Sunday, July 23rd, would be our last day in Europe, at least for the both of us. Monday morning, I take a high-speed train to London, and Cindy flies back to the United States. The final day was packed with activity. The first place we visited was Christ Church, not as a tourist, but as worshippers. This Anglican Church was founded in 1698. We enjoyed the service, but were somewhat disappointed. It lacked the beauty and ceremony of the typical Anglican service — No vestments or robes, No sharing of the peace, and, most importantly, no Eucharist! With no offense intended to my protestant friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, this was a very typical protestant evangelical service. The priest was in jeans (and a collar, of course). The worship band was contemporary, and so on. The sermon, which clearly had taken the place of the Eucharist in the service was quite good, however. Despite all this, it was great to worship our Maker.
From Christ Church, we visited the house of Rembrandt. The walk through his former residence was most interesting, especially standing in his large studio where he completed many of his great masterpieces, including The Night Watch and many self-portraits.
Upon exiting the house of the great Dutch painter, we had a quick lunch of Belgian waffles, Nutella, and whipped cream (perfect!) and walked a few more blocks to the Hermitage Amsterdam Museum. We visited the massive Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg several years ago. It just so happens that the Hermitage has so much in its collection that it could never put on display, so it opened satellite museums in other cities, such as Amsterdam. We were only able to take in about half of the excellent museum, including an extremely interesting and informative exhibit on the Romanovs of Russia, especially the last Tsar, Nicholas II and his family. The many rooms we wandered through told their very sad story, filled with artifacts and possessions of the royal family.
On our way to our next stop, we visited the Flower Market. The Netherlands. for centuries, have been world leaders in the flower business. They still are a major exporter of flowers all over the world. Holland has a history of tulip-mains. In the early 1600s, 40 tulip bulbs sold for about $1.7 million of today’s dollars! One bulb could buy 12 acres of land! Thankfully, the price has dropped since we bought about 12 bulbs to bring home with us.
Finally, we briefly toured the Amstelkring Museum, aka, Our Lord in the Attic Museum. After William of Orange liberated the Netherlands from Spanish (and Catholic) control, the only religion and form of Christianity that was legal in the land was Dutch Protestantism. The Catholics (and others) went underground and house churches were established. We toured this one particular house church that has an entire Caatholic Church in the attic of a home. Quite interesting!
By this time, we were beyond tired. We retreated to our hotel for a few moments before going out to dinner. We had decided on a last-night splurge at a very nice restaurant, but alas it was not to be. They were inexplicably closed. Instead we had pizza at a local restaurant called Dante’s. The pizza was good, our bellies were full, our bodies were tired, so we returned to Hotel Brouwer to relax for the night. Early Monday morning we would be going our separate ways.