After a brilliant lunch we were back on the road and heading closer and closer to familiar surroundings. Road journeys in new places are always interesting: funny sculptures, a tree nursery (or someone’s garden) full of clipped topiary trees, a helicopter on the roof of a business, the curve of a motorway wall that is designed to deflect noise away from the neighbourhoods behind them, seeing other bridges from the bridge you are on. It’s a journey with glimpses into other people’s lives… a fleeting glance, a nanosecond of a moment , a blink of an eye. And then we are back to our home territory and back to our own “normal” lives, the routine of jobs, housework, school, homework but also friends, family and fun times at home.
October 14, 2015
October 13, 2015
Our trip home from Maastricht could only start once we had done some cleaning in the house and packed up our things.
I did most of the packing so that they could also squeeze in one last swim in the pool, because as many parents will know, you can pack far more efficiently when there are no distractions or kids getting under your feet.
I had almost all of the packing done and bags put by the front door for Himself to load into the car by the time they got back and then all that needed to be done was the cleanup of the house.
We decided to leave as late as possible in order to fit in the swim, so it was already close to lunch time by the time we hit the road.
Needless to say, after an hour and a half in the car, tummies were rumbling so we pulled into a motorway restaurant for what we first thought might be snack but soon decided should be a really decent lunch. The decision turned out to be inspired, the food was fabulous! Everyone love their food and when the side salads were inspired. Even the kids were stunned and awed when their dishes were served with toys as well as pencils and coloring papers. Add to this that the staff were mega friendly, we were very very impressed! The only downside to this restaurant was that it was too far from home to come here regularly!
The wall that lines the road to the truck stop, at the back of the car park has signs that one of the trucks that use this came off a bit worse for wear, as did the wall…
October 12, 2015
It’s usual for me to have my camera in my lap as I sit in the passenger seat of our car.
I usually have subject matter galore but sometimes it’s Himself or the kids who start shouting requests when something unusual comes into view.
Such was the case when we were in the Dutch province of Limburg three years ago.
It was Himself who first pointed out a classic car coming towards us, and then Little Mr who started screaming excitedly in my ear that there were more following it, so please make sure to photograph them all.
We notice that there are a sort of semi-circular disks on the front of each of the cars which contains various words and numbers, the only part of which we can read being: “Sittard Klassiek”.
I look up Sittard Klassiek on the web and find their (Dutch language only) website which shows that they are a classic car club that make regular displays and tours where apparently all of the car are pre-1970. We seem to have come across one of these tours and we all agree, what an impressive group they make! Apart from the Volkswagen Beetles, I don’t really know what the other makes of the cars are, but they are beautiful and clearly looked after with a ton of love and care.
October 11, 2015
I had too many photographs for yesterday’s post, so here are some more photographs of beautiful Limburg…
October 10, 2015
It’s been three years since Family Kiwidutch traveled to Limburg.
Because it’s in the far south of the country and to the east, it’s not like closer provinces or south western ones like Zeeland where we can make a route via there on our way to France or the channel tunnel.
Similarly to the provinces in the far north of the country it’s just those few extra hours in the car and a little bit more out of the way and anyone who has kids will know, sometimes parents just look at the time factor and go… Naah, I’m just not up to the drama that a car trip this long was going to involve.
Car-chaos, Highway-hell, Road-implode, Sedan-shambles, whatever you call it, it’s far too long and way too painful when kids are really young.
One colleague of mine had the prospect of driving to her family in southern France at least twice a year for the summer holidays and Christmas. Then they had four kids and in the end resorted to starting the journey at bedtime and driving as far as possible in the dead of night, kids asleep bucked up and packed in around blankets and pillows. The alternative was learned the hard way. Now that both of our kids can read and the magic (or is that Hell?) of the ipad has been added to our packing list, things are easier, well at least until the charge on the darned thing starts reading 3%. This is why we ventured this far… and none of us has been disappointed. We have all found things to love about this trip and the area is one we would all be pleased to return to. Today’s post is the start of a few “round-up” posts, with views of beautiful Limburg…
October 9, 2015
Whilst visiting the small Dutch village of Mechelen in the province of Limburg three years ago, I spied an old building that looked interesting. Regular readers will know that I love old buildings, Several of these were rather French in style and in this photographic post, I’m admiring their beauty…
October 8, 2015
Three years ago Family Kiwidutch were visiting the Dutch province of Limburg and stopped in the small town of Mechelen.
In the small street by a café I went into earlier, there is a snack bar and outside it, on the pavement there are two large fiberglass models.
One of these was of a creme-freeze ice-cream in a cone and the other was of some French fries. (“friet” in Dutch).
I always giggle when I see things like these because “French” fries actually originated in Belgium, not in France and just over the border in Belgium I have probably seen one of these fiberglass “fries” (they come in different varieties) in almost every town and village and city we have ever visited.
Keeping the fiber-glass industry going, obviously.
They are around all over the Netherlands too of course, not just here in the Dutch village of Mechelen. There is something about then that I can’t quite put my finger on, certain photogenic-ness, a certain bravery that they are out on footpaths up an down both countries in all weathers. They appeal and that’s completely logical on one hand because I am obsessed with photographing every day things, but on the other hand I’m not even a great fan of either ice-cream or fries. Or maybe it’s a foodie thing? Then again, once I’ve thought about this a bit it occurs to me that I’m also obsessed with photographs of heavy iron drain covers too so maybe it’s just a severely skewed sense of humor at play.
October 7, 2015
Belgium has a large city called Mechelen, but there is also a Mechelen in the Netherlands, just over the border from Belgium in the Dutch province of Limburg.
The Dutch Mechelen is a tiny fraction of it’s Belgian city cousin, but they share a feature of stunning architecture.
After I exited the little café mentioned in yesterday’s post, and had watched a trail of racing cyclists puff their way up the bend, I saw a driver of a van stop and wave for me to cross the road.
It was only at that point that I realised that since I was standing on the curb he must of thought that I was waiting to cross the road, and that it was difficult because I was on crutches.
Yes, it is difficult to cross roads on crutches but I hadn’t actually intended to cross the road at all, I was just taking photographs by the curb. Now I’m in a position where someone is doing me a kindness I don’t actually want and trying to tell him that I don’t actually want to cross the road is going to get awkward. The man is smiling and waves again… so I do what most of us have probably done at some time in their lives, I cross a road I had no intention of crossing and give him a smile and a wave back to say Thank You for a deed I had never intended for him to do. Now I’m on the opposite side of the road from our car parked around the corner and that’s how I ended up taking photographs of the local church…
Bigger greenery … chestnuts?
Yes it’s crooked, standing straight on one leg whilst taking photos: an art-form I haven’t yet mastered.
October 6, 2015
Family Kiwidutch are back on the road again, sightseeing in the very southern tip of the Dutch province of Limburg.
There is a small village in this area called “Mechelen“, not to be confused with the large city not too far away in Belgium of the same name, where once again we discover black and white half timbered buildings and charactor galore.
The surroundings are very rural: flat ot slightly undulating fields and then a beautiful little village where we decide to stop and take a look.
It was a sunny summer’s weekend when we visited three years ago and as is not uncommon, the village was full of people at leisure walking, cycling, sitting at the outside tables of pubs and cafés or at work, driving vans, car or tractors as they go about their business.
I stop off at a tiny cafe to see if they by any chance sell local honey or jam because we always promise to take it back for my Mother in Law each new region we visit and so far we have missed buying her something. Himself can’t get a park close to where I want to go so he let me out, just around the corner and up a small rise and so I walk slowly down the sloping street towards the café.
A very large group of recreational cyclists clad in Lycra come around the corner at the bottom of the small hill and several of them shout out friendly encouragement as they see me making my way slowly on crutches. The rest of the group behind them quickly join in, even though it’s me who’s heading down-hill and them who are getting up a sweat going up it. Of course it’s impossible to explain to forty or so people who are next to you for only a second or two that I have only just emerged from the car around the corner, so I stop, smile, wave back and offer some encouragement back as they start to struggle to stay in formation as well as make the steepening grade.
A few stragglers bring up at the rear as I try the café, and afterwards as I head back to the car (without honey or jam, they didn’t sell any) I see even more cyclists, families with kids, couples touring and (mostly men) racing so clearly this is a very popular pass-time in the area. The buildings are beautiful, some obviously much older than others, but all full of character and charm. I zoom in on the quirky details that I find, such as the gnome finials on the top of the signposts or decorative plaques on the walls.
October 5, 2015
In my last post from St. Benedictusberg Abbey in Limburg, I’ve visited the large chapel and now I can visit several of the rooms close to it.
It’s possible to see the turrets from the older building from one of the windows and I have asked permission to take a few photographs, permission that was granted. Wikipedia tells me:
“In 1947 the diocese began negotiations with the Benedictine congregation over revival of monasticism at Mameles, and it was agreed that the foundation should be placed within the Benedictine Solesmes Congregation.
That happened in 1951, with the arrival in November of thirteen monks from Oosterhout.
Finally a monastery church was built, and consecrated in 1962. It received abbey status in 1964.
Offices are sung in Latin, with prominence given to Gregorian chant. St. Benedictusberg has become an expanding Benedictine community, partly as a result of the savage decline of the Benedictine Order across the Netherlands which has required monks from elsewhere in the country to find new homes.”
I’m conscious that Himself and the kids are waiting (patiently or otherwise) in the car outside, so although I would like to have spent more time here, I tell the lady who is guiding me around that I need to get back to my probably restless family. On the way out I see a small table where a booklet (Dutch language only) and an aerial photograph of the abbey are available for a donation. I buy both from my guide as thanks for letting me visit… This is the kind of place that is fast disappearing from many countries today. A very quiet, contemplative world.
Kiwi’s note: Once again I’m having problems with photographs, this time photos that should be viewed in landscape form (and imported as such) are being turned around into portrait form by WordPress as they are imported. There appears to be nothing I can do, deleting and re-importing give the same result no matter how many times I try. Apologies!