The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris
Work has really been encroaching on BJ's travel time recently, so when it looked like she would not be working on Independence
Day we decided to try to catch up. With only one day off plus the weekend, it would have to be a quick trip. BJ did her research and found several European destinations that looked like they might have availability for a couple of non-revs. We chose Amsterdam so that we could find that
elusive ark that we had looked for back in November. We even booked a hotel room, something we almost never do. We made an exception because it would be such short trip and the cancellation policy was pretty liberal.
Delta has a new line of square china that is very pretty. The food was particularly good. The chicken was moist and the pasta was flavorful.
BJ tried a couple of Delta's signature drinks. The Herradura Silver Margarita was tasty but the Copenhagen Colada was a bit too sweet.
We ended the meal with a delicious selection of fruits and cheeses.
BJ finished watching the movie "27 Dresses" which we had started on our last trip. It was a very cute movie. Tony watched "Smart People" but wasn't too impressed.
BJ started "Mad Money" but fell asleep before it was over. When we landed, the flight attendants commented on how well we had slept!
As we were making our approach, BJ struck up a conversation with the man next to her. He was traveling with his family to see his son compete in the triple jump in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It turned out that he had also worked at Worldspan before so they knew many of the same people.
got through passport control with a warning about the lack of empty pages in
BJ's passport. We made a mental note to try to find a time when we could
mail it off to get more pages added. We quickly found a train schedule and determined that the next train to Lelystad was at 8:55AM. We remembered our last experience in Amsterdam with the ticket machines so we used our debit card to buy the tickets. We couldn't find an ATM machine
in the airport near the trains, but we had enough Euros to get by until we could
find one in Lelystad.
We dropped our bags and headed for the Ark. The pier was about 2 miles out of town. Jill's route took us along a major highway but there was a grassy area where we could walk safely.
When we got close to the pier, we stopped to ask for directions to Noah's ark. We were surprised that the girl we asked spoke very little English.
In Amsterdam everyone had spoken perfect English. Here, less than an hour
away, we found very few people who spoke fluently. She wrinkled her brow for a moment when we said, "Do you know where Noah's Ark is?" After a moment of thinking, she said, "Ah,
de Ark van Noach?" She pointed just over the hill but wasn't sure if we could get there walking straight or would have to take a circuitous route. We took the straight route and were able to get to it.
It was very impressive. We walked around and admired it from the outside before going in.
We hoofed up the gangway with its brightly painted sign like the animals must have done so many years ago.
We thought the entry fee was very reasonable at
€5 (~$8) each. There was a pamphlet written in Dutch so we asked about an English translation and they gave us a typed sheet.
Next we passed some paintings by a Dutch Painter (Peter Spier) depicting the flood.
Other Bible stories were also represented on the lower deck of the Ark. We first passed through the tent of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
Next was a scene depicting Joseph's pit and his coat of many colors.
The Ark of the Covenant was on a cart in the middle of the room.
Jesus' grave actually contained a representation of the birth of Christ and the cross.
The tax collector's house had a TV in it. You know how those tax collectors are!
There were jugs that represented the water that Jesus turned into wine.
And then the scarlet rope and basket that had been used for a couple of biblical escapes.
The boat was covered in replicas of the many animals that were aboard the ark. BJ was surprised to see most of them in cages. This is not how she had imagined them to be housed.
There was a scene depicting Noah in his cabin aboard the Ark. Tony commented that Noah was not a pretty man, but we surmised that he looked pretty good for his age (~600 years old).
We basked in the sunlight on the upper deck along with the dove with her olive branch.
We watched some teen-age boys trying to fish their soccer ball out of the water below the ark with a bucket on a rope.
We said goodbye to the animals and made our way to the exit.
After buying a few post cards, we exited the ark and walked along the pier to look at the other boats with their complicated maze of ropes and sails.
We decided that it was time for lunch. We were going to head back into Lelystad when we noticed some flags not far from where we were. We walked toward them and found the cute little town of Batavia Stad. It was an outlet village with cobblestone streets and lots of American shops.
We stopped at a little brewery just outside of town called the Koekoek bierbrouwerij. We decided to split a broodje which is a Dutch sandwich. It turned out to be a lot smaller than we had anticipated but it was enough to satisfy our hunger.
We noticed a lot of people riding scooters that are used in the United States for the elderly. Here, it seemed like anyone over 65 used a scooter and anyone under 65 rode a bike.
On the walk back we decided to get off of the main road so we found a quiet little walking path along the canal.
Just when we were ready for a break, we popped out in a little area surrounded by bars and restaurants. We stopped at the Eet Cafe Misto and ordered a couple of small biers. The waiter spoke very little English but was very interested to know where we were from. After we finished our biers and paid, he insisted on buying us more biers.
We took a short break back at hour hotel before heading out for dinner.
We found a grocery store where Tony could buy his diet cokes and then wandered around town looking at menus. We decided to go back to the area where we had stopped for biers in the afternoon.
We made it an early night and headed back to our room which had cooled off nicely. Still, we elected to sleep with the window open. The temperature was pleasant enough, but it was a bit loud for sleeping.
After breakfast, we went to the Tourist Information office to see if they had a map of the walking trails around town. There was one on the wall, but they were out of them. They gave us a small free map but it didn't go far enough to show the area where the windmills were. We took a photo of the map on the wall.
Tony had spotted some windmills to the north of town. He had heard that people complain about the sound so we wanted to get close enough to hear.
We immediately started off in the wrong direction with Tony following the map and BJ using the GPS. After a bit of arguing, we finally headed in the right direction. The map that we had photographed had a small lake with a picture of an umbrella next to it. We targeted that as a place to stop for a break and some refreshments.
We followed biking paths that took us through some neighborhoods and eventually to walking trail that led through the woods.
A sign warned that we might see some deer and told us that
"De Toegang is Verboden" We didn't know what toeganging was, but
we knew that Verboden meant forbidden. We made a note to look it up. Turns out it
means "The admission is prohibited" and it pertained to a list of
things below, like after dark, with a dog, off of the path, with a music player,
with a tent or windshield or on a motorcycle or horse.
We pressed on until we came to a major road. We looked to the right and we could see a windmill! But better than the windmill, we saw a sign for a marina across the road with a restaurant!
We trudged up the driveway and over the hill to the cute little marina. The Scheepsrecht restaurant had outdoor seating so we found a spot in the shade and enjoyed a tosti, some frites and a couple of biers.
We watched the boats tooling around the marina. One motorboat pulled up with a father and son in it. They must have dropped the keys to the boat in the water because they spent almost an hour trying to fish them out. Someone finally brought them a stronger magnet and they got them.
Refreshed, we started in the direction of the windmill. On the way there, BJ got a call that one of her employees had collapsed during the Peachtree Road Race the day before and was in ICU. We felt bad that we were so far away and could only promise to check on him when we got home the next day.
We kept walking and started back toward town. We passed a driveway that we thought might lead to the windmill so we walked toward it. When we got to the windmill, we could hear the swooshing of the blades in the wind.
and his dog came out to see what we were up to. Tony told him that he wanted to see a windmill up close and hear the sound. The owner said that it sounded like 5 cents to him every time it went around. He had built the windmill himself. It was 55 meters high and the blades were 22 meters long. It provided enough energy for 60 families (which he charged them for).
We took a short break in our room before heading out for dinner at the Eethuisje De Gordiaan. The menu was completely in Dutch but the waiter spoke perfect English. BJ had Chicken Sate and Tony had Medallions of Beef Tenderloin in a pastry shell.
We had a lovely meal and even got to watch the couple at the next table get engaged (or maybe they got married - they exchanged rings, spoke Dutch and smiled a lot).
We had a little trouble sleeping. With the window open it was too loud and with it closed, it was too hot. Mix that with worry about our friend in ICU and it was a rather fitful night. The next morning, we left the hotel before breakfast was served and caught an earlier train than we had planned. On the train ride, we saw quite a few deer in a scrubby area next to the tracks.
We had read the train schedule to say that our train would go to the airport, but apparently it was indicating that there are connections to the airport. We couldn't understand the Dutch announcements. We should have gotten off when we saw other people with luggage got off. When we got to the Amsterdam Centraal station, we noticed that the sign on our train changed to Lelystad so we decided to get off. We quickly found another train to the airport and made it in plenty of time for a couple of hands of Casino before our flight.
The flight home was uneventful. We watched movies, slept and ate.