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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

just roaming around Rome

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We arrived last Friday night and the guys we rented an apartment loft from on Airbnb sent a car to pick us up from the airport. Much better than taking the Metro like the first time we visited Rome. It is really hard to roll luggage on the cobblestone streets here and if there are any hills it just gets harder.

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The driver didn’t speak any English but was friendly and drove like a maniac (but it appears all of the other Romans do also) to our address here on Via Giovanni Lanza. One of the roads he cut down is the Via Appia Antica where I spotted some of the signs for various catacombs. We arrived safely but I swear there is no way I will ever drive in Rome. Walking and the Metro is good enough for me. Gabriele met us at the entry to the Colosseo – White Shadows Loft.

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Bedroom down the hall is in the former brick baking oven. Nice and cozy with no street noise.

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For those of you that have never used Airbnb it is a website that Kris and I have used since we first came to Europe in 2012. Our first rental through the site was a houseboat on a quiet little canal in Amsterdam where the swans swam up to our kitchen window every morning.  Since then we have rented a fabulous 2nd floor of a huge house in Vista, California with views of the mountains on one side and the Pacific on the other. You can set filters as to how much you want to pay, where, when, almost any type of amenities you require, and read reviews from previous guests. It is the bomb and we highly recommend trying it if you haven’t.

Enough of the free plug for Airbnb and I’ll get on to the post. We chose the Monti neighborhood because it is close to the Colosseum, The Roman Forum, and the metro is easily accessible. There is also a nice little grocery about 5 minutes away and with a kitchen we can have breakfast and coffee on our time in the mornings. We stayed in this neighborhood the first visit at a bed and breakfast and while it was okay we like this much better.

The weather was great on Saturday but I think Rome is as contrary as our part of coastal Texas. One minute the sun is shining and the chill isn’t too bad and the next minute it is “raindrops keep falling on my head” time. No matter, we have had a fantastic visit and haven’t melted yet. Not made of sugar!

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Spanish steps. We walked to other side on the right and climbed very steep sets of stairs after we ate a nice lunch. Forgot about the elevator.

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The Piazza del Popolo was packed with young people. Apparently, Metallica was in town for a concert Saturday night. They had to rock on without us…

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Our view while walking down the Via Appia Antica. Not so sure about the title “Queen of Roads.” Makes for some hard walking…

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It was an impressive stroll that afternoon.

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Have a drink, the water is refreshing.

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A girl in a swing sculpture

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Sunshine on another sculpture in the gardens.

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Noisy Ring-necked Parakeets in the trees on the grounds of the villa.

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Ruins found on the site.

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After our wanderings on Sunday we went to a weekend farmers market and picked up various salami’s, cheese, olive oil, and local wine.

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Circo Maximo on our walk back market to the Metro.

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Loving the shape of the greenery.

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The ruins around the corner from our apartment at night.

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Sweets for the sweet…

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We went back to the Trevi fountain to throw a coin in since it worked last time to guarantee we’d come back to Rome.

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Old and not so old mixes well together.

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Rain in Rome is better than rain while at home

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Our goal is to go see the moon shining through the Pantheon’s oculas tonight.

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Thought one or two of our friends would appreciate this motorcycle carved of wood.

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Only Pinocchio knows!

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The beauty of an artichoke.

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Alimento è amore.

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Gelato at Palazzo del Freddo Giovanni Fassi- the oldest gelato factory in Rome.

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A late night glass of the local vino with the monks on the shelf in our apartment.

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The tomb of St. Sebastian is in the basilica but his original resting place was in the catacombs underneath it that we toured yesterday.

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No pictures are allowed in the catacombs but that is okay. It was a gorgeous sunshiny day outside. Happy to be alive!

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Porta Maggiore on the hunt for aquaduct ruins.

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Santa Maria Maggiore is behind us in this picture. We went into the church last time we were here.

That concludes this post of pictures for now. Today we are going to see the ruins of Ostia Antica, ancient Rome’s seaport, abandoned when Rome fell. They say it is better than Pompeii with less crowds and only 30 minutes on the Metro from the center of Rome. We’ll let you know.

Till then-

Ciao!

 

a week in Terneuzen

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We were there and now we are gone. To Italy but I will get to that part of our trip in another post. The weather was chilly in the little DOW town because of the winds blowing in off the North Sea. It rained every day but not so much that I couldn’t get on my bicycle and ride for a bit to get some fresh air and get out of the hotel room. Not that I am complaining. I like Terneuzen and am familiar with my regular haunts there. It is a small enough town that I can ride from one end to the other in an hour or less depending on the wind. I figure when I am riding against the wind I am working off calories so I don’t feel too guilty about eating the delicious puddingbroodjes that are one of my favorite things to eat in The Netherlands.

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Yes. I bought two of them. One for after my bike ride and the other for breakfast the next morning.

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This is where you go to buy the best in Terneuzen. My opinion, of course, but I have tried 5 different places and these win hands down. It is next to the Albert Heijn grocery in case you ever visit.

Another of my favorite things- see pic below.

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When you get back from riding your bicycle  in the frigid air you can take a swim in the bathtub. The Dutch seem to have the longest tubs I have ever seen.

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I taught myself to crochet after Christmas and finally finished my first scarf in the hotel room. With the weather not cooperating for longer rides while in Terneuzen I started working on a second scarf.

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I made friends. The ducks enjoyed the bread I brought to them at lunch time every day. This day turned out to be sunny until late afternoon.

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One of my bike paths depending on how cold the wind is blowing.

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Usually I eat sandwiches for lunch that I make myself at the hotel when in Terneuzen but on Wednesday’s there is a market in the town centre. I usually opt for fish caught locally, fired to order, and take it with me to go see my friends. This is two of the merchants at the fried fish stall in the market. I think they must be really nice people to put up with all my questions about the variety of fish in their case and to let me snap their photo.

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I did not share my fish with my friends. They had to make do with bread.

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I always have bad hair days when we are in Terneuzen. Can you guess why? Something to do with these funky hairdryers at the Golden Tulip. Otherwise it is a lovely place to stay.

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Almost forgot. When we arrived Kris and I visited this store on Sunday. No- it is not what you think. It is a high-end furniture store and on the 2nd floor there were kitchen designs with SieMatic products. More good ideas for our remodel.

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In case you have forgotten what I look like.

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Reservations for our last night at De Tollebol. Kris, Eric, and I went on Thursday night. It is a small place, maybe 6 tables total with the best ribs in the world. I swear. The lady who owns it could give all the Texans I know a run for their money in cooking spareribs.

Here is the link so if you are ever in Terneuzen, go there but don’t forget to make a reservation- http://www.detollebol.nl/

So that concludes our week in Terneuzen. Not really very eventful but it was nice downtime for me. Not so much for Kris but she did get a lot accomplished work-wise with our favorite Dutchman.

We drove to Eindhoven to catch our plane on Friday. The airport is similar in size to Hobby in Houston but easier to maneuver.

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At the airport getting ready to go through security so we can go to Rome.

So until I post again, Tot ziens!

Ina and her housemaid

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Just a little background for those of you that are late to the party. As many of you know Kris and I are owned by Bentley Beargrass Meyer-McGarvey, an Airedale that turned 11 in January. I also have to mention our Roux, an Airedale-mix that we saved from imminent death through the encouragement of fellow rescuer Ellana from Texas Airedale Rescue Team in Houston, Walter the consummate Chihuahua that thinks he is an Airedale, and Bridgette the oldest Basset Hound mix in the world. We love our dogs. What else can I say? No breed is better than another.

I love the Airedale breed and through this love I met Ursula and Ina in a fund raising project for Airedale rescue. People from around the world vote on a daily basis to win $1000 grants through the Shelter Challenge at the Animal Rescue Site. Ursula and Keith (from London) are two of the biggest cheerleaders for winning these grants and trust me they do a lot of work to drum up votes. Big thanks to the both of them!

Last spring when we were in Germany I got to meet and visit with Ursula and Ina twice. Same thing this visit but an added bonus was that Kris got to meet them also the first weekend we arrived. Lot’s of fun and wonderful food too!

Ursula jokes that she is Ina’s housemaid and if you spent any time with them you would understand. Ina is energy in motion. She never stops. I wish I had the amount of energy that Ina has. Ursula isn’t too shabby either. They go for walks through the local vineyards and explore the mountainside every day. Ina loves to eat apples and pears from the trees when they are full of fruit. She chases the field mice and sometimes it appears she just might dig down to China in search of one. Ursula and Ina meet up with lots of canine friends on these walks and have great fun together.

I took the train last Friday to go visit with Ursula and Ina one more time before we left the Deutschland for the Netherlands. It was a wonderful day and I look forward to coming back to visit with Ina and her housemaid!

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A game that Ina plays is with her ball in the grass between the rows of vines. Well, she is also obsessed with field mice.

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The great tunnel to china starts.

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Friends!

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Whose chair is it? Not the housemaids!

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I delivered presents of sketches that Cheryl did in her art class after meeting Ursula and Ina last spring.

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Ina is a smart one…trying to pick up her basket of toys.

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Ursula left me with Ina while she went to get cake. Ina wouldn’t leave the stoop the whole time Ursula was gone. She would look up at me on the stairs but she wanted her housemaid. I was a poor substitute!

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Let’s play ball!

I am always sad when it comes time to leave from such wonderful visits with Ursula and Ina. Kris says when we come back to Germany next time we will stay longer in Bad Dürkheim. I can’t wait!

To Ursula,  Ein herzliches Dankeschön. You are a wonderful lady and friend. And Ina, you are my other favorite Airedale in the world. Till next time…

Tschüss,

Karen

 

Design of die Küche

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I figure most of you must think that I have lost my mind when you read the title of this post but let me assure you it is still intact. Overwhelmed but intact. Kris and I have been discussing remodeling our kitchen for awhile now and have decided to do the deed this spring. We have been in awe of the kitchen designs we’ve seen here in Europe at various friends homes. Efficiency rules. Storage and more counter space. Appliances hidden away but easily accessible. I have actually veered away from the homey style to a more modern look. Not completely minimalist though.

So Wednesday last week in Karlsruhe I decided to catch a taxi to a part of town I know nothing about to check out the kitchen design stores. The walk would have taken me an hour and half to reach my destinations and a taxi seemed smart though I spent more euros than I intended. The part of town the kitchen design stores are in is fairly industrial- not too many sidewalks and the train/bus schedule confused me. I had also found a large pet store in this area where I wanted to pick up something fun for Ina for when I saw her on Friday. After the pet store I walked to my initial destination. A kitchen design store with a great name- Grimm Küchen. The store associate at the Grimm Küchen was very helpful and allowed me to take pictures for later on when Kris and I need inspiration for our kitchen design style. In my wanderings, I found the equivalent of a German Home Depot/Lowes but as the afternoon was growing old quickly I decided to check out the German’s version of an Ikea style store called MOMAX. Yep- almost an Ikea which we have in Houston. I did get a few pics of their kitchens also.

Here are a few pics of my wanderings that day:

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My German wasn’t sufficient to chat with the employees so we made do with pantomime and minimal words. Nice store!

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Can you see the “Slow the hund down when he is eating bowls” on the two lower shelves? I need one of these for the Roux.

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Also a few of these Bionic toys…

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Seriously strong hund crates. I think you could keep the incredible hulk in one of these babies.

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Grimm Küchen way over there. No pedestrian crossings nor sidewalks but I was determined.

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Liked this a lot. It has my corner cabinet that comes up and out for easy access. The neutral color is nice too.

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Not too shabby either.

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I don’t care for the flowers but the color of the cabinets caught my eye. The question is- will we get tired of it after a while?

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Nice contrast with not too much white.

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MOMAX store

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I keep going back to the grey. Do you see the vent hood and how it is tilted? That is for the tall person so they will not bump their head. Hmm…

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My camera couldn’t get a clear picture of this one but it is the nicest blue.

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Rug selection at MOMAX similar to IKEA.

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Contemplated trying to catch a train or bus back but in the end decided another taxi would do.

I won’t bore you anymore with my kitchen fantasies but I just had to share. Till next time!

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