Today I was looking at a list of the countries Ruth & I have been to when I came to the letter N. There were 4 countries beginning with that letter on my list: The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, and Norway. “What a diverse bunch of destinations!” I thought. Our travels have certainly been eclectic.
The Netherlands. I have traveled extensively in this low country because my son and I spent nearly a week there shortly after he got married. We spent time in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. Ruth & I have been to Amsterdam several times on our own. I especially love its Van Gogh Museum. It’s the only museum in the world I have been through twice on the same day. The first time I looked at the masterful paintings. The 2nd time I studied the people looking at the Van Gogh paintings and had a totally different experience. The other 2 cities were very different from Amsterdam, where I especially recall being amazed by the Anne Frank house.
New Zealand. We went there early in our travels and loved it, especially the city of Christchurch that was later devastated by an earthquake. I especially liked the International Antarctic Centre at its airport and the extreme diversity of New Zealand’s landscape. Ruth especially remembers visiting Aukland and going to 2 very diverse schools there to learn about education in this far away land of Maoris. We would love to go back and see more.
Nicaragua. Our experience with this Central American country was mostly limited to the colonial city of Leon, Nicaragua 2nd largest town after Managua. Nicaragua is Central America’s largest country and a place of high altitudes, volcanoes, lakes, and magnificent churches. It is also unfortunately known for its corrupt government and dangerous atmosphere. Many of it citizens are fleeing the country despite the fact that it attracts many enthusiastic travelers. We felt relatively safe there but stayed far away from any protests. The main symbol seen in Leon is the lion, which is not hard to figure since the Spanish word for this animal is leon.
Norway. Norway quickly became one of our favorite countries. Oslo and Bergen are great cities to visit, and the train between them is an unforgettable experience. We spent an entire summer in Scandinavia one year going from country to country and loving each one, especially Finland, which we returned to often in our travels. I once visited Finland in the winter and will never forget flying over ice-bound Norway to get home from there.