Two weeks ago, I was thinking how odd it was for everyone’s bags to be out in the hallway awaiting pickup while we were still settled into our stateroom. Sunday night was our turn to put out our bags. Each … Continue reading Ending in Amsterdam.
It was strange seeing all luggage lining the halls on Sunday night and ours was not there. Others were wrapped up in packing, we were not but could enjoy the evening. On Monday Morning when we went to a fashionably … Continue reading Amsterdam Turnaround — “Flip a Ship.”
When we got on the ship several people asked “Why Zebrugge” and “Why Antwerp?” Especially “Why two days in Antwerp? This is the Celtic Explorer, the Celts left Belgium more than a thousand years ago.” Sailing down the Schelde River … Continue reading Antwerp Postcards.
St. Charles Borromeo Church is easy to miss if you are not on a tour. While it is “hidden” in a little square it is not small. It does not appear in my Lonely Planet book or on either of … Continue reading Confessions and Anguished Angels.
When we arrived in Antwerp we did what we often do, check in with the local tourist information office to get a map, mass transit map and timetable and to buy tram tickets. The women at the desk told us … Continue reading Antwerp’s Two Cathedrals.
I love Art Nouveau movement and always live cities where there the movement has taken over the architecture of a neighborhood. There are several neighborhoods in Antwerp where there are fine representations, including Zurenborg neighborhood near the Berchem tram stop. … Continue reading It’s a Bourgeois Town
Yesterday was a “sea day” on Prinsendam. There are not enough of them on this segment of the cruise. I like a day at sea to recharge, and go to lectures and to ask the Captain questions. This sea day … Continue reading Einstein on the Beach
Twenty nine years ago my life changed forever. The Berlin Wall fell. We had been in Berlin the summer before and the wall looked permanent. We went back the next summer in time to see streets opening in the Wedding … Continue reading Walking the Line Between Hope and Despair.
We are onboard and underway, on our cruise to Iceland and Greenland. But we weren’t sure that this would happen. I had complications from surgery the week before we left for Amsterdam and I didn’t get clearance from the docs … Continue reading Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.
Here are the promised pics from Amsterdam’s Canals on an absolutely beautiful day taken from the hop on/hop off cruise. Continue reading Amsterdam Canals
Our Cruise to Iceland and Greenland leaves from Amsterdam. Given the vagaries of Alaska weather and our desire to avoid jet lag on the cruise we arrived in Amsterdam with four nights and three days to acclimatize. Amsterdam is … Continue reading Amsterdam Thoughts
This trip I decided to spend two jet lag nights in Munich, or rather Freisling, a small town near the airport. This time I decided to take the train from Freisling to Fussen and the onward bus to Hohenschwangu and … Continue reading A Train Trip through Bavaria.
This is the second part of a letter. For the first part see the post posted just after this one. The train pulled into Fussen and everyone ran for the 78 Bus to Hohenschwangu to visit Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss … Continue reading Neuschwanstein
The Lille Christmas Market is the first one I have attended in France. Lille bills itself as the most Flemish town in France. It’s thoroughly French in language but the architecture is more Flemish-Dutch. It is the heart of French Flanders … Continue reading Lille, France Christmas Market
Hasselt “Winterland” Market is, perhaps the most commercial Christmas market we have encountered in Europe. It reminds me of the tables under the grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair. There was a collection of kitchen wares, knives, trinkets, I half … Continue reading Hasselt Winterland, 2014
The last time I was at the Brugge (Bruges) Christmas fair, in 2007, it was a short visit. It was raining and cold. The skating rink in the middle of the main town square was more slush than ice and, … Continue reading Brugge (Bruges) Christmas Market, 2014
Valkenburg is perhaps the most unique, and possibly the most interesting, Christmas Market in Europe. I have been back to this market in The Netherlands three times now. The first two times with our friends Dave and Carol Lam. (The … Continue reading Valkenburg Christmas Market, 2014
We have been through Lille before, many times on the train from London to Brussels, but have never seen more than the railway station. This time we went with our friend Dave Lam and his daughter Rachel to visit the … Continue reading Lille “The Most Flemish Town in France”
Hasselt is the chief town of the Belgian commune of Limburg. It is near the Dutch border and there is a similarly named province in the Netherlands. Suzi and I visited Hasselt after Carol Lam’s Funeral with Dave, and their … Continue reading Hasselt, Belgium and the Begijn Movement.
Freising is a town near the Munich Airport where the airport hotels are located. But it is an old city. It had a cathedral before Munich, a brewery too. It is a place I lay over on trips to and from Tbilisi for jet lagging. I have posted from this delightful town before, including a post about the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world. These pictures are from an afternoon stroll around town. Suzi had never been here and I wanted her to see it. Continue reading Freising, Bavaria, redux
Domberg is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The current structure is a Romanesque building from the 13th century. When you go in, however, it is a shock, because the interior had been redone in Baroque style in the 17th century. It almost seems like a disconnect. I once had an architecture professor who called the Baroque “Eclectic clutter.” My reaction was “majestically bizarre.” Elaborate frescoes, pink stucco, gilt and an alter piece originally painted by Rubens (The one there now is a reproduction, the original was carted off somewhere.) The organ is really a baroque organ, the decoration is so … Continue reading Domberg, The Cathedral Church in Freising
My flight from Tbilisi touched down at 6. As I stepped out the shuttle at our airport hotel in Freising at 7 AM, after clearing customs and getting my bag, I heard the joyous “surround sound” peeling of church bells … Continue reading Palm Sunday, Freising, Germany
The taxi driver from Clontarf to the airport offered to take me a different route, around Dublin Bay, along the coast pass the fishing village of Howth and then into the airport. “It’s more miles but with school getting out it now may be less time. At Howth he said “You’ll be flying right over that when you take off.” (We did.) I think he wanted the longer ride so he could ask me what I “really” felt about Sarah Palin. He rather likes the idea of a governor named Sean Parnell. Aer Lingus charges bags by weight. 15 kg … Continue reading Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.
After a good night’s sleep in Freising, Germany (on my way to Tbilisi) fueled with two double espressos, I took off to see the oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan. This brewery has been in continuous operation since 1040. People have been brewing beer a lot longer than a thousand years and there is evidence of brewing at this site since the mid-700s, however the monks in this monastery kept records of their beer going back to 1040. In 1802 the Bavarian Kingdom nationalized the monastery (before Marx had the idea) and it is now part of Bayerische Stattsbraueri. I … Continue reading Weihenstephan Abbey, the oldest brewery in the world