The day we arrived in the Netherlands was Koninginnedag (Queens Day) so there were parties with orange throughout the country. We made our first stop in Utrecht to join in on the festivities but we were a little early...it was only 8:00 in the morning! Because our jetlag was beginning to set in, we decided to make our way up to Zwolle and see if we could check-in to our hotel a little early...and luckily we could! After bringing all of our bags inside Mom and Dad crashed watching the Royal Wedding and I took a shower and got all ready. Then we reversed roles and I crashed while they got ready. We made it out of our hotel at about 3:00 and drove to the Centrum of Zwolle. It was so great to be there with all of the Dutch people and smells and food...it brought back so many memories of my first 6 months of my mission! After walking around for a while, we decided to eat at 't Pannenkoek Schip, a little ship on one of the canals that serves Dutch pancakes. They were delicious! Mom and I had ones with bacon and apples and Dad went all out with bacon, cheese, peppers, and mushrooms. We were starting out our experience right! When we finished up with dinner we took a drive to see my first apartment and just to look around the city. We ended up at the Albert Heijn (the best grocery store in the Netherlands) to stock up on breakfast food and snacks. We tried to stop and see Zuster Walle (Sue-Haina's mom) but she was not home. We headed back to the hotel, enjoyed some of the treats that we bought, laid out our Sunday clothes, and then hit the hay!
We stayed in Zwolle Saturday through Tuesday. We had a wonderful time! Here are some photos and information about the things we experienced each day:
We went to church in Zwolle's new church building! It was so great to see all of the branch members again, and even a few investigators, one that I had referred to the Elders after meeting him in Den Haag. The meetings were wonderful and everyone made us all feel so welcome. Dad and I shared our testimonies during Sacrament Meeting. It was amazing to see that the church is the same around the world because of revelation and because Jesus Christ is the head! After church we had lunch at Tineke's. She made my favorite Indonesian meal! Mom was a little nervous about the food but fell in love with it immediately! She keeps talking about how she needs to get the recipe! Sunday afternoon we went to Kampen, a beautiful village next to Zwolle, to visit the Knarren's. It began with the typical Dutch tea and cake. We enjoyed most of the afternoon outside and then moved inside for dinner. Anca cooked gourmet, as she always does, and made us soup, rice with a lamb and mushroom sauce, and salad. It was great to be able to spend time with them and there two boys, Hyrum and Nathan!
We slept in! After rolling out of bed at 9:30, we went down to the hotel front desk and rented some bikes. It was a windy day but still sunny so we biked over to Tineke's. She and her boys took us on the most unbelievably beautiful biking trail! It was absolutely breathtaking! We saw everything...a herd of sheep and a shepherd, someone rethatching their roof, beautiful scenery...we truly felt like we were in a fairytale! Thanks Tineke! We decided that after using quite a few calories biking we needed to replace them with some fries dipped in mayo, peanut sauce and onions, topped off with gelato! We found the fries and gelato in the Centrum pretty easily but finding a bathroom was another story. After searching for 20 minutes and paying a euro we were good to go! We rode back to the hotel and crashed before going to our dinner appointment at the Spijkerman's. Loved it. We had traditional dutch food...stampot! They were so kind and surprised us with a few gifts and then treated us to a little FHE before we headed out. It was so special! And to end the day we made a visit to Familie Gerrits out in Hardenberg. Being able to visit with them was definitely worth the drive...and getting lost for a bit!
We got a good start on the day! We got our bags back out to the car and checked-out before heading to Emmeloord to visit Familie van Andel. On Sunday Zuster van Andel had made up a little voucher for us for one day to have lunch with them and visit the orchid and butterfly gardens out by them. We had tried to get a hold of her but couldn't reach her before we were on the rode so we just decided to make a quick stop there to say goodbye and give her a little present. Well, things didn't go as planned...even better! She ended up being home and having time to still take us and we just feel so blessed for all we experienced and the time that we were able to spend with her. It was marvelous! It sure ended our time in the Zwolle area on the right note! I love those people soooo much!
P.S. The computer is being so slow adding pictures...there are plenty more to come but I am going to take a little snooze first. It's getting quite late! Good night!