On our way back from Mexico, we spent almost a week in Nashville, on the occasion of my uncle’s 80th birthday.

Nearly over….

Today, we’re in Brighton, on our way home again from a short break in the South of England. Last week we were in Cornwall: beautiful countryside, nice quiet (gay!) campsite. And now we’re having one last day in Brighton, before we travel home again. More details and pictures when we get home.
enjoying the sun

Easter in Berlin

Berlin HbfAs this was our third time in Berlin for Easter, I guess it’s a tradition now. While the weather in Amsterdam apparently was beautiful, we had slightly grey skies in Berlin. Except for Saturday, when we did some sight-seeing. We were there for culture, after all, not just merry-making. Two years ago we took a guided tour through the then still standing Palast der Republik, which the new Germany is now ‘deconstructing’ as it is – to them perhaps – a painful reminder of the DDR (German Democratic Republic, AKA East-Germany). We think it ought to have been preserved, warts and all (it wasn’t a very pretty building), as an illustration of an important part of German (and European, even world) history.

See some pictures here.

And suddenly we’re in Paris

Hank celebrated his 62nd birthday last saturday. He and Frits were originally going to have a quiet weekend together in Paris, but then they got tickets for the opera, and Wim and Nick asked to come along, and Terry and Mark were staying with Wim during that week, so they came as well, and then Jan realised it was Hank’s birthday and we decided to go as well – and so we ended up in Paris for the weekend.
Because it was such short notice, it was – literally – an unexpected pleasure. The weather was nice, we enjoyed dinner at Chartier, wandered through the Quartier Latin and celebrated Hank’s birthday in style in Le Petit Prince de Paris.

back home

Actually, we’ve been home for over a week now, but only now did I have (take) some time to organise the pictures. I’ve put a selection up on this website.

Pool Party

The trip, over 4000 km (2500 miles), took three weeks, and we travelled from Amsterdam to Sitges and back, stopping along the way of course. Sitges is a very popular destination, but you don’t generally go there for the peace and quiet. In hindsight, we could have stayed a little longer in France, and spent less time in Sitges. But then again, it was fun to see all our friends from all over in Spain.
Contrary to what they tell you in school, bears travel in herds. At least our kind does. So you meet the same people in all the same places: Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona/Sitges… It kinda makes you feel at home in all those places.

We did do some culture as well – saw the cathedral in Reims, took the waters in Vichy, admired some of the prettiest villages in France, were amazed at the Citadel of Carcassonne (and appalled at the tourist traps inside), were awed by the Sagrade Familia in Barcelona, visited the former home of Gerard Reve…
It was an interesting trip.

Flying to Texel

For my birthday, Jan got me a trip on the original Fokker F27 (Friendship). We finally went on the trip today (instead of last week, when it was cancelled due to bad weather). The first production Fokker F27 (also known as Fokker Friendship) flew in November 1955, 50 years ago last year. The Fokker Heritage Foundation has acquired the second aircraft sold commercially. It was originally sold to Air Lingus, after that it was in service in Australia and New Zealand. It returned to the Netherlands to become a museum exhibit, but a working exhibit.

Fokker F27 Friendship

The Fokker Heritage Trust keeps this aircraft in a airworthy state, and organises regular outings with it. We went on a daytrip to the island of Texel, one of the dutch islands on the Northsea. The Fokker Friendship (named “Anthony H.G. Fokker” by the way: the name of the founder of the Fokker Aircraft factory and also my fathers name) has its base on the air museum ‘Aviodrome’, which shares its airstrip with the airport of Lelystad. The flight from Lelystad to Texel takes only 20 minutes, but it is more about the whole axperience. As an added bonus, the airstrip on Texel is one of only a very few that has a grass-only runway.

The whole experience was wonderful: the aircraft is almost completely as it was originally. Apart from the required safety-updates. The crew, which are all volunteers, were dressed in period costumes, and the airplane itself is painted in the old NLM (Nederlandse Luchtvaart Maatschappij) colours.

See more pictures here.

You can see the plane landing and taking off on the website of TexelAirport (date 2006-8-19) – that was quick!

Trailer? Yes. Trash? No.

Eriba in Dangast We’ve bought a caravan (trailer to some). It’s an Eriba Touring caravan, and we’ve taken it on it’s first outing. It’s surprisingly easy to drive with a caravan (as long as it isn’t in reverse). We chose Danmark as our first destination, because Jan’s sister-in-law, Lise, celebrated her 50th birthday on May 20, and we were invited. The original plan was to stay a few more days in Danmark, but the weather was so bad, that we returned early. The caravan however, performed flawlessly – it was nice and dry inside. You can see a few pictures here.

The white stuff

Timon after a hard day's skiingJust got back from Val Gardena in Italy, where we (Wim, Nick, FrankvBB, FrankK and me) were for a week of skiing. In my case, that was only 4 days, because I couldn’t get away until monday.
The weather was phenomenal: wonderful blue skies and pleasant temperatures; pleasant for skiing that is. This picture is after a hard day’s skiing. Val Gardena is a vally in the Dolomites, and part of the conglomerate of ski areas that goes under the name of DolomitiSuperSki. One pass for 1200 Km of slopes and 450 lifts: more than anyone can do in one week. But we tried…

Pictures to follow.