Leaving Amsterdam, we drove to The Hague, which is the capital, of course. We only stayed part of a day, but did get a look at the town.
The Ridderzaal in Binnerhof is from the 13th century, surrounded by old Parliamentary buildings. A pretty fountain is nearby.
The Peace Palace has been used for Parliament duty for centuries, but now they meet in a new modern building.
We visited the nearby beach of Scheveningen (what a mouthful!) and observed the European custom of topless bathing.
Our next stop was Delft where we had lunch in the
square while looking at the Delft New Church. We spent some time looking at (and buying) the wonderful blue and white Delft porcelain.
On our way toward Ghent, we stopped to look at a windmill up close. We could go inside to see the living quarters of the tender and his family. Underneath is the big set of gears that moves the water, powered by the wind moving the sails.
Leaving Holland, at this point, we entered Belgium, and headed for Ghent. Ghent is a
lovely medieval city, and at one time was the third largest European city after Paris and
Constantinople. Their wealth was based on the cloth trade. It, too, has its canals.
Burt, especially, enjoyed the beautiful tortes that were in many shop windows.
We also saw a demonstration of Belgian lace making, and bought some pretty tablecloths.
Next we found what turned out to be one of our favorite cities on this whole trip, which was Bruges. As usual, when we arrived in a new town, two of us would go out, one each way, to reconnoiter the hotel situation. This town seemed pretty expensive and as we were about to pay over our budget, I found a ‘deal.’ It was beautifully located four-storey hotel, but the top storey was not reached by the elevator, and was under the eaves—that was evident in the architecture of the rooms. However, they were lovely rooms and best of all had a view out over the tile roofs and chimney pots of the town! We loved it!
Additionally in that hotel, in Bob and Jeanne’s closet somebody had left an academic gown and accoutrements, which Bob felt inclined to try on! We wondered why it was stored there in a rental room.
Another thrill was to see a statue by Michelangelo—the only one that was sent outside of Italy during his lifetime—a Madonna and Child in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk.
Bruges was so beautiful with its canals and medieval buildings—it just had such a nice ambience.
Our favorite night out was dinner at the Golden Harnock. We just walked down the street from our hotel and saw that this restaurant had a price fixe that looked lovely so we decided to splurge. We ate our seven courses on a lovely linen tablecloth with beautiful porcelain dishes. I think I counted 17 pieces of silverware for each of us. We were visiting with a couple at the next table, who were from California. They asked us how we got this reservation, saying that they supposed that we had made it months ahead of time, as they had. No, we only walked in from the street! They also asked where we were staying and when we told them our hotel was just a few steps away from the restaurant, they again supposed we must have had a prior reservation for any hotel in this area. I guess we were exceedingly lucky.
Our favorite spot in all of Bruges was a view of one of its canals.
Brussels was our next destination. It, too, had quite a history in the cloth trade. The magnificent Grand Place has beautiful antique (18th century) guildhalls all around it. It really was something to see!
And a visit to Brussels wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the tiny Mannikin Pis! It’s surprisingly small.
We ate lunch just off the Grand Place. I had the most wonderful lamb chops! The restaurant had quite a red affect.
Leaving Brussels we headed back to Luxembourg, this time to visit Luxembourg City. It has a signature bridge, which dominated the city.
After seeing some of the sights, we spent some time in a Villeroy and Boch china shop, where I couldn’t resist buying a set of Amapola. It’s actually made in Germany but it will be a nice souvenir of both! Jeanne bought a pretty porcelain piece that turned out to be made in the USSR!
We followed the Mosel River in Germany all the way back to the Rhine. On the Mosel we really enjoyed a wine called Piesporter Michelsberg, which was just becoming popular in the United States. We especially noticed that they served the Mosel wines in glasses that had clear bowls and green stems. Yes, the wine definitely tasted better when we drank it out of those glasses—which we did all along the Mosel. The wonderful small towns and the grape vines made pretty pictures everywhere you looked.
Finally we reached the Rhine with its myriad of castles high on its banks.
We followed the Rhine for quite a ways and stayed overnight, our last night on this trip.
The Rhine was so photogenic and I could see that there would be a beautiful picture with the Rhine, and a castle as the sun would sink slowly in the west—-.
This scene was across a busy street, across some railroad tracks and I was without my camera. I ran back to our hotel, grabbed my camera and headed back to take the picture. Oh, heck, there was a train sloooowly going past on the train tracks. I made a mad dash and nearly got run down getting to a vantage point where I could capture the sunset. I nearly didn’t make it!
The next morning we drove the short distance to Frankfurt, turned in our car and flew home to Minneapolis.