Do you remember when you were small? When you had to climb on a chair because they were so big? Well, it took some effort to climb on this chair I can tell you! It brought things in perspective again as well...
Friday, 31 July 2009
Cats are known for their ability to walk on the narrowest of ledges. They will wibble and wobble a bit, but use their tails as a way to keep their equilibrium and more importantly: to stay up!
Mathilda can do that as well. This is the fence around my garden and you can see how narrow it is. It can't be more than 2,5 cm (1 inch) wide and yet she managed to walk up ànd down: she changed halfway through and came back.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Spiderhead mill. Used to irrigate the farmer's lands with water from ditches and open waters in the area. Mostly found in Fryslân.
A few months ago I heard about an exhibition about emigrating. Being a wannabe emigrant myself (to Alberta, Canada if they please), I wanted to see this exhibition. But I forgot about it due to work and other stuff, until the Eagles were in town a few weeks ago. I had to drive Joe Public from the parking lot to the venue and I passed the museum several times, seeing the sign!
One of several old trams still in use in the park.
So, yesterday my parents and I were due to go to the museum. I had set my alarm clock at 7am, but I made a mistake and woke up late. I then had to run and missed my bus!
A plaggenhut (in Dutch) was made by creating a hole in the ground, creating a roof like area and covering them with grass/heather sods. It could house up to ten people and a goat or two. It was hard to heat or insulate, it crawled with creepies and the inhabitants had a short life expectancy. If you could build it between sun-down and sun-up and the chimney was smoking it could stay.
I made it in the end though and halfway along my parents picked me up and we drove to Arnhem where the museum is located. The first thing we did was see a small exhibition about what people took with them when they emigrated to Canada. Anything from new pots and pans to needle and thread, because (oh horror) they didn't 'have' that in Canada...
A TBC-hut. Used to treat ill people. It could turn to take in the full effect of the sun.
After lunch we took one of the old trams and got off at the first stop again. There we started our walk through the park and the visits to several old houses, farms and other assorted buildings. We saw some beautiful old places and the way people lived in them for centuries. Old trades were shown and occasionally you could talk to someone who knew a lot about that particular house/trade/era.
When we had walked around for a few hours, we need refreshments and we had a few 'poffertjes'. Imagine tiny pancakes, about an inch in diameter, served with sugar and butter. Mmmm, it's a true treat! After our treat we saw more old buildings, rich people's mansions, mills and a barack used to house Indonesian people after Indonesia became independent in 1949. By the time we had seen most of the park, it was closing time and we headed back home. We enjoyed a lovely Chinese dinner and then my parents took me back to the bus.
A so-called Los Hoes from Drenthe. Those farms were basically everything in one: living quarters for the farmers and the animals at the same time.
It was a good day...
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Bus: Vehicle fitted with more than 8 seats, not including the driver.
Well, I had to enter this one! How could I not? After all, I drive a bus for a living. It is the way I make my money. It is the way I see all those fantastic places and meet all those great (and not so great) people.
Early buses were horse-drawn and seated only small numbers of people. In the 1830's steam-powered buses arrived on the scene. And with the arrival of electricity trolley buses were invented (a combination of an ordinary bus and a tram or train. It ran on the road, but followed the powerlines). It wasn't until the late 19th century that the first diesel-powered bus arrived on the roads, but from then on, it definitely took off.
The bus is still the most widely used form of public transport IN THE WORLD. Many places are only serviced by buses, because of a variety of reasons, like mountains being in the way or not enough passengers to maintain a train-service.
A 1964 Setra
From the fifties onwards, tourbuses (coaches (GB), autocars (F), pullman (I), touringcars (NL)) became more popular. The war was over in Europe, rationing was a thing of the past and people had more and more money to spend. Visiting other places became easier and the tourbus was the preferred mode of transport, also because cars weren't around that much yet.
The tourbus is still going strong. On board toilets, fridges, bars, video (dvd) and even beds, make life easier for the passenger. You can relax, look out, chat, sleep, watch tv and all without the fear of being pulled over for being a 'dangerous driver'. Why not give it a go sometime?
And if you ever see me? Blonde, black cap (usually) and in uniform, driving the big xx-coach, why not come over and say hi! I will show you my bus...
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Monday, 27 July 2009
In the past me, my sister and two friends used to go to the sauna on quite a regular basis. Every three to four months we would meet up and go starkers for the day. But four women means four times a period, which never coincide, unless you're living together. One of us got pregnant and didn't dare going anymore and then my sister moved to Northern Ireland and our foursome was broken up completely.
Yesterday was the first time in years we went. Not my sister, she was happily standing in some mud somewhere (at least that's what I picture her doing), doing some Red Cross thingymebob or other. And not my friend Cat who wasn't able to meet us either. It was just me and my friend C.
We had decided to go to a different sauna than normal, just to check it out. It had been recommended to me by the former pet-supply-store owner and my sister had been on her own once and said it was okay. So, off we went!
We were greeted with a closed door! But, on pressing a little button, the door opened and we were welcomed by a very nice and friendly gentleman who would be explaining all to us as soon as we were in our birthday suits. We took shower after shower, went in the light sauna (the lights kept changing colour all the time), the Turkish Bath (HOT!), the hot tub, the cold tub, the ordinary sauna. I floated around in the swimming pool, had a nice facial (mmm) and soaked up the sun on the sunbed. We had a lovely dinner, another little swim and then it was time to go home again.
I wish I could go more often, but since I haven't got a car, it is quite hard to reach a good sauna, because most of them are way out in the woods and public transport doesn't always get too close. Ah well, I enjoyed yesterday and I will hopefully go again really soon, this time with C and Cat both...
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Trying to get lovely Linette to come inside after she's been outside since Wednesday afternoon is proving to be an almost impossible task. She was nearly in last night, but at the last minute decided to go outside again. So today I tried to lure her in with food. I locked the rest of the monsters in the kitchen and hallway and left the door to the garden open. With a piece of rope around the handle, so I could pull it shut the minute she was in.
The result: see photo! And Linette is still outside...
Saturday, 25 July 2009
A few weeks ago I was driving through Germany. During a little stop I was parked behind a Norwegian lorry and just as I was about to leave I saw this little critter. The people on board my bus had to wait for another minute, just so I could take this photograph!
For more critters from around the world, please visit Camera Critters and join in the fun!
Friday, 24 July 2009
Linette is the most adventurous monster living with me. She loves to roam outside and the only problem with that is, that she doesn't eat while out and will come back after a night (or two) looking dreadful! I even had the vet telling me one year that she was way too skinny. I knew that, but I cannot force her to come in.
You would think that heavy rain would force her to find a nice warm spot (like my lap), but nooooo, she will still stay outside until hunger forces her in.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
From top to bottom: Sophie, Mathilda, Wuppie and in the corner (barely visible) Linette
Yesterday it was time for the yearly visit to the vet. Always a massive operation in this household, since I've got four cats, three baskets and my only two ways of transport are my bike and my feet. Now, usually I would take my bike, put the trailer behind it and cycle off to the vet's. However, when they changed my wheel a while ago, they put the coupling on wrong, so I can't use the trailer anymore. Very annoying. Fortunately I have a very nice father who does own a car and he was willing to come and help me out!
So, yesterday as my father was pulling up weeds in the front yard, I made my way to the vet with several unhappy monsters. And they made it very known they were unhappy! After arriving at the vet's, I had to wait for half an hour. When it was finally my turn the vet told me she had expected four kittens! Well, if you want to call a 6 kg (13 lb) ginger monster a kitten...
Checking out Sophie's heart rate
First up was Sophie. She is always most scared, so I try to get her over and done with asap. She had lost some weight since the operation a few months ago, but she was doing fine. After her shots she moved back in to her basket as quick as she could.
The colouring paper used to determine the exact damage to her eye
Next up was Mathilda. She had some problems with her left eye, so after the vet stuck a piece of paper in her eye, making it look as if the Hulk personally was treating her, the vet found it was only a small infection and with some ointment she should get better reasonably quick. Then Linette was up. Her weight was good, teeth as well and she is generally a very lovely cat, so no problem there.
Wuppie was last in line. Both he and Mathilda love to just roam around the room, sniffing and looking. This time however, he wasn't so much into that. He was a bit grumpy, because he kept hissing as well. He didn't even want to come out of the basket. However once out, he didn't cause any problems. Probably because he is the most laid-back of all my monsters. Nothing fazes him.
After receiving the ointment for Mathilda, the anti-worm medication for all four and paying up, I was able to go home again.
I can't wait for next year...
Whenever I drink something, I use a glass or a mug or a cup depending on what I'm drinking. For tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cold milk I use a mug. For juice, squash or water I use a glass or a plastic cup.
Last night I wanted some milk, so I got a lovely mug off the rack, got the milk out of the fridge and poured the milk into... the plastic cup right beside the mug!
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
I came across this aquaduct while I was in Italy last year. I'm not even really sure whether it was a real one, but it sure looked like one. I found it in Garda, a small village on Lake Garda in the north of the country.
Aquaducts were made by the Romans to provide them with fresh water. Especially if water had to come from further afield, this was a perfect solution. It would stay cool and fresh and because it would come from higher up, it would take longer to run out of water, even after water supplies had dried up in the valleys.
Most aquaducts have long since disappeared. The stones used after the Romans left to make houses and other buildings, the technology gone with the stones. However, new aquaducts have appeared. In the Netherlands, several rivers and canals in Fryslân (north of the country) have been turned into aquaducts. Not to provide us with fresh water, but to relieve (motorway) traffic from having to stop every time a sail boat would pass.
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Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Do you know something? And if you do, could you please tell me? It doesn't matter about what. It could be about the mating rituals of the garden pansy. Or about what to do if you ever get lost in space (I mean there's plenty of shows on with 'what to do when you're lost in the jungle/the desert/the arctic/the ocean, so why not space?). However, you could also just tell me what you had for dinner today.
Yes, I'm lazy. Asking you to fill my blog, when I don't really know what to write about myself. I could tell you about my meeting with the colleague who will do the Ireland trip. I could tell you about my fishy lunch with my dad (smoked mackerel sandwich, yummy), or about the weather (pfrt), but I don't really think it's that interesting.
I hope you like the poster at the top though. 'Bottled by pretty girls'. I love that line! I wouldn't mind reading things like that on my cereal box: 'Packaged by tall dark strangers'. How cool would that be? Can you imagine? It doesn't matter I know it isn't packaged by tall dark strangers, but more likely by silly giggly girls (I worked a conveyor belt in a biscuit factory, I know!) and grumpy beer-bellied balding blokes, it would still be really good to read about tall dark strangers!
Ah well, I've filled another post with nonsense. Please don't take offence!
Monday, 20 July 2009
It was one of my yearly sortings today. Sorting through the amount of clothes I have and throwing out everything that doesn't fit anymore. And I am sad to say there was quite a bit that didn't fit anymore.
I'm not one of those women who go shopping every single week. First of all I haven't got the money for it, secondly, I prefer buying books to clothes. Clothes are great, don't get me wrong, but trying to find stuff that both fits and looks halfway decent is always a problem. Besides, I don't need to buy clothes for the job, since I'm wearing a uniform while working. So, I tend to go for the jeans, t-shirts and sweaters.
However there are some clothes I don't throw out. I've got a dress (size very small) that I wore once while in France. I haven't fitted in it again since, but it holds great memories. Then there's another dress (size a bit bigger) that I altered myself to make it look as slutty (sorry) as I could for a fancy-dress party. And then there's a jogging suit (or track suit) I wore in France while working for Club Med. Most of the t-shirts are long gone, but the coat and suit are still in my possession. And I won't get rid of them either.
My wardrobe is a bit emptier now, but don't worry, I will not have to walk around without any clothes on my back: there's plenty left!
Saturday, 18 July 2009
I took this photo in Ireland a few weeks ago. It was an okay day weather wise and we actually had the sun come out when we were at Muckross House on the Ring of Kerry. These horses were waiting for their next job, taking people to a small waterfall. You could also take the jaunting car (as they are called) to the nearby town of Killarney. The horses look okay albeit a bit bored, but I do think they are well looked after. They hardly ever do two runs back to back, there's always a rest in between.
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Friday, 17 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
I went to Scotland last year. I had only ever been once before and that was only for 3 days, so going there for just under a week was brilliant. Even if I did have to work! However, the trip wasn't as good as it could have been. One lady in particular made the whole trip into a horror that would have rivalled any horror film of today. Read all about it here!
Today I phoned the office. It's that quiet at work, I thought I would ask for some vacation. As long as I was back in time to do my trip to Ireland! At which point my boss told me I wasn't allowed to do that trip! WHAT?!?!?! My boss didn't know why, but he had been told I wasn't allowed and a colleague of mine was going to do it in my place. That colleague is not the sort of person to wrangle himself in my spot, besides, the trip is mine: I turned it into what it is now!
So, I phoned the planner's office. And was told that I wasn't allowed to do the trip because of that horrid woman of last year. Ah well, in that case: my colleague was welcome to the trip! Because I would want to kick her off the coach within a day! He is welcome to all my information regarding times and places and phone numbers of people and restaurants, so he can do the trip to the best of his abilities, but I am glad it won't be me.
Just a shame I can't go though, even if I don't feel like going with her on board. I know my way around and I am much more knowledgable about Ireland then I ever was on the trip to Scotland. And I will miss out on another opportunity to make gorgeous photographs! Ah well... no use crying over spilt milk...
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Welcome to the bottom of the sea
When people (especially Johnny Foreigner) ask me where I live, I usually say I live on the bottom of the sea, making me a mermaid. Well, the mermaid part might be a bit of a stretch, but I do live on the bottom of the sea. Of course it isn't a sea anymore, otherwise I would have to seriously learn how to live under water or move away, but it used to be a sea.
The situation in the past, the red cross shows where I live now, click to enlarge to see!
In the nineteenth century the population of the Netherlands was growing and there wasn't that much space. So, the ideas of closing the sea and turning it into a lake and making land in that land were taken out of the cupboard again. It wasn't the first time this was thought of and indeed it wasn't the first time it was done. Most of the west of the country used to be water at some point or other, before being dried out by man (and windmills) and put to use as land. But this was going to be the most ambitious project yet!
The first thing they needed to do was close off the sea. It was only an inland sea, but it had an open connection with the Waddensea and the Northsea beyond. After a massive flood in 1916 parliament finally passed the law to close it off (it had been on the shelf for 30 years) and work started in 1920 on the Amstelmeerdijk. When that was finished, work started on the first and only Zuiderzeepolder: Wieringermeer, named for the island Wieringen which would be incorporated into the new polder*. Work was finished in 1930. Two years later the Afsluitdijk(Closing Dyke) was finished, turning the salt/brackish water of the Zuiderzee into the fresh water of the IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel). The sea was no more...
The current situation with the finishing dates; the little black cross shows where I live.
The Noordoostpolder (North East Polder) was the first IJsselmeerpolder and was finished in 1942. It incorporated two islands: Urk and the empty Schokland. After the war two more polders were formed: Eastern Flevoland and Southern Flevoland, the last being finished in 1967. In 1976 a dyke was created so a new polder could be formed (Markermeer), but during the 1980's those plans were put on ice indefinitely.
For more information please check out this Wikipedia article.
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*) Polder: tract of low land, especially in the Netherlands, reclaimed from the sea or other body of water and protected by dykes. In the olden days kept dry by windmills, nowadays more usually by diesel operated pumping stations.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Occasionally a colleague of mine tries to berate me for 'not reading enough'. What he means to say is that I should read more Dutch books. But Dutch books always tend to be extremely flowery and they use so many big words. Words that somehow don't seem to fit with the book. So I stopped reading them. Instead I read in English. And if there is a big word, I can always blame my lack of knowledge of the English language!
I love to read and if I see a bookstore, I will go in and see if I can find a nice book. I've been known to spend over three hours in one shop, just picking and choosing. I will always come out with a nice book, be it by a writer I know or someone I've never heard of. I usually go to England, Ireland or Scotland with one book and return with a minimum of four! And if I don't like the book, I leave it behind: there might be someone out there who does like it.
Bookstores draw me in, ever since I was small. My mother was extremely glad I could read on my own, because she hated reading out loud to me. Once I'd learned to read however, the gate was off the dam (as we say in the Netherlands) and I would read anything. In Dutch still, but after starting high school, I would also start reading in English. I remember having to read 'The Importance of Being Earnest' in class. Everybody would get their turn to have to read out loud, yet I never did: I was chuckling away about 25 pages ahead of everyone else. My teacher never bothered... I read 'Pride and Prejudice' for school as well, even though I had to read it about three times before I understood (English, Dutch translation, English again).
Now you might wonder what the sign at the top of this post has to do with reading. Well, it was a sign I found on a small bookstore in Llangollen, Wales, while we were on our way to Ireland. And I totally understand. Books are to be treated with respect. I would never fold down a page, I use a bookmark. Books take you to places you didn't know existed, they make you smile on a bad day, they make you cry on a fantastic day. Books give you the world.
So, if you ever find yourself with sticky hands about to go into a bookstore, just wipe them on your trousers, find the nearest wash basin, but don't go in!
Monday, 13 July 2009
I went to bed at quite a nice time last night. I finished my book (by Julia Quinn, I've forgotten the title) and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night, went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth! Which I had done before I went to bed!!!
Sometimes I wonder about myself...
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Well, I promised photos of my trip to Ireland and here they are:
This is one of the High Crosses in Clonmacnoise, one of the old monasteries in Ireland. A beautiful site with churches, crosses and round towers. I did my own tour, because if I have it done by one of the staff, I have to translate and that takes twice the amount of time!
According to some people this is the most beautiful view in the whole of Ireland. Of course you can only say that if you have seen every single view in the country, but it is definitely gorgeous. The photo was taken from Coomakista Pass on the Ring of Kerry overlooking the Kenmare River. The weather was not the best (we actually had quite a bit of rain during this trip), but it's still a really nice view...
You can't miss the fuchsias in Ireland. If you do, you are probably driving around with your eyes closed, because they are just everywhere. The most dominant colour is pink/red, but I have seen them in white/pink and they look even more delicate! The sight of hedgerow upon hedgerow of flowering fuchsias is amazing and brings so much colour to the countryside!
This is Galway Cathedral. After a day in Connemara I would usually end it by going to Clifden, the unofficial capital of that region. This time I decided to go to Galway City however and that was a good choice: we parked right next to this lovely cathedral. The clouds over the cathedral decided to drop their load only minutes after I took this photo. I had to run for cover, but still managed to get quite wet...
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Some people call them flying rats, other wax lyrically about them. I just felt sorry for this little one. He stood and walked funny because he was missing most of his toes. It gave him a certain air though, a certain elegance and he didn't mind posing for me!
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Friday, 10 July 2009
Why is it that whenever I try to make a photo of one of my cats, one of the others decides to walk into my frame? You might be able to spot Wuppie (you can just see his ears on either side of the tail). The tail belongs to Sophie.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
This is one of the many cemeteries surrounding Ypres in Belgium. One hundred and thirty seven British ones alone! With over 40,000 graves still holding unknown soldiers!
During the First World War (or the Great War, the War to end all Wars), heavy fighting took place in both Belgium and France. The German forces on one side and the Allied forces on the other. One day the Germans would conquer five meters at heavy losses on both sides, the next day the Allied forces would reconquer those same five meters at again heavy losses on both sides. Shell shock was unheard of: it was thought of as defection and you could get shot for it (as indeed many were). It was the first war where poisonous gas was used and many were afflicted by it.
The reason of WW I was quite simple: a Serbian nationalist shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria/Hungary. The Austrians wanted an apology and several other retributions. The Serbians refused and the Austrians declared war. The Russians sided with the Serbs, not wanting to loose their influence in the Balkan. The Germans then sided with the Austrians. The French sided with the Russians and before you knew it, most of Europe was at war with each other. The Netherlands and Belgium were neutral and although the Netherlands were able to stay neutral, Belgium wasn't so lucky, drawing Great Britain into the war (and later the USA).
The end result of the War to end all Wars was approximately 10 million military dead, 20 million military wounded, 8 million military missing. The civilian populations were also hit terribly. In the region surrounding Ypres (and many more towns and villages in the area and even further afield), not a house was left standing. The area was razed to the ground and looked nothing like it had before. It would take years of rebuilding homes and lives. Germany had been shut off from food supplies during the war and many people starved. Huge percentages of men were dead or permanently disabled in all participating countries. When the Spanish Flu hit a year later, the result was devastating. Other diseases followed with the same result.
Apart from the people, countries changed as well. The four huge empires were gone: Germany, Russia, The Ottoman Empire and Austria/Hungary. Most of the participating countries in Europe had borders changed. New frontiers were going up and again the ordinary people were the victim.
Ypres is now known the world over as the center of the war. A large museum stands in the market place showing the atrocities of that war. But the largest atrocity is still the huge amount of cemeteries, where young man from all over Europe found their last resting place, the known and the unknown side by side...
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Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Well, I'm back in Dublin and back online! It was quite annoying to not be able to use my new gizmo, but I have decided to cancel it as soon as I get home again. Paying for something that I don't use is not really what I want. I have better uses for my money.
Anyway, the trip has been part good and part awful. The good part are the people and everything we saw. The awful part was the weather that didn't really play along. We did have mostly decent weather, but on some occasions it was as if the heavens had opened up and decided to throw down a year's supply of angel's tears! Truly terrible. Fortunately the people don't really complain and even if they did, it's not as if I can anything about it.
Today was our last day in Ireland. Tomorrow we will be returning to England (Hull) and take the overnight ferry to Europoort (Rotterdam). From there all I have to do is drop them off at several stations before heading home myself to clean the coach and go home and see my monsters.
Our last day in Ireland was well spent though: I got a lovely cross and six bottles (small ones, don't call AA just yet) of whiskey! And I know I will enjoy them so much when I get home! Then, tonight, my sister arrived with goodies: the films I had ordered and a lovely necklace for my birthday. And the radio I have to take back to my parents and a handblender (?). Mind you there would be room for a bike in there and actually two years ago that's what she brought. Isn't it easy (and cheap) to have a travelling sister?
Tomorrow we will have to get up early to catch the ferry. So, this will be the last post from Ireland (not counting the pre-posted one coming up early tomorrow morning). As soon as I am back properly, after kissing and cuddling and petting the monsters, I will post some more photos of the trip. I have some beautiful ones just waiting to be shown to the world!
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Yesterday I found out that my internet thingymebob didn't work. So, I wasn't too pleased about that: spending money so I can use the internet abroad and then not being able to use it! Anyway...
We left Dublin yesterday and our first stop was Clonmacnoise. A beautiful old monastery in the middle of the country. Completely in ruins of course, but still very very beautiful. I will post some photos asap, but I've only got about ten minutes left now! In the afternoon we had a drop of rain in Adare which is also a very pretty village and afterwards we drove to our hotel near Tralee in nice sunny weather.
Today was a different day altogether. A massive threat of rain kept off (fortunately) until well into the afternoon, giving us the pleasure of enjoying the sites and sights of the Ring of Kerry. I had a lovely Irish Coffee (decaf) and it wasn't even ten in the morning yet! It tasted really good though and I had been looking forward to it. I bet our relief driver could have done with one as well, since he had to keep dodging cyclists. There were about three thousand cycling around the Ring of Kerry for charity. It was "only" 180 km (120 miles) up and down. The roads are very narrow and bendy in places, so the driver was not well pleased. I was just happy to sit next to him! We did manage to do most things though. And as I said we were in luck with the weather. We only had a bit of rain during one of our photostops, everywhere else it was dry. It was a good day...
Well, only a short story without photos this time, I hope to remedy as soon as I can.
When I was in Scotland last year, I spotted this beautiful animal in the Highlands. There were several more roaming a bit more in the distance, but he was quite used to people. After all, there was a small snack van and lots of people gushing over him! And for good reason, he was magnificent!
Friday, 3 July 2009
Thursday, 2 July 2009
When you look at this photo, do you think a. a nice little stream in the country side or b. a nice little canal near the center of Dublin? If you chose a, you will be forgiven. If you chose b, you are completely right. This is one of the views when you walk alongside the Grand Canal in Dublin, not too far from the center either! Within ten minutes you are standing in St Stephens Green or even Grafton Street. I didn't do that however, since the canal was so lovely. Even with the persisting rain!
Yes, it rained nearly all day. In the morning it was still quite dry, but during the afternoon more and more rain came in. Until I picked up the second group from the center and then the sun came out! Talk about timing...
In the morning we had had a lovely tour of the town and I made a grand total of 4 (four) photos. During the afternoon everyone was free to do as they pleased. I parked my coach near the Grand Canal, got myself a nice burger and a huge M&M cookie and took that walk.
I told you about the colours of Ireland didn't I? One of the reasons I like the country so much. Well, in this photo you can certainly see the colours. Click on it to enlarge and you can see a red, yellow, blue and black door. According to popular belief, the reason the doors are all different colours is so the men can find their home again after a night of hard drinking! Probably not true, but it does make a nice story though.
Tomorrow we're off into the country: Clonmacnoise and Adare before heading towards our hotel outside Tralee. Hopefully you'll hear from me then and otherwise you will have to wait.
Leaving Europoort (Rotterdam)
Well, I'm sitting here in this beautiful hotel in Dublin (the Clarion Liffey Valley: four stars!) and don't you know it: free internet if you bring your own laptop! And what do I own (birthday present to myself) but a small laptop. And I even brought it along...
I can tell you, leaving on my birthday wasn't the funnest thing, but in the end I treated myself to two (free) ice creams and two new books. Finding out that I would have to stretch time today, because the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin wouldn't be sailing until a quarter past five in the afternoon and us getting from the ferry in Hull at half past eight in the morning, wasn't the best thing however! Anyone familiar with the geography of England/Wales will know that that is only 350 km (around 230 miles). Which I can cover in about 4 hours. So, not too pleased. But, as always a back-up plan was soon made and we did a little detour via Llangollen (pronounced in a way that induces vomiting), had a little stop there and then drove on through Snowdonia. Beautiful! In one word.
We made it to Holyhead on time and we didn't have to wait long to board and we were off across the Irish Sea. As long as I was standing on the deck I was fine, the minute I moved indoors (it was very windy), I started feeling very sick. So, I found myself a nice little place to sit and even had a little nap. From Dublin Port it was only 15 km (10 miles) but that still took us the better part of an hour! Dinner was good, the company is good and tomorrow it's a whole day in Dublin itself.
They were only small people. But it didn't matter they weren't much taller than two feet. They were a family. Today they were going to the cinema. All of them: grandma, grandpa, mum, dad, the six girls and six boys and the dog Woof. And then, just as they were about to cross the road, a thunderbolt came from the sky and froze them all.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Yes, I am cheating a little bit, but the abreviated form used within the company is often xx-tours, so I'm not really cheating.
Anyway, this is the company I work for and the coach you see in the photo is actually 'my' coach (or tourbus). Not mine in the sense of I own it, but mine in the sense of I drive it most often.
I've worked for this company for over ten years now and apart from a few months when I wanted out, I loved almost everything. Some trips are of course more fun than others, but over the whole I've no reason to complain about this company. I get the pay I'm owed at the end of every month, I am provided with a uniform and the work itself is varied. I mean, going abroad without paying a penny, seeing lots and lots of different things and meeting tons of people: my idea of a job as close to perfect as I can imagine.
The one thing bothering me about my job is something the company cannot solve for me: European Driving Laws. Nowadays you almost have to have a university degree in mathematics to calculate the amount of driving that you do. However, I try to make it as easy as possible for myself and have been lucky so far.
Now, I do travel a lot outside the Netherlands (at this time I'm probably heading over to Ireland via Holyhead in Wales) and for any European readers out there (and readers from further afield if you ever find yourself in Europe): if you ever see a coach like this, just have a little look to see who the driver is. If the driver is a woman and blonde at that, there's a fair chance it's me. Come and have a chat! I would love to meet you!!
For more x words, please check out: ABC Wednesday