Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught

Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught

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Vught was chosen because it was close to Den Bosch, where various German head offices were. There was also a railway line, making it easier to transport prisoners.

SS CONCENTRATION CAMP IN THE NETHERLANDS

Kamp Vught is officially called: Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch (January 1943 – September 1944). It was not a “death camp” where Jews were massively killed.  Rather it was the main SS concentration camp in the Netherlands (other concentration camps are Schoorl, Amersfoort and Ommen). For many Jewish people, this was an intermediate station, as they were later transported to an extermination camps.   But it’s important to note that there were not only Jews in this camp, but also gypsies, gays, resistance fighters, political prisoners, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.

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Approximately 12,000 of these people were Jews, sent here before being sent to the death camps in Eastern Europe. The rest of Kamp Vught’s inmates were resistance fighters, political prisoners, Jehovah Witnesses, Roma, criminals, and a variety of others whom the Nazis deemed “unacceptable”. As with other camps, prisoners were forced to wear coloured triangles on their prison clothes to identify their category of ‘crime’.

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FREE AUDIO TOUR

When I visited, there were still doing some renovations to the site, which were not too bad as it is nearly done, but in exchange, they offered a FREE audio tour with a small device – I plugged in my headphones but you can hold the box to your head too – English, Dutch, French & German options.  [The tour is normally €2.50 per person]

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As you walk around, you see small boxes which you just tap with your device and it plays.  There are additional buttons (a) or (b) which give you more bonus information.    Personally, I loved the informative audio tour and the additional information.  

MUSEUM SET UP

The area is currently a museum is spread out over several buildings and outdoor areas. A model of the camp, made of natural stone, shows the extensive size of the camp and the many buildings it included.

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The watchtowers, which were built a hundred meters apart, have been reconstructed.

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The prisoners lived in barracks, over 400 prisoners per barrack. There was a bedroom here, a toilet room, laundry room and a dining room and washroom where they could wash once every 10 days!   The display barrack, rebuilt at half the original size, shows how the prisoners lived.

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There is also a crematorium, where the bodies of prisoners who died or were executed at the camp were burned.   Again, while it was not an extermination camp, around 750 people died due to hunger, sickness, and abuse.  Of these, 329 were murdered at the execution site just outside the camp.

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BUNKER DRAMA

The “bunker drama” is an example of the atrocities in the camp. When one of the women from barrack 23B was imprisoned in camp prison (the “bunker”), a number of women protested. Camp commander Grünewald ordered retaliation as many women as possible in one cell. In cell 115, 74 women were eventually squeezed together on an area of ​​nine m², with hardly any ventilation. On Sunday morning, January 16, 1944, the cell door opens after 2 p.m. Ten women did not survive the night. This drama soon became known outside the camp and was described in various resistance papers. The occupier finds it extremely annoying that the news has leaked out. Grünewald is sentenced to three and a half years by an SS judge. Himmler repeats this verdict and degrades Grünewald as a regular soldier. He joins his division again and is killed in 1945 in Hungary.

CHILDREN’S TRANSPORT

In June 1943, the Nazis decided there were too many Jewish children in Camp Vught. So they rounded up all the children under the age of 17 and sent them, along with those of their parents who chose to accompany them (most did), to Sobibor, where they were gassed. The names of these 1269 Jewish children are inscribed on the Children’s Monument. The youngest of these victims was only 6 days old when he was deported from Vught. When the train carrying him arrived for a stopover at Westerbork, he was so ill that he had to be taken to the hospital there, where he was placed on an incubator and assigned two private nurses. Two weeks later, when he had fully recovered, he was sent directly to the gas chambers at Sobibor.  Of all the Dutch Jews sent to Sobibor, only 18 adults survived and came back to tell their stories.

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EXECUTION AREA

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Located in the Vughtse Heide woods, at about a 15 minute walk from the museum.   Since I have small legs, it was more like 25 minutes!  

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Simply follow the path in the woods of the logo and you’ll come to a memorial erected that displays the names of the 329 prisoners who were executed at this site.  The walk back was more tricky and a few times I questioned which path to take – as I was literally alone in the woods – and only one time did I pass ONE other person.  It was a bit creepy to be honest, I hated this part!   My mind starts racing like a horror film and before you know it, I work myself up in my mind.

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The monument was installed in 1947 and unveiled by Princess Juliana.  Behind the monument is a large wooden cross, this cross was already posted as a tribute to the victims.

The original memorial wall bearing the names of these victims was vandalized with tar in the 1990s on the 50th anniversary of the Dutch liberation – never caught!  The defaced tablets are on display in the camp museum. Written on a wall above them is a poem in Dutch addressing those responsible for the act of desecration.

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The daubed plates are on display in boxes in the museum.

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At the gate to the monument someone pasted a poem in response to the defacing of the monument, this poem is placed in bronze on the gate too.

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A translation appears in the guidebook and spoken in the audio tour.

Could you paint tar
across stone, names, the past?
Pitiable fool, such names
can never be erased.
They are ingrained in countless
human souls, untouchable
by your foul hatred.
They are written in fire
in the skies, and their light
is insupportable to you.
You have accomplished nothing
Tarnisher
Above all you have only smudged
your own name.
Not theirs
They are smiling at your anger
bathing in light,
gently rocking on God’s breath.
And singing very softly and still
for those who want to hear:
Peace!

After my long walk in the woods, I returned, picked up my car and drove up the road to the Barrack 1B parking lot (tiny but as most people walk there was plenty of room).  I had to get the kids right after in MiniGestel camp, so didn’t want to have to go back again.

Barrack 1B

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Barrack 1B (Barak 1B) was opened after restoration in 2013; all information is bilingual: in English and Dutch. Barrack 1B is the last remaining barrack from Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch: a unique war heritage site and remembrance site. The exhibition covers four periods: the concentration camp (1943-1944), the evacuation camp for German citizens from the border area (1944-1945) and the internment camp for NSB members, Dutch citizens suspected of collaboration, and imperial Germans (1944-1949).

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Watch a film which is part of this exhibition with English subtitles [22 minutes – can take some time to load].

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From 1951, part of the former camp was used as the Lunetten compound and it housed former troops from the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL in Dutch) and their families from the Moluccas. The stories of tens of thousands of people who were obliged to live here in past seventy years converge here at the Barracks 1B site. Stories that tell of doubts and hope, dreams and ideals. About conscious choices and chance, about traumas and taboos.

 

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PRESSURE OF THE ALLIED ADVANCE.

The camp was hastily evacuated by the occupying forces at the beginning of September 1944. Some 3,500 prisoners were quickly put on a transport to Germany, while the camp command sought a safe refuge. The Canadians entered the camp on 26 October 1944.

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Overall I found it very informative and am glad I had a chance to visit to learn more about the history on my doorstep.    Such awful events must never be repeated!

5263 NT is the location on Google Maps – but more details about location, price & time can be found on their website.  I used my Museumkaart . Not 100% sure if it is still the case but it used to be free to the public on the 1st Wednesday of each month.

Natuurmuseum Brabant, Tilburg, Netherlands

We had to visit a shop in Tilburg today, so we coupled that errand with a visit to a museum at the Natuurmuseum Brabant.    We figured we have our Museumkaarts and as the cooler weather is now here, why not start using them again.   The warm outdoor pool weather is gone and between a passing showers, we had a quick bite to eat, then ran into this museum.  It was a cross between the Natural History Museum (aka The Dead Zoo in Dublin and the Cromer Museum.   Essentially, it’s is part old-fashioned Natural History museum, part media-oriented for the young.  One cool thing is that every window in the exposition room has a letter / number combination which can be used to look up “what am i looking at”.

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.Hunt Mammoths in the Ice Age exhibition (IJstijd).   The kids said – look there is George (the Neanderthal from Lullymore only Dutch speaking :). The kids enjoyed playing the game where you have to sneak up on the mammoth and catch it.

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Observe wolves in the True Wolf exhibition (De Ware Wolf) or become a detective in the OO – ZONE, where you will find over 2000 objects in an imitation museum depot.  We didn’t do this at all but saw other kids doing it and they were enjoying themselves.

There were other exhibitions through the museum which we stopped in to have a look.

 

 

I found an exhibit about the various types of sand around the world very cool.

 

Our kids did enjoy putting together some bodies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For kids under 7 there is an exhibition Frog & Friends (Kikker is Hier!), where they can visit Frog’s house and play a variety of games.   Our kids at 8 & 10 are too old for it but it did look fun for the little ones.  Outside that area was a seating area made from real trains – which the kids and I found fun.

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There were other interesting taxidermy animals around the museum which the kids found interesting including a lovely MOOSE!

 

 

The museum has existed for more than 80 years and still attracts many visitors every year.  While it’s all in Dutch, they do have an English guide book if needed.  All in all it’s a nice, small museum which is worth visiting for a couple hours, if you are ever in Tilburg and have Museumkaarts.   Oh and they do have a cafe which looked great – we didn’t go in but it’s there and was full of parents with small children.  I suspect that the local schools come here often.

I’m sure it is nothing compared to Het Natuurhistorisch – Rotterdam’s Museum of Natural History – which we’ll visit in a future trip.

 

 

Maritiem Museum – Rotterdam, Netherlands

Today Nils has to be in Rotterdam for two meetings, so the kids and I are taking the ride with a him (no train costs!) And going off to explore the city for those four hours.

After looking around a bit online, I think the best thing to do is the Maritiem Museum and go from there.

The museum is was so awesome for both kids and adults!   As we entered the museum, we immediately found the lockers for our coats (we learned from our previous museum trips!)

Then we headed up to the permanent exhibition, “The Offshore Experience

When we first arrived a worker told me we had to ‘enter at our own risk‘ and the kids area was on the 2nd floor and this is for ages 8+. But with a 7 & 9 year old, I said we’d give it a try and went inside.

First you have a quick video introducing you to the process and safety of being on an oil rigging platform, activate your enterance card and you then actually get to stand on a simulated platform.   I had to really not look at the water as I got dizzy and seasick.  There are 9 ‘games’or better yet challenges you have to complete. Clearly geared towards adults but very cool stuff.  Soren loved it and think he’s got a future career mapped out. Maebh while didn’t hate it,  was more cautious and we walked down the stairsand Soren took the pitch black elevator which puts you on the ocean floor (again simulated).  Overall it was AWESOME section of the museum.
After about 1/2 day Maebh comes up and says, “I think this whole place is like about a boat!” Lol she had no idea what maritime meant!!

This section of the museum was about cruising history and on-board ships.

The second floor was Professor Splash area (in & outside) which the kids LOVED!  They worked together and with other kids as they pretended they were working on the shipping docks moving containers with cranes, etc

I have to go in and add some more photos and more details later but great place and we need to return here!

Would be free with the Museum Kaart (Dutch residents only) but we paid €26 for the three of us so not bad at all.  A quick magnet at the gift shop and then headed home.

Little Museum of Dublin

Last week, I was attended a special guided tour of the “Little Museum of Dublin” with a women’s social group to which I belong.

It is located in a lovely Georgian house just opposite St. Stephens Green, down from the Hibernian Club, where the club’s monthly meetings take place.  A person from the museum came to the club and spoke about the museum – unfortunately, I was not able to attend that, so when I saw the tour, I jumped on it.

After this tour, I’ll bring the kids back for a visit.   Soren would especially enjoy the U2 exhibition.   They have worksheets available at the museum for children of all ages that can help you get more out of your visit.   Plus the tour guides in the museum can give your children some special attention pointing out a fewinteractive artifacts in the museum, they let your kids handle – but do ask!  Take a photo of them in the old Dublin school desk, or making a speech from JFK’s lectern. The more they get involved, the more they learn.  They do things with schools too.

The Little Museum of Dublin tells the story of Dublin in the 20th century.    All items are donated  or are loan which makes it even cooler. They are always looking for interesting items, so if you have something historical here in Dublin – reach out to them!  

While we waited for the tour to start, we were free to explore the room downstairs which was a photographic exhibition. Then upstairs, a guide named June, brought us into two large rooms where you navigate your way from the early 1900’s to the 1990’s.  There you’ll see the story evolution of the society, from a political, social and cultural point of view.  She pointed out some key things.  Unfortunately when I tried to get back into the first room, to take photos, there was a private tour happening, so I could not re-enter.  The reason I didn’t take photos at first is 1) I wanted to pay attention to what she was pointing out and 2) there was way too many people. In addition to our group there were 6 additional adults, so photos would be an issue as there would no doubt be a person in the photo.  Having learned my lesson, I did manage take some photos in room #2.

There are more than 5000 artifacts on display, from bicycles, newspaper articles, photographs and rare objects like the lectern (stand) used by John Fitzgerald Kennedy when he visited Ireland and a first English edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

There is a permanent exhibition about the famous Irish band U2 up on the second floor. There are a lot of photographs, signed albums, concert tickets and other memorabilia on display. There’s even a Trabant car in the middle of the room which I took a photo of – yep with a person in the corner, but no matter how long I waited, I was NEVER alone for a second in any room.

I highly recommend visiting this museum whether you are from Dublin, Expat like our family or just a tourist in for a few days. They do a great job showing how Dublin has evolved over the last hundred years and the tour lasts 29 minutes – so even those strapped for time can squeeze it in.
I just saw that in addition to visiting the museum, they offer a 60-minute walking tour with an expert local guide Donal Fallon called WALK THE GREEN MILE.  It takes place on the weekends.  If interested click on the link and book in – they sell out.  In fact, all tours of the museum sell out often so best to book online.

Sketching at National Gallery and Hugh Lane Gallery

Today Maebh and I spent the day in the city center checking out the National Gallery and then the Hugh Lane Gallery. Both had family-focused drawing events on today so it was perfect timing for Soren to be invited to a football birthday party and us girls spent the day in the city.

We took the DART in which is a big adventure for a 6 year old and the bus home – with the high hopes of being at the top of the bus in the front row.  Had to settle for second to front as the people who were there were still there when it was our stop – they were probably going to Howth!

First up was the National Gallery.   Each Sunday from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm they have a free family event where kids are allowed in to a small area to participate in the artist-facilitated drop-in session in the atrium. These sessions are inspired by the collection and our exhibitions, are suitable for tiny tots upwards.  Each week they have a guest artist encouraging each child to explore the week’s theme. There are also free family tours taking place at 12.30 pm.  When we return with Soren, we’ll pick up a children’s audio guide at the information desk and take a family tour – which we did, but will get to that later.

It was packed, so we got a number and had a drink in the cafe before going back in.  Not sure if it’s best to arrive at 11:00 to be one of the first it at 1:00 to be one of the last?

This is the schedule for the future events.

8 January…Group of Cavalry in the Snow, by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier. With Jane Bowe
15 January… About Face with Susan Farrelly
22 January…As Still as a Statue with Beth O’Halloran
29 JanuaryThe Magic of Chinese New Year with Fala Buggy
(In association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival)
5 February… Me, Myself and I with Libby Simington
12 February… Lights and Lanterns with Louise McGrath
(In association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival)
19 February Light, Darkness, Drama with Edel Campbell
26 February… Dots and Spots: The Terrace, St. Tropez, by Paul Signac. With Valerie Moffat
5 March… The Animals of Spring with Kate Dick
12 March… Colours Around ‘The Sunshade’ by William John Leech. With Elizabeth Archbold
19 March… Artist Inspirations with Joe Coveney
26 March… Special Someone with Fiona Harrington
2 April… The Triumph of Cúchulainn by Louis le Brocquy. With Vita Ryan
9 April… Rock the Baroque with Janine Davidson
16 April… Design a Treasure Hunt with Jo May
23 April… A Party at the Palace with Eimear Murphy
30 April… The Gleaners, by Jules Breton. With Frances Coghlan

Today session was About Face with Susan Farrelly.  The artist discussed various faces and the kids using cups, made circles and various faces.

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At 12:30, we took the half hour free family tour which was great.  The tour guide spent just enough time with stops at five paintings in one gallery room- explaining them, their styles from impressionism, pointism, abstract, etc and did a great job interacting with the children and naturally, Maebh’s had was straight up interacting. She showed five paintings including: Monet, Lavery, Picasso, Yeats and Signac.

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As the cafe in the National Gallery was packed and not a seat to be found, we ended up at KC Peaches for a quick lunch.  We split a blat (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) sandwich, which was yummy but was not my first choice. I would have preferred the spicy chickpea sandwich but I knew it would be too spicy for her. And based on the size and price, it was evident we’d be splitting something.  It was yummy but I do have a gripe with them as they do not have a children’s menu nor a child version of their sandwiches.  I don’t see why they don’t offer a half sandwich portion for kids?!  Seriously, why would I buy her an adult portion knowing full-well, she could not eat a whole one herself.   Would we return probably not – or only go if I was with  both kids and they could split one leaving me to my favorite chickpea whatever!  Oh yeah, check out the drink which she insisted on having only to hate it (too sour)!

We then headed over to Penny’s and Hugh Lane Gallery for the second art event of the day.  We had high hopes of getting her some new shirts in Penny’s but we are right in-between seasons, so was not much.   She did spy a sequin two way shirt which she has been dying to get for a long while and at €3, I couldn’t say no.

One way is Elsa the other was Olaf.  You know she has plans to wear it on Monday to school!

At the Hugh Lane Gallery, we along with a couple other kids were there at 3 pm sharp for a sketching session.  They were brought into a room with Olive, the instructor who had them first look at different photos and see if they could spot umbrellas.  After a while discussing the paintings, history, style, etc they were to sketch them.

Overall the hour was very pleasant and Maebh enjoyed it. We will be back for future events with Soren too.  After we poked around the gallery looking at he various exhibitions including the Renior, Monet, Manet and Francis Bacon studio.

Afterwards we walked to our bus (she really wanted the bus home vs DART) so we did.  First we stopped in an arcade on O’Connell Street to play a few games!  Fastest €5 ever spent! 🙂

All in all was a great day and look forward to doing it again.  I personally am going to visit the National Gallery again soon (either alone or with a friend) but children-free so I can go from room to room and take a tour, etc.  There are so many things in Dublin I want to see some with kids and some without.  I am having a tour of The Little Museum of Ireland in a couple weeks so will post about that soon!

I hope she always remembers this special mom & daughter day.  I still remember being 8 and my mom taking me to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.  I even remember ordering the Soup de Jour! 

Philips Museum – Eindhoven, Netherlands

On the second to last day in The Netherlands, the kids & I took a trip to Eindhoven.   We took the “sprinter” train from Boxtel which added to the adventure!   Coolest part of the train was that it was a brand new train – each set of chairs has electrical outlet & USB port.

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The main reason we visited Eindhoven was to visit the Philips Museum where we spent well over three hours!

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hdrIt is good value for money – €9 for adults and €4.50 for kids 6-18.  Kids under 6 are free but I personally would NOT take small kids here.  I think 6+ is the best age for both child & parent (and other guests).

Tip: Just after the bathrooms with the coat rack on the left, take a right and there are a wall of lockers.  Put in a coin and shove in your stuff – didn’t see them until we were on our way after looking for our coats for a few minutes as they were covered by literally a hundred others.

I paid an additional €5.00 for the Mission Eureka game.  Knowing full-well, we’d never win the game, but I thought the kids love to do challenging game/trail.  They provided us with an ipad (which thankfully was in a case, so the thoughts of it dropping were quickly settled). We had to come up with a name so Soren chose “Night Howlers” from Zootropolis. If Nils was with us, I’m 100% sure we’d score much higher but going up against teams of 4 adults vs. me, an 8 year old  & a 6 year old was purely for entertainment vs. a competition.   Equipped with our iPad, we took photos of ourselves, and set out to read the exhibits.  In each area, you put your iPad into the lit up table and answer some questions and take some challenges together and sometimes against each other.

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Mission Eureka Game

Overall there is an excellent history of the Philips family and their association with Eindhoven and around the world with text in both Dutch and English.  There are a huge number of exhibits and interactive portals allowing you to see where Philips impacts the world beyond the light bulb, televisions, shavers and boom boxes, but in medical devices like the x-ray & MRI, etc.  The kids thought it was cool to see this yellow tv with the push buttons – hard for them to imagine we had to get up and press a button to turn the channel each time.

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The kids loved each one more than the next and they did a great job making each one fun and understandable.  Among them was the heat sensor camera – so they could see by lifting up sleeves and exposing skin would be shown on the screen, etc. and then of course as it was video – it’s only natural for a DAB!  If you click here you’ll see a video too!

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As we were entering I saw a sign which said “Museum Kids Factory 1 pm” but didn’t think much about it thinking we’d never be there at 1 pm as we were one of the first people to enter the building.  So when we were done with Mission Eureka game, we returned it an inquired about the Museum Kids Factory.  She explained its a hands-on workshop where children can make things – 1.50 per child for supplies – WELL WORTH IT!   Kids can have fun being creative and finding out more about technology. There are all kinds of activities on offer, including soldering, drawing with 3D pens, building with bits of wood, using an electronic circuit and playing with a wonderful collection of Philiform, the range of building blocks and experimental construction kits developed by Philips in the 1970s.  It was there where volunteer, Jan de Lau, was so kind and helped both kids step-by-step build their gadgets.  It wasn’t until later which I understood the items to make were geared towards kids 8+ but thankfully it was Jan who helped a lot as Maebh at 6.5 was a bit young.  Soren who will be 9 in a matter of works was a perfect age.

unnamed5Overall we really enjoyed the museum and especially liked the Museum Kids Factory.   The museum is well worth a visit if you are in Eindhoven and can go for a few hours.  This is one of the museums which you can get free if you live in The Netherlands and have the Museum Kaart.

Afterwards we walked around a bit – ate our final Vietnamese lompeia.

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Then popped into XXL – the shop which has aisles and aisles of junk and loads of laughs. It was there where the kids bought their squishy guys. At 1.00 each I didn’t mind, but sure enough it was a matter of HOURS before Soren’s broke – flour inside all over the bathroom in the Heuvel’s parking garage – Maebh’s still with us back in Dublin.

 

When Nils met up with us, we walked around a bit looking for a place to stop in for a beer and some food. We spotted one place just behind the Cathedral but from outside it looked bad and the name “Drinkers Pub” nearly made me avoid it but a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover.   Nils popped in and said we should go in – it was great choice – 800+ beers to choose from!  I had a small glass of classic wit and a half pint of Schneider Weisse – both on draught.  We were hungry so we also got nachos – which were yummy!  Would definitely go back here too.

 

Oh and Soren and Nils had some laughs in the men’s room as the urinals were made from beer kegs – the ladies room was just plain toilets.

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