Visiting family in Enschede
*Yawn* Good morning. It’s 9:30 on Sunday morning here, our last morning in the Tulip Inn. We have no idea what sort of internet access we’ll have from here on out, so I thought I should put together another post before we leave.
Yesterday morning, we got up fairly early (around 6:30, I think), to make sure we could catch a bus that would give us enough time to get to Centraal Station and figure out how to buy train tickets, where to catch our train, etc. It was a chilly morning (we could see our breath), but felt like it would be a beautiful fall day. We’ve taken enough buses now that we’ve pretty much figured out the system, and are starting to feel comfortable here, so of course we’re leaving now.
We caught our bus and both trains without incident, though the train route that Bert gave us didn’t match the route we found online, and it didn’t match the route that the information desk suggested. We went with majority vote, discarded Bert’s suggestion, and made it to Enschede about 20 minutes early. So we went to the cafe to get coffee while we waited for Om Evert…and it turns out Elinor and Om Evert had gotten to the train station early as well, and were at the cafe while they were waiting for us!
Om Evert drove us around Enschede, giving us his tour of all the old houses and churches and things, complete with a sheet listing all the stops in both Dutch and his translation into English. Elinor was helping with translation, though one time Om Evert was saying something and she repeated it to me in Dutch, which wasn’t very useful but was rather funny.
We considered buying this house, but decided against it. We also saw “Uncle Bill’s rock”:
We also saw the location of the house that got hit by a bomb, and heard a related story involving people jumping out the window onto a mattress, and the father forgetting the important papers he had carefully packed up ahead of time, and instead grabbing, as the one item to save from the fire, a pan of milk, so that the kids would have something to eat. Obviously you can make all the plans in the world, but when you panic you don’t think quite straight.
The tour of Enschede was nice, because of the family history and because the city and architecture are quite different than Amsterdam. Afterwards, we went to Luuk’s house to visit the family. I’m not sure any of us actually caught all the names, but we might be able to sort them out later.
Among other things, the whole The Hague/Amsterdam/Holland/Netherlands thing came up, and nobody seemed to be in agreement as to what was the capital of what (though now we’ve done the research, and it turns out that what I wrote yesterday is exactly backwards). We talked to family members for a while, and I’m starting to pick up the occasional Dutch word — enough that there were times that two people were talking to each other in Dutch and I could figure out what the conversation was about. It feels like if I was here for a month I’d be able to learn a bit of the language, but I’m not so I won’t.
After an early supper (or a late lunch? It was 3:00…) we drove down to a park called (I think) Buurserzand, to go for a walk. It was a really nice area, with an old farmhouse, a lake (though it was almost dried up), and lots of forest.
While we were walking, Om Evert stopped for a rest on a bench. Bert and Tim sat with him while the rest of us kept going, and then we got a phone call to let us know that Om Evert was tired, so they were going to take a shortcut back. We decided that we should take a shortcut back too, so that they didn’t have to sit there waiting…and when we got back to the car, they were nowhere to be found. We had walked right past the place they had stopped to rest, too, so we had no idea what had happened to them. Someone called Bert’s phone, only to learn that they didn’t know where they were, so a couple people got into a car and drove around until they found them.
Back at Luuk’s house, we reconstructed the story. It turns out that by “take a shortcut”, they meant that they were going to keep walking along the trail, but instead of walking the entire loop, they’d cut across and just do part of it. So when we took our shortcut back, they were still coming up behind us, and in fact they ended up walking farther than the rest of us. They assumed we were all going to walk the entire trail, and waited for us where their shortcut intersected with the main trail…but we never went there. When they figured out that we weren’t coming, they walked back to the car, but somehow took a wrong turn or missed a turn and ended up not making it to the parking lot. It’s a good thing we had cell phones, because by the time we all found each other back, it was about 15-20 minutes before sunset.
Anyway, we had coffee at Luuk’s house (quickly) and then Elinor (she’s going by “Ella” now) and us had to go to the train station to catch our trains. Om Evert dropped us off, and we said our goodbyes and came back to the hotel. We missed our bus stop on the way “home” and had to walk a bit, so obviously we don’t have the bus system figured out quite as well as we thought. But we did get back to the hotel: Cheryl went straight to bed, and Tim and I went down to the pub for a bit. We all got plenty of sleep last night; the most of any night so far, I think. This morning we’re probably going to listen to a sermon on the computer, pack our bags, and check out. Then it’s off to Geneva, where we may or may not have internet access, so no promises about when you’ll hear from me again…