A Travellerspoint blog

Pilgrimmage to Vodelee

learning about an integral part of Kristy's family heritage

rain
View a beginning stint in Ireland on globestrol's travel map.


It is indeed the 3rd of July and yes I haven't thought much about the 4th of July, mostly because we are far, far away in Belgium today. What should have been a 4-5 hour journey turned into a 9 hour trip of detours, poor directions--thank you google maps!--torrential downpours and traffic jams. But now we are in Flavion, Belgium cozying into our guest apartment. After arriving at 9pm, we met Valerie, her girlfriend Anne and their two children Rafael and Lola (I hope I spelled all the names correctly!). Valerie's sister, friends and their children were there, so it was quite a warm welcome. Valerie and Anne showed us around their home and guest apartment that they were rebuilding due to a fire last year. It is beautifully made of a grey stone that seems to be quite common in the construction of houses in this area. We also have a giant window in our bedroom that overlooks the street. Their house is set in a small village in the countryside outside of Namur.
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After our arrival and and exchange of hellos and cheek kisses we all headed out to dinner, which turned out quite interesting since I only know how to say "merci" and "wi". I tried some tasty croquettes filled with cheese and some "American Steaks" which grandma, I think you know from your childhood as raw hamburger. I only had a spoonful since I still had all the news reports and everything running through my head saying "don't eat raw meat!" It wasn't bad though. By the end of the meal, however, I learned a few more phrases and had some laughs at my horrible French pronunciation. This also allowed me to get a picture of how it is for Kristy on a daily basis in Germany.

Posted by globestrol 12:57 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Back "Home"

sunny

13. June 2009
I found a piece of home again...it's called Tübingen. A soon as Kristy and I stepped out of the car, I felt a calm come over me. A place so familiar and so peaceful. We spent the afternoon wandering through the cobblestone streets of the Altstadt, followed by a return to the Neckarmüller Biergarten--the first Biergarten I visited last time I was here.
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And now we're sitting under trees having a little black bird whistle at us. I don't know if it's because of all the nooks to relax in, the ice cream, the döner or wurst to be eaten...solitude...but it is quite nice. With a little foot shake to the band jamming in the distance I am content not knowing what exactly it is that draws me back time and time again.
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This town cannot be more surreal as Kristy and I sit at a bistro table waiting for our meal of Käsespätzle while a band plays "I could have danced all night" on the guitar, accordian and clarinet. Funny enough, we've seen this band at least three times in different spots as we've wandered through the town.
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14. June 2009

Despite the disappointment of being kicked out of our hostel so early in the morning, it has been relaxing to lounge on the wall that runs along the Neckar, watching the world begin its day.
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Not too far down the bank, Stocherkahn (boats similar to gondolas) guides prepare their boats for the day as eager students await their ride. The pigeons creep out of their giant wooden mansion across the way and begin to chase each other across the sky. One in particular decides to befriend us and slowly creeps closer until we're eye to eye, then nonchalantly walks away, only to repeat this playful process.
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Even though I have my morning coffee running through my veins, it is the sobering fact that my sandals or my other belongings can so easily fall into the water that wakens me this morning. But it is Sunday, the town is closed, we have nowhere to be, so here I will stay until I cannot bear the radiating waves of sunlight any longer!
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Posted by globestrol 12:16 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

taking a break in Heidelberg

let's just pretend it's the 11th of June...YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

semi-overcast 68 °F
View a beginning stint in Ireland on globestrol's travel map.

After a third time to the visa office and still no visa, I decided i was time to get away form Karlsruhe for the day where I wouldn't be thinking about logistics and the visa I still didn't have. SO Kristy and i decided to head for Heidelberg which is about 45 min. away by train. It is kind of hard to describe the pull to Heidelberg or what's special about it. Even when asking others, "It's just Heidelberg." It's simply beautiful and the castle that sits over the town was built in the 1300s. Kristy and I fount the bus in the old town (bus 33, 1EUR for city ticket) that dropped us right off in front of the mountain tram to the castle (Rathaus/Bergbahn). DSCN4923.jpg
The mountain tram or "Bergbahn" also travels beyond the castle to the top of the mountain which is called "Königstuhl" (king's throne or chair) where you can overlook the entire valley. The tram sounded like a great idea and a wonderful way to see the city, but we soon realized it took all of two min. to get to the castle and we traveled through a tunnel the entire time. So, in short, if you are not going to the top of the mountain the tram to the castle is best for those who'd be worn out by the 15min. walk.
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The castle is soo beautiful, especially the entrance where you can see relics of ancient toilets of the past...
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anyways, the rest is stunning and i am very glad we chose to walk around. I had seen it before, but it was Kristy's first time. It was so serene to look out the guard towers and see the town below and in that moment not have a care in the world. The surrounding area was covered in a sea of emerald green with a smattering of old large homes, tucked in the hillside. And on the far side of the castle was a large lawn where people were playing soccer and lounging about. And this whole area used to be an extensive garden with a labyrinth with high walls surrounding it.

It was interesting to think of the people who once walked through these gardens
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and those who defended high upon the walls as the back tower cracked in two, sliding down into the valley where it still lies.
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Unfortunately we weren't able to go inside the castle without a guided tour but Kristy did try her best to get in every door and window she could find. Fortunately we didn't get kicked out
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but it would've been fun to find some secret passages--I mean, what castle doesn't have a secret passage? After not finding any passageways, we decided to head back into the Altstadt (oldtown) lead by the old buildings through a trail of cobblestone.

Wandering through the town, we happened upon fun shops, pubs and found a great corner restaurant for dinner.

To top of our relaxing day, we met a huge group of Americans and other expats who get together once a month to catch up and talk about how life is away from home. It was so great to be in a sea of English for a few hours and talk to others who understand the difficulties of adjusting to a new country. Kristy and I boarded our train that evening with smiles from the whole experience.

Posted by globestrol 15:46 Archived in Germany Tagged women Comments (0)

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