Existing Member?

Bit By Bit Spending some months in Europe. Let's see how it goes... Check ya later, Barry.

This Past Week

USA | Monday, 1 March 2010 | Views [389] | Comments [1]

Yes, we ARE alive!  And we deeply apologize if we have been the cause of any concern, lack of sleep, or change in eating habits.  The writer has just come out of an intense illness, and the photographer had nothing to take pictures of that did not involve tissues and soup.

We left Amsterdam only because Rebecca felt the sickness coming.  We truly enjoyed our stay at the hostel there: the Shelter Jordan.  A Christian place, run by volunteers who go and live in a house nearby from a month up to a year.  The food was cheap, the environment quiet and friendly, English-speaking, with Bible discussions every night at 7:30 (which we thoroughly needed and enjoyed), and even a movie night on Monday where we watched Bucket List and remembered why it was so great.  We are also increasingly glad that our travels are not the product of having our days numbered, but it is also reassuring that we do not know how many of those days we have left so at least we have taken this trip while we could.  Once again, thanks to everyone that has been so supportive and helpful.  We hope to return to you all soon and in one piece. 

Any amount of money we saved from staying at the Shelter Jordan, mainly by laying low, sleeping in the dorms (there were no accomodations for both of us to share), and eating their hearty meals for a small fee only, we blew hard core at the post office.  My goodness.  Not only are the boxes to choose from ridiculous in size and totally incompatible, the fees to the states are just nuts.  We will take this time to complain about the exchange rate one more time.  Oh, Europe, what an expensive continent you are, and for what reason, who knows, except it seems everyone wants to be here despite. Silly us.

We did one "touristy" thing while in Amsterdam (aside from sipping soup and enjoying the most amazing panini BLT in a cafe with free wi-fi next to the Anne Frank House).  We took a day trip to the nearby city of Haarlam and visited the Corrie Ten Boom House.  The tours alternated every hour between English and Dutch, and when we arrived the next English tour was set for two PM.  This left us a little over an hour to spare.  We spent quite a few minutes contemplating if we even wanted to try eating lunch, as the service is so incredibly slow, and you could buy a house in the time it takes to get the bill.  We decided to take the chance, and then wandered around trying to find the best place, and eventually settling for one right by where we started.  Amazingly, we were done with our food and back to the Ten Boom House at 1:48.  The alley was empty, and we could see that the time for the English tour had been changed to 1:45.  We both admit we have never wanted to break a window so badly.  We banged on the door, rang the bell.  The rage was palpable in the winter air.  We waited in that cold alley for the Dutch tour, another hour.  And we sat there and listened to the Dutch tour.  While we all crowded in the sitting room, Rebecca counted the vowels in the English pamphlet.  We each read it three times.  A half an hour later, everyone else very much inspired by the amazing story, we all shuffled upstairs to see the famous Hiding Place.  We heartily recommend anyone to read Corrie Ten Boom's book of the same name.  It is truly amazing to see how God worked, and how real He was during such a time. As we stood in the little secret room that hid so many seeking safety and refuge, the feeling was enough to give a dry-mouth.  The emotions seeped from the brick walls.

One man, a Dutch man who spoke good English and who was there with his wife and son (who is named Casper after Corrie Ten Boom's own father), recognized us from the first time we were waiting for the tour, and was gracious enough to hang back from the rest and explain what the guide was telling everyone else.  Once again, gotta read the book, seriously good stuff.

That night Rebecca's sickness really started sinking in, and we made the move out of Amsterdam a few days later.

We decided to save the money from going right into Frankfurt by stopping in Cologne, Germany (pronounced 'colon', as in the part of the body that nobody ever talks about).  It would cost half the price, and we could see the oldest crucifix.  Our first night we stayed in a cheap hostel, and not a moment too soon.  Rebecca's fever sky-rocketed to over 101 degrees.  Having not been that sick since she was a child, the place and timing for the attack seemed most appropriate.  The next day the fever was gone, but the sickness was not.  Nausea and throat complications, and a cough that sounded like a rock slide.  Michael wanted to remove from the dingy place we were staying at, the halls smelling of wetness and the overall atmosphere just plain old gross.

Not only had we arrived in good ole Cologne over the weekend, there was a trade show going on.  Which meant that hotels who had never even seen rates for half of what they were charging weren't even including breakfast.  Once we left the Station Hostel we hopped on the metro and moved out a few stops, hoping to get out of the thick of the mess, but we managed to wander around for two hours until we realized we were almost where we had started.  Rebecca admits it was probably the greatest day of her life.  Right when it was just too much, when Rebecca felt a raindrop fall on her nose, we found a place.  Cozy, clean, and with breakfast included.  A heckuva price, but placed in our paths by the heavenly hosts.  As soon as we closed our room door behind us, the rain started coming down.

Michael really proved his superhero capabilities in Cologne. Marathons, we called them. The first night, he left to find Rebecca some food, and returned some time later with steaming soup in a tupperware container and a real spoon.  The second night, he went to see if we could stay a another night in our safe haven, and when he found out we could not he wandered the darkened streets of Cologne and found us a place, talking down the price and getting breakfast included.  He returned with these glad tidings, and left again to find food.  Some time later he returned with more steaming soup and sandwiches, having to walk until he reached a mall where he made friends with a good guy at Henry's Cafe who put the soup in a coffee cup and even threw in an actual spoon.  It might not seem like such an accomplishment: great, he goes out and gets food and comes back, he gets a hotel room big deal.  In a city that does not believe in take-out OR soup, what was done was a true act of devotion.  Wandering literal miles of street corners at a record pace, even muttering to the point of blending in with the bums on the side of the road, Michael made it happen.  And the hotel situation is another story.  Even the crappiest of conditions were sold out.  God truly had mercy on us.  And it's ironic that we wanted to save money by stopping in Cologne, and wound up blowing the Euros out of the water.  We didn't even see the oldest crucifix.

We are in Weisbaden, Germany right now, which is a comfy place next to Frankfurt.  There is nothing special about this place, except for its georgraphical placement, and that is for next time.  Which won't take nearly as long as last time.        



Great to hear from you again and praise God that, once again, He's protected and provided. I just love reading your stories; they make me laugh. Michael, thanks for taking such good care of my girl; just love you man! :0
Much love and prayers over both of you.

  MOM Mar 2, 2010 2:15 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about USA

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.