Sunday, September 30, 2007


My journey to Germany began in Winterswijk, NL where I had the privilege of staying with my friends Bob and Manuela in their lovely home - built in the 1800s and in a neighborhood of huge and stately homes. We went out for patat - which I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to now - and I had some of their delicious coffee hand ground from beans. Man, that's good. Dutch people have coffee a lot, which suits me just fine!

We visited Aalten, NL to see the house of Angus Young (from the band AC/DC) is building there, and then headed over to Germany. There's just a small sign welcoming you to Germany, no border, no customs, nothing.

This is a real door bell.

I have no idea what this will become when it grows up and becomes a whole car.

The house Angus Young is building.

Lunchtime in Germany. I wanted Bratwurst with sauerkraut and potatoes.

Oh yeah - the good stuff!

I have no idea what this translates as.

Beautiful rolling hills and countryside. It was raining, green and beautiful.

Map of Nottuln, Germany.

A typical German house in Nottuln.

From Wikipedia - Nottuln is a municipality in the district of Coesfeld in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Original settlement of the Nottuln area dates back to about 4000 BC. Wow.
A local church. I have no idea how old this building is, but it's really cool.

You can buy a candle to burn. I got one for my cat Juju.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm learning a lot more about the Netherlands, and went to the capital (and largest city) -Amsterdam. It reminds me so much of New York City, although it's much much older. There are so many people there of different nationalities, speaking different languages, I felt quite comfortable. Lots of Americans there too. I didn't really care too much about visiting the red light district or marajuana shops, but may go back to do that in the future. The architecture and the way people live is much more interesting to me. They put a cap on the number of houseboats that are allowed to 'dock' in the city - since the 1980's only 2500 houseboats are allowed. Everything is expensive - food, clothing, housing, cars, etc. Actually, to compare it to New York, it is more expensive in many ways than my hometown. For some reason, I assumed Europe would be less expensive than the US, but I have found the opposite to be true.

The fashions, particularly women's fashion is also very different than Los Angeles and what I'm used to. I'm planning on going soon over to Germany, and I'll see if that's different still than the Netherlands.
Lots of warehouses with their distinctive large many-storied doors have now been converted into living spaces. I can imagine this would make for a fabulous apartment...

A replica of a old sailing ship - just looks cool.
Just a small part of a huge garage for bicycles. How they ever find their bike again is a Dutch mystery to me.

Both their house and their porch floats on the water. How cool is that? I'm told that the water does not freeze in the winter. From what I've seen, the climate is quite mild. There are locks, and even their harbor is fresh water - and they aren't affected by tides, which makes for smooth sailing and easy living (provided you can afford it.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Schoorl aan Zee (Hargen)

Alkmaar is near the North Sea, approximately 10-15 kilometers from the shore as the crow flies. It was really cold, about maybe 15 degrees celsius, and very windy - but beautiful.

My new favorite word: verboden

The forest behind the dunes.

A farmhouse behind the forest behind the dunes in the polder - and a typical Dutch cow behind the farmhouse, behind the forest, behind the, well - you get the point...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Netherlands, Alkmaar

Everything around Alkmaar is farmland - cows, horses, goats, birds of all kinds and my personal favorite - sheep!

I've been exploring the north of Noord Holland, around where I live now from Westfriese Zeedijk (the old sea dyke, now inland), to an old town called Schagen. Don't ask me how to pronounce this, but I did get a lovely free map from one of those snack shops (Snack bars) that have what I call french fries, but they are actually called something else here (Patat). Served with Dutch sweet mayonaise, delicious! I also went to the Beemster, a world heritage area north of Amsterdam. That area is gained land, created by taking the water out with windmills. I know this, because I have pictures, and there was a sign that indicated something to that effect. I think. I only know, like, three words in Dutch. Luckily, everyone speaks some English, or at least pretends to.

My favorite - patat, which I am more than willing to share with a friend...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Birmingham, England

I've left my home and my country to come to Europe and travel. Being a native New Yorker and growing up around the USA has made me somewhat adaptable to new people, cultures and situations.

I flew in from Los Angeles to London's Heathrow airport - 10.5 hours on Air New Zealand. The flight was fantastic; smooth, quiet, good food, and I got to watch three full-length movies.

I had been told that England generally was chilly, grey and often rained, but unfortunately did not get to experience any of that sort of weather. Having lived in Los Angeles for the past five years, I was rather looking forward to something different. The three days I spent in Birmingham were warm and sunny. My friend and hostess, Viki, has a beautiful garden filled with flowers and trees, including an awesome palm tree. I felt quite at home.

With the exchange rate between US dollars and the English pound, I found things to be rather expensive, or at least seem that way to me. I also soon discovered that local security did not appreciate my taking photographs at the British equivallent of the local mall. Hey, it was a Starbucks! Just like home. So, I took only a few photos before I got on another plane bound for Amsterdam.