The Pancake Boat Ride and John Baan Private Boat Tour
Upon filling our belling with several Dutch style pancakes with various toppings, we were walking back to the Hotel Baan with me as the leader. I decided to dip down closer to the canal locks to see if there were any boats going through. Peering over the edge right in front of me was John Baan and his family: Gabriela, his wife, and his two youngest boys Dominque and Fabian. Let’s not forget Chet, the dog too. I don’t think anyone even knew he had a boat. We said hello and the next thing you know is that he asked if I wanted to go on a cruise in the harbor! This was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Mariah joined me and we met John at the end of the dock.
This weekend happens to be the annual Harbor Days Festival. All different boats were in the bay as well as various demonstrations from the rescue helicopters and naval ships. Along the boardwalks were booths set up for games and food. A huge fireworks display started the festival, similar to our first night in Amsterdam with the Tall Boat Festival.
John is an excellent tour guide, who has so much to say about the city of Rotterdam and its history. He is also very knowledgeable about the buildings histories, pointing out various aspects about their design and architecture.
John took our tour away from the bay and back into the canals of Rotterdam where he handed me a Schulten Brau and we cheers to the beautiful weather and wonderful boat ride. Prost. The boys did their part too, handing me massive amounts of candies, some black licorice-like kinds that we made figures out of before consuming.
One of the best things about this trip is that the two boys only speak Dutch. Here we are, on a boat drinking beer and eating licorice, and I am trying to communicate with them. Gabriela and John just loved my engagement with them. The boys taught me words in Dutch by pointing to a swan and saying it over and over. I would then repeat it back to them and they would giggle. Mermaid. Swan. Mermaid. Giggle Giggle. The boys were comfortable with me too, even sitting in my laps as John navigated our ways through the various canals. The boys were always touching me, establishing a kind of trust. It was sweet actually and I wish we had this sort of thing back in the states. I think it is because they have seen how I interact with their parents, so the boys are comfortable with me too, as an extension of their parents John and Gabi.
We made our way back to the Hotel Baan several hours later with a wonderful memory of just how hospitable these people really are. I miss them so much.