Tonight at 8 pm Dutch standard time the entire country will pause for two minutes of silence. This tradition each year is to honor, remember and respect all war dead. That it includes, not only military, but civilian casualties from those conflicts.
On March 10th this year, the Hubby and I visited the largest American Cemetery in The Netherlands from World War II, Margraten.
Not our first visit, but I needed time to reflect on what was happening on the World stage. I needed counsel from the silence to make sense to what was happening in the Ukraine.
War is never cheap! It costs lives, some so young, they never got to live the life I have lived. Marriage, children, jobs that would give them joy. They never experienced Europe free from Nazi rule. Yet, each and everyone one of those souls helped to change the course of history. Leaders of the time after these soldiers had fought and died, said NEVER AGAIN!
Yet, here I was in 2022 trying to understand why? How?
As we walked through the silence of the peacefully resting souls who now are forever part of the Dutch landscape, I cried. To know that so many were lost, that so many helped to make Europe what it is today without ever seeing the war at the ending…sad…yet sadder to see a repeat of something so similar in the Ukraine.
So, wherever you are in the World as you read this blog today, please stop and send your thoughts towards peace. War is never the answer but we must remember the ultimate cost for everyone.
Those regular readers of my blog already know to be amazed at the items that the universe places in my path.
This week is vacation week in The Netherlands for most people. The Hubby only has three days off but we decided to escape to one of our favorite camping spots at the Biesbosch. Then I would try to get my hiking feet to pound the kilometers I still have to complete the Floris V Pad hiking trail. Oh, how I digress, this is a Hummm blog. Yes, I found these at our camping and along my route.
March filled my folder of Hummm, today it spilled onto my desk as April Fool’s joke from Mother Nature.
When I texted it to the Hubby who was waiting at another door for my friend. He sent me this!
While walking in Gouda this one appeared from a rooftop.
Then came the snow on April Fool’s Day. One last joke on us before Spring really sets in. Hummm… something is just not right with the world when Mother Nature dumps snow on poor blooming tulips. Hummm… I wonder what the rest of April will bring.
The folder is empty here at The Cedar Journal. Have you seen a Hummm… recently? Share your recent finds in our comment section below.
The Keukenhof Bulb Garden opened for the first time in two years on Thursday 24 March, and for the first time since I stopped working at the gardens in 2015 I visited with my friend Kathy from Minnesota.
Winter still has a grip on Northern Minnesota, it was more like summer here in The Netherlands. Tulips here are popping out of the ground fast! The Daffodils and Hyacinths are in full bloom! It was perfect weather to tour the gardens.
We arrived early (my advice to anyone coming to visit the Keukenhof is to get there before 10 am). The park was instantly an eye full of color as we walked in the gate. Since I worked at the garden for five years I was happy to see the new changes made since 2015. A new entrance gate, new wide pathways in some areas of the park that previously were under used by the masses of tourists. It was also good to see some things hadn’t changed within the park and I enjoyed showing my long time friend (we concluded that we have been friends for near 40 years!) all the cool places within the park. Some of my old co-workers at the William Alexander Pavilion are still working at the coffee cafe booth, hugs and smiles were exchanged. Something that just a few months ago would have been unheard of due to COVID rules.
The best way to see the park is to take a nice leisurely walk, peek into the different pavilions and see the surprises the garden designers have created. No trip is complete without trying one of the many “Dutch” treats. On our visit we ate poffertjes, small pancakes with a dab of butter and topped with a generous helping of powered sugar.
On Thursday we spent about three hours at the park. Noting that it was getting busier and busier by the minute.
Today, Sunday, I hopped on my bike and rode to Hillegom and then on through the fields towards Lisse. Once again, I passed the Keukenhof and noted that the warm weather brought out the tourists. Although not the numbers that have blessed the park in the pre-COVID years but still better than in the last two years when the park was closed.
If any of my readers will be visiting in the coming weeks, my advice again is to arrive early at the Keukenhof, take a bike ride in the local community, eat at our restaurants, and enjoy an European pace.
I am enjoying the freedom of Democracy! Please continue remember and support those in the Ukraine who are still fighting to protect their countrymen and the democracy. Our thoughts for peace are with the Ukraine people! 💙💛☮️🌷
Years ago when I first traveled to Europe while on leave from my military duty in the Middle East I saw it through the eyes of an innocent young adult. Europe was nothing like imaged from all my prior reading in books on the continent.
I flew into Germany, quickly purchased a dress, Birkenstocks, backpack and finally a train ticket. I stuffed my military uniform into a locker on the American Air Base and headed out on an adventure.
I had an experienced travel partner with me and we rode the overnight on a train to Italy to stay with his brother. I then jumped on a train alone, travelled on to see an Air Force friend in eastern Italy. Everything was new and exiting. The old buildings, the landscapes, the crazy mopeds driving on the busy streets.
I have retold tons of stories of that trip over the years to friends and relatives. The newness of Europe to me was full of adventure and I thought it would be my only opportunity ever to visit the continent. From where I sit today that newness and sharp edges are worn smooth with experience there are things I just don’t see of my adopted country of The Netherlands anymore.
This week the Hubby and I are hosting one of my best friends from my home town in Minnesota. Yes, there is a threat of war on our continent and most of us have gotten little sleep as prices rise, refugees are now entering the country and the news is constantly repeating the play by play of the war in Ukraine like some sports show.
It is hard for me to see things as exciting and new. But, my friend is seeing and experiencing Europe with and through the eyes of an innocent child. Everything is new for her, the old Amsterdam buildings, the windmills, the Dutch countryside and the wonderful robust transport system we have in this country and it has lifted the shadows of the overhanging news of the war.
We have nearly forgotten that a terrorist is holding us all hostage with his threat of nuclear button pushing or super sonic weapons. Life is going on even if it is more expensive each day.
For Americans to explore the past locations that our ancestors came from since the birth of the USA. It will be harder, as this war lingers, to do such things without anxiety. My hope and wish is that there will be a quick and peaceful resolution, but from my professional background, old fears whisper “it will be a long and difficult road” before peace.
My advise to all my readers, come to Europe, live the experience, don’t let a terrorist win! Experience the continent and Carpe Diem!
We all want tourist from other places to enjoy the European continent in freedom and to see it for the diversity it holds.