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10 Nights in Amsterdam

The experiences Henkie had in Ettiene van Heerden's "30 Nagte in Amsterdam" cannot be compared to the excitement that our tour organisers (Marieta Nel, Karin Thomlinson and Ena Jansen) had planned for us.

Us? Our group of 30 South Africans from across the country, who undertook a literature-tour to The Netherlands in June / July 2023. Lots of ladies and three brave gentlemen. Some young, Some middle-aged and some... retired. A lot of academics: some teachers, professors and lecturers. Four or five published writers, a publisher as well, few researchers, a gynecologist, a lawyer (to name but a few) ... and me. The common denominator? We all love reading and writing - although different genres.

In just ten days we visited Amsterdam, Leiden, Delft, Den Haag, 'sHertsogenbosch, Muiden, Middelburg, Goes, Vierhouten and Hoge Veluwe. Apart from a few small souvenirs, some 'klompe'-slippers and a broken elbow (after I fell from a bicycle on the last day), I have a thousand photos and memories.

Netherland is known for so many things and I was blessed to experienced most of it.

Firstly, for bicycles / fietse. Yes! stats indicated that there are more than two 'fietse' per person. You see them everywhere. Ridden by all kinds of people, dressed in all kinds of ways. Old ladies in track suits, young men in suits and ties, girls in mini-skirts and high heels, dads with toddlers in the front basket or old men with their dogs in trailers (with a roof) in case it rains.

Secondly, for museums - the Dutch truly know how to preserve arts and culture, history and heritage. There are museums for from the greatest artists (Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Van Rijn) to the sciences, sex and even the smallest cat. Yes, there are actually a museum in honor of the feline house animals.

Furthermore, and in no order of importance; Netherland is also known for its:

  • trams and trains that are always on time (and if you missed one, you can get the next one in a few minutes) ,

  • roads build underneath channels and rivers and impuissant bridges build over channels and rivers,

  • bread and cheese in all shapes sizes, smells and tastes,

'bitter ballen' and 'friet with truffle mayonnaise;

  • 'klompe', windmills, 'grachte', cherry beer ('kriek'), and

  • sun setting after 22:00 in summer time.

But with all of that said, by day seven I started to miss a good plate of green and orange veggies served with 'real meat'. And as much as we were there in the middle of summer, I missed the South African sun. Even in the winter. I missed open spaces and hills and valleys, like we have in this beautiful country of ours. I missed the sounds and noises of our different native languages. I missed the friendliness and "ubuntu" of our people. I missed being home.

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This is amazing


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