Home » Travel
Category Archives: Travel
My First Trip
My parents separated early in my life, I was two to three years old at the time. Japan, Germany and Italy came between those two young marrieds. My mother would have a small apartment over my maternal great-grandparents home in New Jersey not far from Philadelphia. My maternal grandparents would live but a block away. I was loved, dotted upon and for accounts and purposes, spoiled. My grandparents would always cart me along with them on any trip or outing.
I’m not sure which was my first trip, in the summer summer or winter,. I will write on both, these were trips with my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather. That would be Harry and Emma Wittman from Audubon, NJ. A trip to New York City prior to November 5th 1951 comes to mind. So, perhaps eight years old. I know prior to that date as the NJ turnpike was not open to Exit 10 from the Delaware Memorial Bridge as yet. We got on our bus in Camden, NJ and traveled old route 130 and crossed into NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel onto W. 36th st. I remember as a youngster, I would often hold my breath in a Tunnel.
We would stay in the Victoria Hotel, 160 Central Park South. It is now a Landmark, Marriott house. We would make this trip several times, always staying in the Victoria. It was quite nice back in the day and continues to remain so.
This particular trip was during cold weather and obviously close to Christmas. I know this as we went to Radio City Music Hall and saw their Christmas production. I shall forever remember the Rockettes.
We also saw some ice skating, it was so long ago I remember not where. Here is a little history on Ice Skating in NYC, should you be interested.
I remember walking about the city, going into Gimbels department store and being awestruck on the toy floor. I remember the elevator and the operator, announcing the floors. Being an effective elevator operator required many skills. Manual elevators were often controlled by a large lever. The elevator operator had to regulate the elevator’s speed, which typically required a good sense of timing to consistently stop the elevator level with each floor. In addition to their training in operation and safety, department stores later combined the role of operator with greeter and tour guide, announcing product departments, floor by floor, and occasionally mentioning special offers. I would always get a special gift on one of these trips. I remember also getting jostled a bit as the operator lined up the lift so as one would not trip exiting.
On the same trip, 6 months prior or 6 months later, warmer weather, anyway, we would have a boat trip. That trip would either be the Circle line around Manhattan or a trip from the Battery out to the Statue of Liberty. I got to do both back in the day.
The Circle Line Trip was a cruise all the way around Manhattan Island on a guided boat tour that takes in every angle of New York City’s iconic waterfront. Traveling by boat means unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty—ideal for snapping memorable photographs. With live narration throughout the cruise, learn about the Big Apple while passing all five of New York’s boroughs.
The trip out to the statute of Liberty was special also. Visits to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are musts in the Big Apple. On this guided tour, you get boarding on the ferry from Manhattan to visit the two important historical sites. Visit the grounds of Liberty Island and go inside the Statue of Liberty Museum. Then hop the ferry to Ellis Island and learn about the millions of people who arrived here between 1892 and 1954 in hope of living the American dream.
The highlight of my first trip was the ability to spit out of the window and to watch it travel down however many floors we were up. I also remember hanging out the window to see if I hit anyone down below. My leaning out the window and my grandmother going bezerk is still implanted in my head today. Three steps up a ladder with my vertigo is a high climb today.
We would take several trips to NYC prior to age 13, the age my grandfather died. Those trips were always special. Oh to be able to recall such details. Now, to what do I attribute that gift?
Traveling Europe during the Corona Thing
We “began” our Spring Break adventure yesterday. Join us each day as we imagine what we would have been doing.
Day 1 & 2: Driving to Genoa, Italy
The kids have done amazing driving these 14hrs. They’ve barely fought and only whine when they’re hungry. We’ve driven through 3 countries so far. We’re about 3/4 of the way there and every minute brings more anticipation.
Day 1 & 2: Driving to Genoa, Italy
The kids have done amazing driving these 14hrs. They’ve barely fought and only whine when they’re hungry. We’ve driven through 3 countries so far. We’re about 3/4 of the way there and every minute brings more anticipation.
Day 3 of our would be Spring Break
We safely made it to Genoa yesterday and the kids continued to be amazing in the car. It’s almost as if the trip took seconds instead of hours. This morning we walked around the city and of course ate Gelato and ice cream for lunch (see picture).
We just boarded our cruise ship, found our room and got settled in.
Sorry for the little later post, we’ve been having a blast! Today was a day at sea. The kids loved the the kids club, we have a private lounge/tanning area, and I started reading a new book. Tonight was movie night on board and Dax and Zoe insisted on popcorn. They’re loving the never ending drinks and snacks. Mia and Ana opted for a little more swim time rather than a movie. Oh yeah, and the kids think its awesome they can live in their bathing suits. Thankfully it’s a gorgeous 70°.+2
Today we were in port. Tomorrow I’ll catch up on posting pictures and describing the day…super busy and now we’re all ready to crash.
Here are a few pictures for you to guess the town we explored today.
Day 5 & 6 recap
Day 5 was Barcelona. We enjoyed walking around the city and eating our way through it. Day 6 was Palma de Mallorca. Definitely a city I want to come back to without kiddos 🙂 we of course found a playground for the kids. Last night part of kids club was about astrology. The kids were taught about the planets and different constellations and then elected to sleep on the deck.
Little of Day 7.
Zoe was the first one up, like always and will probably be the one who is most upset to get off the ship in a couple days. There is food at her every beckon call. Today we do Marseilles.
Marseilles was gorgeous. We did two different excursions. One was a poetry reading and another was learning fishing techniques from an experienced local. Kids are loving a cruise and have already asked to go on another one. Tomorrow is our last day of the cruise and will be a day at sea.
Back home they are, the trip complete, just how long will the playroom stay Neat?
Once again I must say thank you to our Grands and Greats in Brunssum, Netherlands for giving me fodder for my Blog, what wonderful imaginations. I would also like to say thank you USAF Captains Sam & Zed, for all your sacrifices for the USA. Go Navy, Beat Army! It’s a family thing.
WE LOVE YOU!
Semper Fi theRooster
Travels on Delmarva with Harrison
Steinbeck had “Travels with Charlie.” Mitch Album has his “Tuesdays with Morey,” and there was “On the road with Jack Kerouac.” I think I’ve now got the start of “Travels on Delmarva with Harrison.” You’ve already met Harrison last month at Kern’s retirement party.
Back in October of last year, my son-in-law asked me if I’d be interested in spending a few days a week with his father traveling about the shore. The shore would be the Eastern Shore, known to many as the Delmarva Peninsula. His father is in his late 80’s, and he experienced a stroke several years ago, which has affected his speech, balance, and short term memory to some degree.
Harrison is the husband of Sylvia and the father of Greg, Lisa, and Julie. There are also grandchildren and, most recently, a great-grandchild. His father immigrated to the United States in the early 1920s from the Netherlands after first arriving as a flower bulb salesman. Harison’s father ultimately established a nursery business in the Salisbury Maryland area. That business, under Harrison’s love and guidance has grown considerably. Under Greg’s guidance the nursery continues to propagate.
So, just where is the Delmarva Peninsula, you might ask? The Delmarva Peninsula encompasses parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. All that land east of the Chesapeake Bay and south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal ending at the Virginia, Bay Bridge-Tunnel at Cape Charles, makes up the Delmarva Peninsula. We even have a Regional Spaceport here.
Harrison loves the history of Delmarva. He loves the land, especially the open fields, many of which are planted this time of year with Winter Wheat. These fields remind me of Ireland, so green in their contrast to the trees still in their winter hibernation. Historical homes and buildings are a natural magnet for Harrison. Harrison also loves his midday meals, which we share. Perhaps we shall have some Gastro insight down the road.
My new-found buddy knows the short term memory has taken a trip to somewhere not in the present. There are moments when a delightful chuckle will come up, “oops,” he might say, you better ask Sylvia that one when he has a thought, and it fly’s off the carrier deck like an F-18. Never is this gentleman frustrated with his position in life. He is a kind, gentle human being who loves his family, life, the land, and the Eastern Shore.
His devoted wife drives him to the local senior center five days a week for some Physical Therapy, and comradery, with those on the same station in life as he. We are starting our fourth month together, and I continue to learn from this man with so much knowledge of what I like to say, this, that, and other things.
May this week bring me more adventure as I travel the Eastern Shore with Harrison. With the blessing of those close to him, I look forward to sharing some of them with you.
Thank you Sylvia, Lisa, Greg, and Julie for sharing someone special with me.
Super Tuesday’s this week, don’t forget, vote early, vote often.
Along Several fronts
Where in the world is Jeff Berthiaume.
We are hoping he may be on his way home. With the rapidly growing Corona virus and Pandemic fears, we wonder, will he arrive home on the date scheduled. Jeff has been away the entire month. He’s made stops in Sydney, Australia, Wellington, New Zealand, and, most recently, the Republic of Palau. He’s had the opportunity to do a little fishing and send some photos. Thanks Jeff, I attach a few of them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau
Another hop across the Ocean.
The wife and daughter Kathryn flew the Atlantic to help Sam, Captain, USAF get through a rough week with the flu, Masters level paper due, Husband away on a deployment, and four wee ones, seven and under.
Thanks to the winds of Storm Dennis, my two ladies made what is usually a six-hour flight in under five hours. In contrast, those traveling in the opposite direction took as long as eight hours. Their description of what was a harrowing landing in Ireland, sounded like something I’m glad I didn’t have to experience. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_Dennis
Both Sam and her USAF Captain husband Zed are graduates of the USAFA. Sam is a Support Services officer, and Zed is a pilot. They are presently stationed at a NATO base in Germany and live a few miles away in the Netherlands.
The ladies survived their child care experience and arrived back home safely a week ago. The girls did get to spend twenty-four hours in Dublin, Ireland during a layover. Even in the heavy rain and wind at the time, they got to walk about the Temple district among the inversely pointing umbrellas. Rumor has it they also indulged in something called a Guinness, whatever that is. https://www.dublintown.ie/temple-bar/
On their return the girls arrived on time in Philadelphia, where I met them. Kathryn retrieved her car from the parking lot and headed south towards home. She would be at work erly on Monday morning. The wife and I headed north towards Staten Island, NY. We had a family Funeral Mass to attend the next morning for a deceased Brother in-law, Rest in Peace Mike. To say the little lady was a bit disoriented from the jet-lag, and sudden obligation, is an understatement. One week later, I think she’s back in the necessary time zone. When all is normal, she’s back quilting, that she has resumed.
We had just returned from this same flight route on New Year’s Eve. Six of us spent the holidays with Sam and Family in Garmish Partenkierchen, Germany. During that trip we touched feet or tires in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Lichtenstein and England. What goes around, and goes around, and goes around.
Next up for the little lady is a house sitting stent in Connecticut next month. The few, the proud, the Marines, have nothing over this lady and her endurance. Me and the dog will keep the home fires burning.
Sleep well my friends, the elections are coming up, vote early, vote often.
Semper Fi , theRooster
Longevity and Adventuring
For the past five months, I’ve worked for a local Nursery. I spend two, sometimes three days a week as a driver and companion to one of the past owners. For the sake of this blog, I’ll call him HL. This man is the kindest and most pleasant man to spend a day with. I must also mention, he’s quite witty and shares a lot of history with me.
This is not my first rodeo doing this type of thing. Back in the late nineties, I was a driver and aide to the late James Brady and his wife Sarah. Jim was the Press Secretary to President Reagan at the time of the assassination attempt on March 30, 1981. I’ve written a blog in the past of one little tidbit during that time. Jim was another one of those people with a unique wit.
HL’s son is now in charge of the nursery business. In the early twenties HL’s father immigrated to America from the Netherlands as a Bulb salesman. He got this whole nursery thing started. The nursery as it’s known today started in 1962 with the first propagation in one unheated, deep cold frame.
HL loves traveling about the Delmarva Peninsula, looking at land, specifically farmland, as well as historic homes and buildings. We’ve also gone to the Pokomoke Discovery Center, where we learned about River Otters and the Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Historical Site.
A past Thursday found us at a long time employee’s Retirement and Birthday Party. The Company electrician was hanging up his non-conductive Electrical Plyers for a well-deserved cruise in the Carribean with his wife of 64 years, Judy. Kern was also celebrating his 84’th birthday that day and ending his 48’th year at the nursery.
So this old writer is still staying busy, gathering material, as he moves around the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Oh, and did I mention, HL buys lunch each day, there is a story in that process at most every meal. I’m thinking I’ll have to start a Gastro info blog from time to time. Have a great Sunday everyone.
Bricks and Things
A couple we consider good friends, who live down south in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, were recently at a wedding in Leadville, CO. The wife of the couple is a fellow blogger, who goes by the handle as Merling Muse, life in the mountains. Were the husband a Blogger, it would have something to do with trains, I’m sure. They recently made a cross country trip to attend that wedding, and blog about it along the way.
The trip brought back many great memories of a trip Uncle Bob, (wife’s brother, who is no longer with us) and I made in 2010 via Rt#50 all the way. Miss you and that “First One Today” Bobby !
So, bloggers post, and those who get to read them can comment about that post. On occasion I get a bit wordy, My response to Anne was so wordy, I thought I’d steal from it and make it a post.
Our daughter Sarah was married on 7/2, in an Anglican church built in 1733, which sits on the bank of the Wicomico River. Bricks in the church were baked in the same kiln as a home we lived in for five years 20 years ago. They were shipped here by boat from Williamsburg, VA. A bit of Brick History, should you be interested: https://brickcollecting.com/history.htm
Mary Agnes and I have been to Leadville, and have long thought of returning for the train excursion. Mary Agnes was enamored with Molly Brown, thus the trip to the high back then. https://mollybrown.org/about-molly-brown/
We did take the train ride to Silverton that year. https://durangosilvertonrailroad.com/?gclid=CjwKCAjw__fnBRANEiwAuFxETx5mCHb8ZdUybu40BWcIvcIeVb8SjGjsPQkvwL-Rk_I3gg4ymKeumBoCUWgQAvD_BwE
We have a granddaughter who graduated from USAFA, class of 2012 (Samantha) and for four years made trips to the Rockies. Brother-in-law Bob Romspert and I delivered Sam her car to her at the start of her junior year.
We used old Route #50 to cross the country and only hit an Interstate when we had to cross the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Great memories with a now departed companion of that awesome trip and our time together.
For me, the highlight of that trip was stumbling upon Bent’s Fort.
Congratulations to the newlyweds Anne & John.
Daughter Sarah, her beau Greg, daughter Kathryn, wife Mary Agnes and yours truly The Rooster, spent the better part of a week in San Antonio, TX not long ago. The reason, Sarah’s son, and our grandson Thomas, (Tommy) was graduating from Air Force Basic Training at Lackland, AFB. We also spent a couple of meals with nephew Noah, a 2018 graduate of the USAFA who is in Drone training. Here’s a site on the subject if interested: https://www.aetc.af.mil/Flying-Training/
As you read this Tommy is now at Sheppard AFB, Texas for further training with the Air Education and Training Command.
So there you go, something to read and possibly follow up on a trip of your own one day. There’s lots to see in this great country of ours. Get off the Interstate, travel the back roads and small towns and meet the people who make this country what it is. You might just wind up in Allen, MD one day.
Fox dies in the Coop
This bit of news from France was posted on the “BBC” web site and forwarded to me by daughter Kathryn. I share it with you. Apparently, the young Fox, are not sly.
Chickens ‘gang up’ to kill intruder fox on a French farm
13 March 2019
Chickens in a school farm in north-western France are believed to have grouped and killed a juvenile fox.
The unusual incident in Brittany took place after the fox entered the coop with 3,000 hens through an automatic hatch door which closed immediately.
“There was a herd instinct, and they attacked him with their beaks,” said Pascal Daniel, head of farming at the agricultural school Gros-Chêne.
The body of the small fox was found the following day in the corner of the coop.
“It had blows to its neck, blows from beaks,” Mr. Daniel told AFP news agency.
The farm is home to up to 6,000 free-range chickens who are kept in a five-acre site.
The coop is kept open during the day, and most of the hens spend the daytime outside, AFP adds.
You may also like:
Despite what you think, chickens are not stupid.
When the automatic door closed, the fox – thought to be around five or six months old – became trapped inside.
“A whole mass of hens can arrive together, and the fox may have panicked in the face of such a big number,” Mr. Daniel told the regional newspaper Ouest France (in French).
“They can be quite tenacious when they are in a pack.”
Rather than go with Sam’s “A Day In My Life,” I’m just plagiarizing, with her permission of course, and shall call it “Captains Two,” plus the four Greats. That will be Mia, Ana, Dax and Zoe. Enjoy the kid’s travels while in Europe for the next few years.
The Captain says:
Upon getting home from my work trip I learned it was time to pick up one of our two tables we had ordered. The table we would be picking up was in Northern Netherlands, or Holland, and was our new coffee table.
Kinderdijk was recommended to us by the man who built our table and we are so glad he did. The weather was perfect and the crowds were low. Dax and Zoe loved taking a vehicle ferry and then riding a boat to the windmills. One of the windmills we toured housed a single family of 14!
Next was another castle. Though the baroness was Jewish it survived WWII thanks to the wits of the staff left behind. They hid anything that could be taken off the walls in secret passageways. If they received news of German troops coming close they would begin to clean and manicure the grounds. When asked what they were doing by German troops, the staff would respond getting the estate ready for your leadership. Thinking their leadership was about to arrive, they did no harm to the property.
And finally it wouldn’t be a Davies Day Trip if we didn’t go out of our way to see Amsterdam and the dyke system that has reclaimed the lowlands of the Netherlands.
The longer we’re here the more we want to travel. This should mean more actual travel leading to more blog posts. Enjoy! -S
Where in the World?
Travels with Sam
As most of you know, granddaughter Samantha, Captain, USAF, currently lives in The Netherlands and works for NATO in Germany. It’s kind of like living in South Jersey and working in Philly, you just don’t need to cross the Ben Franklin bridge to get there. Sam’s husband, also a Captain, USAF and a pilot is stationed there with her. To maintain their family unit, their four children are there for the European experience as well.
Once again the lazy writer in me is using a recent post of Sam’s to share with you. I’m attempting to get a blog out every Sunday or Monday. Thanks Sam for making that possible this week. I’ll gather up an occasional picture or two and some links along the way. I’ve got to contribute something to the blog, right?
A Weekend Away
Zed and I had the amazing opportunity to spend a few days together in Europe. His parents were out visiting to help with the kids as I was away with work. Zed was gracious enough to drive me down and take the scenic route. In total we visited 8 countries in under 48hrs.
Our journey began in the Netherlands, as that’s where we live. We quickly entered Belgium where we passed through Liege, Bastogne, and Arlon. I love living in a place that holds so much history. When we first moved here we watched Band of Brothers to give us a brief history lesson. Then it was a quick stop through Luxembourg, which is smaller than Rhode Island.
France is where things became new. As soon as we crossed the border we saw the Maginot line, which I got no pictures of because my phone was away.
From that point on I always had it within easy reach and turned the auto camera function on. We were also greeted into France by seeing nuclear power plants. Their water towers are also some of the most unique I’ve seen (a funnel, a castle turret, and a mushroom). By this time we need some food. We like to visit the local McDonald’s to see what interesting things they have on their menu. We were let down, no unique menu items. Moments away from our next country we came to a border checkpoint. When they asked us if we had anything to declare I held up the McDonald’s bag and Zed said just fast food. I’d like to think we livened up the officer’s shift.
Switzerland was up and is a country of tunnels. In 2hrs we journeyed through a minimum of 20. I lost count. So far it has been the country Zed and I both agree we’d like to ex-pat to, if we were rich enough to do so. Their homes are unique and there are ranches everywhere.
The homes have huge roofs (guessing to manage the snow), numerous windows, and carefully decorated gables. They even decorate the under side of the roofs.
This is St Urban’s Abbey.
While in Switzerland we were also able to participate in a Latter Day Saint Temple Session. The Bern Temple was the first built in Europe.
Liechtenstein was a surprise for me. It was also our first passport stamp since being here, we did a few euros to get it. Our goal was to see Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein (from the movie A Knight’s Tale), instead we walked into their Carnival parade.
Now it was time for Austria. We ventured through a 8.5mi long tunnel that allowed us to bypass a mountain pass. One of the most interesting things we saw was a car from Swaziland. How it got there we’re still wondering. There were also wooden huts scattered throughout and we never could research a good answer as to what they were.
Germany brought us to the end of our journey. We stayed at the base of Neuschwanstein Castle and Zed dropped me off at my work location the next morning (another blog post will be coming on that). We were able to see the Zugspitze (the tallest point of Germany) and a few avalanches.
The trip was amazing. A great time to spend together and see new things. We were blessed with safety and clear roads both in weather and traffic. Enjoy the few pictures I took and stay tuned for more adventures. -S
NATO 101 with Sam and Zed
I had the opportunity to go to a course in Southern Germany to learn more about NATO and it’s interactions with different nations. I learned a ton, but the best part was having a class made up of 26 nations, and not all were NATO members. To learn how Ukraine views current world issues versus Denmark is just one example. Throw in my US mindset and a Dutch opinion and dinner conversation was never dull.
Part of the course allowed the opportunity to independent study. I used the opportunity to sight see.
My trip to the Disney castle was worth it. Unfortunately pictures inside are not allowed. It is worth the ticket price. Interesting note, the castle has been a museum since 6wks after King Ludwig’s mysterious death.
I also visited Kolfel mountain in Oberammergau, Germany where the story of Hansel and Gretel comes from. The story goes that a witch lives in the mountain and there are numerous documentations of kids going out to play and never coming back.
Oberammergau is a unique village situated in a valley. When the village was hit with the Plague the town promised God that if it would stop spreading and spare lives they would always do a Passion play. The Plague ceased and the people have put on the Passion play every 10yrs following. This is the longest running Passion play in the world. It has become so largely attended that only those born in Oberammergau or those who have lived there for a minimum of 20yrs are allowed to be actors.
The opportunity to learn more about my job, but also other nations perspectives is one I am so grateful to have gotten. Not bad to get it, and see Neuschwanstein either. -S
Getting to Sleep
How did you sleep last night? How do you usually sleep? We all can answer these questions through personal experiences we have each evening. Some of us have done the rotating shifts in our career days, remember those 11-7 days? I personally remember some 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM shifts. They seemed to screw me up more than anything.
I’m always amazed when I’m flying somewhere and I look to an aisle ahead of me and there’s a peaceful soul, eye mask on, mouth open, a bit of spittle in view and dead asleep. “Really”? Why the hell can’t I do this. I’ve been across the pond to Europe a few times, England, Ireland and, Germany, should anyone be interested. I would be willing to bet I’ve had less than one hour of sleep collectively.
I recently got a new Fitbit. I track my steps, heart rate, for messages I get a buzz alert and the message scrolls across the Fitbit face. I’m kinda old, need cheaters to read and, never find my glasses fast enough to read the message, but it’s there. The thing will tell me my active minutes during the day, remind me to move periodically and give me a calorie burn.
What I find is the neatest thing is, it can track my sleep during the night and daily activity. It tells me if I’m awake, in Rem sleep, light sleep and, deep sleep. On getting out of bed this morning, I learned I was awake eight different times during the night. Bad weather, bad bones has been my nemeses for many years. Wasweather coming through the reason?
The below web site has a great video by Matthew Walker on the secrets of sleep. The video is a short five (5) minutes long. Hey, if it helps you gain a few more hours of sleep, take a look.
As for me and the Airplane, I’ve tried everything. I’ll stick to a Bloody Mary (1), a couple of movies and a three-hour nap on landing, to take care of the Jet Lag.
Have a great day, and, sleep well tonight.
A Grandaughter’s Share for the New Year
In order to put more information out in the Electronic Hemisphere, I’ve adapted to sharing loved one’s posts from the Netherlands. Thanks to granddaughter Samantha who gets to live there for a few years with husband Zed, ( I call him Sir Zedsalot), and their 4 Children, she provides me with ammunition of the written word to use. Sam has provided some great travel info and photos in this post, enjoy. Happy New Year all! theRooster
Tasting Tray of Tarter Sauces
January 4, 2019 / Leave a comment
Though the title only really applies to one lunch Zed and I have had over the past 2 weeks it also explains our holiday break pretty well. We tried a little of a lot and saw some new things. Enjoy the long, but fun post to follow.
We spent an entire day in Maastricht, NL while the kids were at daycare. If you’ve been to Georgetown, MD imagine a European version and that’s Maastricht. Their Christmas market was still going, but everything was on sale! We rode the Ferris Wheel, walked the shopping district and ate at a small burger place named FAB (Famous American Bistro). Sharing 5 sliders and some deep fried Mac & Cheese we felt a little piece of home, except for the glass bottled waters.
The church on the left has been restored from the 1700s to its original painted color and structure. The church on the right is from the 1500s.
View of Maastricht from the top of the Ferris Wheel.
Another view from the Ferris Wheel of the two really old churches.
This book store has taken up residence in an old church. The vast cathedral houses three stories of books in a multitude of languages.
Zed and Ana went shopping at Rammstein, aka as American as you can get in Europe. They saw Mary Poppins, bought discounted Christmas decorations, and visited Bastogne.
New Year’s Eve Day, we stayed local as I had about 5hours to play in between my shifts. Heerlen is where our ward building is located, but also a really neat town close to home. We enjoyed the site, shopping, and some yummy sushi before I headed back in to work.
These bricks are found in the sidewalk outside of buildings Jews lived in. They say the name, the birth year, when they were deported, when they died, and the camp they were sent to.
During the winter a sledding hill and ice rink are set up in the square.
Pock marks from bullet holes can be seen in the bell tower left over from WWII.
New Year’s Eve was quiet inside our home, but the Dutch sure know how to celebrate. The firework display was a 360 degree show that lasted from 11pm to 3am. This display was put on by everyone, but us. We were not aware that to live in the Netherlands you are obligated to set off fireworks on New Years…we have learned for next year. The fireworks set off also are not able to be purchased in the US. The rockets are large and fuses short.
Jan 2nd brought another date day where we got to test out our new GoPro at the indoor ski slopes. Completing 12 runs in two hours, we were pretty tired and ready for some lunch. Back to Maastricht we went to enjoy some Fish and Chips at Jack White’s. Here is where the title of this post comes in. We enjoyed gourmet fish with a tray of five different sauces to choose from. Zed ordered the cod battered in the traditional seasoning. I got Mackerel battered in various herbs. Our tarter sauces consisted of traditional tarter, curry lime, spicy beetroot, mango, and garlic. The mango was our favorite and the garlic made an amazing dip for the chips. It was at this restaurant we learned the best way (cheapest) to drink out is to order the largest water they have and split it. We also stopped in a costume shop to begin our Carnival costume planning. Here’s what Zed is considering.
The 3rd, on a whim we went to Trier. This is the oldest town in all of Germany with many Roman ruins still present. We ate in a historic cellar that displayed numerous crests from the region. Unfortunately both of our phones were unusable halfway through the day so we didn’t get pictures of everything…guess we’ll just have to go back. We intend to bring family as they come to visit because we enjoyed the town so much.
One of the many churches in the town. I am standing at the opposite side of the square in order to capture the full height…at least 12 stories.
Better lighting and side view of the same cathedral.
Inside the Constantine Basilica. The most interesting thing to me here was the history of the church. In the history it explains how many times the church was rebuilt (at least 5) due to different ownerships. The most recent reconstruction of the Basilica was due to “the necessary consequences from the Nazi era”. The altar is the place of the previous Roman Emperor’s throne. It was the plainest church we saw in Trier, but according to the guide “it has been divested of its former pomp and splendor. Marble and treasures have no place in it.” The guide made us wonder who was responsible for writing it due to the blunt nature of the words.
Ironically, this is connected to the back side of the Basilica. Covered in pink paint, gold leafs, and Roman statues the electoral college had ownership of the building at one time. This opens up into what I can imagine is a gorgeous garden in the spring and summer time complete with fountains and reflection pools.
Porta Nigra. The one remaining port entry gate from the Romans, there were a total of 4. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My first ever to visit.
After this picture my phone died. We also saw the amphitheater which felt much life a Division 1 football stadium and the main bath house. Oh, and we did some shopping of course.
We put some miles on our shoes, checked a few stops off the bucket list, and enjoyed some quality time as a couple. Because of these small trips, Zed and I have realized we need to make a list of places to visit based on driving distance so as we have a random day or long weekend off we can hop in the car and go.
I’ll be sure to have a phone charger in the car and the GoPro always prepared from here on out so you don’t miss any of our travels.