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    • Day16

      Visit with Lieke!

      August 20 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Everyone meet Lieke! Lieke is my dad's cousin who lives in Brussels :) I made a quick stop to visit and boy was it fun! We started by walking around Brussels, saw the main square, ate muscles, and saw the arch at night (it was raining lol). Lieke is also a big salsa dancer and recommended seeing the street salsa dancing under the arch. So cool! Then the highlight. Saturday morning Lieke took me to meet her horse, Mourenna, who is lovely. She is currently training her so we practiced in the ring. It is amazing that all of the commands are done by expression. Just inhaling tells the horse to start to trot and exhaling tells the horse to slow to a walk. Amazing! We also went for a quick little bareback which was great :) we ended off with a walk in the park and had some YUMMY pastries and Belgian chocolate 🥰 love family❤️

      Now off to Amsterdam! 🇳🇱
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      Wonderful to see fam! ❤️


      Sounds like so much fun, and so interesting to hear of the horse training! You would have loved some horse time!! Thank you Lieke! Always wonderful to get time with you!! ❤️

    • Day24

      Château de Ledquent, Marquise, France

      July 18, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Checked into our accommodation for tonight, and had a bit of a rest after our busy day. We headed down for dinner just after seven, and had a three course meal for 19 Euro, which is very reasonable and it was very good. We had a lovely French wine to go with it, which was also very reasonably priced. Brigitte had a vol au vent with seafood for entree, and I had the Provençal vol au vent with ham and mushrooms. For main Brigitte ordered the beef and I had confit duck, and for dessert we both had the specialty of the house - Profiteroles with ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Everything was delicious and they bake everything on site, including the vol au vent pastry cases. We had a walk around the grounds after dinner, and then headed to our rooms for a quiet evening as tomorrow we have a full day planned.Read more

    • Day20

      Buchholz and time with the Bulda family

      July 14, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      We caught the train out to where Folke had parked his car in Hamburg, and then he drove the last part out to his family home in Buchholz, for us to spend time with the Bulda family. We had a wonderful time, and before we knew it, we had to head to the station to catch the train back to Hamburg. Fritz and Inka were wonderful hosts - Inka baked three delicious cakes - Blueberry, Cranberry with cream and a chocolate and walnut - all were excellent. We then had a cold supper or smorgasbord with wonderful German cold meats and cheeses and delicious grilled vegetables, the spread was reminiscent of what Helga would prepare for family gatherings. It is a pity we are so far away from so much of our family, we have such a small family on the Bulda side we need to ensure we keep up the contact which I will do.Read more

    • Day21

      Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

      July 15, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Another early start for us today, with a full agenda planned for our last day in Hamburg. We once again met the Bulda clan in central Hamburg, and made our way to Miniatur Wunderland. This was started by two bothers about 20 years ago. Initially, they found it difficult to get funding from the banks, but as popularity increased things changed. What struck me was the detail of the work - so far more than 760,000 hours have gone into building the displays. The displays transition from day to night in regular cycles, with thousands of lights coming on at ‘nighttime’. There is an area on Hamburg - the city, the airport and train station. There are also displays on middle Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria and USA. I really liked Venice and Vegas. Angus enjoyed the hidden characters that don’t belong in a particular area, e.g. ET, Ghost Busters, Blues Brothers and Spider-Man. We spent much more time there than I thought we would need - it was really lots of fun, and we will need to return in future, as a number of new displays are planned within the next 1-2 years.Read more

    • Day24

      Cap Gris and Cap Nez

      July 18, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      On our way to our Chateau, we stopped at some lovely beaches along the way. As it was a clear day, you could see the coast of England across the English Channel - it is only 24kms away. While we drove around we also saw lots of memorials to WWII, which is what I would expect as we we’re quite close to Dunkirk.Read more

    • Day27

      Interesting signs & words we encountered

      July 21, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      We decided to wait until tomorrow to head in to the centre of Brussels, as today is a public holiday and the centre would be packed. This means I have had some free time to catch up on my blog. Over our holiday we have seen some very humorous and silly signs, so I decided to include them in the next couple of entries. Some are train station stops, restaurants, stores, and some are just signs that made us laugh!Read more

    • Day20

      Hamburg and Buchholtz

      July 14, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      We met Folke and his family - Meike, Fridtjof and Frederik - at the harbour at Baumwall, and headed out to check out some of the sights of Hamburg. We walked through the area around the harbour, got to see the participants in the Hamburg triathlon, and made our way to Elb Philharmonic, which has recently been completed. It has two concert halls and is a magnificent building. Meike told me that the acoustics are excellent - they were fortunate enough to attend a concert following its opening. We then wandered around the area, and again were able to watch the triathlon participants, first swimming and then some in the final running leg. We then found a lovely spot for lunch where we ate traditional food from the Rhine region, and it was excellent. We also saw many brightly dressed people who are participating on the Schlager Move event. This is a parade followed by many parties where they listen to 60s and 70s music, and lot’s of drinking and, I mean lots and lots of drinking - Aussies would fit right in!

      We then headed to St. Michael’s Church, which is one of five main Lutheran churches in Hamburg. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Hanseatic Protestant Baroque churches. It is dedicated to the archangel Michael, and it has an 132 metre high Baroque spire which is completely covered in copper, and which is clearly visible on the Hamburg skyline. It has been rebuilt several times - it was destroyed by a lightening strike in 1750, it caught fire in 1906, and again following bombing attacks in 1944 & 1945. It required extensive reconstruction work. We climbed to the viewing platform in the spire that gave us great views of Hamburg.

      We then made our way to the trains and headed to Buchholz for afternoon tea with Fritz and Inka (Folke’s parents), and Folke and his family. Buchholz is as lovely as I remembered, and they have the garden looking beautiful. We had a delicious afternoon tea - the blueberry cake Inka made was amazing. We were there for many hours and we had a wonderful cold supper of traditional German fare which I loved, especially the meat salad. The time went very quickly and it was comfortable and easygoing, before we knew it it was time for us to catch the train back to Hamburg.
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    • Day17

      Topography of Terror

      July 11, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      The last memorial we went to was the Topography of Terror. Between 1933 and 1945, the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror were located at the site of The Memorial on Niederkirchnerstraße (formally Wilhemstraße and Prinz-Albrecht- Straße) including the offices of the Gestapo, the SS and from 1939 on the Reich Security Main Office. This exhibition was established in 1987 and provides information about the historical site and illustrates the European dimensions of the Nazi reign of terror.

      After WWII all the buildings were bulldozed. There is also a documentation centre that was designed by Berlin architect Ursula Wilms which provides information about the headquarters of the National Socialist SS and police state during the Third Reich and it shows the extent of the Nazi reign of terror throughout Europe.

      What struck me as I read the accounts of Hitler’s rise and the increasing atrocities taking place was how easily Hitler was able to secure power, the German people seemed to get caught up in all the rhetoric and national pride until it was too strong and powerful to stop or oppose.

      We began the day looking at beautiful architecture and landscaping and the influences of the Age of Enlightenment and then as the day progressed saw the ugly side of the human race and the unspeakable things done to fellow human because they had different beliefs or looked different - it was an exceptionally draining day but it was important to do. I haven’t put captions on these photographs as I think they are powerful on their own.
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    • Day18

      Remainder of Thursday in Berlin

      July 12, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      After finishing at the Memorial for murdered Jews, we headed off for a late lunch and then onto Museumsinsel (Museum Island). Our plan was to go to the Pergamonmuseum, but unfortunately there was a two-hour wait to get in and, as the weather was bad and I had a head cold, we decided to try to get into another museum. We ended up going to the Neues Museum, where we saw some wonderful things including the Golden Hat, known as the Berlin Golden Hat. It is the best preserved specimen among the four conical Golden Hats known from the Bronze Age Europe. We also saw the Bust of Nefertiti, and the Xanten Youth and the Berlin Green Head, an ancient Egyptian statue head made from greenschist. It is considered to be the work of a highly skilled (though unknown) Egyptian sculptors, as well as one of the most famous and credited pieces of art from the late and Ptolemaic periods of ancient Egypt.Read more

    • Day21

      Seeing where Hans lived

      July 15, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      After finishing our sightseeing in towns, Folke took us to see the apartment where my dad spent many years. It turns out that the Airbnb apartment we are staying in is only 10 minutes away on foot. It was nice to see the place where Hans lived in with his family. The apartment building has been renovated, and is in a very posh neighbourhood. We took a few photos and then headed back to our place with Meike and Folke to watch the World Cup final between France and Croatia, and we were able to use up many of the goodies our host Thomas had left us. It was a nice and relaxing way to finish our time with Folke, who had been a fantastic and generous guide, both in Berlin and Hamburg. He also organised taxis for us for the morning, which was a bit more complicated as we ordered two taxis to the same address in the same name, going to the airport but at different times. It was also nice for France to win the World Cup; they played very well throughout the tournament.

      After Folke and Meike left us to head home, we spent the evening packing as tomorrow the boys start their journey home and have an early start, and I head to Brussels to see more family, this time on the French side.
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