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Today was intentionally a low-key day. We took the train to Appingedam to search one last cemetery. Nada. We’re 0 for 6 in finding dead great-great-great grandparents. As we walked around Appingedam, we found ourselves missing our bikes.

We spent the afternoon in a cafe inside a home improvement store – part IKEA, part Home Depot. It’s about a half mile from the campground. Most importantly, it has Wi-Fi!

Technology – it’s both a convenience and a curse. More than reading train schedules or navigating street names as long as my arm, it’s my greatest frustration.

These are the devices that we’re carrying with us:

  • iPad for Shellie
  • Mini-iPad for Aidan
  • Mini-iPad for Nathan
  • iPhone with OneSim card for emergencies
  • Camera with extra lens, batteries, memory cards

All these devices need to be charged regularly. We have two world converters boxes… make that one. One blew in Amsterdam. We picked up an European converter, but that will only be good for a few more days.

Then there’s the issue of Wi-Fi access. To check email, we need Wi-Fi. To Skype with Neerav, we need Wi-Fi. To upload our photos to the cloud so that I don’t run out of space of my iPad, we need Wi-Fi. To post entries and photos on the blog, we need Wi-Fi. To download movies from our Amazon library, we need Wi-Fi for extended periods of time. You get the idea.

So yes, we spent an entire afternoon in the home improvement store. We even ate lunch and snacks. Aidan had a very tasty apple turnover, and Nathan ate cheesecake. It’s what we do.

Aidan discovers Dutch apple turnovers.

Aidan discovers Dutch apple turnovers.

On the topic of technology, an observation: Americans are truly tech-addicted. On a canal boat cruise in Amsterdam, we were seated next to a group of American college-aged women. They were so busy tweeting and watching YouTube videos, they missed the entire experience. It was sad. You don’t see people in the Netherlands, or in London for that matter, with their heads buried in their smart phones to the extent that you do in the U.S. Frankly, it’s refreshing.

That being said, we will need some technical assistance tomorrow. We will be on trains for most of the day: Groningen to Amersfoort, Amersfoort to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Brussels, and Brussels to London. On Thursday, we fly from London to Istanbul and then Istanbul to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Our next post will be from Africa!