Thursday, June 16, 2016


KJ will be the first to tell you that before moving to England his idea of a good free day was one spent at home.  Living in new surroundings that are not only new to us but often breathtakingly beautiful has made him more apt to suggest leaving the house when we have some free time.  And if we have to drive somewhere?  Guess who studies the map first to see if there is anything historical or beautiful to see along the way.  That's right:  this guy.  

As we were planning our trip to visit friends in Paris, we originally thought the cheapest way to get there would be to drive south and take a ferry across the English channel from the southern tip of England, but a new visitor to our church made the suggestion of taking the ferry from the Yorkshire coast across to the Netherlands and driving into France from the other direction as being an easier journey.  After doing some research it seemed more cost effective to take her advice, as well as giving us some time to explore and see a few sights in the Netherlands.  It was the best travel scenario:  travel and sleep overnight, awake at your destination.  It also offered a new experience for everyone.  Sleeping on a boat was highly exciting for the kids.  Our room was down a long, long hallway.

It was a tiny space, but we were happy to be there, and while the views leaving England were dark and drizzly, the morning as we pulled in to Rotterdam was bright and fair.

In other early morning news, James and I found a children's soft play area conveniently located by a Starbucks, and that's when it officially felt like we were on vacation.

Europe is filled with many old and beautiful things, but I find that I'm most interested in places that mean something personal to me.  Most of the time that means it's been a setting in a book I've read or a movie I enjoyed.  When we found out we had a couple of days to enjoy together in the Netherlands we settled on visiting Corrie Ten Boom's house in Haarlem, but since the ferry was landing in Rotterdam I did a quick Google search to see if there was anything I'd be interested in that would also be enjoyable for the kids.

I learned that most of Rotterdam was destroyed by bombs during WWII, but there was one part of the city spared.  In that one remaining preserved part stands a church built in 1417, where our "Pilgrim Fathers" as we call them worshiped one last time in the Netherlands before sailing back to England to board the Mayflower and build a new life in a new world.  That was enough historical significance of both the patriotic and Christian for me to want to make a quick stop.  And aren't those rooftops so fun?

This little pilgrim was feeling tired after going to bed slightly later on the ferry.  Walking was just too hard.  Thankfully, a nap in the car after this stop cured his ills.

The church sits overlooking a canal.  We knew it wouldn't be open the day we were there, but it was enough to walk down the old brick road and look at all the colorful boats and think about the people who had walked on that road before us.

Baby ducks all in a row are always fun to see.

All in all, it was the perfect 30-minute stop to begin our journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment