It's true. Driving five hours south and west brings us to Canmore and the Canadian Rockies where we spend fun times with Alana, Erin and the muchkins (who are growing up way too quickly). Driving five hours east brings us to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where many of my relatives live and where we spent the past weekend.
My 92 year old grandma died on April 24 while we were on the cruise. Actually we found out when we were in Crete. Fortunately the family was able to postpone the funeral until we all returned home from Europe. This past weekend we celebrated my grandma's life in Saskatoon.
The drive to Saskatoon is pretty flat and easy. The air was smoky/hazy in areas from the fires still burning in Fort McMurray. It seems as soon as you cross the Alberta/Saskatchewan border the sky changes. The clouds in Saskatchewan are white and fluffy - the sky is really beautiful. It's not just me who thinks this way, on their license plate it says "Land of living Skies". I especially love driving to Saskatchewan later in the summer when the canola is in full bloom - bright yellow fields, deep blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Stunning.
Although we went to Saskatchewan for a funeral we really had a great weekend!
We traveled to my mom's home town, Humboldt, on Saturday for the funeral. Humboldt is a small community that holds many special memories for me. We had what I referred to as a full meal deal funeral. We had a full mass, grave site service, and a lunch with eulogy at the local Legion. Of course there was funeral egg salad sandwiches. I was honoured to speak on behalf of all the grand children (12 of us) and nine great grandchildren to share our memories of our grandma. She was a really special woman and I believe she left us with many lessons which have become her legacy.
It was really great to spend time with family. I come from good peeps! Over the weekend we played with puppies that my cousin is fostering, some of the crew shot tin cans with shotguns on the acreage, we had a big family dinner and then brunch the next morning, we rode horses and we even looked at Airstream trailers. My grandma would have loved every minute of this weekend.
We are back on our hunt for an Airstream. Life passes too quickly and we would like to spend the weekends exploring our beautiful country. Hopefully we can find the right trailer soon and spend time with it this summer. We'll be back in Saskatchewan in July for my cousin's wedding.
So, while I love flying and cruising to distant lands sometimes the best trips are the ones where we hop in the car, drive a few hours and make memories with family.
April 29, 2016
The night before we had decided that we would take a cab to Centraal Station and then catch the train to Delft. Delft is really charming with interesting history especially related to the Dutch monarchy. Not to mention the Delft blue pottery and it's the home town of the Dutch Golden Age painter, Johannes Vermeer. It sounded like the perfect way to end our month long holiday.
Except the weather changed our plans. Through the night I could hear the solid pounding of rain on the skylight in the bathroom. Unfortunately when we all met for breakfast it was still pouring with little chance for the weather to change. Our bone chilling experience to Keukenof was fresh in our minds so the trip to Delft was off. We brought out our ipads and started formulating a plan B.
We ventured out with our raincoats, umbrellas and more layers of clothing than the day before. We decided to do the hop on hop off canal boat because it was covered and warm. The canals in Amsterdam are interesting and the architecture or size of homes varies in the different canals. Thankfully we were protected inside the boat when it started to hail. Yikes! We rode the boat for an entire loop and decided to get off around the Anne Frank House. It had stopped raining and hailing - whew! Most of us have been to the Anne Frank House so we had no intention of visiting. I am always amazed at the length of the line to get in. If you have never visited, I highly recommend a visit but you should purchase your tickets in advance.
We decided to stop and have something warm to drink and a bite to eat. By the time we were finished, the rain stopped. It wasn't warm but at least we weren't getting wet! We walked to Dam square and there was a fair going on complete with haunted house, ferris wheel and Drop of Doom. Instead of mini doughnuts there were pofferjtes so we had to indulge (again). We walked through De Bijenkorf, the large luxury department store off Dam square. We just looked, no shopping - we have no room in our suitcases! We wandered over to Centraal Station and through the red light district before getting back on our Hop On Hop Off Canal boat for more touring. I should mention that most of us are sick with a cold and our energy is pretty low and we are tired out from our vacation. We had tickets to the Van Gogh museum for 5pm. It was really busy and hard to get a good look at most of the paintings. I've been to the museum before so I was searching for my favorite piece - Bedroom in Arles - but it is on loan to another museum. Drat!
We decided to get some salads at the grocery store and eat them in our room (the big room) back at the hotel. After dinner James and I went for a walk in Vondelpark before calling it a night. If the weather would have cooperated it would have been great to rent bikes to ride through the park. Next time...