day before and sipping coffee.

Our flight to Munich was about 1.5 hours and we were served our first (and only) American-style breakfast consisting of a mushroom omelet and hashbrown round with greek yogurt with honey. We landed in Amsterdam on time, found our luggage and met Richard at the receiving gate. It was cloudy, sprinkling and a chilly 12 degrees C (around 53 degrees F). Richard drove us north to Sneek (pronounced Snake) about a 90 minute drive from Schiphol Airport. We hauled our luggage up the infamous dutch stairways I had only heard about from Andrea… narrow and extremely steep. I joked they are more like a ladder than a staircase. I checked email and called Canon using Skype and then called my brother in Oregon to learn some family news… more angels in heaven!

Richard cooked a delicious traditional dutch meal called Nasi Special (rice with meat & veggies). It was really nice to have a home cooked warm meal! After our meal, we walked to Wietse & Miranda’s house; Andrea’s best friend’s cousins. They entertained us Dutch-style where I had my first taste of Berenburg, a special liquor made of 71 herbs and gin. Wietse played Friesian music with his computer as we visited with Catherina & Sikke, Yolanda’s aunt & uncle and later more family came. It stays light much later here at this time of year. I remember looking out the window, dusk still hanging on and it was after 10pm! It was a very nice time. My brain hurt from trying to understand Dutch, Fries and Sneekers (a northern dialect of Fries) although the Dutch, along with the rest of the world, do speak English very well. We stayed until past midnight and I barely could keep my eyes open since it was after 1 am greek time.

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