So, am I in one, I ask. I finally got plants and seeds into my Pot Garden, that was a month ago. Many thanks to my son-in-law Greg for the pots and potting soil. Gotta give credits where credits are do. I may need soil again next year.
I’ve not written a post for over a month. We’ve been in quarantine since 19 March. I’ve only gained 5 pounds. We have not contracted any virus. Well, there’s something to be thankful for. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” (William Shakespeare)
Stephen King had a great saying – “Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.” Seventy Seven years on this earth, thank you, thank you, thank you, I say!
We have a grandson in NY City, young, single, works for Viacom and has been by himself in a 600 square foot, 4’th story walk up eating Deli food since this all started. I’m guessing he spends his spare time cleaning. Never have I seen a single, twenty something guy, as neat as this. David, you’re amazing!
Granddaughter Samantha, Capt. USAF, stationed in Germany, living in the Netherlands says: COVID-19 has changed a lot, but it was sure nice to have half occupancy in the amusement park near our house. Valkenier is a very family oriented park and all kids are now old enough to ride. Mia counts as an adult and is able to partner up with Ana until she grows a few more centimeters.
Daughter Kathryn and son in-law Jeff are in the process of moving back to this side of the river. If all goes well with the VA and Bank they will be one mile away from us. Settlement is supposed to take place on 7/8/20.
Jeff has been working from home during this Pandemic thing. Kathryn has remained quite busy coordinating Population Health issues for PRMC. Jeff was out with Abby and Antwaine fishing recently and displays a nice Cat fish below.
Son Matt and daughter in-law Beth were to go to England to celebrate their 25’th wedding Anniversary. No, they didn’t make it, but they did celebrate.
Daughter Sarah and husband Greg took a few days off and ventured to the family Ski Lodge at Elk Mountain, Pennsylvania. Below is their wake-up and sunset views the past two days.
As for the Rooster and wife, we’re still crowing and cackling. We’re a bit more confined, aren’t we all. We did get out to dine at a local Brew Pub,Evolution Craft Brewing’s, Public house. It was outside dining at the time, but most enjoyable. The Mrs had the Johnny Burger and the Rooster had the Fish Tacos. All was consumed and washed down with a glass of Chardonnay for the Mrs and a Lot 3 for the Rooster. The good Lord graced us with blue skys and a gentle Eatern Shore Breeze. It doesn.t get much better than that. https://www.evolutioncraftbrewing.com/
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
I love when Sam writes a post and I get to share it with my readership. It certainly makes my Blogging easy. 2017 saw Zed deployed to the Gulf and Sam and the children nestled down in Allen, MD with Pappy & G. (That would be Jeff & Kathryn) Today you get to see the family from a distance 3896.60 miles away. When we spoke with Sam yesterday she said it was a balmy 60 degrees. Enjoy our distant Grands and Greats
Merry Christmas from Germany…well the Netherlands. Live in one country and work in another, pretty cool concept.
We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This was our first year recording the chaos thanks to an early gift,
1.5hr of opening gifts and a full day of lounging and playing with them.
I tried to upload the pictures in progression of the events.
As many of you know we have Grands and Greats. The Greats live in Brunssum, Netherlands with our granddaughter Samantha & husband Zed. Both the kids, as we still call them are USAFA grads and Captains in the USAF. Presently they are stationed at a NATO base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, which is part of the Allied Joint Forces Command, it lies at the Tri-border of Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.
Zed is a pilot and Sam is a support services officer.
This young couple have four (4) children, ages five (5) and under. Mia, Ana, Dax and, Zoe. Since we are the Greats from Maryland in their lives, they are of course, beautiful, smart and wonderful children. Some would say a grand bag of chips.
They woke up today, Sunday, 16 December, 2018 to snow. Samantha posted on FB the following outbursts from the kids.
Until this morning I always thought one of the best things was to
wake up to a snow scene. Now the best thing is to listen to my kids wake
up to a snow scene.
Mia- oh my goodness, guys you’re never going to believe this Ana – Oh my hay Dax – who brought the snow Zoe – woah Mia – this is so butiful Ana – I want to make a snow angel Dax – how did this get here Zoe – snow
The Kids back in October:
The father of Samantha is also a world traveler and is also in Europe at this moment. You know the man if you follow the Rooster regularly. “Where in the world is Jeff Berthiaume”? Well, he’s departed a recent stay in Sofia, Bulgaria and is now in Bucharest, Romania and has sent these photos along.
Jeff will hopefully return to the states later this week and get to enjoy the holidays at home. When he’s away I’m in charge of taking care of Attack Dog Lady Liberty. Like the military, she keeps things safe and secure. Not a K-9 you’d like to sneak up on in the dark, if you know what eye (dang, did it again) mean.
Yesterday Jeff & Kathryn invited us to join them at Ruth’s Chris Stak House for dinner, with family and a few friends, we would celebrate Abby’s Birthday. If you’ve never been to one of these dining venues, you must try it once. Mary Agnes and I would each have a steak of different description. Fabulous sides complemented a meal over several hours of great conversation to celebrate the growth of a fine young lady.
“Hmm, how do we attack this”.
We gather to gether to ask the Lord’s Blessing and to wish Abby a very Happy Birthday.
From the fingers of Captain Samantha Davies, USAF
Once again Samantha has made things easy for me to put out a Blog, thanks Sam. Enjoy Sam’s first week in Germany as she continues to share her adventure.
It also brought learning the base and getting some initial inprocessing completed. Tuesday was a house hunting day and we picked up our Saturn from the processing center. We also got German cell phone numbers! Wednesday was Ana’s first day of school at AFNORTH and my first interaction with my fellow branch heads and wing commander. Thursday was a failed attempt at school lunch by Mia. She did a great job standing up and ordering it, but did not like their version of Mac n cheese and hotdogs. We also toured 4 homes. Friday was spent with my family while Zed did more inprocessing. I was able to learn the city center of Geilenkirchen, parking rules, and where the biggest grocery store is. Saturday (today) we slept in, only about an hour, and Zed set out with two kiddos on a continued house hunt.
All in all the week went smoothly. Thankfully my mom and grandmother were around. They made dinner each night and helped with bath time. I was in no condition to maintain survival of the kids or myself and Zed was about the same. So grateful for the help.
We’re still learning the time change and it’s been a little difficult to match up with those back in the States. We do have What’s App and that’s the best way to get in touch with us. Marco Polo is another fun one and more video messages rather than text messages. Keep following and I’ll keep posting.
Yesterday I drove the 126 miles from Salisbury to Philadelphia to pick up my daughter and wife on their return from Germany. After a ten day trip to help ease the transition for the Davies Crazys in their new home for the next four years, I have my partner of 53 years back. Thank you Lord for their safe passage and return.
I Now share with you a Blog Sam authored yesterday, enjoy.
Well, we made it. If you’re looking for all the amazing sites we’ve seen already and a true feel that we’re living in Germany, head on over to my grandfather’s blog and check out what my mom and grandmother experienced the past 10 days. Zed and I are still in survival mode and the kids aren’t quite sure what’s going on, but they’re doing amazing.
We ordered a taxi to get us from our lodging on base in Alabama to the airport because we could not fit our bags in with our persons. As we arrived to the check-in counter we were greeted with “You’re the Davies Family. We’ve been expecting your arrival as you head to Germany.” 11 checked bags, 6 passport scans, and 3 Delta workers later we were checked in. Thank goodness for Rachael, our nanny the past 7 weeks. She watched the kids as the chaos began and no one was lost.
We headed for security where half way through getting our family of 6 through our names are called to report back to the check in counter. Zed heads off and you would have thought he was never coming back according to Dax and Zoe. The TSA agents did an amazing job accommodating our family and I appreciate everyone in line behind us being patient. Why did we have to go back to the check in counter? Dax left his Spider-Man book bag that housed his cow blanket. It would have been a long day without that.
We found out our flight was delayed and were thankful to see a playscape for the kids. As the time neared to board the first leg of our journey we said our goodbyes to the amazing Ray Ray. Delta allows families to board first, I think this is a benefit not only for the families but for all other passengers too.
The flight to Atlanta was quick and uneventful. Due to our delay in Montgomery our layover went from 5 hours to about 3.5 hours. We easily walked to our terminal and found everyone some lunch. We were stopped numerous times and asked where we were headed and how impressed people were with our bravery/positive attitudes/children’s behaviors. Thank you kids for being good on this specific day. We then found an unused gate and let the kids stretch out while we waited. We also got some euros…for future knowledge DO NOT get euros in the airport. You have to pay to exchange money.
We boarded the flight to Dusseldorf, again ahead of others thankfully. We sat 3 behind the other 3, Dax – Mia – Zed, Zoe – Ana – Sam. All kids were tired and hungry at this point and we learned we could have requested kids meals 24hr prior to our flight. Good to know for next time. Dax fell asleep before dinner was served and Zoe fell asleep quickly after filling her belly. Ana watched a movie and then fell asleep and Dax was now awake. Ana now slept in Dax’s car seat and Mia came and fell asleep for an hour or so with me. Dax and Zed were troopers and stayed awake the rest of the flight. Breakfast came and the landing was smooth.
Customs was simple, showed our passports and PCS orders and walked on through. We purchased 3 luggage carts for our stuff and a kind Polizei helped push one of the carts to our waiting taxi driver. We loaded the trailer of the taxi and enjoyed the brisk air.
In the hour drive to our guest house, thank you Karin’s, we saw a brown coal mine, drove on the autobahn, and found an indoor ski resort. Upon arrival to our guesthouse the kids enjoyed running around and playing with the toys provided. Our first visitors were our sponsors. A family who has helped us out the past few months ensuring the transition here was as seamless as possible. This is the third time we’ve been stationed with this family. My mom and grandmother then came over and helped us settle in and get the kids fed and bathed, both of which were much needed.
The German homes are fitted with shutters used to block out the light since it stays light late here. We closed the shutters about 6:30pm and enjoyed a long nights sleep, with a few interruptions from the kids.
I’ll be sure to constantly update the blog to keep everyone informed as much as possible. We’re excited for this new adventure and I hope you enjoyed following along in our travels.
Thanks for stopping by as theRooster crows once again.
Bright and early on this past Wednesday, 0400 hrs., EDST, (Eastern Daylight Savings Time), my awakening text from the German travelers informed me they were on a train headed Aachen. Don’t they know I’m sound asleep. Ben, my Black Poodle stirs, “What, What’s up Rooster”?
I’m told today is a down day from House hunting. Several rental homes to visit are on the schedule for Thursday. We best see some sites, say the girls. So they gather themselves and head to the place every German traveler goes when they want to change locations.
The Railway Train
I like to see it lap the miles, And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks; And then, prodigious, step
Around a pile of mountains, And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads; And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between, Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza; Then chase itself down the hill
And neigh like Boanerges; Then, punctual as a star,
Stop – docile and omnipotent – At its own stable door.
Located at the border of Germany – Netherlands – Belgium, Aachen is a German city with a long-standing connection with the country’s history. Thanks to its many sulphur-laden springs, this historical spa city has been a site where the German Kings were crowned. Residence of Charlemagne, Aachen is one of Europe’s most important cities. The city itself has many historical sites that are worth visiting. Check out some of the best things to do in Aachen @ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187367-Activities-Aachen_North_Rhine_Westphalia.html
A beautiful gothic cathedral like one should be. Situated in the old town of Aachen with hundreds of nice shops & restaurants and cafes all around it. Definitely worth the trip.
Aachen: cathedral city of Europe.
Kathryn’s image capture
Aachen is a city that lives and breathes Europe. It is practically Europe in miniature. Aachen, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, has encapsulated the spirit, value and ideals of Europe since the days of Charlemagne. Indeed the Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity has been awarded at Aachen’s town hall since 1950.
Aachen Cathedral is both a local landmark and a monument to Europe’s illustrious past.
After starting out life as the imperial palace’s chapel in 800 AD (the year of Charlemagne’s coronation), the completed building became the first cathedral in northern Europe and for many centuries served as the church of coronation for nearly every German king. The term ‘completed’ is open to interpretation, however, since the cathedral has been extended numerous times, including the addition of the great chancel in 1414 – a Gothic masterpiece whose windows reach an impressive 27 metresin height, making them the tallest ever at that time. The cathedral’s treasury is the most important north of the Alps and features precious artefacts such as the Cross of Lothair, a silver and gold bust of Charlemagne and the shrine in which Charlemagne was supposedly interred in 814 AD. Both the cathedral and its treasury are among the highlights on the Charlemagne Route, the historical path that winds through Aachen. The route takes in a series of eye-catching buildings, including Haus Löwenstein (a former residence and inn) and the Büchelpalais, which until 1752 served as the local corn exchange. Every checkpoint on the route focuses on a different topic: history, science, Europe, religion, power, business and media. It’s a wonder there’s not an equestrian-themed checkpoint, given how passionate the locals are for this noble sport. The annual Concours Hippique International Officiel is among the leading equestrian tournaments worldwide. It’s just one of numerous major events in the city, many of which are held in the equestrian arena before a crowd of 50,000 enthusiastic spectators.
Aachen is also renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, best experienced on a stroll through the historical streets. There’s a charming contrast between the grand old buildings dotted along the Charlemagne Route and the lively buzz supplied by 45,000 students from all corners of the globe. They give the city a vibrant yet laid-back character that everyone seems to be enjoying wherever you look – evidence of Aachen’s cosmopolitan flair and yet another reason to wander around the city centre, walking back through the centuries.
Aachen Town Hall, built on the site of the old imperial palace in the 14th century, is another firm favorite for sightseers. It was later converted into a grand baroque palace during the city’s prosperous heyday. Just next door is the Postwagen, a refined restaurant that has been welcoming visitors through its doors for centuries.
Over on Pontstrasse, inside the Grosses Haus – believed to be the oldest residential block in Aachen – you’ll find the International Newspaper Museum featuring many fascinating exhibits. The museum now explores the wider media and its collection includes more than 200,000 newspapers and other printed matter from all over the world and in (almost) every language, demonstrating the transience of history and how today’s headlines become tomorrow’s chip papers. Whereas at the Ludwig Forum for International Art, the works on display are always contemporary, with genres ranging from pop art to photorealism. Throughout the ages, however, one thing has remained constant in Aachen: its European ethos. You can’t fail to notice that when you arrive in Aachen, you arrive in Europe (From the pages of Trip Advisor)
The girls got back to Geilenkirchen just in time to learn that Abby (Kathryn’s youngest daughter), got to take a tour of the new office she will be working out of next month. The young recent college graduate will be working in an off site Neurological practice of PRMC.
Today the ladies, Kathryn and Mary Agnes, got on the SB-3 Bus in Geilenkirchen, 15 Euro for two, and traveled to Sittard, Netherlands for some sight seeing. I’m sure the grapes from a local vinyard will become a tasting at some point, when in Rome, you know. The distance between Geilenkirchen and Sittard is 14 miles. Google maps say it’s a 34 minute ride by auto. I’m guessing the bus is a bit longer, but plenty of time to take in the country side.
Fruit of the vine!
Just last week, one of the AM TV shows were interviewing people on the street with a large map of the world. Passerby’s were quizzed on various country’s and their locations. OMG, no orientation to location on God’s Earth is held by anyone they interviewed. I do realize that for the effect they were trying to get, those with geographic knowledge were not put on the air. That’s kind of how things work in that industry. Is Geography even taught in school today? There was a good article in USA Today back in 2015 on just that subject. Check it out if interested at: https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/10/16/us-students-are-terrible-at-geography
In case you’re one of those no-clue individuals, here is a map of Europe.
The city of Sittard is located in the Dutch province of Limburg, which is the southernmost province in the Netherlands. Sittard shares its eastern border with Germany, and is located about 45 meters above sea level at its city center. As a result of its close proximity to Germany, many of the residence speak not only Dutch, but also German fluently. In this respect, Sittard is truly a blend of numerous European cultures living together peacefully.
The earliest settlements in the area of Sittard have been dated as early as 5000 B.C. However actual settlements of the present day city did not take place until approximately 850 A.D. History says that the name of the city may have actually been given to it by Charlemagne. Others argue that the name came from the fertile nature of the land.
The Duke of Limburg is said to have granted the city its “city rights” in 1243. The 15th through the 17th centuries saw much conflict and war in the area and Sittard was destroyed by multiple fires and rebuild a number of times.
Sittard in WWII
In the years prior to the war, there was a large population of German Jews that had moved to the Netherlands to escape the rise of the Nazi Party. However, as with most other cities in Holland, the German forces occupied Sittard during the Second World War. Most of the Jews were then deported to concentration camps. The 2nd Armored Division finally liberated Sittard in September of 1944. Although the city was on the frontline of the conflict for nearly four months, the historic structures within Sittard somehow avoided being destroyed.
Following the War, Sittard quickly recovered and many of its neighborhoods were constructed in the years after the conflict.
Mining in Sittard
Part of the economic engine that drove Sittard’s recovery and growth was the coal mining industry, which had actually begun in 1926. Prior to coal, the main source of income had been agricultural. However, with the move toward “Green” energy, the coal mines were eventually closed down in the 60’s and 70’s. Industrial terrain and numerous large office buildings now cover most of the areas.
Although the city of Sittard has continued to grow with the years, it has maintained its connection with its history. Many of the buildings in existence still today are indicative of the 16th and 17th centuries. Of special note are the following buildings:
Though the city is quite modern in many ways, the original city walls, built in the 13th century, is still visible in many places throughout the city.
Although a little out-of-the-way, Sittard is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The city can be accessed my major motorways, rail and even bus. If you are not traveling far, you might even be able to ride a bicycle into the city. Whatever mode of transportation you choose, Sittard is an important city to visit on your tour of Holland, and one that will truly capture you heart.
(Thanks to Wiki for the information)
Once again I say thank you for stopping by.
This weekend Maryland Public Television featured long time DeMatha High School basketball coach Morgan Wooten ,now retired. His mantra was God, Family, School and basketball, what a wonderful way to approach the end result. Peace my friends.