Grandma’s Grand Tour Part 6: Holland and Brussels


Days 26 and 27 of my grandmother’s 1936 trip to Europe, covering her time in the Netherlands and Brussels. (Previously: Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)

July 19, 1936 Sun.

Landed this morning at 6 and went to our hotel (Du Passage) for breakfast.  Then started on a sight seeing tour in a very uncomfortable bus with a very uninteresting guide.  We passed some of the famous tulip fields; the dykes and windmills.  We went thru Amsterdam and then on to a cheese factory where we had cheese and butter milk.  We arrived at Volendam about noon and took a boat from here to the Isle of Marken, which is a very old place where the people still wear the old fashioned costumes.  Both the small boys and the girls wear skirts and capes and the only way to distinguish them is by a little decoration the boys wear on their capes.  We couldn’t stay very long as it started to rain and coming back we got soaked.  As I got off of the boat my hat blew in the Zuiderzee and my what a pitiful sight it was when some youngster handed it back to me.  On our way back we stopped at an Inn where Charlotte & Marie & Jo order chocolate sodas which turned out to be terrible looking & tasting things which cost 50¢ a piece.  This evening after dinner Jo, Marie & I went walking and found the men on the streets to be unusually familiar.  We could have had any one we wanted just for a smile.  In Amsterdam we stopped at the Reichsmuseum and saw some very famous Rembrandt paintings.  Saw the people standing in the streets peeling & eating [els?] just as we peel bananas.

I love this.  Oh, the slutty Dutch, with their uncomfortable buses and crappy chocolate sodas and androgynous children.  Some places: Volendam, Zuiderzee, Reichsmuseum.  I have no idea what it is that people were peeling and eating like bananas. Any ideas?  UPDATE: they were eating eels.

Monday, July 20, 1936

Left Holland about 10 for Brussels.  Had lunch on the train arriving at about 2 P.M.  Were taken to our Hotel (Splendid) and then on a tour of the city.  Saw the market place; St Gudule church; the famous Manneken Fountain; and unknown soldier’s tomb.  Then we went shopping in a few of the lace stores and glove shops.  Found prices unusually low.  The franc is only 3 cents here.  In the evening Kay & Marie & I went shopping again then stopped at a sidewalk cafe and had something to drink (Vermouth Cassis.)

In St. Gudule Church there is a beautiful wooden carved pulpit showing Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden.

I’ve seen the Manneken Pis fountain on a family trip to Brussels when I was young.  My parents bought me a tiny brass replica of it with a squeeze bulb to make it squirt water.


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  1. They were eating Eels.

  2. Don’t you peel your eels before you eat them, E. J.? You freak.

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