Two Friends Walking

Going east seems to be ok with me regarding jet lag. It is about eleven at night on the west coast of the USA as I write these words. Typically, I would be sleeping. Actually, since it is 0800 here in Rotterdam, I have woken up from sleep. I was able to sleep on the plane and so I feel fairly well adjusted, time wise.

Yesterday was an adventure.  I arrived at Schiphol Airport and had an easy time of it coming through passport control, bagage retrieval and customs.  My seatmate on the plane was a Dutch woman named Joyce.  She was returning from a three week trip to Portland to see her boyfriend.  We had a good visit and she was helpful to me in the airport.  I stored one bag in a locker at the airport and rode the train from Schiphol to Rotterdam Central.  From the train station, I walked to Joop’s house, guided by both a google map he had provided and my memories.  As it turned out, the streets were quite familiar to me, and as Joop said later that day, “It is a small city”.

Joop and Margo and I visited for a bit.  Joop is recovering from a bad bout of the flu, and right in the middle of their busy Christmas performance season with the puppet theater.  They will journey east today to do a performance. We were joined by Hidde, Margo and Joop’s son.  Hidde is an artist.  I greatly enjoyed my visit to his studio the last time I was in Rotterdam.   Hidde is now living and working in Basil, Switzerland.  He is working in three dimensions now, doing sculpture and he discussed with me the differences between painting and doing sculpture.  We aslo spoke about music and the acceptability of music to a broad audience without the need for the musician to explain its “meaning”, whereas, often with art, the public wants to know what a piece means, or even “what is it?” in order to accept it.

After our initial conversation, Joop and I went for a walk.  It turned into a nice long walk, through the streets and byways of Rotterdam.  The sun was out, and it was a bit brisk, I would guess in the high thirties or low forties.  It was warm enough for a walk, and I think we kept up a pretty good place for a couple of older guys.

Our first stop was the museum where I excpet to go today, with Anneke, who is coming from Amsterdam to meet me.  This museum, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is near Joop’s house.  We walked further on and came to the Rotterdam Maritme Museum, run by retired dock workers and sea man.  There were a number of outdoor exhibits here, mostly older vessels and retired equipment once used on the docks of the port of Rotterdam.

I saw a statue, given as a gift to the city in a plaza near the Maritime Museum, which is now a symbol of Rotterdam.  I figure standing with a large hole in his chest, with his heart missing.  This sculpture respresents the destruction of the old city center by military actions in World War Two.  After walking through the very busy open-air market, we came upon a statue of Erasmus, which was placed in a plaza right next to an old Catholic church, which we visited.  The interior of the building was quite old, spacious with very high ceilings, a huge pipe organ, and lots of nooks and crannies.

Joop and I continued our walk for about two hours.  We made a stop in a store which specialized in wine and beer.  I searched high and low for an Oregon wine, but they had none.  The shopkeeper had never heard of Oregon, nor our wines.  He showed me some Californian wines.  I told him that someday he would be carrying Oregon wines.  Joop picked out several Belgian beers.

At the house, we met Bregje, who came over to say hello to me.  I was very pleased to see her.  Bregje is the youngest daughter of this family, and the one for whom some of us have been praying for well over a year now.  Bregje lives in Rotterdam and is a student at a school of art.

I’m now preparing for my walk to the train station this morning.

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