22 Aug 2017

WATERVILLE - IRELAND


Expat tours

If you do a 7 day tour around a country of course you can't see everything in details. It just gives you an overview of things to see or to do if you want to come back later.


We also shortly stopped at Waterville  a small coastal village located between the Atlantic Ocean and Lough Currane on the scenic and famous Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Famous for its game angling and its 18 hole championship golf links, Waterville is also a paradise for the hill-walker, cyclist, pony trekker, ornithologist, astronomer, archaeologist, sea and shore angler, water sport enthusiast and indeed for the general holidaymakers unfortunately not for those who love the heat and lot of sunshine. Read more here





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21 Aug 2017

WEEKEND August 19 - HOLLAND/MACRO MONDAY

Bad weather or not, I followed the invitation of my old schoolfriend and went for a long weekend to Holland where they have a cute little holiday house. My friend's father has bought it in the 70th, from a fisherman. In this street there are only German families now in the 2nd or 3rd generation, all bought at the same time. They are not far from Brussels, not even two hours drive.



The house had been transformed and renovated through the years and has become very comfortable



My friend has a big family so they needed space and they just transformed the attic into a huge bedroom one part with two beds separated by a wall where two beds and a little desk are standing while on the other side there are another 4 beds. So I had the choice ! The only difficulty was getting up there because the stairs were very steep. But after two days I got almost used of it.



Each day it rained but late afternoon the sun came out and we could sit in the garden. My friend and I know each other since 1951 in Bonn (Germany), then both fathers moved to Brussels to work for the Common Market which has become the European Union. Our ways separated when she returned to Germany to study and I remained in Brussels. Nevertheless we always stayed in contact at that time by letters of course. Over the years she had 3 children and I one son. She became a grandma of 5 very early and her eldest grandson is 30, the youngest just 6 ! We are both chatterboxes, but she even more than I, poor husband had to raise his voice to place a word ! There was so much to chat !



When I arrived she was busy to make jam and had filled it in glasses.

Because of the rainy weather I didn't do very much, I just chilled out. Despite (for me) cold weather (20°)  they both swam in the sea at the end of the day. I stayed home in the warmth. I didn't even want to come along to the beach ! Anyway they do everything by bike when they are here. The last time I rode a bike was probably 30 years ago or more and they are not the youngest once either my friend and I have both the same age 74 and the hubby is a little older.

On Saturday early morning I heard loud snoring through my earplugs, there were two men with their equipment in the garden to cut down the overgrown pine tree which took away all the sunshine.






The event was filmed and photographed for the eternity ! We assisted to the show and admired the men how quickly they worked.

When they were gone the garden seemed much bigger and lighter too. 





The last day I went with them by car and we had an ice cream on the beach. The beach wasn't very crowded but still swimmers in the sea !



The sunsets were often very beautiful !

Sunday afternoon I sadly drove home, I had such a nice time and digging in our childhood memories had been such a fun !



I had been in this area





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18 Aug 2017

FRIDAY's FAVE FIVE - FIVE ON FRIDAY

From n° 1 to n° 4 I have nothing to report, except that I didn't do anything, I needed a little rest from all the excursions I had done with my friend Claudie.

n°5 This morning I did my little suitcase again because I will drive to the Netherlands. My old schoolfriend had invited me for a couple of days.



They have restored an old little fisherhouse as holiday home. I think last time I have been there must be at least 5 years ago.

If ever there is nothing anymore on my blog that means that I have Internet difficulties.




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16 Aug 2017

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - WEDNESDAY HODGEPODGE





Meyboom celebrations at the Grand' Place Brussels



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Hodgepot



1. Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.

Of course ! If I say something I also do it. Otherwise I won't say anything. I am also very spontaneous, therefore it's almost simultaneously that as soon as the words are out the action follows ! Which sometimes I regret, but can't take back.

2. Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new tricks...now doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?

For the moment I would say I am dog tired but in a nice way. The last week with my friend from France we have done such a lot of things, which explains why "dog tired" fits the best.

3. Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?

Answering on books is difficult for me because the book title changes in each language and it depends if I read in German or French. I never read a book about a dog in English ! 

4. What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?

To ride on a horse ! I have never done it because I was afraid of horses, now I am not anymore so I want to try !

5. August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.

I am sorry but usually I don't like jokes and if a joke is really nice I forget it. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am invited by my old schoolfriend to her summer house at the Dutch coast and I am thinking if I should go on Thursday or Friday as the weather is so moody !









15 Aug 2017

BLARNEY CASTLE - IRELAND


Expat tours

If you do a 7 day tour around a country of course you can't see everything in details. It just gives you an overview of things to see or to do if you want to come back later.

On our list also was Blarney Castle, (whole history) which is most famous for its stone. The legend tells has the power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it.The word ‘Blarney’ was introduced into the English language by Queen Elizabeth I and is described as ‘pleasant talk, intended to deceive without offending’. The stone is set in the wall below the battlements and, to kiss it, one has to lean backwards - grasping an iron railing - from the parapet walk....
read more here




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14 Aug 2017

WEEKEND NEWS - MACRO MONDAY

As so often on weekends the weather got worse and worse, it rained and it was cold I even had to put on the heating. Poor Claudie never thought that a month of August could be so cold up north, when her husband called he was complaining about the heatwave they had !

Fortunately it cleared up in the afternoon and we took the opportunity to visit a museum nearby in Genval, I knew it  but I had never been there. The "Musée de l'eau et de la fontaine" (Museum of Water and Fountains)

It had been created in 1989, the Museum focuses on reflection on the current challenges of water and its importance. From city fountains to farm fountains to fountains of ceremonies, we saw them all.

What we all take for granted today had been very difficult in the past !



It was very interesting to see when people had to "order water" and a water carrier came and brought it, or in villages the women pumping up water from the wells. In fact it was like it is still today in African countries.

After this interesting discovery we had a drink at the lake Genval. It was nice to sit there and



look over the lake.

In the evening we were invited for supper and Claudie had another opportunity to see how we live here.

On her last day we went to "Flower Time" in Brussels on the Grand'Place. It is a beautiful flower show, which takes place alternatively with the flower carpet each two years.  One part is outside on the place, the other in Brussels city hall. All rooms are decorated with flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Fortunately I had learned to book the tickets online, because when we arrived there were so many people queuing up that they had at least to wait for 2 h for their tickets. Claudie and I walked through the second line and people looked angrily at us probably thinking that we were some kind of VIP or just cheating. In no time we were inside and could admire the flower arrangements. 




Inside the city hall, where all rooms very decorated by different artists.



It was really wonderful to see. I will write about it later.

When we came out the queue was even longer ! Apparently people hadn't learned yet that they can order online or even use their smartphone. I had seen this for the first time in London last year when I visited Buckingham palace  for the first time. With my online tickets I didn't have to wait and could go straight in.



If you want to see how it was 2 years ago here is Flower time 2015





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11 Aug 2017

FRIDAY's FAVE FIVE - FIVE ON FRIDAY

1. My friend Claudie arrived from the French Riviera where she was melting in 40°C (104 F), in Belgium, where it was the last warmest day of the week which means 25° (77 F). She was happy to be able to cool down, because there is no or very poor air condition in Southern France too. Of course we had a lot to chat !

2. Unfortunately she had no luck, because it started to rain, but not a friendly rain,  it rained cats and dogs ! We finally went out for lunch and had mussels with chips, the traditional Belgian plate. It was very good. Apparently the mussels from the North Sea taste different than the once from the Mediterranian Sea.



Then we went to Nivelles the next town to the big shopping mall. There it was dry lots of people who had the same idea and we could window shop without becoming wet. The shops are exactly the same we have here in Waterloo on the main street. We are both not "boutique" girls but it was interesting for her to compare the prices and what is on the market here.

We then had a coffee with little Italian cakes and we admired the wooden saucer, we had never seen such. It looked really very special



4. Claudie although she had been quite often in Brussels had never seen the Royal Palace inside and we were lucky it was just open for the public and for free ! It had been ages that I had seen the palace from inside and didn't remember very much.



I hadn't realized how beautiful it was ! There were so many very special things that I will write an extra post about this palace. Claudie was startled. So much gold and crystal lustres !



After the palace visit we badly needed a drink and we went to the Grand'Place. To my surprise there was the Meiboom celebration going on ! Every August 9th,  a young beech tree is planted near the Grand'Place. Unfortunately we just saw the end of the procession but it was a very cheerful atmosphere.

5.  I had my Scrabble afternoon and of course Claudie came with me. As me she likes not to be a tourist in another country but take part of the daily life of her host. Her only fear was that she hadn't played scrabble for over 20 years.



Apparently she had no problems at all because she finished second ! After our game we had coffee and cookies and a lot to talk about the different lifestyle of north and south. And while Claudie's husband at home complained about the heat, we were happily sitting with cardigans and complained about the rain and cold weather. But we had fun and that was the most important thing.






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9 Aug 2017

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - WEDNESDAY HODGEPODGE






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HODEPODGE

1. Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.
 
Rules never because then I would do exactly the opposite, but I make a plan of what I should do during the day, if I keep the plan or not is another story.

2. Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person-

I love lighthouses and I have seen many in different countries, but I have been only in one long time ago, the only thing I remember was the narrow staircase !  I don't even remember where it was, could be the Belgian or the French coast.

Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

Of course I don't know any of the listed lighthouses, the only one which I know is
 


The Belle Tout lighthouse west from Beachy Head near Eastbourne at the South East coast of England. The headland was a danger to shipping. In 1831, construction began on the Belle Tout lighthouse on the next headland. Because mist and low clouds could hide the light of Belle Tout, Beachy Head Lighthouse was built in the sea below Beachy Head.

When you've been away, what's your 'lighthouse' telling you you're on the right road home?

Usually my GPS but even far I know that I am on the right way because the street which leads to our house is called Chaussee de Waterloo and is very long. Often a white cat sits in front of a house which is my cat and my house ! 




3. What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?

Unintentionally stopping something ? I can't remember, if I stop something I do it on purpose like garden work, I  let it go because it becomes too difficult to do, therefore it will be permanently. 

4. We've had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.



So far the week was boring the only "grand" moment was the arrival of my friend Claudie from the French Riviera who was coming from temperatures of around 40°C (104 F)and was happy to cool down here !  We don't even have half of the temperature here, but when she arrived it was the only warm day and we could eat outside ! 


5. Tell us one song you love with the word 'baby' in the title.

None comes into my mind ! My favorite singers are Elton John and Freddy Mercury and I couldn't find a title with "Baby" in it.  Maybe Elvis has one ? I love his songs too at least some of them but there is no baby either !

6. Insert your own random thought here.

What should we do today Claudie and I ? It rains and it is cold. therefore we can't visit any things outside with an umbrella it's no fun. So I think we will go for Mussels and chips, which is one of the typical Belgian plates and then maybe in a shopping center ?  








8 Aug 2017

CARRICK-A-REDE IRELAND

Carrick-A-Rede is famous for its rope bridge, (unique in Ireland) – which connects the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island.

The island until recently was an active salmon fishery, with an old fisherman’s bothy, old ropes, and nets still visible.

Read more here

7 Aug 2017

WEEKEND NEWS AND MACRO MONDAY

The weekend was quiet, nothing special happened. Each day I have to vacuum (but with a little hand cleaner) cat Kim's hairs ! I think if she continues like that she will be bald in a near future, but it doesn't look like because her hairs are still growing ! She would be a very lucrative sheep ! And she is the only one who makes me work.

I did some window shopping too, because I got bored at home and it was too cold to sit outside. I went to my favorite boutique "Celebrity" and they still had things on sale. I bought a beautiful blouse, just to comfort myself because of this lousy "summer" weather.  When I came out of the boutique, I saw two young girls walking by and first didn't pay very much attention.



But then a tall policeman appeared in full motorbike outfit and closed helmet. He looked a bit unreal. Of course I stopped and wanted to know what he wanted from these girls, but he waved me away as if I was an annoying insect, this gesture made me stand still on purpose, so he said a bit more friendly, that I could continue. I went further and watched them. The girls talked and opened their purses, he looked inside and suddenly a policecar came with 2 other policemen. I thought if they need already 3 policemen for 2 young girls, how many do they need for a real criminal, no wonder that the city taxes are so high ! Finally they all disappeared, the 2 policemen in their car, the motor guy on his cycle and the girls continued their way. Apparently no terrorists ! But at least the police has fulfilled their duties to protect us. (?!)

Sunday it was a little warmer and I could sit outside. I had prepared and bought everything I needed for Claudie's visit, she will arrive Monday late afternoon. Claudie I have known through blogging in 2007, she lives in the South of France and ever since we visit each other for a week or more. This time it will be quite a shock for her because it is unusually hot where she lives they had temperatures to nearly 40°C while I am happy if we have 20° and I need a carigan. Fortunately there is quite a lot going on in Brussels this week, so we will be very busy.

I am trying to put old pictures on the computer in folders. The first Album fell in my hands was one from 1978



This has been our garden 39 years ago, a paradise for children. A field behind to play. Here is our son a little younger than his son today.



The same garden looks like this today ! Houses have been built, hedges and shrubs separate the properties, the field doesn't exist anymore there are houses now ! The swing was there were today the garden shed stands. But at least during more than 40 years we lived on the country side, I even had once a cow looking in our living room. 



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