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A Bridge Too Far?

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

That was the title of a WWII movie about "Operation Market Garden," an unsuccessful attempt to secure a distant bridge over the Rhine before the retreating Nazis could destroy them.

I took this photo on my morning run.


Although this isn't the bridge of the movie title, it is memorable because each evening at darkness the bridge lights come on gradually in a slow sequence starting at one end and following the exact pace of the American tanks as they proceeded across the bridge in 1945 to liberate the Dutch towns on the other side.

Along with daily tours, our cruise includes presentations onboard by local historians and "home visits" with local families so we can experience the culture "up close and personal"



Our afternoon here was especially meaningful since the husband was a child during WWII. His generation suffered severe malnutrition during Nazi occupation to the extent of eating tulip bulbs. The visible result is that they as a group are much shorter than previous or later generations. Currently the Dutch are the tallest people in the world.

They are also among the most innovative because of the constant battle against the sea and rivers. Dikes are everywhere and Holland is now twice the size that it was 300 years ago

After a flood in 1953 that claimed 1800 lives, the Delta Project created a series of dikes to control the danger of North Sea storms


The gates can be opened and closed as needed.

We viewed a "sensaround" presentation of the deadly flood that was so realistic some were moved to tears.

Then we walked over the impressive structure.


As we were crossing, a sudden storm arose with enough wind that I felt the need to hang onto the railing, even though by Dutch standards it was not severe at all.


The rivers need technology as well with "locks" to aid navigation.
This was the most interesting one since it was built OVER a highway that was being constructed at the same time



Imagine driving along a highway and seeing a ship sailing by overhead! I assume the Dutch are used to it.
For our captain who navigates this river four weeks at a time (followed by 4 weeks off), it's all in a days work.


River cruising is very different than ocean cruising.
Here we are docked next to a Holland America ship.


Kind of like "David and Goliath"

With only 120 passengers even the captain came by to wish me a happy 70th birthday



If you have read this far, thank you very much. Keeping this minimal connection with Spark is helping me make good decisions. I found a scale this morning hidden away in a corner of the fitness room. So far, so good.
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