Arnhem, Operation Market-Garden and Amsterdam

This morning we left Bremen and took a three-hour bus ride to Arnhem, Netherlands.  In Arnhem, we had time for lunch and a brief visit to the city’s market square.  After our lunch, we boarded the bus again and headed to the small town of Oosterbeek.  Here we visited the Airborne Museum, commemorating the heroic actions of Allied Airborne forces during Operation Market-Garden.  Operation Market-Garden was military operation during WWII conducted by the Allies whose goal was to gain a foothold near/in Germany across the Rhine river, with hopes of circumventing the well-defended and well-fortified Seigfried Line which stretched from Switzerland to the Ruhr Valley.  The Operation included the largest Airborne force to date, including forces from the American, British and Polish Paratroop divisions.  Their goal was to seize strategic bridges over the many rivers within the Netherlands around the towns of Arnhem, Nijmegen and Eindhoven (to name a few).  This would give the Allies a strategic advantage over the Germans in their plans to enter Germany.  The Operation failed however, as Allied forces met stiff resistance – this dashed all hopes of the Allies ending the War by Christmas 1944.

The visit to this museum reminded us once again that freedom comes at a price.  The old adage ‘freedom is not free’ rings true.  We were able to view many different artifacts and relics from the Battle of Arnhem.  We also toured what they called the “Airborne Experience”, which gave a staged walk-through of what it would have been like to have experienced Operation Market-Garden.  It again causes us to be thankful and forever indebted to those who have fought to preserve the freedoms we so often take for granted.  The Airborne Museum is a must for anyone who is ever travelling in the area.

After the visit to the Museum, we again boarded the bus for the last leg of our journey for the day, arriving in Amsterdam in the late afternoon.  The city, we immediately found it, is always bustling with activity.  We have all been looking forward to our time here in Amsterdam, and it is finally upon us.  Our dinner was an authentic Dutch meal.  We ate pea soup (fantastic), hodgepodge (also fantastic), and ice cream with chocolate and a Dutch cookie on top.  This meal was a great introduction to our time here in Amsterdam.  We look forward to exploring the city over the next couple of days.

Johnny Schat & Nii Kpakpo Adoteye Anum