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Call me a bad blogger

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But I will post a new entry soon. Kris and I left Germany on Saturday morning and arrived in Palma, Mallorca around 9am. Our hotel or I suppose I should say resort honored our early check-in. Kris is getting some well deserved down time after two weeks of serious project time which appears to have been successful.

I have lots to share about my last few days in Karlsruhe and Bad Dürkheim but it will have to wait. And of course about this beautiful island in the Mediterranean. So until then

Adios,

Karen

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wasser ohne gas

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Or no gas in my water, please!

“wit Kohlensäure” means with carbonation/bubbles/gas and “naturelle ohne Kohlensäure” means none. At least that is how I interpret it when I am buying water in the shops here in Karlsruhe. I won’t even go into the chore of buying water with no bubbles in the other countries we have visited. I am like the character in Dr. Seuss’ book “Green Eggs and Ham.”  I do not like fizz in my water, my mouth thinks it is a bother. Yeah, I can’t rhyme but you get the gist.

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Something I do like is the price of one of my favorite candies-the Ritter Sport Pfefferminz. Under a dollar and sometimes closer to fifty cents (euro). I also like the bubbles in prosecco!

I am sure you noticed my German language book. I carry it along with me just in case I am having a hard time communicating. Hard to imagine but sometimes my Texas accent inhibits the correct pronunciation of the few words I know in German.

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Spring has gotten an early start here in Karlsruhe. Flowers are blooming, the trees are sprouting foliage, and the lilac bushes serenade me with their fragrance daily as I walk through the streets of the city.

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Last night we went for a walk looking for something different to eat besides traditional German fare. We found a hamburger joint popular with the locals advertising freshly ground beef. Kris and I ordered the single burger but the Dutchman ordered the next to largest burger on the menu. I believe he said that he was still hungry after consuming the biggest burger I have ever seen in my life.

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Betcha he goes back tonight to get another one.

There is a train workers strike here in Germany. I had planned on taking a local train to go see my friend Ursula and her Airedale Ina in Bad Dürkheim but instead I have rented a car. This will insure my return on Friday to Karlsruhe so Kris and I can leave for Majorca (Mallorca) Saturday morning. Pictures will be taken of my visit with Ursula but I imagine any posts to the blog will have to wait until Spain.

So until then-

Tschüss,

Karen

P.S. – the beer is still fantastic here in Deutschland.

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eten en drinken

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Pretend that the pictures below are postcards. We are here in Karlsruhe, Germany at the Kubler Hotel with really bad internet service so this is a quick post to show you what we did at the end of the week in Terneuzen. Every afternoon here I can pick up some internet service (that we pay for believe it or not) and I will get off an update. Short and sweet.

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The owners at Bistro Bonne Foi where Kris and I had dinner one night last week in oud Terneuzen before we left for Germany. Nice little restaurant with excellent service and delicious food prepared almost in front of you.

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Original outside wall from small alley that used to separate this building from another one. The owners decided to save it when they extended the size of the restaurant by a few feet.

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CuliNeuze, a wine and tapas owned by Peggy (also works at DOW) in oud Terneuzen. This lady knows her wines and local beer. Also on the wall is a tapas type menu so you can have a delicious snack while marveling at all of the vintage odds and ends. Highly recommended!

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Not a great picture but the music was fantastic. One of the performers is renowned and award winning harmonica player in the Netherlands. He and his wife own the cottage Kris and I rented while there.

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On Saturday Kris and I drove over to Antwerp to meet one of her colleagues for dinner. After walking around for awhile we had dinner at “Het Vermoeide Model” at 7:30. The restaurant is quaint and built right up against the wall of the cathedral. There are three levels with extremely steep stairs which were fun to navigate when needing to go to the ladies room before leaving. The very top floor was closed off due to high winds where when open there is said to be a spectacular view of cathedral and the city.

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The towering Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp. In order to do it justice I need a bigger and better camera. You get the idea though.

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This is probably the most beautiful train stations in the world.

Till next time- Auf Wiedersehen!

Karen

het oude is nieuw

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Translating the above statement for those of us that don’t speak Dutch – “the old is new.” I have come to understand that some words and phrases just don’t translate well. When reading translations from Dutch to English there are times when you just have to laugh. The title to this post fortunately reads just fine. Later in my post there will be a few links to Oud Terneuzen if you are interested in a bit of history. Remember not everything translates in the correct order so do a little rearranging in your brain and it will sound just fine.

Normally Kris and I stay here in Terneuzen at the Golden Tulip L’Escaut. Always in the same room because this particular room has a sliding glass door which accesses a roof top balcony. The location is right across the street from the water too. Only once have we stayed elsewhere and it was because everything in town was booked for months ahead. The Hampshire is the other hotel and it is nice also with a sauna and indoor pool. I am actually renting my bicycle from there this week.

When Kris checked to make reservations for this trip two months ago she found everything booked in town except for this place in old Terneuzen. Here is a link for where we are staying with a bit of background – http://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.oudterneuzen.nl/historie/kandeelstraat/kandeelstraat11/&prev=search

Kris found the cottage on booking.com instead of Airbnb for this leg of our journey. Here are a few photos that I have taken as I have explored the immediate vicinity.

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The ladder is sturdy and thank goodness I overcame my fear of heights a few years ago.

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We have to pull down the ladder every evening to sleep in the loft.

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Uh oh, all of our baggage sitting outside. Not quite Rick Steve’s style…

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One of the many old cannons that can be found here in the most unlikely places.

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A rather dark picture looking out the door from inside.

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The bathroom is tiny. It is a chore to make sure all of the water is squeegeed towards the drain but it is efficient and meets our needs.

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Looking down Kandeelstraat 11 from in front of our door. Another piece of sculpture  found all around Terneuzen.

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Here a link translated to English about Oud Terneuzen. http://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.oudterneuzen.nl/&prev=search

The name Terneuzen comes from Ter Nose back in more ancient times when the area we are staying in was part of the old fortress. What is interesting is many of the residents here are unaware of Oud Terneuzen. I have ridden a bicycle through the alleys and streets surrounding us and wasn’t aware either.

Tonight Kris and I have reservations at the little bistro next door, Bistro Bonne Foi at Tuinpad 22-24. A colleague of Kris’ said it will be a nice experience.

Bistro Bonne Foi

Bistro Bonne Foi

One of the oldest buildings here built by Van Rampu. There is a house and stables for horses. The horses were used to haul the boats along the canal Ghent-Terneuzen.

One of the oldest buildings here built by Van Rampu. Originally a house and stables for horses now a theatre and cafe. The horses hauled the boats along the canal Ghent-Terneuzen.

Last but not least, my desk with the beautiful blooms this country is famous for!

Last but not least, my desk with the beautiful blooms this country is famous for!

I hope I have not bored you today. If the links don’t work let me know and I will get them to you. I am off for another bicycle ride and pick up some laundry. Have a wonderful day and till tomorrow,

Doei (plus three kisses)

“A bloomin’ paradise”

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If you’re a florist, that is. I just returned from a fantastic bike ride here in Terneuzen.

Along my route today I found myself on the other side of town passing a garden center that I have had my eye on each time we have come here so I popped in. 20150414_120601

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I was in floral heaven for a short time.

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Almost as nice as the fields of flowers we saw growing on our way here Sunday from Amsterdam. Remember we went to Keukenhof Gardens on one of our previous visits and enjoyed it immensely but once is enough. Too many people in one place for our taste. Besides, I am trying to be easy on Kris so she feels like exploring Spain when we get there.

If you read my blog post from Monday you know that we stayed in Amsterdam for a few days after we arrived. Sleep is always a priority after a nine hour flight for both of us. I guess I don’t have to point out we aren’t as young as we used to be and I definitely need my beauty sleep. We grabbed a nap waking to a need for real food so we hopped on the metro riding it into the central station. This always helps us to get an idea of where we are and where we want to go in a big city. You can do the same with the hop-on hop-off bus too. Since we have learned to greatly appreciate the efficiency and cost of good metro systems we buy the “however many days you will be there” pass.

We exited the metro at Het Leidseplein; though a busy tourist area, it is a decent sized square filled with tables covered by canopies and heaters above your head. This is important when night temps can still drop to 40 degrees F. We found a table at Cafe Hoopman and ordered fish and chips plus a cheeseburger. Kris is still working out what she is able to eat so a variety is what we order. A short walk around after dinner, a sweater purchase (on sale and it was really cold) then back to the hotel to get to bed early for Friday’s day trip into Alkmaar.

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The first time Kris and I came to Amsterdam we visited for a week and did the whole tourist experience. This visit I had decided that we needed to take a day trip to Alkmaar (http://www.cheesemarket.nl/) only an hour outside of Amsterdam by train from the central station. Some of the best cheese I have ever tasted is here in The Netherlands. I am always trying to figure out ways to fit the largest wheel into our baggage. I haven’t succeeded yet but I will share it with you if I ever manage to do this. My luck I will make the evening news as “Tourist arrested trying to hide humongous cheese wheel in baggage home to USA.”

We arrived in Alkmaar just in time to see the last 45 minutes of the reenactment of the weighing, sampling, and selling of the large cheese wheels along one of the canals in the city center. Lots of stalls sold a variety of local cheese which we sampled and I only purchased one small wheel covered with wax and plastic. This is necessary to pass customs so I can bring it back home. Hard cheeses are okay to buy and bring into the USA but the soft cheeses you must enjoy here. There are stiff fines for bringing certain items through US customs and the soft cheeses are not worth the fine one must pay if caught.

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We also passed a haringhuis. You know, the stands that sell the slightly smoked (looks raw) fresh herring. I have repeatedly told myself every trip we’ve made to The Netherlands that I’d try this national snack food. Three years and four trips later I finally have. Kris took pictures of me while I sampled the herring while another couple from the USA asked me if it was slimy and awful. Surprisingly it wasn’t fishy nor slimy and quite tasty. The raw onions served on top of the herring gave it a good crunch. I still prefer other recipes used to prepare my fish.

Kris had read that Alkmaar is home to the Beatles Museum so we thought we’d try to find it but it had moved elsewhere to a larger location. At this point, Kris was feeling her recent surgery with the endless walking through Alkamaar’s large city center. We decided to find a cafe so we could sit for awhile and people watch. As we headed down one of the quaint canal streets we found the National Beer Museum De Boom. Here is the link and a few pictures- http://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.biermuseum.nl/&prev=search

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The tour in this 17th century building includes a look at the brewing process, various tools, equipment and machinery, and an incredible collection of advertising materials used to promote Grolsch, Heineken, La Trappe, Amstel, etc. over the last century. After you’ve climbed the steep staircase three floors you make your way back down to the pub in the basement. Did I mention that in medieval times and up into the 20th century this was a working brewery?

Outside the pub there is a floating barge on the canal where we chose to relax while enjoying one of the 86 Dutch beers that the pub serves from its “trying tavern” in the basement. Honestly, I have to say I enjoyed this self-guided tour much more than the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam due to the lack of crowds pushing at you from behind to get their free sample of Heineken at the end of the tour.

Kris and I decided that when we make our way back to this part of The Netherlands we will find a hotel outside of Amsterdam, maybe in Alkmaar to rest our weary bones before heading on towards the next destination.

On our way back to the train station we meandered through the streets enjoying the beauty of the city hall, old buildings and one of the churches. Then what did we happen to see- the last picture shows it perfectly.

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An Airedale named Ava was walking with her humans. Nothing like a doggie fix!

Next post will more of Terneuzen, oud Terneuzen to be more exact where we are staying this week.

Een goede dag verder!

Karen

Ketchup, I mean Catch up

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20150413_141405Goedemorgen!

Whoa, it has been awhile since I wrote of our travels on the blog. I missed blogging about three different  trips we took last year. San Francisco,Kauai, and the Florida Keys. I will try to get a few pictures posted from 2014 when I get a chance. Time sure does fly when you are having fun. Time to catch up then.

At this very moment Kris and I are in Terneuzen (The Netherlands) for another round of work with her Dutch colleagues. Next week we travel to Germany for week two. After the second work week we will fly down to Mallorca (Majorca) the largest of the Balearic Islands which are east of the Spanish coast. After catching a few rays of sunshine on Mallorca for a few days we will then fly over to Barcelona.

I’d like to say that all preparations for this trip went smoothly and we prepared for it efficiently but I cannot tell a lie. A couple of bumps in the road tried to throw us off course. The biggest bump being that my lovely spouse spent most of her 50th birthday in an emergency room. I had thrown her a birthday party on the Saturday before her actual day. Fortunately, she did get to celebrate her birthday milestone but two days later after lunch at her favorite Mexican restaurant, the gall bladder rebelled. Apparently, some gall bladders give out at the ripe old age of fifty. Uh oh, I probably jinxed myself but I am a few more than fifty at this point. What I have more to worry about is telling too much about Kris’ gallbladder on the blog. Wink, wink.

The hospital admitted Kris almost immediately and observed her until the next morning when the offending organ was removed. Then came news that a stone was hiding out in her abdomen causing more issues and another procedure scheduled. At this point, I thought we might have to postpone our departure date. The week before we had requested to rent an  apartment on Airbnb for when we arrived in Amsterdam. Not a good idea after a surgery that requires cutting, stitches, and rooting around in side of your tummy. Did I forget to tell you that most of the apartments are walk-ups? Crazy, steep Dutch stairs in the truly old houses and apartment buildings in which we had hoped to rent. No elevators or lifts as they refer to them here. Stroke of luck though, the apartment fell through due to the owner not responding to our request in a timely manner and our deposit refunded. Still, no decisions could be made until Kris underwent yet another procedure to determine if any other issues had arisen.
The hospital finally released Kris four days later after being admitted on her birthday leaving us with less than five days to consider what to do. Obviously, Kris made it through numerous days of immediate recovery issues and follow-up doctor appointments but she is still not 100%. I have taken over some of the travel tasks that we normally share. No heavy lifting for her so we are as close to Rick Steve’s traveling style as possible for these two Texans. Minimal baggage one real suitcase to check and smaller bags to carry on. This limits our shopping but that has its plus side, I suppose, at least for the bank account…

Since all apartments were out we booked accommodations in Amsterdam at the Conscious Hotel by the Vondelpark. It worked as it was the only hotel (not a party place, not too noisy, not crazy expensive) still available at such late notice. The staff at the hotel was great, turned us on to a great little restaurant, and the location rocked since the metro stop was right across the street. One thing we did miss was no coffee pot in the room. This impacts Kris greatly since she wakes up early, anywhere between 4:30 & 6:00 am. We find that most of the hotels and bed & breakfasts don’t serve coffee or breakfast until 7:00am. That is a deal breaker for us most of the time but in this instance we had to take what we could get. No other complaints though. The staff let me have mucho pillows too. What really made me happy was the extra long bathtub that the Dutch have in most of their bathrooms. Like I’ve said before, you can swim laps in one if you are only 5’4″ like me. Bathtub bliss!

So, there it is. There is more to tell but I think you will have to wait until my next post. I am going to go sit outside in the refreshing clean air by the North Sea and drink another cup of coffee before I go looking for a bicycle to rent for my week here in Terneuzen.

Tot gauw!

Karen