Portland to Seattle and 2 weeks Netherlands.
My sister received the sad news of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer stage 4 and according to doctors had only a few months to live. Hence, we decided to fly back to Holland to say our goodbyes and spend time with my sister and her husband Jan and the 4 sons.
Jeff, in Battle Ground Washington, looked after our truck and organized a service while we were in Holland. We took the train (Amtrak) to Seattle from where we flew to Holland. Having been to Seattle for work before, we only visited Pikes market and had lunch on the waterfront. Unfortunately, the Boeing factory tour did not run on the day we arrived in Seattle so we may do this on our return to Seattle in August.
At the same time, we were advised that both Clary her mother and Father 92 and 93 years old were also very ill, so this was not really a trip we were looking forward to. PFFFF, we shared our 2 weeks between my sister and Clary her parents. Clary her sisters organized a family reunion. And with my sister we did meet her sons when we travelled to Maastricht where one of the sons has a café/bar. During our time in Holland, we also had a little time to enjoy the many outdoor terraces and events organized in summer by the local tourist committees.
The Dutch tourism association is very active in promoting many events during the weekends in the summer months (Peak tourist season).
One of those events was the Nijmeegse 4 Daagse (4 Days Marches). This is the world largest walking event where over 45000 people from over 70 different countries between 11 years old to 90 years old walk either 30-40 or 50km every day for 4 days. The walkers, accompanied by countless live music and marching bands, make it a great festive and colourful procession. The walkers leave every morning between 4am and 5.30am and this is when most party go-ers are leaving the party venues. Usually this also makes the early start a great party for the walkers. The walkers all walk with the same objective: being awarded the coveted 4DAYS Marches Cross after they cross the finish line on the Via Gladiola.
The event has become a mega summer festival, with more than 1000 performances spread out over 46 stages,300 outdoor bars with 130 of them offering outdoor terraces, 18000 sq meters of outdoor terraces around the stages and over 20000 free patio chairs. All this and 1.6 million visitors over 6 days makes this a great summer party offering something for everyone from pop to classical, rock, techno, and jazz.
The Netherlands may be small in size but has it all, from big cities to small, charming villages, promoting many traditional characteristics, with ancient, cobbled alleys, historical buildings and churches with stained-glass windows. The rich history, windmills, canals in Amsterdam and Giethoorn, cheese markets in Alkmaar, and Volendam and Marken 2 typical Dutch villages make for a lovely holiday. Amsterdam is home to the country’s most famous museums, famous painters, lovely squares with lots of outdoor entertainment and outdoor drinking or dining.,
The Zaanse Schans is a must to visit. In the Seventeenth Century the Zaanse Schans was the biggest industrial area in the world. A Dutch windmill basically was a little factory. Each windmill was custom build for producing various products like paint, cooking oil, paper, and wood. On the bank of the river Zaan hundreds of windmills were grinding, pounding, sawing, and crushing. Products of the Zaanse Schans were exported all over the world. The dozen windmills on the Zaanse Schans are still fully operational. On a good windy day, you’ll see them turning at full speed.
After 12 days it was time to say goodbye to my sister, this goodbye was very difficult, sad and lots of tears knowing that we will never see each other again as she has only weeks or month to live. The day before we said goodbye to Clary her parents which unfortunately no longer recognized her. Once we arrived at Amsterdam airport, we received bad news, Clary her mother had passed away a few minutes earlier.
We are back in Portland now and are doing a brake service and wheel balancing, hoping to continue our travels next week.
More sad news this week as my sister also passed away on Aug 3.
Till Next time when we explore Mt Rainier, Mt Olympus and Cascades enroute towards Glacier NP
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