Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vicky's visit


A few weeks ago I received a per-arranged and most welcomed visit from my sister Vicky. She arrived right after AZ Alkmaar, a football (soccer) team in the small city where I'm living, won the Dutch League championship. The wild, loud, and several days long AZ Feest (see YouTube video) took place soon after, while she was here. We're in the crowd standing on top of a five story parking garage and chanting "kampioen, kampioen!" It really was "wild!" AZ (pron: aaa-zet) won the national championship for the second time this year, and it had been a long time since the first win. As you probably know, football is huge in Europe, it's all sports fans talk about.

I have put some photos up on Picasa of Vicky's visit that I received from her and my BVS Director in Europe, who was also here for the first two days of the visit. An acquaintance of mine, Aggie, actually lives in and operates the photographed windmill, and there are probably ten such mills within walking distance of my residence. Aggie was kind enough to spend the morning giving us a tour of the mill and explaining its operations. All mill operators in The Netherlands must be educated (several years) and obtain a special operator's license.

Thursday before last was "Hemelvaartsdag," Ascension Day, and a holiday in the Netherlands. Each year on this day they have a running event in Alkmaar called the Vestloop that starts at Grote Sint Laurenskerk (the big church) and winds through the "binnenstad" (center of town). I participated last year and again this year in the 5K race. Improved my time by 7 seconds, so at least I'm not getting any slower. Ha!

Received a postcard from a friend I met in Rochester, NY three years ago that was visiting St. Andrews, Scotland and on his way to Istanbul. Hope to hear what he thought about Turkey, as many of the foods I buy come from there and the nuts and dried fruits are the best I've ever tasted. Iran, too; the quality of Iranian dates is superior to any dates I've eaten.