TRIP TO THE NETHERLANDS—1994
By Everett and Jane Arnold
We flew to Amsterdam in a DC10. Fortunately we were next to the bulkhead so I had legroom. We were the last to be called to board so we had to scatter our coats and carry on luggage in two different overhead locations. A young Dutch couple sat next to us who had been to the States on business. They slept with eye coverings, neck pillows and no shoes. We gave up and watched a Whoopi Goldberg movie about ghetto kids in a convent school.
We arrived at the Amsterdam airport at around 8:00 a.m. their time, but spent the morning waiting for other Untours arrivals. We met an ex-Presbyterian minister and wife, Grace and Doug Wright from Arizona and Art and Zoe Gibbs from Bend, Oregon. We did not have our bags handled by Untours but disappointedly had to wrestle them ourselves and pay a cab to take us to our apartment after arriving in Leiden by train.
We did not receive the apartment we expected. They told us that the renovations were not completed. The one we got had a toilet downstairs and a steep spiral stairs to the upper floor bedroom and shower. We had to negotiate the narrow spiral stairs to reach the toilet at night. The bedroom had a thin shade that cut very little light and there were not enough hangers for our cloths.
Jane felt the supplies were disappointing--we received beer, coffee, and tea--none of which we would use. There was no lunch meat or fruit but just two small soft cheese packages. The stove was a four-burner gas cook top that you had to light with a match. There was no oven but a microwave that Jane had never used and didn't care to learn at that late stage.
We wandered through a lot of apartment type housing to reach a grocery store near the train station. After shopping, we wearily put the groceries away and had a long nap until about 4:00 p.m. The nicest thing about the apartment was its cleanliness and looking like it had been recently remodeled. However, the shower didn't look very clean and the water just went down the drain in the floor, so water splashed all over the bathroom floor and needed to be wiped up each time.
We had soup with bread, jam and cookies for supper and then took a walk toward the center of Leiden. We enjoyed walking along the canals that seemed to run in every direction.
May 12, 1994, Thursday, Ascension Day--a holiday with all banks, stores and post offices closed. This was a religious holiday but in the Netherlands it was a national holiday. Only restaurants were open and people gathered in the bright sunlight to sunbathe or drink and eat in out-of-door places.
We walked to the orientation meeting through an ornate gate into a courtyard at the foot of the man-made hill with a round fortification on its summit. It was the only hill in Leiden, called Burcht. The orientation was held in a restaurant at the foot of the hill. The man in charge of our housing did not show so we gave our list of complaints to Bart, who said he would fax the list to Untours. Bart was late, could answer few questions, and didn't have a train schedule, so borrowed mine to explain how it was used. No one offered to go to Gouda with him. In Switzerland the guided tour was well attended.
On Friday we met Grace and Doug Wright at the bus station where we took a bus to the Keukenhof Gardens at Lisse. Keukenhof Gardens are among trees, shrubs, pools, small canals where tulips are highlighted in every shade from almost complete black through apricot, mauve, red, pink, yellow, white and all sorts of two-color combinations. Jane was most impressed by the pink double ones that opened and were rather like peonies. There were parrot types with ruffles and fringes with single petal ones as well. We also saw narcissus, hyacinths, rhodies and daisies of a sort.
Although we had not planned it, the Wrights as well as us, brought sandwiches and fruit but we both purchased drinks to go with our lunches. The gardens were beautiful, the company entertaining and we had nice sunny weather. We paid 21 Dutch Guilders for the bus and entrance fee.
We shopped for groceries, selected picture postcards at the gardens, and located a post office on the busy avenue near our apartment where we purchased stamps. We validated our rail pass and cashed our first $100 traveler’s check for 179 Dutch Guilders. When we returned a letter awaited us from Ellen in Media, PA. They will move our beds downstairs on Monday, which was what I suggested that should be done.
OFF TO THE DELTA EXPO AT MIDDELBURG: We had heard it was going to rain soon and since the Delta Project was at the coast, we decided to go. The Wrights were planning to go but we went alone but kept running into them. The train ride was two hours and then we couldn't seem to find the right bus and missed one, so we didn't get there until about 1:00 p.m. We saw the orientation movie, looked at the exhibits, and listened to the English phone at the model as it showed how the dikes worked. It was built first because Zeeland was under water in 1953 and they decided something must be done. In 1835 people had drowned. Work started in 1958 and was finished in 1987. The Delta Project built dams--seven of them--to hold back the sea, and also to control the estuaries and several rivers to prevent flooding. In the 60's they decided that environment was important too. Water is allowed to run normally but when there is a flood threat, from the ocean or rivers, the gates are closed. Lakes form behind the dams but are flushed with sea water periodically so its salt water inhabitants aren't killed.
When we arrived back in Leiden, we had huge pancakes at a local restaurant. I had chocolate syrup on mine and Jane had strawberry jam. It was a fun place. The pancakes were a bit like crepes. We walked to our apartment in a light sprinkle.
Sunday, May 15, 1994: We visited the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden) in Leiden. They have the first century Temple of Taffeh, given to Holland due to their efforts to rescue Egyptian treasures during the construction of the Aswan Dan with the condition, "it be displayed free and that the lighting overhead must simulate the passage and shadow of the sun." It was tiny compared to the ones we saw in Egypt, but felt genuine even to us, with columns, decorations at the top and the almost darkness within, as we saw in Egypt.
The Egyptian mummies, cases, burial artwork, etc. were in much better condition than those we saw in Egypt. The statues and all were clean and in out of the weather for some time, keeping them from deteriorating.
There was also a section dealing with Holland from pre-historic times up to the Middle Ages. Unfortunately we did this section backwards in time. Actually, we were tired from the trip to the Delta Expo on the day before so we did not take our planned trip to see the windmills near Dordrecht. It also poured down rain about dawn and was quite windy in the morning but the sun came out in the afternoon.
Monday morning: We tried to go grocery shopping first thing and found the markets closed until noon on Mondays--after being closed all day Sunday as well! They aren't as driven as we Americans. We finally bought bread and some good raison rolls. We then found some outdoor fruit venders where we could purchase our fresh fruit. We did fine without the Dagmarkt!
I went to Rotary in Leiden at a local restaurant. It was an interesting luncheon meeting. They served a variety of meats and breads so that you could build your own sandwiches. They said that this was a tradition left over from the occupation during the Second World War.
After Rotary, we left by train for Delft. It only took about 20 minutes by train. A friendly lady, about our daughter-in-law Nancy's age, chatted with us and was so proud of her city. She had a prosthesis collar on and had been in such pain she came to Leiden for a second opinion. When we arrived, she pointed us in the right direction for the town square.
Delft was cleaner than Leiden as one canal had water lilies growing in it and some kind of fountain. We visited New Church where we learned that William of Orange lived and was assassinated in Delft. William of Orange's tomb was in the church. His likeness, with his little dog at his feet, was on the tomb. Statuary around the tomb was one of him in a sitting position and one female statue at each corner of the tomb, which represented Liberty, justice, religion, strength and courage. He lived from 1840 to 1879. We tried to take a ride on the canals, but were the only two passengers available so it didn't run but we had a nice chat with the two friendly young men in charge.
AMSTERDAM, May 17: We took off for the rail station in the rain with umbrellas in hand. It was about a half-hour ride but the rain was about over when we arrived in Amsterdam. With the help of our guidebook we caught a canal boat to see the city. There were many old and unusual buildings. We saw where Peter Stuyvesant set out to go to New York. The canals were large and our boat was like a barge with a low rounded greenhouse over it. It was overcast and a bit dark for picture taking.
We were told that to save space, stairways were steep, narrow and spiral. In order to get furniture to the upper floors; a beam was built out from the top gable of the roof to which a pulley and rope could be attached. The beam was left to be used throughout the life of the house.
With the information center's help we caught a tram for the Rijksmuseum. All the early art was of a religious nature and very often in the nude. Somehow that doesn't do much for us. In the nude painting of Adam and Eve, Adam looked like a Dutch gentleman. We saw paintings, old elaborate furnishings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestry, etc. I often thought that I didn't know enough about artwork to really appreciate what I saw.
Even though we carried our lunch, we went into the museum restaurant and purchased drinks. We shared a table with a friendly young English lady with whom we enjoyed conversing. The husband showed and learned that he was a hairdresser and a little easier to understand. His English sounded American, so Jane asked him about it and his reply was, “I learned it watching American soap operas.”
On our way back to the central rail station the tram was very crowded so we had to stand. Jane and I were bumped by two well dressed young men. I was suspicious and kept my eye on them but Jane moved her purse around to her front and noticed that the clasp, which she never used and never comes undone, was open. The thief didn't know that it had an easy Velcro opening without the clasp. Nothing was missing as it only carried lipstick, comb, our lunch (which we had already eaten) a travel book, some maps, etc. Her passport and traveler's checks were in her money belt while her spending money for the day was in her Velcro secured pocket.
We arrived home after a bit of grocery shopping and then decided to do our laundry after supper. We went to the laundry under umbrellas in the rain. The man at the laundry placed our cloths in a machine and told us to come back in an hour. When we returned our laundry was waiting all folded and ready to go for 15 Dutch Guilder.
Our beds were moved downstairs while we were away. It will be easier to get up at night to go to the toilet and not negotiate the spiral staircase.
May 18 to Westbrock: We left Leiden at about 9:30 a.m. It was a dark day but it never rained and the sun came out later in the day. We went to Amsterdam and then on to Utrecht. We had a hard time finding the information center (VVV) where we learned where to catch the bus to Westbrock where our friend Vesta Van Scoik's ancestors lived. A nice lady, a teacher, helped us to tell the driver where we wanted to get off. She did not know for sure where Westbrock was though she had traveled through it. It is merely a suburb of Utrecht, which is a city as large as Portland. We were traveling through lush dairy country with the gathering of individual houses as a village. The teacher said that wealthy people lived in the village where they could have individual family dwellings not available in the city. The houses were all brick and most had tile roofs (this is the most common type building material). Some homes had thatched roofs and one had some of each. Gardens were small but well kept; some with gravel and flowers; some with vegetables and strawberries. We also saw rhubarb, lettuce, spinach and radishes. The businesses were on only one side of the brick highway. One business was a pub where they were kind enough to look for "Scoik" or variations in a phone book, with no success. A very large church, which looked well kept, was across the street from the few businesses. There were perhaps ten blocks of new handsome brick and tile houses with BMW's, Citroen's or other expensive cars in their driveways. There was a school and children riding around on bicycles.
It took about twenty minutes to get back to Utrecht on the tiny urban bus. There were seven people on the bus. The fare was 11 Gilders for the two of us, round trip. In the city we went to the museum van Speelklok tot Pierement. A delightfully noisy museum of musical clocks and street organs and described as housing "barrel organs, honky tonk pianos and a link with the past, still to be seen today in Utrecht's street organs." We got in on our museum passes and were joined by about 25 youngsters and six or eight adults. The kids were fourth graders who were well behaved though one boy was a bit hyper but not terrible. A young man gave the talk on each item in Dutch and filled in for the two of us in English. It was a fun place!
The train station in Utrecht is unusual, in that it is attached to a huge shopping mall. We did not spend much time there but would be worth going to Utrecht to just see the unusual shopping mall.
We returned to Leiden at 5:40 p.m. and dashed quickly to the crowded grocery before it closed at six and walked on home. We carried umbrellas all day but no rain! However, a cold wind greeted us at Leiden.
May 19 at Zaanse Schans, an old Holland village and windmills in Zaandam on the banks of the Zaan. There was an old Holland cheese maker. However, the talk was short and gave the steps but nothing like the fun of seeing the cheese made in the Swiss Alps. We sampled the cheese and then purchased what we liked best. The bakery had no talk or demonstration, just a brochure, so wasn't very exciting. The wooden shoemaker wasn't working but there were shoes in various stages of completion.
There were seven windmills but we only were allowed in one, a chalk and paint mill. They ground the color to be used in the paint. We climbed ladders to the third level inside the mill where we could see all the big wheels and cogs that were turned by the wind. The final grinding was with stone wheels on edge. The mill was thatched on it sides. The windmill blades were backed with canvas to catch the wind.
There was a display of old clocks from the Netherlands from 1500 to 1850. Some still ran and one with a music roller played about 20 bells. There was also a house furnished in 1800 styles with people mannequins dressed in period costumes.
We visited a building full of antieks (antiques), dolls, dishes, little things, none of which we paid much attention to.
While returning to Leiden we took the wrong train out of Amsterdam and had to wait twenty minutes for another train at a tiny station in what seemed like a rural setting but we could see a large building with a Microsoft name on it. We also observed the large passenger jet planes taking off from the Amsterdam airport. It was a nice day--no rain but at times a rather cold wind. After dinner we walked "downtown" to window shop. It stayed light until at least 9:30 p.m. and the stores were open late on Thursdays.
Friday, May 20--visit The Hague. The morning appeared clear and sunny, but since we were going to visit the beach, I decided to carry an umbrella. We took a train from Leiden that didn't go to Den Haags's Central Station (CS) and had to go on to Delft and return. We then located the VVV (Information) and took a tram to Scheveningen (a beach resort). They were having an international sand sculpture contest during that week and culminating that Monday. We figured that Saturday, Sunday and Monday would be a mob scene so we saw the six contestant sculptures only partly finished. They were: a Middle Ages castle by an American group, mostly from San Diego but we chatted with a fireman from Ohio, who does sand sculpturing as a hobby. He said the sculptures were very hard--sprayed with glue and water. There was a team from Australia and the other four were Dutch teams.
When we realized that our return tram stopped at Madurodam, we decided to visit the block-sized garden filled with miniatures of 150 of Holland's most famous buildings. There were boats that moved on canals, churches, airports, businesses, houses, trains, etc. The whole thing was so well done that it seemed very real. The display was well attended with bus loads of tourists.
We then continued our tram ride back to The Hague where we visited the Royal Picture Gallery, Mauritshuis. They had restored a painting by Vermeer (1632-1675) "Head of a Girl". They were in the process of restoring a Vermeer "A View of Delft". We visited the museum and were told not to miss "Anatomy Lesson by Dr. Tulp" by Rambrandt, which didn't interest us, and "Adam and Eve in Paradise" jointly done by Rubens and Breughel.
Afterwards, we walked through a gateway into a large courtyard where we found a crowd collecting. When we asked why the crowd was gathering, we were told that Queen Beatrix was to appear to honor the police. We noticed that there were police gathering in their formal uniforms. Later, police began appearing in dress uniforms on fine horses of all colors. Eventually a huge police brass band marched in. Finally, metal fence barriers were placed across half of the square. Fortunately we were in a position to be next to the barrier so that when the queen came in her car we were within a few feet of her car. The queen was sitting on our side of the car smiling and waving. We had no idea she would be so close and she appeared so quickly, I was unable to react in time to get a picture. A red carpet had been placed on the stairs to the Knight's Hall. We thought she would at least turn and wave to her subjects, but she never even paused. All we could see was a fairly large fuchsia colored hat with a rolled up brim and a bright green suit. We felt disappointed after waiting so long for the queen to appear.
Saturday, May 21: Crossing the Alfsluitdijk. We had to first take a train to Alkmaar and then a bus through flat green farmland. It was typical of that part of the Netherlands. We were under a high fog or maybe smog. The drive across the Afsluitdijk, which means "closing in", was 32 kilometers. The dike was 90 meters wide. The dike closed off the Zuider Zee from the North Sea leaving it now a huge freshwater lake. As we rode the bus across the dike, we could only see the freshwater side, since a higher bank blocked the view of the North Sea. When we arrived in Heerenveen, we were able to take a train back to Amsterdam. There was a hard downpour during our train ride but it was over by the time we reached our destination.
We arrived in Leiden at 5:00 p.m. and rushed to the Dagmarkt which wouldn't let us in as it was just closing. They were closed on Sunday. Monday was a holiday and they were closed then too. Oh well, we managed to survive but we have never seen merchants so anxious not to serve people! By the way, on our way to the apartment Jane spotted a tiny grocery and started in but the men gave her such odd looks and I signaled Jane to get out as I realized it was a Muslim establishment. Leave it to Jane to do it right!
Sunday, May 22: Visit to Rotterdam. We traveled by train to Rotterdam and then took a subway to the harbor cruise. I went up on top, which was under cover but cold, to get pictures. It was a dark morning with showers. The harbor was in the estuary of the Rhine River. There were many containers ready to be loaded on ships, sitting on the docks. We saw a small cove, which was called Delfshaven, where the Pilgrims left for the New World in 1620.
There were many cranes and lifting devises. There were also several multi-storied apartment buildings at the beginning of the trip. They appeared to be rather new and luxurious. Jane was in the very front of the boat with a whole room full of German tourists talking at the top of their voices. We saw a ship that had collided with something and had a very battered prow.
After the harbor cruise, we went to Delfshaven but we were disappointed. It was cold and windy and threatening rain. We decided to go back to the apartment but I wanted to try to call the Rotarian Exchange Student's parents in Germany from Schiphol Airport. I had no luck after about two hours of trying and losing too much money in the coin operated telephone. Jane had a nice chat with an older lady from Rotterdam who was waiting for her sister to arrive from Rhodes. She even asked us how we avoided being robbed.
Monday, May 23: A visit to Dordrecht. Dordrecht is a forty-five minute train ride southeast of Leiden. It has over 112,000 people. It started as a trading village where three rivers meet--the Oude Maas, the Noord and the Merwede. It became a town in 1220 and was the most important city in northern Netherlands. We visited the town hall called the Groathoofdspoort. It was built in 1544 as a merchant hall. It is located next to the bay with a large harbor now dominated by pleasure boats.
There was a terrible flood in the city in 1421. It destroyed dozens of nearby villages but Dordrecht was protected by its city walls and was like an island in an inland sea. In 1299 all goods transported in Holland's waters had to be unloaded and stored in Dordrecht so it had monopolies on such products as salt, wood, wine and wool. Seafaring vessels up to 31 feet still enter into its harbor. The city has swing bridges and draw bridges. We saw one cranked up by a man so that a yacht could go through.
We visited the Great Church, which is a cathedral complete with a tower. The church was built in 1285 and the tower began in 1339. It was partially destroyed by fire in 1457 but worship resumed in 1461. It was built in Gothic style with little galleries above the arches along its length. The ceiling is very high with a number of lovely stained glass windows. An organist played the giant, ornate organ all the time we were there. The pulpit was of marble with the baptism of Christ on one side; the 12-year old Jesus among the wise in the temple on another; the Sermon on the Mount on another side. A richly decorated sounding board was above the pulpit. It appeared to be carved wood.
Tuesday, May 24: Leiden, a work day. At ten o'clock we went grocery shopping at the Dagmarket and the butcher shop. We had not shopped during the three-day holiday. We then ate lunch and then took our laundry to be done. We then decided to look for a present for our son Dean on a busy pedestrian only shopping street. We found a green sweatshirt, which I liked for 99 guilders or about $52. We then picked up our laundry and returned to our apartment. We rested 20 minutes and then took off to visit the nearby windmill museum. It is called the Molenmuseum DeValk a restored grain mill. There were 10,000 windmills a century ago in Holland but now there are around 900. They were used to pump water from the polders (reclaimed from the sea) but later used for grinding corn, wheat, paint colors, lumber, etc.
Wednesday, May 25: Het Loo Palace. This was our first all day rain, so a palace was a good place to go. We rode the train from Amsterdam with a friendly Dutch couple who spoke English rather well and were about our age. They told us that they had lost their daughter last year to cancer. We certainly knew how they felt. The palace was a fifteen-minute bus ride from the train station. We then walked a long lane with trees making a tunnel over us. The palace has become a museum with the buildings and grounds restored to their original fourteenth century state. William and Mary were its first occupants and Queen Wilhelmina brought it to an end. Queen Mother Juliana is her daughter and the present Queen is Beratrix.
Jane says that palaces are always too ornate with fancy ceilings, baroque bric-a-brac, portraits with too much gold frame, pillars, ornate furniture and fireplaces, and chairs that look most uncomfortable. But we took three hours to go through the castle. The gardens and woods got shorted as it poured down rain. The gardens had boxwood hedging about four inches square in elegant designs covering each area. There were fountains and cascading waterfalls. The buildings outside the palace grounds were a huge complex of stables with horses, some with old carriages and cars used by royalty at some time.
This area of Holland was rather different from the western part. It was not reclaimed from the sea and wasn't so marshy. There are no canals so the towns were laid out better. In Laiden streets change names every block or so because a canal was needed to carry off water and so blocked the street. Cattle and sheep are raised around Apeldoorn cattle. Pastures are lush and green there and the land is very flat.
Thursday, May 26: A day-trip to Hoorn. Yesterday, we were told that this would be a nice day; it wasn't! A cold wind kept us cold all day on our trip. We traveled by train to Hoorn where we took an antique steam train across a peninsula into the fresh- water lake created from the Zuider Zee when a dike was placed across its mouth. The train chugged along about 10 miles an hour hissing and steaming up the windows and making that "I think I can" rhythm used in the children's story, The Little Engine that Could. It tried to rain a bit and the train was cold and uncomfortable. It stopped at every road crossing and someone got out and put a barrier across the highway and then we went across. Except for one other couple from Ohio, all the passengers were native.
We arrived on the north side of the peninsula around noon and walked with the group to catch the ferry for Enkhuizen. There was an outdoor museum stop on the way, but it was so cold we skipped that. The ferry was rather smoky since people smoke more than at home. It was a windy day and many sailboats were out and some were pushed almost on their sides by the strong breeze. After nearly an hours wait in Enkhuizen, we caught a train to Hoorn. At Hoorn we walked around the town a bit. The town was supposed to be an interesting place; an old Zuider Zee port with exotic ideas and influences brought back from abroad, but we couldn't get enthused and after a short walk we took the train back to Amsterdam and Leiden. The stores in Leiden were open on Thursdays to 9:00 p.m. so we shopped after dinner. It was a rather disappointing day due to the cold wind.
Friday, May 27: Our day trip to Alkmaar to visit the cheese market. We went prepared for a cold wind. We each had a wool sweater under our jackets. Following the crowd, we finally reached the square where the Cheese Market was held. There was such a mob that it took some time for us to see what was taking place. Men in white uniforms with varied colored hats, depending on which group you worked for, carried what looked like sleds on ropes fastened to a harness over their shoulders. They carried eight large round cheeses at a time to be weighed. The cheeses were then loaded into trucks on shelves. The cheese was rolled from the tailgate to the back of the truck. Now we know why the cheese is round.
The area where the Cheese Market is held is an old section of the city with large, fairly clean, canals. What looked like a church with a clock and steeple was really the old Guild Hall. The Cheese Museum was located upstairs in what they called the weighhouse.
Saturday, May 28: Visit to Haarlem. It was supposed to warm up today but the sun shone a bit early but soon disappeared and turned a bit too cool. We visited the Grote Markt or the flower market that is now more than just a flower market. The market has everything from flowers, fresh fruit, candy, clothing, art and junk all in a city square next to an old cathedral, The Grote Kerk.
We strolled through twisty streets and little alleys. We found the Frans Hals Museum. The museum is in an old Alms House. Frans Hals, an artist, was supposed to have lived his last days here. The place was also used as an orphanage at one time. We then went to Corrie Ten Boom's Museum and had to wait ten minutes for a guided tour that turned out to be in Dutch. In the meantime we met Rev. Phil and Marie Holtrof who knew Dutch from having lived there 35 years ago when the husband attended college there for five years. They offered to translate for us so we wouldn't have to wait an hour for the English tour.
Sunday, Mar 29: Amsterdam. We couldn't find any information on buses or trams at the train station. We could see Madame Tussaud's Scenerama from the train station, so we decided to take it in. Afterwards, we walked to the Van Gogh Museum where we saw the largest collection of his works. We decided to circle back to the train station by way of the Anne Frank house but we did not enter when we saw the huge line waiting to get in. It extended to the end of the block and into the next.
Monday, May 30: Gauda. It was a short trip to Gauda but we had to transfer in a tiny town with a long three-part name. We wandered through Gauda following frequent signs to the VVV and then went into the town square, said to be the largest marketplace in Holland. We took pictures of two impressive and very old buildings before even knowing what they were. One turned out to be the Cheese Weighing House and the larger fancier one was the impressive Gothic Town Hall. The buildings surrounding the square were interesting, too and we took pictures of them. We returned there and ate our lunch on a raised cement circle around a tree.
The St. John’s Church (Janskerk) was impressive. It had a huge highly decorative organ, which we didn’t get to hear. However, we did hear the Carillian bells every 15 minutes and they were particularly light and airy sounding. The church had 70 gorgeous stained glass windows done in the 16th Century. The church was destroyed by fire in 1361 and 1438 and struck by lightening in 1552 destroying it interior. It is shaped like a cross and is the longest church in the Netherlands. It was a Roman Catholic Church to begin with and St. John was the patron saint of the town so it was dedicated to him. It is a Reformed Church now. The lovely dark colors in the windows portray John the Baptist. These survived the French Revolution and they were removed and safely stored during WWII.