Last Friday we left Amsterdam for North Holland to visit the Cavaletti Horse Farm at Tuitjenhorn. The owner/operator was very excited about our coming. He has been selling horses to the Amish in Indiana for more than 10 years. They were prepared for us and welcomed us with coffee and their traditional pancakes. We then gathered around the outdoor ring where the different breeds of horses were on show.
There were two highlights. One was when Loren Beachy, a teacher/auctioneer, was asked to auction off one of the horses. Loren’s father has bought horses from this farm when the representative came to the US. They wanted to hear an Amish auctioneer. Loren said he never had 7 bids coming in at one time. The horse (mock auction) went for more than 1 million Euros. The other highlight was Marnita Miller and Ken Mullet riding and driving one of the horse and carriages. The press were present and interviewed several of the group. Sam Stoltzfus was quoted the most often. The press respected Wilmer’s request that the Amish not be asked to pose for photos. The next day in The Telegram we found an article covering the event with Marnita Miller in the carriage with the Dutch horseman. We sang the Amish song, Es Sinn Zween Weg (there are two ways in this life) before we boarded the bus. There were tears among our Dutch hosts as we said goodbye.
Our two-night home stay with the Berlikum Mennonite Church allowed for a deeper level of interaction. Saturday morning we went for a canal boat ride through the Frisian fields. When the diesel engine stopped working, we needed to disembark and walk 2 km back to the bus. Many persons said this indeed was the highlight. Our hosts were impressed the way in which we as a community supported one another exiting the boat. No one got upset, muddy or frustrated! In fact we said this was a bonus to be able to experience the walk on the footpath along the canal through the farmland.
We visited the water pumping station and learned how much water is pumped every day to the North Sea. They also have a program that allows for the eels to return from the fresh water lake to go through the pumping station to the North Sea. They return to Sargasso Sea to breed and spawn. The young return to Friesland to grow and live. Every day they count the number of young who return. We are amazed how the Dutch care about the environment and invest in it for future generations.
Today we are enjoying our Rhine River cruise in the sun. Before we boarded the KD ship we stopped at Remagen to remember Eisenhower’s army crossing this bridge that changed the course of WWII. Today it is a Peace Museum with German and US flags flying. We listened to the Mayor of Remagen tell the history and challenge each one of us to do our part to create peace in our world today. The Madonna is placed as a marker to remind us to work for peace.
Sam Stoltzfus had to pinch himself regularly to remind himself he was actually traveling up the Rhine. I am not sure who enjoyed it the most, Sam watching where we were traveling or John Ruth watching Sam. We all enjoyed hearing Gary Waltner and Astrid talk to us at the Weierhof. It was especially meaningful to Sam who hosted Gary Waltner in his home on several occasions.
— Wilmer Martin