Weekend in Steenwijk
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Where I stayed
We left Paris...northbound and found ourselves back in Amsterdam.
Our GRACIOUS host, Clemens invited us to visit his mother's home in Steenwijk.
We spent the weekend with her in her gorgeous Dutch cottage in a town that is 1000 years old.
It is small, quiet, perfect, historical...Jenny, pronounced Yenny, housed us, FED us, catered to us, told us stories in broken English, laughed with us...she was incredible.
We both felt a much needed maternal touch.
Jenny was a teacher and city council woman. Mostly self educated, well read, clever, sweet and a fantastic cook and mother.
Near Steenwijk is de Weeribben where we went Kanovaren
The terrain is marshland and very very muddy. Beautiful nonetheless and finding myself in a boat again was just what I needed.
I found this quote by an old professor of mine...I feel the same way about what you find in yourself when in the water.
"only by the emptying of ego and its self-inflated values and distractions is awareness freed to experience the holy present;
true religion can happen in a church, but it can also happen in a canoe: watching the sun’s reflected rays fade through glowing clouds rippling on one side of the water, even as the rising moon’s cool brightness dances up through the trees on the other side; when twilight fades to black planetary neighbors come into view, then stars and stars and stars, some of which are other galaxies, and i am lost, floating at the center, and home……"
We paddled 14 km and felt it by the end of the day. Feeling my body and muscles being used again in such a familiar way was nothing short of home.
Sunday night we joined the rest of the country in watching the Netherlands play Spain in the final match of the world cup.
Jenny and Clemens watched intently as we heard screams of support streaming through the streets. After the sorrowful defeat, Leah and I lay in our upstairs bedroom while the streets oozed cries of mourning and songs of heartfelt nationalism.
Being in Steenwijk was a breath of fresh air and a great way to segue our time from the monstrously busy streets of Paris to the calm and wonderful nature of the people of Holland.
We are back in Amsterdam and have rented bikes for the week!! We have been all over the city on our mighty Dutch steeds and have found many places to lay in the sun by the water, with the rest the happy people of this city.
Amsterdam is a melting pot. I have seen every kind of person, heard every kind of language, and shared glances with all kinds of eyes.
This is travel.