Netherlands 8 July: Giethoorn - Appingedam

A magic boatride

Powerful women for peace

Bye bye beautiful Giethoorn

After running 72K - and yours truly getting lost and found again - we arrived at the little village of Grootegast in the nortern province of Groningen.

We love small town schools, as the kids are always so sweet.

Many kids were dressed up because of a special day at school. This girl went as a special agent.

Teachers also feel peace.

A wholehearted rendition of the World-Harmony Run song, including movements.

Pirates for peace!

Another undercover agent.

The best part of the program!

The rain couldn't dampen their spirits.

Nor ours!

In Grootegast we also visited Nicolien de Kroon, who received a Torch-Bearer Award in 2014 for her amazing humanitarian work for children in war-struck area's.

She wrote a book about her experiences, a real page-turner! Nicolien closely worked together with the likes of Mikhail Gorbachov and Mother Teresa.

She soulfully listened to our song.

And shared her uplifting and inspiring stories with us. Plus she served us a fantastic and sumptuous lunch.

A strong and selfless woman, all dedication to the cause of peace in the world.

She proudly wears her royal decoration.

We left Nicoliens house full of new energy, inspiration and hope. We're so grateful for the great work she has done and continues to do for the good of mankind.

Dutch landscape: flat and occasionally rainy.

Our last stop of the day was in the town of Appingedam, in the most north-eastern part of the country.

Mayor Rika Pot, another strong (and tall!) woman, received the Peace Torch.

Life is hard sometimes, he seems to say.

Mayor Pot told us about the events in her town and emphasized the importance of peace.

Attentive listeners.

Kees Bijholt (the man on the left) is also called "Mr. City Run Appingedam" as for the past 15 years he has been the organizer of a world-class and well-known 10K race that attracts a top field of elite athletes and has put Appingedam on the map as a dynamic and athletic city.

The weapon of Appingedam is a pelican that feeds its children with its own blood: a symbol of self-sacrifice.

The Mayor's office treated us to a great vegetarian meal.

Mayor Pot had also invited her husband Yke de Boer to the meeting. Yke took us on a tour of the town after dinner, explaining its rich and versatile history to us.

These are the "hanging kitchens" of Appingedam, one of its most famous architectural features.

What a beautiful and picturesque little town!

Visiting the local and recently renovated synagogue.

It serves as an educational centre nowadays, relaying the tragic story of the jews in World War II.

Making new friends in Appingedam.

Thank you for a most hospitable welcome!