HOLLAND The Netherlands (or Holland) is famous for its levees or dikes, tulips, wooden shoes, bicycles, and windmills! Angela's European tour began in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She arrived the same night as the Governor of Louisiana! Angela took a picture with Governor Blanco after traveling for 10 hours by plane.
It was 8 am the next morning when I arrived in the Netherlands and the temperature was -3 degrees. I had been awake for 24 hours straight by the time this photo was snapped! Amazingly, it looks like I never left Louisiana because the Netherlands look a lot like Louisiana! With the exception of the windmills and the cold, I could be standing on a Louisiana levee!
I was so koud (koud=Dutch word for cold), I dressed for the day next to the electric blanket under the warmth of the covers! My hosts all speak Dutch and I am learning the language some. Here is a photo of the lovely farmhouse where I stayed after ariving in Colinsplaat. I marveled how the water is still heated by gas over the kitchen sink! I cooked yesterday for a family of four, a New Orleans' dish called "Jambalaya" a mixture of chicken, shrimps, sausage and rice. The day before the family prepared a hearty meal for me of potatoes, green beans, apple sauce, beets, meatballs and a delicious vanilla and strawberry yogurt which they called flan for dessert! The people here are fabulous and the scenery is beautiful! Last night, after dinner we exchanged stories around the hearth! The following is a nursery rhyme my hosts shared with me:
A favorite children's nursery rhyme from Holland:
Een, twee, drie, ( One, two, three) Mijn zusje heet marie, (My sister's name is Marie) En als ze geen marie heet, (And if her name is not Marie) Dan heet ze een, twee, drie! (Then her name is one, two, three!)
This windmill photo is in the city of Zierikzee (pronounced Zearick-zay) which is a great tourist city much like the French Quarters in New Orleans. Angela performed in four cities in Holland: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag & Middelharnis. The students I met with yesterday at Middelharnis school are the same as other schools in America--very curious and they laugh at the same parts of the story. Many of the students are learning the English language. For the first program we had an interpreter. During the second program the English teachers decided the translator wasn't necessary for the students to understand the story. They were right! Many of the students wrote me afterwards telling me what fun they had listneing to the stories. The teachers have invited me back to tell more stories when I return to Europe in the fall.
More than half the population in Holland (15 million) live below sea level. The roads, houses, cars, and the supermarkets are all smaller than most American stores, but Dutch people's hearts are very big. They are very generous and friendly. I am told there are no storytellers in Holland. Though I don't believe this to be true. Storytellers are everywhere. I had a tough time explaining what a storyteller is because many people don't know what it is. The word for storyteller in Dutch is verteller! I am having a great time vertellen (storytelling)! The children of Den Haag gave Angela a special container for stroopwafels. Stroopwafels are delicious cookie wafers filled with gooey caramel.
Here is a Dutch Story told in 12 chapters:
Op Weg! - Traveling on the Road!
It's a story about a man named Mr. Oger who is very ill. He sends his son on a long journey to find a cure for him. Each chapter tells about the son's adventures.
You have probably already heard of the story about Hans Brinker. Hans Brinker is the little Dutch boy who placed his finger in the dike to save his country. No one knows if the story is true or not.