Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fiets, Fiets, Fiets

Today we left the Netherlands or as I affectionately call it" Fiets Fiets Fiets" (bicycles bicycles bicycles). Everyone knows Holland for windmills, tulips and Amsterdam's Red Light District, but anyone who has been there will remember it for the fleet of bicycles riding along the hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes along every street, road, and sidewalk with separate traffic lights. Everyone, young and old, owns a bike or two. There is something like 17 or 18 million bikes for the approximately 16 million people in the Netherlands.
Last Import-0
After ten or so hours and five trains we finally arrived in Schwerin, Deutschland to our (happy to be speaking real Canadian) friend Kelly and her genuine German husband, Klaus. We then feasted on ribs at "Jack the Ribber" restaurant and then had coffee at our temporary home at Hotel Fritz. 
For the next few days we will experience the sights and sounds of Schwerin, check out nearby Rostock, and maybe take in a schlossnachtgarten festival.

Doug and Rae

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oma's House on Brahmsstraat

On Monday my second cousin André brought me to see the house that my Oma grew up in. It was on a quaint little street in Nijmegen called Brahmsstraat. My mother had taken a photo in front of this house on her trip in the mid 90's but was unsure if they had the correct place. The other day I uploaded a photo of a picture of my Oma, my Aunt Cora and my Great Grandmother in front of this very door.
On this trip we were fortunate enough to have an elderly gentleman from across the street stop to talk to us, confirming that number five Brahmsstraat was indeed the former house of the De Blécourt family.
Last Import-19

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What I Did On Summer Vacation

On our third day in Nijmegen I helped load a trebuchet, that's right a freaking trebuchet. From August 26th to the 28th Nijmegen held it's 7th annual medieval festival in Kronenburgerpark. Throughout the day on the 26th, we kept returning to watch them set up their tents when we saw a huge trebuchet being set up to fire at Kronenburgerpark's tower.
This is where we met Wouter. Wouter is a medieval re-enactment actor who travels from festival to festival to engage in historical battles with the troupe, Fronti Nulla Fides. We actually test fired the trebuchet around three times with our accuracy improving with each shot.

Here is the flickr link for the video if you are unable to view it.
Meeting Wouter turned out to be quite fortunate because each time we bumped into him throughout the festival he was more than happy to take the time to educate us on their activities and the community that the performers share. They even invited us to one of their bar tents run by our German bartender who served a delicious cherry wine.
The next day we met up with my relatives, André and Vera who took us back into Nijmegen to watch the medieval parade.
Today we head into Nijmegen again to Brahmstraat to see the street that my Oma grew up on.

PS. Those of you who have been commenting on my language towards Rae, just look at what she has been batting me around with.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Finally Arrived

Last Import-2
We finally arrived in Amsterdam after missing our connection in Frankfurt due to a late departure in Toronto.
Last Import-12
Last Import-13
After a short train ride to we were picked up by Inge and Stef at the Eindhoven centraal treinstation. The next two days were spent with our gracious hosts including a trip through the design district of Eindhoven that feature a visit to the Van Abbemuseum.
Last Import-49
One of the exhibits that the Van Abbemuseum had was on the Russian Constructivist designer, El Lissitzky who influenced many movement of design including Constuctivism, Bauhaus and De Stijl.

On Wednesday we arrived in the town of my Oma's birth, Nijmegen. Nijmegen is the oldest city in The Netherlands, celebrating it's 2000th year in 2005 and has been mentioned in history as a Roman camp as early as 1 BCE.

Gotta head off to bed soon. I must get my rest as tommorow I begin my training for Oktoberfest.

If the video doesn't appear you can Check it out here.

Tot ziens,