I have not said much about our host and her family. We learned to know our host and her late husband in the fall of 1972. For many years he was a flower exporter at the Aalsmeer Flower Auction here in Aalsmeer, Netherlands. We visited them and the Flower Auction often when we lived here – taking all our guest to the auction. We have continued to be in contact, stopping here on most of our trips to Europe as they live so close to the Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Then when their son JJ was old enough, he came to Iowa to ride RAGBRAI (the bike ride across Iowa) with us. JJ has rides RAGBRAI with us 3 times and his Dad once. Just the summer before his father passed the two of them stopped to see us in Iowa. To say the least, the passing of our host husband was a real shock, and hit us very hard as he was the same age as Cal. This trip is allowing us to visit with the family.
This morning, our host, her son, JJ, and us drove directly to Scheveningen, a North Sea suburb area of The Hague, Netherlands. This is where the American School of The Hague was located when Cal taught there for 3 years (1972-75). (the school has now moved to another suburb of The Hague).
The first year we also lived in Scheveningen, about 3 blocks from the North Sea beach. During the 2nd & 3rd years we lived in a southern sea-side area, Kijkduin, this time our apartment was about 4 blocks from the beach.
This morning on our way to the beach at Scheveningen we made a detour past the American Protestant church that we attended those 3 years. It was Sunday morning and services were in progress. We continued on toward the beach area. A lot of changes have taken place in the past 40+ years, some for the better but many for the worst (in our opinion)! Hi-rise apartments, casino, and hotels are everywhere. We located the house where we lived - in a 3rd floor apartment. At that time, we had a nice view, but now that is totally blocked by hi-rises.
We walked to the beach. Some of the eating shops are still in the same location, but much of the place has changed. The Pier has been totally remodeled; nice restaurants are on the beach; and the Promenade is full of restaurants; and shops are everywhere. The beautiful historic Kurhaus has gone through extensive renovation and looks nice, but it gets lost in the surrounding hi-rise hotels.
|The American Protestant Church|
|Our Apartment, third floor, Groningsestraat 19|
|The Scheveningen Pier|
We drive around the Scheveningen Harbor – the working fishing harbor. It has expanded and sand had been hauled in to form a beach near the new expanded harbor.
Our next stop was at the old American School of The Hague High School, ASH, location. It is currently a Private Dutch Reformed Elementary School. The building has been remodeled so that it now only has one level compared to two and three levels when it was ASH. It was good to see that the facility is still in good use.
|The former ASH High School building|
We continued to drive south to Kijkduin to search out our second apartment. We thought the first two areas – the Pier & Harbor were busy, but this area was really busy by late morning. It was a beautiful day. Everyone and his dog was outside! We could not find a place to park, so we gave up the idea of walking to the beach.
|Kijkduin Apartment building, 944 Kijkduinsestraat|
|Second floor, left of entrance|
We drove to the city of Delft – known for its Delft hand painted china. We walked to the beautiful town plaza, where we sat outside in the warm sun for lunch (like the rest of the locals). On nice sunny days the Dutch head out-doors to soak up the sun, regardless what else is happening. After lunch we walked around the town center before going to the Delft factory. We joined a tour of the facility – interesting. The lovely signature-stamped, hand-painted items are not cheap!
|Delft City Hall|
|Large central church, now a museum|
|Collection of old wooden shoes|
|The first step out the door could wake you up|
|Royal Delft Factory|
|Display of Painting Progression|
|Objects in Hand Painting Sequence|
Back at our host home, a neighbor offered to take us on a boat ride through the nearby canals. We were wearing coats to ward off the chill, but we along with many others were enjoying the sunny day to be on the water.
Soon after the boat ride we returned to JJ’s to have dinner with his family. They are going to the USA over the girls Spring Break. First to NY City, upstate New York to friends on a farm, Niagara Fall and finally Toronto. We had another lovely evening with the family, before returning to our host for the night.
|Our Boat for the Boat Ride|
|Lilac Bushes just set out for the season|
|house along the canal|
|Our Host's House|
|View of the Canal from the Front Window|