Here's a cool building nearby shaped like a ship!
Our next stop? The Ark, of course!
You followed a route, which let inside and outside the decks...
Inside the Ark:
Komodo dragons (well, sort of. The adult model was a lot bigger than any Komodo dragons I've ever seen [at the zoo]. The baby was about the right size, though. I can still remember when our zoo first got Komodo dragons... I was about four or five and was SO excited to go see them! They've remained one of my favorite's ever since).
Tintin made some new friends...
And met some old ones...
(In the Ark)
(In the Creation Museum)
And because this was a Dutch Ark, it had to have some flowers...
The Ark was really cool! Not many people know it exists (it's near Dordrecht). The top floor is a restaurant, but we didn't eat there.
Our next stop was Loevestein Castle. It's a beautiful, beautiful, old castle, where once, evidently, one of my ancestors was held captive in the dungeon! How exciting!
Unfortunately, we were one day too early... Their tourist season didn't start until the next day! So we didn't get to tour it. It was disappointing, but we did see a swan on her nest!
Thankfully, she didn't get angry at us. Mother swans are very protective of their nests... as Bertie Wooster found out in Very Good, Jeeves!
Suddenly, our whole afternoon was free. The question became: what should we do now?
We decided to go to the city of Zutphen and explore. By the time we got there, we were starving, so we went to a bakker (bakery) and ordered some food. I had a piece of "vlaai" which is a puddingy-type dessert thing... with fruit. It was really good! Vlaai is a big thing in Holland.
At one time, Zutphen had a wall around it (many cities did) and some of it still exists!
One of the things I had really wanted to do in Holland was to find a boekwinkel (bookstore) and buy a book in Dutch. I thought that if I bought a book I was really familiar with, it would be easy(ish) to read and help me learn the language.
Zutphen had two bookstores that we went into... But first, we walked down a narrow shopping street. It's so fun just to walk around Dutch towns. The architecture is mostly all really old, and there are such interesting things to see - shops (lots of clothing shops) and tiny little, narrow streets leading who knows where.
The first bookstore we entered was a little disappointing. It was more like a Hallmark store, with lots of cards, as well as fluff books. The second bookstore, however, was more like a Barnes and Noble store. It had tons of books! Including... TINTIN IN DUTCH! =D Of course, we had to get one.
He's called "Kuifje" in Dutch. Snowy is "Bobbie." Captain Haddock is still "Kapitein Haddock. I know The Shooting Star so well; it's crazy seeing all the familiar pictures with a different language accompanying them!
I also bought De Hobbit and the first Warrior Cats book, because I know that one really well. It will be the first one I attempt to read, because it is also written in easier language.
After that, we walked around a bit more and came across a Ring-Wraith sort of thing...
Everyone was tired after all the walking we had done, so we headed back to the relative we were staying with and had dinner, and visited with family. We also got to examine a really, really old Bible - in a dialect of Dutch that hardly any one can read anymore!
(I believe this is Psalm 23)
It was really cool.
Here's some hedgehogs that my great-aunt had in her house:
Thus ends day seven! Day eight is... Koningsdag!!!
P.S. I took my SAT on Saturday... Thank goodness it's over. I'm not sure when we'll find out the results... I hope they're good, so I don't have to take it again next year, in my senior year. I'm pretty sure I failed at least one of the math sections. Everything else I'm confident on, though. Grrrr, standardized tests. Maybe I'll do a post on why I don't believe in them.