It was our last evening in Eindhoven. We were invited to have dinner at the home of a Philips colleague who was from the states but had been living in the Netherlands now for a several months. She and her husband were desperate to be with other Americans! I had spotted some flower vendors at the marketplace earlier in the day so we swung by to pick up a bouquet for our hosts. The flower lady was one tough looking Mama. I worked up the courage to snap a quick picture of her even though she looked like she could kill me three different ways before I could whistle Yankee Doodle.
Melissa and her husband Luke live in a lovely neighborhood; it was sort of in the style of a brownstone in Boston. They had immaculate taste.
I’ve noticed as I’ve gone through my pictures that I tend take more shots of strangers than of people I actually know, this can leave gaps in the story. Our hosts Melissa and Luke were young, hip and fabulously attractive. I failed to capture their images; so for our purposes we’ll use this:
Our Dutch lunch had long since worn off so we were pretty well starving by this time. Melissa had told us that we would be having good old American barbecue, which sounded perfect; we were so ready for a burger by this point in the trip! We were anticipating the smell of charring meat in the air when we arrived, but instead we found this:
Luke coquettishly asked, “do any grilling? “ as he struggled to get the Webber going. No worries though, Melissa set me up with a Gimlet, which I had never tried before, very tasty!
We also had a caprese salad to nibble on.
The Burgers turned out splendidly.
This day also happened to be my birthday, which I had totally forgotten about. Jeff had arranged for Melissa to pick up a cake for me.
The cake was chocolate decedance, but you might be thinking that it doesn’t look very birthday-ish. Melissa got the cake from the local Department Store Bakery. Although Birthdays are a very big deal here, the birthday cake as we think of it is not the tradition in the Netherlands. The standard Dutch Birthday Cake is normally a pastry tart topped with assorted fruit and whipped cream, called a Vlaai. When Melissa asked if they had any chocolate cake the bakery lady replied “How very American!” Indeed. We enjoyed our American cake and and said goodnight, it was a great evening.
We took a nice walk back to the Art Hotel and decided to have one last glass of scotch in the Netherlands. The bar in the lobby was well stocked and carried our favorite Lagavulin 16.
Plus we got to see the flower desks lit up.
Who’s got two thumbs and took his wife on a fantastic vacation?
But now it was time to head up to the room to rest up for our trip home the next morning.
Our journey home began with a train ride back to Amsterdam for our flight from Schipol Airport.
Once we got to the airport we had just enough time for a quick breakfast.
We had been gone for eleven days, and I missed my children terribly but, to be honest, I really didn’t want to go. That is to say, I wanted to be home but I also wanted to be in Amsterdam at the same time. How could I manage without an afternoon cappuccino and people watching at the cafe? No more strolling along the canals dodging the bicyclists! No more museums! I wanted to still be able to walk across the street to have a scotch at the pub and chat with the locals; I just plain loved it there. Sigh…
But, in the end there is no place like home, and this grateful lady knows that home is pretty darn good.