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Windmills and Canals in the Country

I had dreamed of us riding our bikes through green countryside’s dotted with windmills and along canals and waterways decorated with flowers and picturesque houseboats. Today my dream became a reality. We took the bikes from the windmill and under a perfectly blue sky we cycled twenty miles on cruiser bikes along bike paths through picture perfect countryside. We rode to both a fort and a medieval castle and then out to the sea passing village gardens and neighborhood parks. Perfect. If not for our final activities in Amsterdam that evening we could have spent all day riding and the evening cozy with hot chocolate back at our windmill, but we had two final adventures planned. Once again Mike braved the traffic in the city and we walked along canals and waterways to the Anne Frank house and museum.

When we arrived in Amsterdam I felt the need for the kids to have this educational experience. Luckily, we were able to find a tour that could give us the “preview educational orientation” as well as the tour through the house just days in advance. It was powerful for the kids to listen to Anne Frank’s words as she told of her first-hand experience with prejudice, discrimination and the horrors of war. I agreed with the Israeli leader who came to visit and commented that this was not just a memorial but a warning to all of us. How in-sensed we can become to our fellow man when we look at them as a number or an obstacle and not as a person with thoughts, feelings and emotions similar to our own. What an utter tragedy that we so often turn our backs on tyranny when it does not affect us personally. I am so grateful the Christ can reach both the afflicted and the afflicter and bring us all to his fold. I loved the comment on the wall from a veteran who upon completing his tour of the Anne Frank home declared, “Now I know why I landed on the beaches at D-Day”. Bless all those soldiers who fought and died to free the oppressed and to stop evil and cruelty. “The wrong will fail, the right prevail with peace on earth goodwill to men”. (Longfellow)

Our final outing in the city (aside from walking the streets one last time and letting the kids play in and around the life-sized statues of Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”) was to take a late-night canal cruise through the beautiful waterways of Amsterdam. With warm blankets and plenty of snacks we lounged against pillows and enjoyed the nightlife of Amsterdam. A perfect way to end a perfect trip that left us wanting more and looking forward to a return trip someday.