Next, we ventured back south to Amsterdam (only 20 - 30 minutes away). We saw a few of the tourist attractions and even went in Anne Frank's hiding place (museum) which was a very touching experience. I remember reading "The Diary of Anne Frank" and learning about the Holocaust from my History teacher, Mr. Nienkamp, along with visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC on our Close-Up trip. The museum was quite interesting and actually didn't contain any furniture because Anne's father, the only survivor in his family, didn't want the museum to be furnished; instead it contains mostly dialogues and pictures on the walls along with some video and diagrams (the bookcase, where the secret annex / hiding place was located, is still in the museum).
The other towns in Belgium that we visited are very cute medieval cities (some with canals, like Amsterdam, but not as extensive) which Shannon and I have been to before, but still enjoyed going back. Leuven is actually only 30 minutes from Brussels, so that's where we ate out the first night our guests arrived (it's a little cheaper outside of Brussels). The next day, which was Friday, we ended up going to Bruges and Ghent (refer to early blogs for history). We saw most of the attractions; plus, made a point to stop at one of my favorite Chocolatiers, Dumon along with sampling some Belgian Waffles and Beer. I even ordered mussels for dinner in Ghent and made our guests try them because you at least have to try them while you're in Brussels! (it's one of their specialties)
Traditional Holland home
More characteristic green wooden houses of Holland
Windmills on the Zaan River
Paint Mill 'De Kat' (processing raw materials to make pigments)
A 'worker' changing the direction of the windmill's sails (notice he's wearing wooden clogs)
Shannon likes the angle shots!
Sawmill 'Het Jonge Schaap' (the boy is removing the bark, preparing the log to be cut)
Inside sawmill cutting the log (saw blades move up and down when the windmill's sails rotate)
Finished cutting the log
More windmills on the Zaan River
Emily & me
Gouda everywhere! (Holland's famous cheese)
Another cute Holland home
Emily & I trying on wooden clogs in Amsterdam - more comfortable than you think!
Anne Frank house - Amsterdam
Dining out in Leuven the first evening our guests arrived One of my favorite Chocolatiers: 'Dumon' - Bruges
Brett, Emily, me and Shannon by canal in Bruges
Canal in Ghent
Cinquantenaire Park (it's pretty cool driving under it!) - Brussels
The last day our guests were with us we enjoyed some Belgium beers at Poechenellekelder (note that all beers are served in their own special glass) - Brussels