The original publication date of this article was August 17, 2010.
Karen Tameling, first-time traveler & Vacation Ambassador, Albany, Oregon
My trip to the Netherlands was my first trip with Grand Circle—and it’s a place I’ve dreamed of visiting since my grandparents traveled there in the early 1970s. The pictures they brought back intrigued me even then, and I always knew I would make a trip there myself someday.
My grandfather was born in the Netherlands and came to the United States when he was eight years old. I have heard so many stories of that time in his life and have fond memories of the tales he would share about his life as a child. Many of my other family members were also born in Holland, and I can trace my entire family lineage back to Holland if I go back as far as my great-grandparents. Although I know they were born there, I just don’t have the same stories of their journeys to the United States like I have from my grandfather.
I traveled to the Netherlands with my friend, Randall Speck, whom I’ve known for many years—however, we’d never traveled together for this length of time.
Karen and her friend, Randall Speck, tour the windmills at Kinderdijk.
The ship experience gave us great opportunities to spend as much—or as little—time together as we so desired. It was also enjoyable to have meals with people from all over the United States, and we had many wonderful conversations over our mutual experiences from the trip.
There was one particular part of my trip to the Netherlands that really had a special meaning to me: visiting the Delta Works. I never realized how devastating the floods were—and to see the tenacity of the Dutch in response to the water that covered their land filled me with pride for my heritage. It was hard to describe my internal feelings that day, but suffice it to say, I remain proud of who I am.
Karen and Randall enjoy dinner on their ship, the M/S River Concerto.
I couldn’t have asked for anything better from this trip. From the ship to the crew to the meals to all the incredible places we visited, everything was top-notch. I really appreciated our Program Directors, especially Arjan De Geus, who did all he could to make our experience one we will never forget. He gave a unique perspective and—since he was of Dutch descent—it was nice to hear what he thought about Holland.
I wasn’t able to see Groningen, the area my grandfather was from, on this trip—which is one of the reasons I want to travel to the Netherlands again. I guess my desire to return has only increased since my experiences during my trip. While I saw and experienced so much, there is still so much more to see. However, having had the opportunity to experience even a small portion of the Netherlands in such a personal way has left an imprint on my life.
Explore the historic windmills—and picturesque landscapes—of the Netherlands on our Holland & Belgium in Springtime River Cruise.