We are back in the USA!

Our flight was fairly uneventful, but 7+ hours was long enough for all of us. Passport control went well, but two students had bags inspected by customs agents who subsequently sent their bags toward some “connecting flight”, which is where they shouldn’t have gone. After a while, the bags were recovered and then we headed to the bus. We hope to be back on Calvin’s campus around 7:30pm tonight… It has been a great trip!

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Off to the airport – R. Brouwer

We are heading to the airport in a few minutes, so the last posting for a while…

One more video was taken in the basement of the Arnhem museum, where they “recreated” what the battle was like.  Limited light, so might be hard to see, but if interested go here:  http://youtu.be/pNdgE0Aw7JY

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Bremen to Nunspeet – R. Brouwer

One more big day of travels for us took us from Bremen, Germany to Nunspeet, The Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam.  Along the way we stopped in Zupthen for lunch, a small Dutch town with lots of shops and restaurants.  Lots of bikers (and bike parking lots), too!  Then we stopped in Arnhem, the site of one of the important battles in WWII at the end of 1944.  Unfortunately, poor planning resulted in a failed attempt to capture and hold the important bridge at Arnhem that crosses the Rhine.  After touring the museum, we headed to the hotel, located in the small town of Nunspeet.  It is a beautiful hotel and we had a wonderful dinner.  After dinner, we had some time together to reflect on some of the recent visits and the interim trip as a whole.

Tomorrow… To the airport, hopefully by 10am for our 12:50pm flight back to Detroit.  If all goes well, the bus should return most of the group to Calvin tomorrow evening…  Please pray for our safe travels back home!

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Hotel Villa Vennendal – Claire Kuik

Tonight, our last night, is spent in the very different hotel, Villa Vennendal. The hotel is an older looking building from the outside and the inside is like a maze. There are rooms that are surrounding the several sitting areas and lobbies as well as surrounding the dining hall areas. There are three floors and steep stairs up to the upper rooms. Some rooms are accessible only from outside and some rooms are separate log cabins a short walk from the hotel.

Our last meal was very well presented – schnitzel with mushrooms and spinach and leeks, as well as tomato soup and a raspberry mousse for dessert. The dining area was a nice area to sit after the meal and have our final group meeting where we celebrate Professor Nielson’s 18th and final year on this interim. The course will miss him dearly.

Everyone is incredibly excited about the pool and the free wifi before we pack up and head home!

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Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ – Travis Johnson

Today after a good bit of driving from Bremen we visited the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek. The World War 2 museum is dedicated to Operation Market Garden which took place in Arnhem near the end of the war.

We learned about tactical decisions made by the English, Polish and American Allied Forces. The mission was to invade and control key bridges which connected German troops to important manufacturing supplies such as ammo, weapons, tanks and so on. The operation made history as the largest air invasion consisting of over 1000 planes and 12,000 Allied troops. The operation was rushed by two main factors. First the German troops were assumed to be weak and unable to resist large scale invasions. Second, the winter months were approaching and allied forces wanted to free the Dutch before then.

The Operation was a 90% success as allied forces were able to secure all bridges but one, the Arnhem bridge. The battle that incurred around this bridge was brutal, enduring, and ended in retreat for the winter.

The museum did an incredible job of making it all come to life in the basement section by adding videos and sounds of war. We got to walk through fake mortar trenches, ruined buildings, and even downed planes. We also got to see real guns, grenades, rockets, armor, clothes and equipment from this battle.

I was impressed by the courage of 12,000 men to drop in daylight into enemy territory and be faithful to the cause. I am inspired to learn more about this battle by watching a couple movies made around this event when I return home.

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Zupthen, The Netherlands – Ofili Ichaba

After a few hours on the road we made a stop for lunch. I had a cheese burger and fries (with mayo of course). Following lunch, we took a walk around the city, arriving back at the train station, where the bus was parked. We went underground to check out the bicycle parking lot. We spent the better part of 30 minutes in this impressive complex that housed 3500 bicycles (it didn’t hurt that there was free WIFI).

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Bremen – Tom Griffin

The last couple of days we have spent in the wonderful city of Bremen. While I was there I did my fair share of exploring. There were many shops and nice places to eat. One place I went to eat was a delicious Doner place, which is basically a Gyro in the states. These are very inexpensive but still filling. We also found a cool part of town that was very old and full of little shops, with very welcoming people. One woman I met, gave us free souvenirs for buying things at her store.

It was interesting to learn about the history of the city. There is a statue outside of a church that had a roster on to of a cat, on top of a dog, on top of a goat. Later, I learned what the significance of this statue was, it is an old children’s book tale. All four of these animals found each other because they were incapable of doing their normal duties. They found each other and wanted to become musicians. It was cool to see how this statue has become a trade mark that Bremen has adopted. There were many souvenirs of this statue all over the shops around town.

Overall, Bremen has great artwork and schnitzel!

Hi Mom, see you tomorrow!

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