Tuesday, 31 March 2009

A Handy Little Gadget

While in the Netherlands, The Geek bought this cell phone holder for one euro.
Mrs D was so impressed she bought one for her cell phone too.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

We're a Little Thick

And just wide enough that it made it hard to get down the aisles in the train and on the U- & S-Bahns.

Honey We're Home!

The poster tube did make it home safely.
And to celebrate our last breakfast in Berlin and the end of a wonderful trip, we went all out.
Brotchen and pastries!!

Oddities and Curiosities Part 2

Concrete railway ties. Not the creosote-treated wood I am accustomed to.Need a mouse? Maybe two? One of two rows of this basic computer necessity. (Is it 'mice' or 'mouses'?)
A house in the country perhaps? The Geek says it is so expensive because it is on the edge of Potsdam next to a wooded area. I sure hope that makes it worthwhile.

A Swarkovski crystal encrusted model of a Lamborghini, perhaps? At this price, you could get two!
Do you want just one pickle? Now you can buy just one pickle. That KaDeWe thinks of everything!
These eggs aren't dyed. This is their real colour.
A chocolate castle. Someone has a lot more patience than I do.
Away from the extravagant.
These sloping escalators are quite common. And quite fun. If you are walking fast enough, they pretty much launch you across the room when you reach the end.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

A House With an Attached Garage?

Many houses in Canada have attached garages, but many farms in Holland have houses with attached machine sheds.They must have a way of preventing a fire in one part of the building from spreading to the rest. Imagine what a loss it would be otherwise.

A Little of The Netherlands' History

Kloster Ter Apel is a 13th century monastery located close to Musselkanaal.

It was left for a time to fall into a state of disrepair, then restored, with some new additions.

This is how the addition looks from the inside.The building supports are mostly gothic arches. The monks supporeted their habit (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist) by making beer to sell to the neighbouring areas.It was stored on of the cellars, this one with Roman arches.
Many remedies were made from herbs gathered in the medicinal garden.
This outbuilding was having its daub and wattle exterior repaired.

About 20 kilometes away is Bourtange, a fortified village originally founded in the 16th century during the 80 years war.
This is a photograph of the village in approximately 1960 when it was decided to turn the village back into the fortress, circa 1750.
This is how it looks today.

This windmill is a replica of the one that was here in the 1700s. The real windmill is working nearby.

A view of the village from one of the walls. Approximately 250 people live in the village inside the restored walls.

One of the moats surrounding Bourtange.
The steep stairs down from the wall.
The thick door at one of the gates. The little door a regularly sized door.

The village square.

and one of the streets leading to a gate.
Winschoten is the town Mrs D lived when she met my Uncle after the war. He was billeted in this building while waiting to go back to England.

One of the towns three windmills.
One of the pedestrian malls.

and a field on the way back to Musselkanaal.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Liquor? Lecker!

There have been moments of confusion, to say the least, with my limited understanding of the German language. Thankfully nothing was serious enough to cause an international incident.
We went out for supper with The Geek's friend Peder, who, during the course of the meal said what I understood to be 'Liquor?' I shook my head. He looked surprised and I wondered if manners demanded that I should say yes to the offer of a drink.
Turns out what he had said was 'Lecker?' which means, "Is it tasty?' That, it most definitely was.

You cannot ask for tap water in a restaurant. Everyone serves mineral water. Even in most private homes, that seems to be the water of choice. Sometimes even carbonated mineral water, which I think is even worse. The mineral water seems to make my teeth fuzzy and the bubbles make me even thirstier. All the pity since all the tap water I tasted in Germany tasted pretty good.

Dogs, if well behaved, are allowed pretty much anywhere. Shops, restaurants, trains....you get the picture.

In most places, if the streets are narrow, you are allowed to park all or part of your car on the sidewalk. That only makes sense, and would work here if they didn't make the curbs so prohibitively high.

Milk is only used in coffee and tea. I stopped for lunch one day and asked for a glass of milk to go with my sandwich. This caused a brief flurry of discussion before they handed me my glass. The lovely girls in the bakery had no idea how to deal with such a strange request, so they steamed it for me. It was so hot, while I waited for it to cool I felt I had to have a pastry. Just to justify my use of the table, of course!

Apparently the Smart is still a novelty in Europe too. No one called it 'the car'. It was always 'the little car', 'the little Smart', or 'the little Smart car'.
Mr D had to sit in it to see if he would fit. He did, but because he was so tall, he had to push the seat waaaay back.


This part of the Netherlands is just as flat as our part of Manitoba.
Bicycles galore, as one would expect, and even more providing transportation outside.
A curly hazelnut tree (if I understood correctly).
Some very cute houses that seem to have a remarkable amount of individual space with a very small footprint. At least if D and D's house was anything to go by.
Narrow, tree lined roads.
And best of all...

D and D, a pair of incredibly spunky octogenarians with energy levels that would put most 20 year olds to shame. They ride their bicycles and and hike regularly. She swims everyday in the summer and she just recently gave up bowling, a sport that he still enjoys. They kindly gave us a wonderful tour of local towns and historical spots that took up most of Thursday, then stayed up at least three hours longer than The Geek and I managed.

We had great fun during our visit.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Oddities and Curiosities

These safety goggles were undoubtedly designed by someone who loved the old bi-planes with the open cockpits. Can't you just see The Geek, wearing a long, white silk scarf barnstorming on the prairies?
We had never seen such a selection of in-line water heaters. Here, few people have even heard of them.

The outside of the door overlaps the frame. Hinges, throws and strikeplates are all tucked behind this extra bit of door.

I'm not sure how well the relief carving will show up, but this is one fancy ceiling for a bicycle store.

The Smart Forfour. Not nearly as cute as the Fortwo we were driving.

Another use for rocks that are laying about. Seating and sculptures.

For those people who like to stand up when they ride. This bicycle is operated by pumping your feet.
Is Ikea really another religion? Some people might say yes.This Ikea gets its own entry on a street sign.