The pictures are of course all the tradition. The first few pictures are of the process of the kids gathering on the stairs. We began the tradition when they were young. There was a time when the kid’s bedrooms were upstairs, and the master bedroom was on the main level of the house. The stairs became the Christmas Morning and Eastern Morning Holding area. They would wait at the top of the stairs until I got up and made coffee, pouring two mugs one for me and one for my wife.
Then with camera in hand, they came down the stairs. We recreated that picture for our family celebration. I took pictures of the process to show how long it takes together adults versus when they were kids. At age 4 or 5 they were at the stairs anxiously waiting to come down. As adults, they wandered into where the picture was to be, not as fast, not as excited now as they had been then. Funny how the things that change and the things you try to keep the same are often in opposition.
The evolution of this moment is one I will show later, with pictures from many years ago against the now. Getting four adults and four dogs on the stairs was an interesting experiment in patience. I could, can, however still see the little kids there on the stairs. Funny how your eyes see what they want to see, not always what is there. The photo showing adults, but my memories are of little kids. The joyous, happy moments right before the search destroy mission that was Christmas morning or Easter Morning.
Our hotel room in Copenhagen. We took a lot of pictures; it was an impressive hotel. One side was a conversion center and hotel; the other tower was a pure hotel. During our first stay there (we stayed before we went to Amsterdam and then again when we came back from Amsterdam, the second stay was less than 24 hours before our flight home). The hotel was well designed and laid out.
We were just about a ¼ mile from the subway. By the end of our first day in Copenhagen, we were good with using and leveraging the mass transit system of Copenhagen. It is incredibly easy to use anyway, and we were moving around the city like pros very quickly. I think the US systems could learn a lot from the European cities with mass transit. In particular, since none of the European Cities are English other than the UK.
But first the hotel room, we were all adjusted to European time by the time we got off the Cruise ship and landed once again in Copenhagen. The first time we landed in Copenhagen, we had to rush across the city in a cab to get to the port. The second time we had to rush across the city towards the airport to get to our hotel. Then we were free and clear to go sightseeing. Our goal was to enjoy Copenhagen (and get a picture of the Little Mermaid)! Ok, in fairness, my goal was to recreate the picture of the Little Mermaid in the Harbor taken by my father and I more than 40 years before.
The last day in Amsterdam was bittersweet. In part because it was the last day and in part, because our daughter was in pain and couldn’t go out on the last day. She stayed back at the hotel and rested her sore knee. The last day we decided to visit a place my wife had picked. This was only different from the other days in that my daughter didn’t vote. She was in pain. It was a museum dedicated to the Dutch Resistance during World War II. This museum was in the part of Amsterdam by the Zoo.
Author’s Note: There are a lot of canal pictures like this. My wife wanted her own Amsterdam Post Card picture. We tried all three days and got quite a few!
I enjoyed it because it was not a tourist attraction. It was more a historical location for the people to embrace and recall those who gave everything now 70 years ago. In Holland, many things don’t open until a specific time. Many do, the subway is almost always running. But some restaurants and shops don’t open until 9 am or 10 am. We got to the museum roughly a ½ hour early.
So we wandered around. We got to see one of the cities of Amsterdam EV stations. Right on the side of the road so you could charge your EV. We also got to see a sculpture garden in the yard near a school, and of course, we got to wander by the entrance of the zoo. We also got to see the new construction area where there were a lot of new apartments being built on the other side of the school grounds.
Wandering with my family, the streets of Amsterdam. We wandered. Every single day in Amsterdam we walked 20,000 or more steps. If you ask my sons what they did in Europe, they answer “we walked a lot.” Not that they got to see the Van Gogh museum or the Anne Frank house. To see the canals of Amsterdam and the Red Light district, “we walked a lot.” Is the answer they boys give most often.
(there are 20 or more pictures of bikes taken while we were in Amsterdam. My wife loves bikes!)
On the edge of the Red Light District, my daughter and wife went into the world famous Red Light district bar, just to see what it was like and to read the menu. The smell, of the air, my wife said was a little much. I took the boys, who didn’t want to go in, to get French Fries. The Amsterdam version, of course, covered in a wonderful cheese sauce, so the boys were happy.
They didn’t get why the French Fry place was right by the Marijuana bar for a bit. In fact, they didn’t get that until the end of the day. Then it dawned on them as we were sitting in the subway station waiting to head back to the hotel. “oh, it was there for when people get the munchies.” The weather was also perfect, unlike Norway we didn’t get a drop of rain in our trip in Amsterdam.
I am, for the Holiday season cutting down on the number of family history project posts. I added a post a day for the 365 photo challenge and need to cut down the time spent a little. January is the busy time in my chosen profession (IT Consulting), and I need to shake a few minutes out of my morning routine. The second day in Amsterdam is the focus today. My daughter and wife were planning the events. Both of them were set on the Van Gogh museum, so we got tickets and headed into Amsterdam early in the AM. My daughter was leading the way as the official map and direction person. My wife was interjecting the occasion are you sure we are going the right way.
That, made me laugh, the two of them grasping the wheel and trying to take charge! “We are going this way.” My daughter would say, and my wife would say “shouldn’t we go that way?” I would from time to time remind her that our daughter was the map keeper, but for the most part, I just watched and laughed. The period we were in downtown Amsterdam was also a soccer tournament, so there were much more police and barricades.
We took the subway early in the morning, then rode on the TRAM. That was our one trip on the Tram. My ribs, injured in Germany, were extremely tender at that point. The shaking of the Tram nearly caused enough pain for me actually to throw up. I, of course, was stupid and didn’t tell anyone else in the family just how much pain I was in. I didn’t want to ruin their European vacation. We had talked about that vacation for more than ten years by the time we finally went. Three cracked ribs were not going to stop me. This last note is for my future sons. Yes, boys, I should have slowed down and taken care of my injury, you were right.
When we got married, let’s just say a couple of years ago, one of the things my wife wanted was to travel. She had been to a few places in the US, but she wanted to see the world. There were two places, in particular, she wanted to go to being Paris and Amsterdam. In the early part of 2003 or so, she joined in on a trip to Paris. I was working on an internal company project, and the meeting was going to be in Paris.
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She, my wife, came with me and spent three days wandering the city of lights on her own. Thanks to my parents watching the kids, we were able to stay the weekend and do some sightseeing together as well. But my wife’s big dream, her big goal in life was to go to the place her family was from, Holland. I won’t share the details of her family, but they were from the land of Tulips. My wife wanted to visit the city of Amsterdam.
From that trip, last summer comes a whole of Dutch pictures. I have shared many of them before in various posts about the trip. But this one is for my wife. It is funny, on the trip we stopped in Copenhagen, several cities in Norway and Rostock Germany as well as flying to Amsterdam. The kids, like me, loved Copenhagen the most. But my lovely wife loved the city of her roots. We spent three days in the magical city, and it was an amazing trip!
I suspect, in learning later the impact my Grandfather Andersen had on me, was a painful realization. It occurred after the death of my father and the sudden need to scan thousands of pictures. It was in those pictures that I found the image of my grandfathers and me.
My grandfather Johnston always had a huge impact on me. I would say if you asked in the 1980’s that he was my best friend. Someone I went to and relied on. He was another inflection point in my life.
Moving to Thailand is one of the few instead of just like everyone else around me had an impact. It made me realize that you cannot treat someone differently because they are not exactly like you. I learned that the world produces many things, but smiles and laughter are universal. Laughter doesn’t have borders. That was another inflection point in my life, development and personal growth.
Life is a babbling brook, full of nothing and everything. If you pause for a moment, you can hear the sounds within the babbling, the message within the bottle. That sound is what distracts us and keeps us from what is ultimately the most important thing. We can remember. We can recall. But cherish is the dream. In finding the memories and cherishing them, we open our hearts to the world and let everything in.