Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 26, 2012

AND……..we’re off.

It’s never easy or stressless to get six people ready to leave for a month, but this trip started out with a bang when Tim left his iPhone on the desk at home. My dad made a herculean effort to retrieve the phone and get it back to the airport before the plane took off, but the phone is still in the Tri Cities.

In comparison to that stress, the flight to Atlanta was a vacation in itself since it was now too late–to get the phone, or throw anything else we’ve forgotten into the suitcases, or do any more last-minute cleaning around the house. I adore flying for that reason. It’s the one place where you truly aren’t required or even allowed to do anything, and you can read without guilt.

Tim’s electronic woes increased when an update started on his iPad (he had decided to live dangerously and not bring his laptop) and didn’t finish before we left Atlanta, thus locking the iPad to further use until he could get wireless again. His apparent jinx extended to the rest of us when the in-flight entertainment system was completely inoperable all the way across the Atlantic. The kids were troupers and we managed fine.

We’re now in Haarlem, the Netherlands, a suburb of Amsterdam and also the hometown of Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place. Tim and I toured her house a few years ago and it was one of the most inspiring tours I’ve ever taken. I hope we have an equally good guide later in the week when we take the kids to see it.

We checked into our rental house, made a quick trip to the grocery store around the corner for rolls, ham, gouda, and a couple packets of irresistible-looking chocolate-covered stroopwafels. If you’re not familiar with stroopwafels, they’re large, wafer-thin cookies with a layer of caramel in between. They’re at their best paired with a hot drink–the stroopwafels are usually big enough to balance on the top, which softens up the caramel, which is especially important if the stroopwafels are imported and kind of stale. These were fresh and that step would have been unnecessary, even without the layer of chocolate. I’m sure we’ll be having this brand again.

Downton Abbey’s Matthew is great in Dutch, too.

After dinner we headed downtown to St. Bavo’s church for a concert. The church is famous for its enormous, ancient organ, which many notables have played, including Mozart. The first few numbers fizzled badly but then the visiting Japanese organist hit his groove and quite literally pulled out all the stops. If only the last piece hadn’t lasted for 27 minutes. In our jetlagged state it seemed like an eternity.

And it was frigid in that big stone box! I’ve been tracking the weather over here for a couple of weeks, but it’s one thing to know in your head that the temperature is barely cracking 70 when your grass is fried at home, and another to experience it on the ground. I thought I’d packed enough cool weather items. I probably should have done better. But I’m not complaining. We’re thrilled to be here, cold or not.




  1. Have an amazing time!

  2. Yay! Glad to have another Circus adventure, especially to the homeland.

  3. You’re off to a GREAT blogging start!! I’m ready to start packing!

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