Tuesday, 14 June 2011, Travel to Holland
The eternal breakfast was there waiting for us in the morning. Mike Schneppel dropped by to join us with the eggs, ham and bread.
Mike Dropped By To Say Good Bye
Then he led us to an electronics store where Mari bought a new battery for her camera and JD bought some new plug-in adaptors so our American plugs will go into these German power outlets.
JD took a different route into Holland than he did last time.
Jean-Daniel At The Wheel
What an incredible country this is – farms, farms and more farms. Every inch of ground that can be used to produce food has been cultivated.
We stopped for a quick cup of coffee and consumed the sandwiches that Sumi and Mari had made that morning from the breakfast bar (“waste not want not,” my wife always says.)
Ooooh I Gotta Go
A Long Walk
Coffee For Five
This Is Not Good Coffee
We all felt a lot better having left more than we took, so it was a happy crew that climbed back into the van.
Load ‘Em Up
Then it was about a twenty-minute drive to our country Inn, Hotel Kamers.
The Long, Long Road
We were blown away by the care and pride Hollanders put into their homes and their gardens
Manicured Homes And Gardens
Too Beautiful For Words
Yeah! We finally made it to our Hotel.
This Really Looks Nice
Right across the street we saw this man working his garden.
A Happy Man
A couple of hours to rest up from the arduous journey, and we all met for dinner at 6 p.m. in the courtyard.
It Just Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This
Our Lovely Waitress
First came the palate cleansers, followed by the main dishes.
French Fries And Dip
A Perfect Glass Of Wine
Zucchini And Rice
Fish For John
Our hosts, Hans and Gerrit, had sent a fresh, cream-filled meringue cake to welcome us.
The Welcome Cake
Sharing Of The Cake
We polished off half of it and saved the other half for the next day. We’ve had more cake in the last three days than we have in the last three years, and I’m sure when we climb back on our weight watcher’s scale when we get home, it will be a terrifying experience. Oh well, we’ll just start again from wherever we are, won’t we!!
This day, June the fourteenth was the ninety-third anniversary of Johns’ mother’s birthday. Holland is about nine hours ahead of California so we had been waiting all day long for the clock to roll around to 9:PM so John could call his mom and wish her a happy birthday.
Happy Birthday Mom.
Monday, 13th June, 2011 – Elmshorn
Didn’t leave for Elmshorn until 1 p.m. so we had a long easy morning to catch up on our email and blogging.
Were Out’a Here
I don’t know what it is about JD’s driving, but I was asleep before we got out of the parking lot. But Mari and Sumi were clicking away for two hours.
By Now I Was Sleeping
The Answer My Friend
Are We There Yet?
I woke up when we hit the first stoplight in Elmshorn. Couldn’t believe we were already there.
Just Around The Corner
The Lutheran Church was hosting us as a community project. They’d really done their homework – there were trippin’ posters all over town
This Is It
Yep, Dis Must Be Da Place
The staff had totally rearranged their sanctuary to crowd in the extra chairs for the show. It took us about twenty minutes to set up and Dial In Our Sound.
Dialing In The Sound
Ready And Waiting
Then John and I took a little nap, Mari set up her table, Sumi read and I don’t know what JD was doing. Probably out taking pictures. Soon one of the young men on staff served us our afternoon meal. He’d cooked it himself – chicken and vegetable fettuccine – oh my goodness, was it delicious!
One of the Pastor’s daughters brought us our dessert. It was even better that the fettuccine.
Wow, Did She Make This?
Sumi And The Girls
After our meal we sat around for a while just talking and getting a bit silly before the show.
Relaxing Before The Show
All too soon we heard the voices of the folks as they started filling up the room so we got up, tuned up and broke up, Mari to her CD table, Jean-Daniel to the sound and lights and Sumi, off with her camera. It was show time.
Were Going In
Then came two hours of pure joy.
I Told My Mama On The Day I Was Born…
There’s A Whole New Generation…
With Flowers In My…
Do You Believe In Magic…
The Rhythm Of The Rails Is All They Hear…
But In My Life, I Love You More…
What a wonderful, wonderful bunch of folks came along to see the show.
After the show we met, what seemed to be, the whole audience at our Signing Table.
Then Came the hardest part of the day, saying goodbye.
The two-hour drive back to Bremen was another unconscious trip for me, although Mari did try to get some night shots.
Give her a break, it was a bumpy bit of road.
Sunday, 12 June, 2011 – Day Off in Bremen
After another killer buffet breakfast, we piled in the van and only waited four or five minutes until Mike pulled up next to us in his car. He had a tour planned for us at some of the ancient buildings of Bremen.
Into The Van
Let’s Take This One
The buildings were mind blowing and we couldn’t help but notice there were hardly any cars. It was all buses and bicycles.
Buses And Bicycles
Bremen City Plaza
Some times it’s really great just being a bunch of tourists.
Just A Bunch Of Tourist
What Are They Doing?
Sumi And John
Then Mike took us down into the wine cellars that occupied at least a couple of acres of underground space beneath the plaza and the buildings – huge wine cellars, centuries old!
Welcome To The Ratskeller
The Wine Cellar
How About A Nice Glass Of Wine
All this snooping around was just a bit of filling in time while we waited for our tour to start.
Let The Tour Begin
Our Tour Guide
The Hall Of Flying Ships
Then it was coffee time and we found the perfect spot.
Our Table Was Waiting
What a lovely afternoon it turned out to be – warm and sunny, sitting under a large umbrella.
A Coffee And Cake Break
Now That’s A Cup Of Coffee
Did You Hear The One…?
And wouldn’t you know, there were two street musicians cranking out some great songs on their bass and guitar.
Hey, Who Are Those Guys?
As we were watching Mari was sure one of them was an Aussie mate from down undah. She said, “That guy looks like he’s from Australia.” Then as we were leaving, we stopped to say hello, and sure enough, he was from Melbourne.
Of course before we left we had to strike up a happy tune.
Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport
Walking back to the car, Mari spotted a little shop that was open on Sunday, so we all hung around outside on the street while she went in and bought a couple of little purses for our grand daughters.
Caught In The Act
They’re For The Grannies
Then it was back to our rooms where while Mari spent a few hours answering email, I grabbed a nap. When I woke up, we got into our Facebook fan page and discovered someone had posted a live video of our Frankfurt performance of “Woodstock/Dancin’ in the Street”.
Before we knew it, it was time to head down for the lobby again where JD was waiting to chauffeur us out to Mike and Rosie’s house for coffee and cake, German style.
Come In, Come In
We walked right through their house into their back garden where a beautiful table was waiting for us.
The Back Garden
What A Beautiful Table
Actually, the tradition of coffee and cake is just about the same from Europe to New Zealand except these cakes were exceptionally delicious.
Who Could Say No
All too soon the horrible “time to go” moment unfolded. None of us wanted to be the first one to stand up from the table, so we sat there for another ten minutes just milking the moments.
Sumi And John Lingering In The Moment
All The Food Is Gone And The Sky Is Grey
Finally JD stood up saying, “Well, my friends…” He didn’t have to say any more than that. It was time to go. Jean-Daniel took one last photo, then we headed on back to our hotel.
Thank You Rosie, Thank You Mike
What a wonderful way to end a perfect day off.
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