Ok… So I’m a little slow.

30 05 2008

Well I finally figured out how to get my pictures on to my brother’s computer since I left the usb cord in the Netherlands… let’s just say that it required very little reading and yes I’m a dork.  Needless to say the pictures have now been downloaded and I can update this blog finally.

It has been busy here in Windsor, for some reason even though I don’t seem to be accomplishing a whole lot I’m still getting enough done to keep me going.  Besides the expensive  shopping trip to the States with Jen, (my Mastercard is still crying), I’ve made some small purchases here in Windsor.  Just because I have 12 tubes of toothpaste to bring back with me, one shouldn’t judge!  I’ve been stocking up on things I know I can’t get over there or that I can get but cost a small fortune… HENCE the toothpaste!  But besides the shopping, we also went to Pointe Pelee on the Sunday for a nice day out.  But that will be on another blog since right now I’m going to show you some flowers from mom’s backyard.  Ya Martha Stewart ain’t got nuttin’ on my mamma’s garden!

Mom’s been working on her garden for a few years and since she’s retiring it will probably be her hobby.  I wonder if she wants a garden gnome for her retirement gift?  But the flowers bloomed late this year, thanks to a cool May.  I did get some pictures of what has decided to show it’s face around here.  And you can see what type of weather we’ve been having here on this side of the Prime Meridian!  I can’t complain about the weather in the least, since sunshine and blue skies is what I left in Holland with and arrived in Canada just the same.  I must bring the sunshine where ever I go!! *sigh*  Oh ya ya.. you can stop the gagging noises now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My garden in Holland is naked compared to this garden.  The only flowers I have planted in mine are lavender and that was to hopefully keep the stray cats out, but since that’s not working I need to get moth balls now.  This neighbourhood has a ton of cats that roam around, but my mother’s dog Kelsey won’t tolerate anything on his lawn and chases them away.  Including the birds that try to land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes I know that flower there with the bee on it is a weed.  But I was taking a picture of the bee. 

I’m not a huge fan of the Iris, but mom also planted on that is a deep blood red, I just keep forgetting to take a picture of it.  At least being in the backyard here I can use that as the excuse why I bought another pair of Crocs.  I know I’m behind the times, but I never realized how comfortable those hideous things really are!  

Well if you haven’t noticed, taking flower pictures is one of my favourite things to do.  I love the colours that are show, the shapes and  they way the light sometimes filters through the petals.  While I’m here I know that I’ll be able to take more pictures and maybe use them later on for when we move and I get the chance to do a real flower garden. 

Ok..off to bed with me, I promise to do the Pointe Pelee post soon and get those pictures up.

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Flight…cancelled…again…Seriously??

24 05 2008

Well after a stressful morning on Thursday with the taxi being nearly 30 minutes late and then missing the 9:38 train out of Amersfoort Schothorst to Schiphol.  I arrive at the airport to see my Martianair flight cancelled or rather “delayed” until 8pm!  No biggie right?  Except that my original flight was for 1:55pm. That puts me in Canada late at night and with a train to catch at 7:39 in Oakville it just isn’t going to work now is it?  So after some whining to Martinair, they put me on a KLM flight that leaves at the same time as my Martinair flight. I think the only reason they put me on another airline was because I had the same problem on the way over.  I probably shouldn’t really complain since as mentioned before KLM is a better airline, the service is better, the food is better, the seats are bigger and I get my own TV screen (which btw wasn’t working).  So for 479.00 I was sitting in a 1200 seat.  Regardless I made it back to Canada, early at that.  Immigration was in a decent mood, and only quizzed me about how many times I’ve been to the Netherlands and whether or not I liked the country.  Actually no I hate the Netherlands which is why I go there so often so I can sit and pout and stomp around that I can’t stand it… *rolls eyes*.  I know customs agents are supposed to be stern looking and act like they are mini Generals, but if you smile and actually LOOK at the person you are talking too then maybe we as citizens won’t think you have a jar of pickles shoved up your butt.  The customs agents in Holland, smile, chat, look at you and still manage to get their work done.  That goes for those who do the security checks!  In fact they will actually assist you if your hands are full, unlike Pearson Airports bunch of overpaid monkeys!  They stare at you like you are wasting their time by having to go through security.  Ok.. that was a bit off topic and a slight rant, back to the story.

Now I arrived back in Canada and Carrie had perfect timing picking me up, I waited maybe 10 minutes before i saw her driving by.  After spending an hour with her and the kids at her house, mainly playing with Celina who CRIED and shed the biggest tears when I left; I hopped on the train to Windsor.  Lucky me, Mr Via man was just as cranky at 7:40pm as he was at 6:00am.  Finally arriving in Windsor at 11:20 (20 minutes late) my baby brudder Rob was waiting for me to go to my mom’s.

Now I’m here in Windsor and starting to get things planned out what needs to be done, what I have to buy to bring back that I can’t get there and you would be surprised!  Nonna lent me her car since Rob sold my Cavalier, so now I won’t be house bound or have to bug my mom for her car.  I can get things done and be able to go around on my own. 

I saw Stoney! He was so happy to see me he kept giving me kisses, and Stoney doesn’t just give out kisses!  I can’t wait to have him with me full time again.  I really missed him while I was in Holland for those 5 weeks.  He may try my patience some days but he’s worth every nerve I have.  He’s getting a haircut and vet appointment too before we leave in June.

But I’m here for 3 weeks, busy, tired, still kind of jetlagged, but happy to be on Canadian soil for a bit.  I have my camera and the weather has been great so I’m going to try and get some shots of the city and county for memory sake.





Doei!! But I’ll be back!

21 05 2008

I’m heading to Windsor tomorrow for 3 weeks.  My flight (let’s pray) is at 1:55 so I’ll arrive at Pearson at 4:05ish.  Just in case you feel the need to greet me at arrivals with flowers… balloons.. maybe a clown or two.  Of course this is if my flight isn’t cancelled like last time, or delayed because of the workers at Schiphol may or may not be on strike.  Granted of course the bus service here Connexxion is on a shift strike where for the next 2 days they won’t drive their routes between 9 and 4.  Not sure what this is supposed to prove since it still means there’s really no major disruption on the route for rush hour.  Let’s just hope my flight is relatively on time since I have a train to catch at 7:30 out of Oakville.  It’s going to be a long ass day!

While in Windsor, I’ll be doing a lot of visiting, shopping and playing with my puppy!!  “oh yes my little puppy wuppy” “come here ohhhhhh” “Oh my little baby” “come give….” Sorry about that. I had a moment.  But really look at that face!!  How could you not just wanna kiss it?  Stoney has been at my grandmother’s for the last 2 months, so either he’s going to miss me so much he’s going to love me to bits, or he’ll ignore me and pretend I don’t exist.  Granted once it’s time to go back to Holland, he’s going to hate my guts!  Either way I don’t care, I miss my dog.    So I’m not sure how much writing I’m going to be able to do in Windsor.  I have a few things already planned.  I want to head over to the States too for some Bath and Body stuff and to DSW for shoes (Make room Frank I’m bringing back more), so I’ll head over with Jen on Monday.  Danielle is coming to Windsor for a convention type thing with the Nuns; so we will, and quite possibly my mom and brother will head to El Mayor for Arabic food.  Then in June Michelle is coming to Windsor from North Bay so her and I will have our last hurrah and probably end up driving aimlessly through Essex County like we used too.  Plus I want to see my parents and my grandmother and the rest of the family.  Three weeks will go by quickly to say the least. 

Well I’m off for now, I have to finish packing and get to bed at a decent hour since I have to get up early-ish.  I’ll try to post a couple times if not more during my three weeks!





I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike.

18 05 2008

Well it’s offical… I’ve been Dutchisized (yes I know that’s not a word).  But yesterday I bought my bike, so today we broke it in and went to a town called Spakenburg located south on the Ijsselmeer river.  It is part of another town called Bunschoten, so the offical name I guess would be Bunschoten-Spakenburg.  Kind of like Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario. It used to be two seperate villages but then back in 1965 they came together to form the current town.  The town is known for it’s boats and traditional clothing that is on of the few areas in the Netherlands where it is still worn. So this is the path we took to get to the pier in Spakenburg.  It took us about 45 minutes or so to get there, thanks to the wind and one pit stop for ice cream.   The road Zevenhuiserstraat is a straight road and takes you through farm land and some really beautiful houses.  Expensive houses.  It’s a great road to bike on, minus the cars that zip passed at mach one and the smell of freshly sprayed manure.  We stopped at a very cute little country cafe and had ice cream and enjoyed the little farm they had with some goats and chickens.  The ice cream here in the Netherlands is like the Italian gelato, so that means that I can get my lemon ice!!  I love that stuff.  After we finished up with the treat we continued up the street until we got to Spakenburg and ended up basically in the center of town from what it looked like.  But it takes you right to the harbour where we saw some of the old Dutch Paddle Boats also called “Botters” with the big paddle on the side of the boat.  Plus a statue of a traditionally dressed lady, and apparently it is mainly  on Sundays the older women will still dress in traditional garb.  I did see one lady but only her back and I wasn’t going to run over and ask for a picture since she was having trouble navigating the cobblestones with her walker.  We then headed up and went to the pier the looks over the river, along the shore of the river on the north side you can see all the windmills (modern ones).  But it was interesting to see since that is a familiar site when you are traveling along the highway to Amsterdam.  The wind was really kicking up, so the water was super choppy. We still saw a lot of boats out on the water or coming in to dock.  But at least the sun was out even if it was a tad (please note sarcasm) windy.  We would have liked to stop and get a coffee or something to warm ourselves up, but since it was Sunday, nothing was open.  It would have been nice to sit by the harbour and have a drink, but I guess we are going to have to wait until tourist season kicks in and we can bike back up for the day and go to the beach that was also nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

So we headed up the dijk that is next to the river back to Zevenhuiserstraat so that we could head home.  The Ijsselmeer is the name of the body of water,  and a dijk runs the perimeter of it.  From up top it just looks like a hill that has a path on it, but it does come up fairly high and and the path on it is quite narrow, so a bit nerve wracking when you have people coming in the opposite direction on their bikes and you have to figure out where you are going to go.  Especially if you aren’t as experienced on a bike like me!  Well it only took us about 20 minutes or so to hit Amersfoort again, and to be very honest my legs are doing fine… my butt on the other hand needs to get use to the seat!  We had a great day with the kids on our little jaunt out to the water, and we’ll probably do it again very soon.  It really isn’t that far to go as long as you aren’t going into the wind. I’m glad I got my bike when I did, now I’ll have the summer to get use to riding it and enjoying going places.  I would like to get at least one saddle bag so that I can put my camera in there and a bottle of water.  I might do that when I come back in June.





Raindrops on roses

16 05 2008

*sigh* After nearly 2 weeks of sunshine and warm temperatures, the weather has turned Dutch on me.  Rain.  Grey. Cold.

At least the buses aren’t on strike anymore like they have been the last two days.  We are going into the city again today since Frank’s bike has decided to kick the bucket.  We were on our way home yesterday from the city when the chain popped off.  But his bike is old and the rear tire leaks like anything, so instead of fixing it’s time to get a new one.  Plus I can take a look today to see if there are anything that appeals to me. 

This is basically what the bike will look like,  remember the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz?  Well that’s it!  Many people have the side bags or a basket either in the front or back.  The best is when they have their dog sitting in the basket and they are riding along.  As for Stoney, unless I tie him down, but I don’t think he’ll sit there quietly.  The thing is these bikes aren’t cheap, even second hand.  So I’ll wait for mine and we’ll get Frank’s for now.   Oh Frank’s bike is a little more manly looking then this.

 

 

Eventually we want to get one of these.  Here in Holland if the scooter doesn’t go above 30km I believe then you can ride on the bike path.  If it goes faster then that, then you have to get a regular drivers license and ride on the road.  We will stick to the slower scooter and the bike paths thanks!  But it will make getting into the city a bit easier and if I need to carry heavier things a for a distance then this would work well.  Now I wonder if Stoney will sit on this … nope doubt it. 

 

 Well time to get going and get the day started.  I need to find my umbrella before I head anywhere it looks like it will be a constant drizzle day.  Good thing Stoney has that raincoat I bought him!





On the rivers

13 05 2008

After Frank and I went to Naarden, we took the train to another city a little closer to Amsterdam called Weesp (W pronounced like a V).  Weesp is a city of about 17,500 and is located on  de Vecht and Smal Weesp and also next to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.    Granted city rights in 1355 and recently celebrated it’s 650th birthday in 2005.

Quite the the cute little city, the rivers definitely make the picture.  I also noticed there were a lot of churches in this small place.  It seemed that every corner we turned there was a church some where.  Which was nice when the bells would ring on the hour.

We walked around the older section of the city, and we noticed down one canal they had art work in the canal.  Some of the art work was a little interesting, granted I had no idea what it was supposed to be.  But it is a nice way to decorate the canal instead of the algae that normally grows there. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think those are supposed to be tulips.

 

 

After walking around and enjoying the day, we stopped for dinner along the river.  The service was a little questionable, but the meal took the cake.  My pasta magically turned into a pizza when they brought it to me.  Frank’s calzone was good according to him, but I really would have rather of had pasta.  I didn’t send it back because I’d have to wait another 20 minutes before it arrived.  All in all the day was great, tiring, but we had a good time playing tourists.

 

 

It would be nice to go back and spend a little more time in Weesp, but there are other cities and towns I must see.  I’ll take advantage of playing tourist right now.





Fortified!

12 05 2008

Yesterday Frank I headed to a little town called Naarden.  This star fort with a moat and fortified walls, formally was the capital of Holland before Amsterdam took over the role.  The area was first colonized around 800/900AD and was at one point owned by the power Bishops of Utrecht.  The fort saw battle during the 80-Spanish war and again during the Napoleonic War by the French and the Prussians.  When the fort was rebuilt in the 1400s it was moved 20 kilometers north, for defense reasons. Today, Naarden is one of the remaining bastions in the Netherlands and is the only fortification in Europe that has unique double walls and moats.  There are some other walled cities still in the Netherlands but none are this extravagant, in fact Amersfoort where I live now is a walled city… I’ll write more about Amersfoort another day. 

We took a boat tour while we were in Naarden, and for 6 euros each for an hour ride it was well worth the money.  The trip took us through the inner moat and then to the out moat into the marshy areas where the water fowl are everywhere. The boat ride gives you a great perspective on how massive the walls really are.  The tour guide was informative, from what I was told since he only spoke Dutch during the trip.  He was very nice though and slowed down enough so that you were able to take pictures of the walls and area or even the animals.  Besides the ducks and herons, we also saw a turtle sunning itself on a log who was looking very comfortable.

We also went to the Nederlands Vestingmuseum  (The Netherlands Fortress Museum) and were able to walk around one of the points of the star.  Also they had areas set up so you could go into the bunkers and see the items they had inside, or take a walk down a creepy tunnel that was barely lit.  It didn’t lead anywhere but regardless it was cold, damp, dark and a little spooky.  The museum gave you a good idea on how the fortress was armed and gave it’s history right up to it’s use during World War II.  The fort stopped being used  in 1926. 

 

 

 The day was a nice one, with the sun shining (a Dutch rare occurrence) and I managed to burn my shoulders even though I have a great base tan happening.  After we did our little tour of Naarden, we decided to head to the small city of Weesp, located on the river it is an adorable little place to visit and have nice meal or drink watching the boats go by.  That will be another blog later.. right now I’m sitting outside in the sun and slowly being cooked to death.  I think it’s nearly time to go inside and find the SPF 100 sunscreen!  OY!