Thursday, 30 July 2015

Visiting medieval castle the Muiderslot

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


If at all cold, the Queensland winters can't be much colder than the Dutch summers.  I am so glad a brought a few jumpers (for autumn in September!).  The Netherlands set a record for the worst summer storm in history, with damages of near  $20 million, and I believe they must have been close to a record of the coldest day in July, the height of summer.  As it is we are not waiting for better weather and are going to brave the showers today to visit a medieval castle: The Muiderslot.

As it still is fairly cool in the mornings (the central heating comes on automatically it appears) we are tempted to sleep in a bit, but by 9.30 am we're ready to leave for the short trip to Muiden.

I have also checked if there are any geocaches in the area.  Always handy if you're cachers like Patrica and me. There are a few.  A multi that we only will attempt if we feel like walking and if it's dry, and two traditionals.  So, I'm prepared.

On the short walk from the free parking area to the castle we get lost, just a little bit, because of a sign pointing the wrong way.  Glad to have maps on my mobile phone.  On the way back we meet a couple who ask us the way to the castle, in English.  They have made the same mistake as we have, and followed the sign.  As you do! As they ask the way in English we ask them where they are from and... it appears they are fellow Aussies, from Perth.  We walk to the castle together, do the guided tour together and at the end, when we are going for a cuppa, we're still together!  We exchange email addresses and after that they go on their way and we on ours.  They leave to go home tomorrow.  Patricia and I walk to the beautiful kitchen gardens, vegies and herbs.

Funny interlude: we have recently learned that we should pronounce the word herb as 'erb'.  Well, I may have been erroneous in the past, I am still not going to change my ways.  Herb it was and herb it's staying... for ever... :-)

Here are some pictures of our visit:

Path leading across a lock

The Chatelaine :-)

A lean-to within the grounds

Stairs to one of the towers

Not sure, but this must be the official entry to the 'front door' I guess

Dining room.  Children were not seated at the table. They stood and were only allowed to open their mouths to put food in it!

The kitchen.  A lot of old Dutch sayings have their origin here.

The back rest of the seat can be tipped over to the other side, so you don't get roasted near the fire on just one side! A bit like the seats on the trains in NSW.

People used to sit in bed instead of lying down.  Blood would run to your head and cause brain problems...

View onto the kitchen gardens. Most likely a later addition.

Patricia with Harry and Merl at lunch time

Patricia spent some time, and money, in the museum shop.  I would have liked to do the latter, but the items I would have loved to buy were too heavy to take in the suitcase. Cast iron is not of the lightest material.  Ah well, we can't have it all...

After we said our goodbyes we walked back at a leisurely pace, albeit not without looking for the cache near the entrance.  Unfortunately it eluded us.  We took shelter from the rain a few times, but after that we just kept going.  In the town of Muiden, which we passed through, we discovered a small souvenir shop.  Not that I needed souvenirs, but I had spotted a very handy water bottle at Dieuwer's house and again spotted a similar one in the shop, so it became mine.

I had wanted to show a short video of a turning bridge as opposed to a draw-bridge, but I seem to lack the technical knowledge that I used to have and can't get it to work... :-(

Soon we arrived at the parking lot again and went in search of the next cache which we knew to be close by.  It was indeed and Patricia spotted it almost instantly.

CCBM Carpool cache bij Muiden

After we've logged this find we take a longer, but more scenic, route back to Vreeland via Nederhorst de Berg, so we can pick up that outstanding cache there as well.

 Winkels rond het plein


We checked the 'blue dots' that caused us a bit of a headache in the beginning, and they were indeed part of the supermarket's name.  On Google Earth I had already checked the possible hiding place of the container, which made sense, so we walked a short distance outside town and after some serious searching I spotted the container.  Had I used my head I would have taken all the TBs that needed to be dropped off, but I had left them in the car.  A 10 minute walk to and from the car and I could deposit all three TBs in the huge container.  We signed the log and walked back to the car. We had another perfect day.  


The bike gets repaired and geocaching

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

When I am updating this it's Thursday already.  Where does the time go? Actually, I think I can answer that...  I have been spending the whole morning talking, looking at other people's blogs, scrolling through messages on facebook and... and...  So, there you go, that's why time flies! :-)

Back to Tuesday.  I had quite forgotten what we'd been up to, but it has all come back to me (with Patricia's help!).  The weather still wasn't optimal, but there was a bike waiting to be repaired, so I rang the bike shop and I could bring it in.  Got to the car with the bike, emptied the back, put the seats down and... the bike didn't fit!  Well, we still had the camper, didn't we, so the only option was to find something to put on the bed for protection and lift the bike on top.  Not an easy feat, but successful after some panting and two damaged fingers (Patricia's and mine).

Then we drive to Nederhorst den Berg to the bike repair shop.  They can't do it straight away, but it's also too long to wait.  However, it's dry and I know of a geocache in town, so we set out to walk.  It's a multi cache which involves finding a number of shops of which pictures are shown.  The tricky part is that the pictures only show a minute detail of a bigger one and are not easy to find.  In the end we had a nice walk and found all but one, which was a real nuisance and Patricia said that she was really, really upset and wouldn't be able to sleep... HaHa

No backlight reduction on my phone camera means no good results against the bright sky

In the afternoon we went back to pick up the bike, which, the bike repair man said, had had too little TLC.  The chain hadn't been tightened and the nuts or bolts of the back wheel had been loose, so the poor thing was just falling apart.  Luckily it didn't cost us the world, but adding this to the costs for the car, which I heard afterwards had this 'inbuilt' problem which I could ignore, was adding up a bit.

We didn't do any more caching or sightseeing, because a camper isn't really built for that kind of exercise, and neither am I. ;-)

At night I am going through the pictures again on my laptop and all of a sudden I realise which one we have missed!

The above are the pictures, 8 of which we had to find, but we didn't know which ones we didn't need! The one that came to me later was the one with the four blue squares.  I knew there was an Albert Heijn supermarket in the town square and the two blue squares where the 'dots' on the ij of the sign.  How could I have missed that?  Anyway, now having found all eight I had no troubles getting the coordinates for the cache and we would probably go back one day to find the actual container! And Patrica had a restful night!!!

It had been good fun walking and having a look at all the sights of this town.  To us these towns and villages are so quaint and picturesque, it's a pleasure to wander around.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A few days at home in Vreeland

Sunday 26 July 2015

After a late night we sleep in a bit and then we have breakfast together.  I stay on till after morning tea, but don't want to hang around too long, because Patricia is home all by herself.

When I arrive next-door-neighbour Arend sees me and informs me instantly of the panic (!) they endured over the weekend. As I know I can take Arend's concerns apparently with a grain of salt I am not too worried.

As there was no car the neighbours had assumed that there was nobody home.  On Saturday, during the storm, one of the windows had been seen left open and the curtains blowing in the wind. A lady had noticed this and had informed Arend. On Sunday morning Arend, who had been in touch with one of Dieuwer's sons, rang the bell and knocked on the door, to check if there was anybody in the house, but as Patricia had gone out for a walk, the knock on the door wasn't answered of course.  So, he went in and closed the windows (bedroom and attic) and left again.  When I arrived he surprised me with his story, even more so when I discovered that Patricia was at home! :-)

Patricia had apparently not noticed her bedroom window 'flapping' in the wind, and besides, the attic windows had been open when we had first arrived at the house, so they hadn't been considered during the storm.  Anyway, no harm was done and there was no damage at all.  Even the pot plants in the garden were still standing, so the force of the storm hadn't been as bad here as elsewhere.

Since the weather had cleared just a little bit after lunch we decided to go for a walk and see more of the surroundings.  I took a few pictures:

Monday 27 July 2015

The weather hasn't improved much, so the day has been spent indoors.  I have taken the opportunity to update my blog and make a few phone calls. Otherwise there's not much of interest going on...  The weather should improve towards the weekend, fingers crossed!

Family reunion or 'cousins day'

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Today we're having a family reunion at Wim and Gerrie's place.  Gerrie leaves early to pick up Chocolade bollen (a real treat for those who know them!) in 's-Hertogenbosch and Wim and I spend the time to set up for the guests.  Wim had a gazebo put up at the back of the garden, but the way the weather is looking it's not going to be used much.  Probably only by the smokers and IF the contraption is not going to get blown away before then.

This is what a Bossche Bol looks like:

 And this is how popular they are. People line up for them starting early in the morning at the bakery.

Setting up is done rather quickly. The weather is taking a turn for the worst after Gerrie has come home and it's not looking good.  On the radio we're told that we should prepare for code red which is the warning for extreme weather.  A summer storm is expected and everyone is advised to stay indoors.  A lot of summer holiday festivities are cancelled as well.  

After lunch my cousins arrive and we have a very pleasant afternoon.  It's great to see everyone and I am lucky, because this is the third reunion I have been able to attend.  It's a shame I haven't taken pictures of the crew.  My mother had three brothers and the children of each brother were all present, so there were 11 of us from the four families.  I'm not so sure we will still all be together again next time.  Especially me, living so far away.  Of the spouses a number were missing.  One cousin is still a bachelor and there were also 4 widows present.  Just showing that the female gender is still strong! :-)

After coffee and drinks it was time for dinner.  A plethora of delicious dishes had been delivered and we enjoyed a beautiful meal after which everyone slowly started to leave.  Because of the weather nobody knew what to expect and we heard afterwards that it had been very rough in some places, with many fallen trees, on houses and cars. It had been the worst summer storm since records had been kept.

This is one of the many trees (pinched from fb):

 After most of the family had left we chatted a bit with the youngest before he went on to yet another party! It's a hard life for some of us. :-)

We had a memorable day.  Thanks Wim and Gerrie for organising this.

Dianne goes home and some caching around Vreeland

Friday, 24 July 2015

The days are flying and Dianne is going home again today.  We don't get up too early after yesterday's big day and tidy up a bit.  Dianne starts packing and I look up some geocaches in the area as she would like to go on a bike ride to get a few.

We manage to get only two in the end, because Dianne's bike breaks down on the way back home. So, that's the end of our ride.  We walk home.  At least the weather is still fine and we did have a lovely bike ride while it lasted.

The caches:

Terra Nova



De Loenderveense molen


By the time we got back it was lunch time and after that I got ready to drop Dianne off at the airport.  Mother and daughter said their goodbyes, but are lucky, because they get to see each other in approx. a month time when Patricia goes to Sweden.

The traffic wasn't bad, so we were at Schiphol in plenty of time and after that I went on to Houten, where I was going to stay a few nights with Wim and Gerrie.