|Today we headed south towards Annemarie's childhood home to visit her family. Along the way we dropped Alex off for his first solo trip to visit a friend in Germany for the next few days. This was a bitter sweet moment, but I had confidence he would find his way. After dropping him off, we did a rental car switch to get ready for the part of the trip that will include some long distance driving. After a couple grueling hours at the rental counter, we had our bus and we' headed out. Now the rationale for the rental of this Goliath van was simple, and quite self serving. I wanted to ensure I had a vehicle large enough to give ourselves the highest percentage of success on this trip as possible. By having the room to separate and allow personal space I figured we could complete this trip and return with everyone we left with in one piece. Loaded up, we headed about 2 hours south before arriving at Annemarie's childhood home. Along the way we passed a world wide major achievement that has placed The Netherlands among the top engineers in the world. The dike system the Dutch engineered and built is designed to hold back the North Sea and prevent another disastrous flood like one that killed over 1200 people after the dikes failed in a 1953 storm. Now in place, Holland, which is mostly below sea level, is protected. Arriving to Annemarie's small town of 1500 I enjoyed seeing the small brick streets and town center that was maybe a block or two long. In the middle was a church built originally in the 1300s. Amazing history.. Annemarie was greeted by her dad and step mom in a tearful reunion. Later that evening the entire family including Annemarie's twin sister, younger sister, younger brother, and their families all brought various meat items and we had a barbecue that lasted several hours. In true Dutch fashion, the grill was always cooking and the food did not stop coming.. it was great to see Annemarie in her element with her people. Topping off the night was desert of barbecued bananas. The are cooked until soft, split open to expose the soft banana, then brown sugar is sprinkled all over, then topped with a generous amount of rum. Mm,mmm good!! Tomorrow we check out the town and beach.