Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium 1986


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Note: This travelog was written in 2013, so many details have long been forgotten since I (Debbie) took the trip, but I took some notes that helped fill things in. I was living in Minnesota at the time and was in a long-distance relationship with a Dutch man named Marcel.

Sunday, November 23, 1986: I flew from MSP to the Netherlands via Chicago, arriving at 11:30 AM. Marcel met me at Schiphol airport and we took the train from Amsterdam through the Hague, Delft, and Rotterdam to Marcel's home in Venlo. We had rijsttafel (including baked banana, fried rice, shrimp, beef, tomatoes & cucumbers) at an Indonesian restaurant for dinner and I enjoyed it so much that I always make it a point to have it when I'm in the Netherlands (like in 2003 and 2010).

Monday, November 24, 1986: We spent most of the day sleeping and relaxing instead of taking photos until we went to McDonald's for dinner.

Here's Marcel.
And here we are together -- one of the earliest selfies ever. After dinner, we had drinks at the Locomotive Cafe, then met Marcel's friend Eddy when he stopped by later in the evening.
Tuesday, November 25, 1986: Breakfast was bread with chocolate sprinkles, raisin rolls, and milk.
We drove to Düsseldorf, Germany, and shopped a little, then drove to Mönchengladbach, Germany, passing this Mercedes dealership somewhere along the way.
In Mönchengladbach, we shopped and ate lunch at Söller Steakhaus. Yet the only picture I took of any of this was a 1 Hour Martinizing shop, but of course, it's 1 Stunde in Germany.
We returned to Venlo and Marcel went for a run while I slept to get over my jet lag.
That evening, we were invited to dinner at the home of Marcel's friends, Cris and Hanneke. We were joined by another friend, Stef, too. We drank wine and had "gourmet" (pronounced "gour-mett") -- a cook-your-own meal of beef, steak, pork, chicken, schnitzel, eggs, onions, mushrooms, peppers, potatoes, and sauces, with salad and bread.
It was great fun making our own meals and I felt right at home.
After dinner, Cris gave me a bag of Drop candy (licorice) as a souvenir, and Hanneke helped me try on a traditional Dutch headdress.
Wedesday, November 26, 1986: We went shopping in Venlo all afternoon. I bought some chocolate letters (6" chocolates in the shape of letters of the alphabet) for friends at home, souvenirs, Christmas cards, a Dutch can of Coke, and a box of M&Ms.
The main shopping area was lit up for the Christmas season and it was all very pretty. Dinner was a mushroom and ham pizza at Ristorante Portofino with an ice cream sundae afterward.
Thursday, November 27, 1986: Drove to Roermond and visited the two famous churches there. This one is St. Christopher's Cathedral, ...
... and this one is Munster Church, dating back to the 13th century. There's a pretty little gazebo in front of the church.
I bought a couple of boxes of tulips, a game of Monopoly, a battery operated toy Mercedes, and Marcel bought a set of candles each for my friend Kim and me. Lunch consisted of eggs, poffertjes, and pannekoeken at a cafeteria.
We drove on to Maastricht and took this photo of the Stadhuis at the
Marktplein, the main square of Maastricht. Years later, I visited this place again and got another photo.
Here's a view of the square looking in the other direction. We ate gyros, pita, and fries for dinner at Georg's Grill, then we took a quick trip into Belgium and drove through Leick and Visé.
When we returned to Venlo, we went first to a student bar and did some dancing, then to another bar where we spent time with Marcel's roommate Peter, colleague Eddy, and Eddy's ex-girlfriend.
Friday, November 28, 1986: We awoke to a beautiful day in Holland.
My hair was really blonde that fall due to a summer of spending every weekend in the sun waiting my turn to skydive.
Marcel had borrowed a friend's car for the week, which had been very helpful for us to get around.
This morning, we visited Marcel's employer, Océ, a large Dutch printing company.
This is the office that Marcel shared with Eddy, ...
... shown here in a staged action shot. I also met colleagues Mehmet, another Eddy, and Martha (Eddy and Marcel's Sun 3/60).
After visiting Océ, we went shopping, had a small dinner at McDonald's, and went to the movies to see "Heartburn." Then we went to a party and saw Marcel's friends, then we all went to a nightclub called Club Hawaii for some dancing.
Saturday, November 28, 1986: Another day, another backlit photo of me.
Is it any wonder why this guy caught my eye at a conference in Washington, DC?
On our last morning in Venlo, Marcel's roommate Peter took this photo of us, ...
... and posed for a photo in return.
We left Venlo on the train, ...
... and made our way back to Amsterdam.
We found a small hotel in Amsterdam.
It was a tiny room ...
... with a shared bathroom in the hallway.
We went out for dinner and Marcel tried unsuccessfully to help me pronounce "Heineken" correctly. The aroma of things legal in Amsterdam wafted from further back in the bar.
We saw one of my favorite European cars so Marcel was kind enough to pretend for one brief second that we might actually get into it.
It was spooky and foggy out, which made this photo turn out pretty cool.
Back in the hotel, we said hello to the resident cat.
Saturday, November 29, 1986: The next morning, we had the city to ourselves as we walked down Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal to the train station. This photo was taken across the street from the Amsterdam Museum.
This storefront isn't something you'd see every day in the US.
It was hard to smile knowing our week was coming to an end, ...
... but I did anyway. By 1:00 PM, I was in the air heading home.

** THE END **


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