France Adventure, Part 12

9-29-08 – Arnhem, by Jodi

Valerie put out a nice breakfast of assorted breads, croissants, jams, yogurt, coffee, hot chocolate and OJ.

Into Belgium

Into Brussels

This was our last stay in France until we hit Paris at the end of the trip. We take our time to eat and head out for the 1-½ hour drive to our next visit in Bastogne, Belgium.

101st Airborne Memorial at Bastogne

101st Airborne Memorial at Bastogne

Bastogne was the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, where the Americans single handedly protected the border town of Bastogne, pushing back the Germans advance. American troop losses and wounded were high, but the battle was pivotal in stopping the Germans counter attack in their bid to re-take over Belgium, Generals Eisenhower and Patton led the troops. We went to the museum in Bastogne, which included an audio guide to explain the battle and positions. Displays included uniforms, supplies, weapons, artillery, medical and large dioramas with vehicles and scenes of the actual battles. The museum was very informative and we learned just how important the Americans were in the fight against the Nazis.

On the road to Arnhem

On the road to Arnhem

Then it is back in the car for the 3-½ drive to our next B&B in Arnhem, Netherlands. We stopped at a rest stop for gas and lunch at a cafeteria, Terry had the salad bar, bread and éclair, and I had a big bowl of veggie soup and bread – not too bad for a rest stop on the highway. We arrived in Arnhem about 4pm, to cloudy skies and a cold wind.

Arnhem B&B

Arnhem B&B

We found the house and checked in. Margot, our hostess is just delightful, friendly and helpful. The B&B is right across the street from the town’s large park and we have a great view from our 3rd story room. Most Dutch homes are narrow and 3-4 stories tall, with very narrow, steep stairs. We settle in for a bit until 6pm and walk the few blocks to old town center for dinner.

Arnhem old town

Arnhem old town

I was intrigued by a small restaurant called Pinocchio, the menu looked good, so in we went. Instantly we noticed the whole ceiling was covered solid with hanging wine bottles, and of course Pinocchios are everywhere in paintings and knick knacks, a very fun atmosphere. The menu had Italian and local specialty dinners which I would have tried, but it would have been way too much food. Terry got a spinach fettuccine pasta with salmon and cream sauce, I got chicken penne with mushrooms, fresh mozzarella chunks, pine nuts, and cream sauce – excellent! On our walk back to the B&B, it started to drizzle.

We watch a little of the depressing Europe CNN news and all the financial fiascos going on at home in the USA. Seeing it from the European perspective here, they are shaking in their boots too.

Today was interesting because we drove from France, a little bit into Belgium, and then the Netherlands. The roads, languages and signage changed dramatically each time. The Netherlands looks very modern, with contemporary buildings, the highway lighting & signage and with artistic sound breaks along the highways. And yet, next to a new building, would be a cow pasture and fields.

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