The longest leg…

A 2 day drive and 2300 kms later, Jaap and Simone make it home from Spain and we get one more fun visit with them. Plus,we get to meet another family member, their son, Lex, before we head home on Sunday.
Simone kindly drives us to Schipol Airport and in due time we are airborn once again and off to Iceland where we have a brief stopover (and an upgrade to Business!!! Happy Day) before continuing on to Edmonton, where we are able to catch the last half of the CFL Grey Cup game (Edmonton vs. Ottawa)…well, at least Mark does, I was sawing logs shortly after my head hit the pillow…..zzzzzzz!

Monday we awoke to a very crisp and clear Alberta Day.  After a great breakfast of bacon and eggs, we went for a quick walk around the block. Brrrr!  Then we had a fabulous flight over the many mountain ranges on the way to the coast and Comox, where we stayed and had a lovely visit with Mark’s Mom.  The plan was to get up early Tuesday morning to catch the 10 am ferry….meanwhile, the weather had other plans….it was blowing a gale and it was too rough so the ferries were not sailing!  Boohoo….so close and yet so far from home!  So we made the best of the situation and took Joyce (Mark’s Mom) to Value Village….where I found the score of the day….a new ski jacket.

Although it was still windy, it didn’t seem to be quite as strong as earlier so we made the call and headed for the ferry terminal not knowing for sure if the 3:15 ferry would sail?????  As luck would have it, away we went!

Murray met us at the other side, took us to the grocery store and we arrived to our cold dark house, tired but soooo very happy to be HOME!  It didn’t take Mark long to get the wood stove blazing!

Well that is pretty well the end of our 2015 European adventure, now we have all winter to plan the next one!  Yes, it was that much fun!

PS.  I have had so much fun writing this blog that I am thinking about another one….gypsyrozbudonskiis????   Stay tuned!



Return to Amsterdam

This favourite city of ours never fails to surprise and awe the imagination. This time around we discovered the Albert Cuyp street market…a kilometer of booths great for browsing for everything from souvenirs to flowers to cheese, clothing, shoes,….one of the most interesting was a booth with very unique and beautiful silks and sequined fabrics!  (It seems that all the markets have fabrics and notions stalls…are there more DIY seamstresses in European?)

The street and market are named for Albert Cuyp, a painter from the 17th century.
The market began as an ad hoc collection of street traders and pushcarts. By the beginning of the 20th century, this had become so chaotic that in 1905, the city government decided to set up a market, at first only held on Saturday evenings. In 1912, the market became a daytime market open six days a week. Originally the street was accessible while the market was taking place, but more recently the street has been completely closed off to traffic during market hours.

The product selection at the market varies from the traditional range of vegetables, fruit and fish to clothing and even cameras. There are many products sold that are of interest to the city’s residents of Surinamese, Antillean, Turkish, and Moroccan origin, giving the market and neighbourhood a strong multicultural feel.
The market is the busiest in all of the Netherlands and is reputedly the largest daytime market in Europe. It is also an important tourist attraction. The famous Dutch Stroopwafelsare prepared fresh here.

From the market, we found our way to the ‘Museum’ Quarter, where we saw quite a few kids skating on a pond that was frozen and decorated up to resemble a canal from back in the day (complete with a  zamboni!)  (that is the Rijksmuseum in the background.)


There was also another temporary Art display set up and open to the public.  My favourite piece  was “Beach” by artist Janet Van de Graaf.  Each of the photos in the mosaic is actually about a foot square so the installation filled the wall!

Darkness descends early these days, but all the better to appreciate more ‘street and canal art’ in this great city.  I also have a YouTube video of the top display as it was an action installation and very well done!

Go to ….Festival of Lights art installation on canal in Amsterdam.(on YouTube)


Back in the saddle…


The radio tower in Hilversum

It wouldn’t be Holland if we didn’t get on a bicycle!  Being in this country of cyclists certainly encourages one to hop on and get riding! So we did just that, courtesy of some borrowed bikes(again!) from our dear friends, Simone and Jaap. When the sun finally broke the horizon, we packed a picnic in our panniers and headed to Muiden/Weesp via Muiderberg. S&J’s location is so easy to get out of town…just a few minutes from the Knoopunten network and the forest trails with some of the biggest trees we have seen in this country!


More fun!