Friday, March 27, 2009

Travel Radar: Germany and Holland


Stuart and I are now back from our trip to Germany to see the Young family. I so enjoyed seeing Dana! It was especially hard to leave because I usually only get to see them once a year. Sadness! It makes those final moments hard. But! We had such a great time! We talked and played with the girls and took two day trips. Both were fantastic and I'll give more details/history along with the pictures below. As with the Paris trip, too much happened to post it all, but I will give you the gist. Here you are, friends!

The worst and best day trip we took was to Amsterdam, Holland, a trip that was a complete surprise to Stuart and me. We didn't realize that Dana and Rob lived so close to the border of Germany/Netherlands (about 5-10 minutes)! So....we got to see Amsterdam (a city Stuart has always wanted to go to), and tour Anne Frank's house (a literary landmark I've always wanted to go to)! We killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.

So, why was it the best and worst day trip?

It was the best because it was so interesting and a complete surprise.

It was the worst because it was really cold and rainy and....I got sick!

Yep, halfway through the day I started thinking, "Huh, I don't feel so good..."

Honestly, I thought it was just because I was damp and cold from being outside most of the day, but then on the way home my teeth started chattering and my body started aching and I knew I was sick. Blah!

Dana was really sweet and found me some meds and of course Stuart was right there asking me if I was okay.

"What aches?" he asked.

"Ummm....everything." I chattered.

"Like your head and stomach?"

"Yeah. And my armpits, and my skin, and my throat, and my ears....."

"Oh! That kind of achy....."

Haha! Needless to say, I have been taking it easy the last couple of days and am feeling better, if not totally up to speed yet.

Anyway! This first picture is of Dana and me in an Amsterdam restaurant fixing to eat pizza. I think I have like 4 layers of clothes on here....Brrrr!

Pictures weren't allowed inside of the Anne Frank house, but I got a shot of her memorial statue instead. Wow! That house was so sobering to me. It especially made me sad when Hannah would ask Dana, "Mommy? What happened to her? Why did those men want to kill her? Did she die?" Its hard to explain something as evil as the Nazi regime to a 4 year old, but Dana did a great job putting it on her level without terrifying her.

As a book lover, I have a desire to visit every literary location I can find, so this was very engaging to me. I kept trying to picture little Anne writing this journal, never dreaming that her words would impact so many people all over the globe.

I'm also a lover of history, so it was equally interesting to learn additional facts about the Holocaust, a subject I find fascinating and sickening all at the same time. Otto Frank, Anne's father (who survived), had filmed an interview and allowed pictures of him to be taken as well. You could see such depth and sadness in his eyes.

I know for me, I can have trouble taking really important things in when I'm there. It seems kind of surreal, or like a dream. I don't know if any of you know what I'm talking about but, sometimes I'll talk to myself (silently of course, don't want the men in white coats a' knockin' on my door!) to make it more real. For instance, as we were entering the secret annex at the AF house, I was thinking:

"Anne walked up these stairs, just like I am. The people who captured her had their feet on these stairs too. And here I am with my feet on these same stairs, all these years later. She wanted to grow up, and get married, just like I did. She wanted to write, like I do....."


I don't know, it helps make it more personal to me sometimes. More than a museum that you pay to see, you know?

Anyway...the statue...

Next up are our adorable nieces sharing a chocolate milk in Amsterdam. Hannah on the left, Rebekah on the right......

Cuteness, right?

Can I just say that Stuart and Rebekah hit it off from day 1? She loved him! And I can't say that I blame her! She would run up to him and hug his legs, or want him to hold her in his lap all the time! When he picked her up, she would just stare at his face for the longest time (I know what that's like)! Finally I asked, "Bekah, do you think Uncle Stuart is handsome?" She gave me a shy smile and nodded. SOOOOO sweet! Here is a picture of them together before we left.

Another sweet moment between the two: Stuart had fallen asleep on the bed while we were watching a movie with the girls. Rebekah pointed to Stuart and said,

"Uncle Stuart is tired?"

"Yes, he is." I said.

So Rebekah went and got her very worn out stuffed Eeyore and sat it on Stuart's chest so he'd have something to sleep with. How precious is that?

This next picture is of Hannah and me putting Easter clings on the window of their bedroom. We had so much fun! Every month, Dana and the girls decorate their room together in whatever event is coming up! So, we had bunnies, Easter eggs, and flowers galore to decorate with.... I'm so glad I got to be there for the "changing of the decorations" ceremony!

Rebekah's face when her mommy pulled out the Easter decorations for their room! She was so excited! Out with the March kites and in with April, Easter bunnies, and spring flowers!

Our other day trip was to Cologne, Germany to see the Cologne Cathedral! This place was amazingly huge and so fascinating to learn about. Rob told us on the way that he thought it beat out Notre Dame. Ummm....yeah! I would have to agree with him! It made Notre Dame look like a little chapel! It took over 600 years to build (1248-1880) and is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe! It also houses the coffins and remains of the famous three wisemen, which we got to see! We also toured the treasury (where no photography was allowed) and saw beautiful chalices, staffs, etc. made of gold, crystal, and precious gems.

Another "fun fact" that Dana and Rob told us: During WWII, this cathedral was off-limits for bombing, because all the pilots and soldiers used it as a landmark!

We couldn't fit the whole thing in, but you get the idea!

Dana, Rob, and the girls enjoying a snack as we all waited for our train to Cologne.

Seriously, I am so thankful we got visit the Young's. Both of us really enjoyed it. I enjoyed catching up with Dana and seeing the girls (Hannah was a flower girl at my wedding this past summer, but Rebekah couldn't come that trip. I hadn't seen her since she was 4 months old. She's two now! That is way too long to go without seeing her!)

Stuart really enjoyed this trip as well. He expressed happiness at finally getting to sit down with Dana and talk and get to know her (Dana felt this way about Stuart as well). Up until now, Stuart has only really gotten to know Harrison, so I think it was neat for him to be able to spend time with another sibling of mine.

But now the thing that tops them all!

I was there when Dana found out she is pregnant with her third baby! WAAHHH! Words cannot express how special this moment was to me as a sister! With Hannah and Rebekah, I found out from Mom, or over the phone, or through another one of my family members. But this time, I was actually there in person! It was so neat to hear Dana telling Mom and Dad over the phone (she put it on speaker so I could hear their reactions) that they were going to be grandparents a fifth time! Mom actually didn't believe her at first and was like,

"I know Haley put you up to this! This is a joke!"

As if I would do such a thing! (Halo) What does she take me for, a prankster? (Okay, okay, we really did consider calling her up together and saying, "Hi Mom! One of us is pregnant! Guess which!" But...we were afraid she might have a heart attack!)

Some may call it perfect timing, but I think it was a special gift from the Lord, I really do! I mean, what are the chances of that happening in a five day time frame? I will always treasure it!

Well, that's all for now! Stuart and I leave in about 12 days for home, and we are intent on enjoying every moment of the rest of our time here.

But! I am looking forward to some events when I get back, such as:

*Officially graduating from LU (meaning the cap and gown ceremony)
*Seeing my younger brother Harrison graduate from Hargrave Military Academy!
*Seeing both of our families and meeting Elyana Ruth for the first time.
*Being a bridesmaid in Melissa's wedding to a wonderful man named Andy, and helping her in any way I can to get ready!
* Buying our first house together!
*Finding a job or some sort of paying activity in Lynchburg, Va!
* Finally seeing our wedding album!

Have a great weekend!

Love to everyone,


  1. That was a nice update :) And I'm really excited you're coming back! I'm going to be joining you in the burg this summer! My plan is to stay here for at least a couple years :)See you soon, you little francaphone :)

  2. Yay! I'm glad you're going to be in Lburg. If you find a job, let me know so I can come and kill you and take the job for myself because I probably won't be able to find one.....this job market is making my eye twitch! Haha! Seriously though, looking forward to it!

  3. I miss you so much and it just isn't fair that other people get to live close to you! ;)I really enjoyed you and Stuart so much and he is such a wonderful person. Literally, I almost burst into tears the night he asked if he could help with the dishes. Love you sis! Wish you weren't leaving my time zone.

  4. So I've totally been missing reading your posts!! :( Over spring break I stayed away from the computer and I've been really busy ever since I got back to school. However, I finally caught up on all the posts I've missed and have enjoyed so much reading EVERY one of them! :) Make the most of the rest of the time you have there. Love every minute of it, cause you're gonna want it back so badly even just a year from now. I was just thinking about our Oxford trip today and how much I've wanted to go back there... *sighs* Anyway, as far as that Belgian chocolate I've asked you to pick up for me... I've been looking online and haven't been able to locate it for the brand name. However, I'm going to talk to one of the Daniels and see if they can remember and I'll let you know from there. Otherwise, I'd say just find a box of cream filled Belgian chocolates and GIVE THEM TO USSSSSSSS, PRECIOUSSSSSS! Ha ha! Love you guys,


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