I spent my first two weekends in Holland reconnecting with family and friends I have not seen in 11 years. I took a short train ride from my apartment in Osdorp to Haarlem and visited with my Mom’s cousin Adine. She was very kind and showed me around the city for several hours, we had a great lunch, visited a market, and tour a beautiful old cathedral in the middle of town.
The next weekend, I traveled to The Hague to visit an old friend and to Rotterdam to visit another cousin. Through an exchange program in high school, Kristiaan lived with my family for a few weeks during the fall of 2001. In return, his family opened their home to me and my brother the summer of 2002. We had a great time biking around The Hague and reconnecting. He is now on his way to South East Asia for vacation and he is scheduled to visit my host family in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Then, I had the privilege to spend some time with Ton van Tienhoven. He was married to my mom’s cousin Louise and is standing strong at 97 years old. We talked of my grandfather and other family members I know only by name and had dinner at De Schone Lei on Kralingse Lake. During dinner, Ton kept asking me, “Can you believe that a beautiful place like this is in the middle of Rotterdam?” Sadly, Ton’s memory is fading very quickly, but when I asked him about his health he said, “I feel like I’m 50 or 60 years old.”
We were just in Haarlem last year. We stayed in a small hotel right on the square, I think it was the Mozart House. We were entertained by a wonderful carillon concert on a Sunday afternoon. Your Mom had sent us there since the buildings especially downtown were still authentic and showed original Dutch design.
We also had dinner with Ton on Rotterdam as well. He probably doesn’t remember it but it was fun. Glad that you were able to see him.
Fabulous to reconnect with old friends and family! Ton sounds as amazing as our own Sam Powers!
I am excited to hear more via blogs and beers.