The last few days flew by at the blink of an eye. Driving from one side of the country to the other and back again, we were able to spend some more time with friends and family we hardly get to see living in Toronto. Unfortunately, one family member was lost to us. On a brighter note, out of the 4 families 3 get to enjoy their new homes and 3 individuals are starting new jobs. A bittersweet outcome to this trip but things could have been much worse. Our next visit won’t be for quite a while, so for now we bid all our family and friends a warm farewell. We’ll see you guys soon again.Read More
On day five of this unplanned trip it was good to see my dear friend and his family again. Living the cottage life with their awesome Weimaraner Obi, the forest is a welcome treat for us city folks. This is certainly a rare treat in this country. Also, I’m noticing a trend. Book stores inside old churches. Zwolle has more little gems like this, and there’s something soothing about walking around in a medieval city that’s waking up.Read More
While the real reason of this trip doesn’t shine through the images portrayed here, tensions run high and comfort food is needed. And aside from Trinidadian Doubles, Patatje Oorlog is the only thing I can think of to achieve the desired effect. So it’s a good thing here we have access to Manneken Pis Patat (French fries) with the above mentioned condiments. Nothing screams Eat Me like hand-cut fries from a place which name literally means 'Pissed On Fries’ which are then drowned in this unholy concoction of flavors. Delish. Oh and on this day four, the Canadian Dream Team was reunited. Ketchup be damned.Read More
Who needs to fly to the Caribbean when all that splendor is available right here at one’s doorstep? Well, in a way. But there is cheese, and cheese is all one needs. So on day two in Die Heimat, shopping was on the menu. And soccer. And Sunday walks through the park. In weather that I’m not particularly missing; rain, sun, hail and wind, alternating every 25 minutes or so. Welcome to the Netherlands. Gatverdarrie.Read More
Alright, not exactly ‘live’, but up-to-date enough. Circumstances dictated I flew my behind back on the double to Die Heimat. Bittersweet - or just plain bitter - reunions are prospected and outcomes unknown, so I believe this is one of those trips that should be winged. We’ll see what happens, and how, where, when or even why. Trying to make the best of it, which does help with awfully cute nephews and even more ridiculously cute kitties. You should expect a few updates over the coming days.Read More
A special mention goes out to Carolien, who through an old paternal contact was able to set up a meeting with one of the last torch bearers of an ancient craft; organ building. Who knew that around the corner of where we were staying, the Reil company was still building and refurbishing organs! So we went and received a personal guided tour through the factory. This really brought some long-lost times right back home.
Mr. Reil is currently acting as an adviser while his son runs the company. But the old man had plenty tricks up his sleeve. Nothing he does involves a computer, for example. Everything is by ear, eye, pen and pencil. I had this horrible feeling I was watching an old craft being lost to the ages. Nevertheless, it was amazing. Especially inspecting the refurbished pipes of the Old Church of Amsterdam up close, as Reil is performing it’s grand overhaul of this iconic organ. And learning we both knew many of the same people. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
We’ve been told there’s one of their organs here in Toronto. That deserves a visit, I’d say.Read More
Only fitting to post some (sorry, crudely edited for some uniformity) images from my first trip to China, back in 2007. Chinese Newyear is something to behold, and this was an experience never to forget. Shanghai stole my heart. Family, food & friends, all the ingredients were there. Previous attempts to go visit them again have been foiled, so for now -and with no access to other imagery in storage- this is almost all what’s left of those days. And did I mention the fireworks?
I would urge anyone who has the chance to visit (Shanghai and the temples around it) for Newyear some day, even though the…climate let’s say, has changed significantly from 12 years ago. The people are still the same and they’re awesome. It does help when you have dear friends locally, who can direct you to the best spots, Shanghai is a rather large city.
The year of the Fire Pig was, in many ways, a life-changing event.Read More
Alright, back to business! This trip was not only about traipsing around and meeting friends and family, it was also about pizza! And castles! Roadside food! Bookstores! And yes, work. Ish. Visits to my favorite Italian restaurant, a castle from an age and in a style not available in North America, roadside restaurants actually serving healthy foods, home made coq-au-vin and the obligatory cheese-haul. Maybe it’s a good thing this trip only lasted for a week and a half…Read More