My Vacation in Holland and Paris

May 1982

Arrived in the Hague. Went to the Keukenhof Flowerfields at the end of the tulip season so a lot of them were leaning and fully open, still very beautiful. Drove to Haarlam and had lunch at the Napoli.

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Tuesday morning we boarded the TEE for Paris. The weather was much warmer in Paris. We walked down to the Trocadero and the Palais de Chaillot that sits on top of it and then across to the Eiffel Tower in the afternoon.

Millions of people and lots of traffic. Paris was so romantic, I don’t know what it was but it breathed romance. It wasn’t as beautiful as I remembered it but it was good to be there.

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Eiffel Tower

We went out to dinner and I ordered pork with mustard sauce. It was like a sausage with thin meat rolled inside. I didn’t know what part of the pig t was and it’s probably for the best. As I thought back, it seemed I had it before someplace. The meat in Europe can be strange.

After dinner I watched a Henry Fonda movie in French.

A lot of women wearing mini-skirts but mostly young girls. People were wearing absolutely everything. I always thought it would be fun to live in Paris.

Next day we must have walked about 20 miles. Walked all the way down the Champs Elysees, over to the Madeline and up to the Opera. Lunched at the Café de la Paix and walked from there to the Louvre. We saw the Mona Lisa again but this time it was encased in glass and the glass was reflecting everything in the room so you could hardly see it. I decided I wasn’t going back there.

In the evening we saw the Kirov Ballet perform some modern dances along with some classical pieces. Beautiful. The men just lingered in the air. Our seats were good, right in front. At intermission people came around the audience selling ice cream.

The next morning we strolled through the Jeu de Paume to soak up the Impressionists and then headed over to Gallerie Lafayette for some shopping. It was one of the biggest department stores I had ever seen jam packed from wall to wall. I bought a scarf.

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Pompidou Center

Next stop was the new George Pompidou museum. It was an ugly structure with its guts hanging out. People congregated outside on the stone plaza to see fire eaters, magicians, musicians and weirdos. We spent three hours going through the museum. It seemed to have almost everything imaginable in it.

We managed to hit Notre Dame just as they were having mass so all the lights were on and the candles were lit and you could hardly move there were so many people. The rosettes were still there. They were still impressive.

The metro cost two francs anywhere in the zone.

The day we arrived back in the Hague it was a holiday. We went to the Gemeente Museum and saw a doll house, lots of Eschers, Van Goghs, and Mondrians. They had a musical instrument section with Asian drums, gongs and mandolins.

Downtown there was a small museum called Prince Willem V Gallery. It was crowded with the paintings the royal family owned but didn’t want to keep in their house. Some true masterpieces were on exhibit.

I took a trip to Marken. It used to be an island and was often flooded. They built their houses on piles in case of flooding. The island was isolated for many years which resulted in inbreeding which made it an interesting place for ethnographers and physical anthropologists. One old woman opened her house to visitors. It was cluttered and small.

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It’s a dyke!

Another day we drove to the Ijsselmeer, a man made lake with a sixteen mile long dyke at one end. We drove across it and it was impossible to tell you were on a dyke. We stopped at Sneek for lunch and then at Enkhuizen to watch all the big sailboats.

3 thoughts on “My Vacation in Holland and Paris

  1. How much fun to read about my birth town, Sneek! Every time I visit Holland I drive across the Afsluitdijk, and I never quite get used to seeing what an amazing piece of engineering that must have been — before computers! And yes, do go to Hindeloopen next time — very cute little place with an interesting history (their dialect has a lot of Norwegian and Danish in it because of trade in the olden days before the dike.)

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