Our stay in Alkmaar was fabulous. This steeple view is taken from our apartment door. Everywhere you look are tiled roof tops, tiny rooftop patios, and of course, the bell towers. This bell tower chimed every fifteen minutes, rather loudly! I woke up to 12 chimes, then again for the two o'clock, three o'clock and four o'clock bim-bums. By then I loved the clock a lot less, Jessica wisely had worn ear plugs to bed, and slept better than I did. I finally understand my parents' love for their bim bum clocks. They have several in their home, and they sound like an old village clock chiming the hours away. Our apartment here was by far the best accomodation so far. Right downtown, and yet with a private locked courtyard for bikes and living space so large the kids could play a decent game of hide and seek. Our hostess, Tienie, was very friendly and suggested we arrrange a marriage between Jessica and her son so that Jessica could study for free at a NL university. Jessica rejected the concept of arranged marriage. Today we biked over 40 km to Haarlem, mostly in the rain. The kids were very brave, if less happy about the rain.