Since we left Miami on April 20, we have visited 13 countries, about half of the Western European countries: Madeira, Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Ireland, No. Ireland, Scotland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Netherlands (Holland), and Germany. We took ships, ferries, trains, buses, and bicycles, or we walked; today we rode a draisine, a pedal car on an old railway from Groesbeek, Netherlands to Kranenburg, Germany, about 20 km (16 mi) round trip. We cycled by cattle, sheep, horses, and goats; past cornfields, vineyards, strawberry beds, and acres of Swiss chard. I recognized oaks, birch, chestnut, and mountain ash. At one point, Dennis stopped to pick ripe and juicy blackberries. Though pastoral, the ride was far from tranquil; Dennis an I had to yell to overcome the din of the car wheels on the rail. To listen and see us experience this unusual form of transportation, click here.
We spent about an hour visiting Kranenburg, a 13th century town. We entered the Gothic cathedral, St. Peter and St Paul, which is very light and airy compared to others we have seen. It has a beautiful stained-glass window and two golden side altars. The one pictured below features the life of Mary.
This Catholic church has been a place of pilgrimage for over 700 years, because of the legend of the Holy Cross. In 1280, a boy took communion and found the wafer too difficult to swallow, so he spat it out into a tree hollow, and then confessed his transgression. Twenty-eight years later, someone found a wooden crucifix in the same tree; believed to be a miracle, people have made pilgrimages to see the cross.
The town takes its name from the local crane sanctuary and the symbol of the town is the crane.
After returning to Groesbeek we took the bus to Nijmegen. There we walked around the city, visiting several parks, the old center, and the traffic and railroad bridges that cross the Waal River. Preventing the Germans from destroying these bridges was an objective of Operation Market Garden.
We sat in a cafe sipping on a Laffe Dubbel, a dark beer. Lisa, our server spoke English with an American accent; she helped us select our dinner. As we people watched, we realized that there are more women in Nijmemen than men. The university in town teaches the social and academic programs which do not attract many men. As you can imagine, Dennis enjoyed looking at all the young Dutch women.