Long time since I've been here, but I promise, I haven't been "idle" LOL.
Mike was off on vacation, and we had plans to go to the beach, Brugge, The Hague, take in some museums in Amsterdam, mainly The Nightwatch and coffee in a sidewalk cafe, maybe a canaltour.... you know, all the things the tourists come to Europe for. And than we found out that there were a BOAT load of activities planned for the 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, and we replanned. We tried cramming every last little bit of things to do in the first week, but ended up doing only a couple, some because everything was going on at the same time, and we just couldn't catch it all, some because we couldn't get any informations as to where/when exactly and some, because we were just tired. LOL. I know Holland is not the biggest country in the world, but when you read: Round Canopy Parachute Drop in Veghel, it's still too big a territory to just drive 147 KM on the off chance that you're actually going to find them. The one group we thought would have an awesome programm to check out, was the worst in actually giving out information. The only people that actually got clued in to the when and where were the re-enactors. I hope the local area had better informaiton that was available to the public, otherwise, I don't think they got a lot of people visiting the site.
My brother-in-law was our main source of information, and he gave us some really good things to go see. One was the building of the Bailey Bridge over the canal in Son. We got up at 4, and were on site at 6. It was AWESOME!!! I caught some really nice pictures....
but I have to say, I'm not happy with the pages I made. The kit, (Boolands and the pictures deserve better, but somehow, I don't have the vision to put the 2 together on one page. I'll work on them, and you'll see a better version, someday.
After Son, we were going to Groesbeek, they had the screens set around town, and a liberation museum, with a special exhibit on Market Garden. Well, when we got there, the town was not accessible because of Road Closures and the museum was open to invitees only, so that was a bust. After that, we were going to Grave to see the parachute drop at the bridge (according to the website) so we waited, and waited, only to get a text from my brother-in-law, how to get to the actual dropzone. We made it with seconds to spare, but it was cool to see them come down, and hear the roar of the old planes overhead..... A good day, but I could have done without the replanning. Saturday, we went to The Ginkelse Heide (Ginkel Heath) for a 1000 man round canopy parachute drop. It happened, but after we had left, because all indications were that they would not be able to make it. Oh well. Living where we do, there is a lot of history, and we'll just have to figure things to do on our own.
It WAS a great week though. Saw a lot, learned a lot, and came away with a renewed intrest in my country's history. Not that I wasn't interested in history before, far from it, but having heard the stories my parents told us of what happened during that time, I never wanted to know anything about WW-II. In hearing Mike tell what he knew, without the "personal" interest, other than that his father was in the Navy in the Solomon Islands, and his stepfather was in the Army Air Force, stationed in England, and visiting the War Cemetery in Margraten and Bastogne has raised some questions I want answers to.
Week 2 was to be "my" week of things to do, but we were both so tired, we went to Hilvarenbeek, Safari Park Beekse Bergen on Tuesday. First off, we sat in a traffic jam for an hour and a half, so we made it there, instead of at 10 when they opened right around lunch time. We took the boat tour first. We thought, to get a feel for what we wanted to go see more in depth, but it turned out, what you saw from the water, was not accessible by foot. It was cool though, so no regrets :-) We took the walking tour back to the top of the park, and were debating if we wanted to expose our little gumdrop to having animals around it. Especially after we saw this sitting outside the gate.
Mind you, the lady driving this, either can't drive worth a darn, or the animals use it for batting practice.... Either way, I'd prefer not to put ours in the same predicament..... I DID like the paint job on it though. Once again proving my point, that whatever you put on a KA it always looks good! LOL
we were too late to do the bus tour, which would have put us out there with the grazing animals, so Mike swore to take me back in spring! I am going to hold him to that. Although I think we saw most of the animals that were on the walking tour, I want to spend a little more time, and do the bus tour. It's really cool. You park the car within the grounds, the gate to the car safari, is right off the parking lot, so you can do the car safari, at any time during the day (or twice, like my niece did) the boats afari and the bus safari are also included in the ticket-price, and there is no limit how many times you do what. So after you walk all day, you can take the bus back to the gate, or you can take the bus out to the bottom of the park, and the boat back up, in any possible configuration, only limited by the time you have in the park. It was fairly quiet, with only a couple of groups of kids going thru with such speed, I don't think they saw half of the animals. The areas where the animals are are quite natural, and sometimes you really had to sit and wait to see them, but it was nice to see happy animals, doing what they're supposed to. (like this lioness)
I have more pictures, but again... no Mojo to do them justice, so you'll see them, over time.
Friday we went to Leuven, with my sister and brother-in-law. First to see where they lived when they were stationed there for his work, and than to see the town. We have to go back, is all I can say! It was such a neat city. It's not small, but for some reason it has that small town feel to it. People are friendly, and very patient about tourist wandering about from one end of the sidewalk to the other, stopping at the oddest spots to either read a plack, guidebook or take pictures..... For lunch I had mushroom/beer soup....... I know, it sounded just odd enough for me to want to try. I need to find that recipe!
Saturday, we did nothing, because Mike had to go to work on Sunday (bad planning, I know) but even though it wasn't the "doing something every day, seeing things" vacation I wanted, it was good. It is very easy to reign in my wanting to go places, when I see Mike walk in pain, or see him so tired he is asleep at 8 at night.... maybe next year, if we can get into a healthy eating mode on the budget we have.
I DID manage to squeek by and get the Build A Book challenge done over at The Studio. As promised, it has its own page on the blog. I didn't get to pick up any of the free kits, or even look at the freebies throughout the site, but that's ok. They'll have another birthday next year! LOL
It's time for me to get back to studying. I only have access to the exam until January, and I got stuck on the 5th lesson of 23, so...... I gotta do it. Don't get me wrong, I want to. It is very interesting, and if I can possibly make it a job, and work from home...... I'm home free!
So, for now, I'm signing off. Glad I could talk to you for a bit. I have missed it, but there seem to be a limited set of hours in a day, and I'm chronically short!
Don't forget to hug a loved one?