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The Group

Day 03: July 30th 1999 (The Netherlands to Bacharach, Germany).

Well, I didn’t get a hangover after all.  But I was obviously slightly sunburned from the day before and the burn on my hand was starting to blister.  I wonder what I’ll look like at the end of this trip!

Breakfast at 7:15.  We took the bus to the Alsmeer flower auction, a Raiders of the Lost Ark type building (125 football fields large) where flowers are bought and sold.  17 million flowers per day go through there.  It smelled wonderful, but once you saw the inside of the building, that was pretty much it.  Carts and carts of flowers, and little baggage handler type tractors pulling them around in an endless dance.

After an hour bus ride we stopped at the Arnhem Open Air Museum.  This was a Sturbridge-Village like place (for those of you from Massachusetts), far too large to explore completely in the 2-˝ hours we had.  Windmills, stucco made from cows’ dung, and thatched roofs were the staples of the place.  We had a pancake lunch, where the pancakes were more like pizzas than breakfast food.

On to Germany.  We got a quick language course from Ian on the bus, and we finally started to see some real hills.  We entered the Rhine River valley, which reminded me of the Hudson River valley in New York, although here there were many more castles.  The castles were on almost every hilltop.

We arrived in Bacharach just as the sun was setting, so everything had an orange glow.  Our bus had to scrape by another bus leaving the town at a one-way tunnel in the wall, and just as it seemed we would be stuck forever we squeaked through.  At the top of the hill above the town lay a castle that had been converted to a hostel.  The hotel we were going to stay in is actually one of the city wall towers, and is 500 years old.  I got the “room of 100 breasts” which had a headboard with lumps in the plaster that looked strangely appealing and familiar.

We had a four-course dinner in the hotel after we had settled a bit.  The main course was a spiced chicken with noodles.

Afterwards, Don snagged me for a beer on the patio.  As the night quieted down, every 5 minutes a train would scream by a few yards away, leaving us with mussed hair and then all would be quiet again.  For some strange reason, the trains made the place more real to me.  I told Don this and he thought I was crazy.  Jean was there also.  We spent hours talking, and eventually Carol Dike joined us.  I heard the next day that we had kept Bill awake with our banter, but he agreed it was very interesting.

To bed at midnight again.  Ah, but tomorrow breakfast is an hour later than today.

     

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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.

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