Categories
Czech Republic

Prague, Abi and Kids

So, after only a couple of days at the Tooth Palace and off I go with the kids, again.  Andrew stays with Maggie for another week to help with the repairs.  Abi arrives in Prague in just a few days so off I go with TJ and Abi for Prague, via Dresden.  No complaints from them.  You see, even though the Tooth Palace has unexpected treasures around every corner it has no Abi and no other kids.  We take the ICE train to Dresden. Hang out with Priscilla.  Watch her play basketball.  See some art.  Sleep a little.  Take a “Flixbus” to Prague.  10914403_1595464224007753_990682238_nA subway, a tram to Zelivka.  Dang, last time we were here we were with Maggie.  Our friends would tour us around the VERY old, VERY dilapidated buildings and tell us their dreams.  Fast forward to today and there are 3 families living here.  That is 6 adults10838373_715525681879692_1421958619_n and 11.5 kids.  Oh yeah!  Are TJ and Hannah in heaven?  I think so.  There are kids everywhere.  Not just any old kids but third culture kids from cross-cultural families that we already know and love.  They talk to us about more dreams that include accommodation for 50+ more people.  We do so love to dream with people, especially when they dream about family, community, business, gardens, beer, 10949064_1413474532279250_524954137_ngenerosity, love and just a touch of anarchy.  Gotta love it.  One thing that is quite funny is that 6 years ago we met one of these families in Portugal.  Hannah had this little stuffed tiger that she gave to a little Portuguese girl way back then.  This little girl now lives here with her family.  When we arrive the mum tells her daughter, “This is THE Hannah that gave you the tiger”.  She looks at Hannah like she is looking at someone of myth, like a Unicorn or the tooth fairy.  Runs up to retrieve one of her favourite toys to show it to Hannah again.

10919511_761197213960626_1121717753_nFirst trip into town and it is time for some smazeny syr.  It is fried cheese and mayo one a white bread roll.  Not very nutritious but very yummy.

10838758_781109785318125_915064714_nWe picked up Abi and brought her back to Zelivka.  The next day another trip into Prague central and we eat another couple of old favourites,  Svickova followed by ovoce knedlicky. That would be root veg sauce over beef and bread dumplings followed by fruit dumplings topped with cream and cheese.  Am I making you hungry.  Dad arrived just in time to be the mad hatter at Hannah’s Birthday Tea Party.

Categories
Belgium

An Artistic Antwerp for Christmas and New Years

train travelJust a couple of days before Christmas and we are aware that Maggie will not be on the move.  So, Derek and Amy let us use their artsy apartment in Antwerp for the actual holidays.  A few trains and a bus later we arrive.  As we walk into the building of our artist loft  ‘home for the holidays’ we are greeted by a large white stone statue of a reclining nude woman.  The small elevator is lined with a mural of more women.  Enormous paintings line the generously sized halls.  Our friends loft is filled with enticements to creativity.  Only the necessities, really, a collection of guitars along one wall, party noisemakers on the mantle, random art supplies and a trappist ale in the fridge.  Thanks Derek and Amy.  treeThe kids want a tree.  Because it is the day before Christmas Eve trees are cheap.  We don’t have a tree stand so we tie the top of the tree to the balcony and have a ‘suspended tree’.  We get some lights and decorate the tree with chocolate, cheese, sausages, tiny waffles and a couple of marzipan pigs, of course.  More Christmas markets mean more gluhwein, gourmet hot chocolate, chips with creamy garlic sauce and waffles.  TJ remembers a special sweetie from last time we were in Antwerp with the truck.  We remember they are little purple cones with a liquid centre.  After a bit of exploring along the tiny streets and in the winter markets nearby and we find them.  They are called ‘Cuberdons’ or ‘red noses’.  They tend not to export them because of the limited shelf life (6 weeks) and the claim that only about 6 people, have the recipe.  You see,antwerp  the liquid centres chrystalise quite quickly.  new yearsWe have Christmas with just the 4 of us.  For New Years, some friends  come for a visit. We down to the river with the masses to watch the fireworks.  deboraThey go.  goWe stay for “Three Kings Day” where minature kings line the streets and sing. We go.  Back to the Tooth Palace. kings

Categories
Germany

An Unexpected re-entry into Europe

towtruckTwo months away from Maggie.  Naively expecting to just jump in and drive her away to the south to get away from the wintery north.  Ah yes, it was not to be.  Maggie was reluctant to begin her journey and had to be towed.  After an eventful couple of weeks we towed her to a place she could be worked on.  Where is a good place for her to be worked on?  A reasonable truck would be taken to a mechanic’s garage.  But not Maggie.  The unorthodox journey of Maggie means being towed to a ‘Tooth Palace’.  We walk into the ‘Tooth Palace’ only a few weeks before Christmas.  santaWe are greeted by Santa precariously dangling from a rope in the middle of the staircase.  elephantFurther exploration reveals lots of Elephants of various sizes lining the hall.  Elephants are the theme for this ‘Tooth Palace’.  There are even other bizarre features like animals that once had a very different life, antiques, artwork and teeth.  bearThe owner of the house is a collector.  I can’t help thinking of the stories C.S.Lewis would have come up with here.  peterOur friend, Peter, lives in the top room while the remainder of the house is used to make teeth.  Mechanic friends are already planning on what needs to be done for Maggie.  It is actually only minor repairs but lots of little minor repairs.  The Mechanics and Andrew now have some trust issues to sort out with Maggie so a thorough examination is recommended.  Looks like Maggie will spend Christmas at the ‘Tooth Palace”.  oxWe are treated to a few Winter Markets in Bielelfeld.  Yes that is an Ox roasting.  Oh my, the taste.  Even the memory of that little Ox sandwich makes me salivate.  No they are NOT drinking Gluhwein, even though Hannah is legal drinking age in Germany.  Well, maybe just a sip.  drinkAll in all, A good lead up to Christmas.  After all, we are in Europe, it is cold, we are surrounded by good friends, family, Winter markets, new tastes, gluhwein, ox sandwiches.  Sure, Maggie is having a bit of downtime.  Sometimes it takes something like that to get us to slow down and enjoy and unexpected treasure…or two.  Hope your Christmas season has been as good, or better than ours.family photo

Categories
Portugal

Getting a haircut in Portugal

Portugal really is one of our favourite countries. Silves is one of those old, historic, windy-narrow-cobblestone-roads kind of city that makes a great experience. One of my fondest memories is getting my haircut as my Christmas gift. We were really broke but we all had 5 Euros each to get a present.My present was an awesome haircut.

The barber was eldery and quite arthritic which was awkward to watch. But what an amazing barber!!! He took nearly an hour. It was great. And of course the photo turned out well also.

Categories
Germany New Zealand

Ro-Ro and Problems with Shipping

Categories
Germany

Truck shipping in Bremerhaven with Sefco

I just dropped off Maggie at Bremerhaven where the good people at Sefco Export will get her onto a ship. Its not easy entrusting your home to a group of strangers but they have gone the extra mile to help us out.

Bremerhaven is a historic town, where many Germans boarded ships for other lands. There are some good museums here but I didn’t really have time to go.

bremerhaven

Categories
Romania

Are We Going Fast or Slow?

HE THINKS we are going slow because we stop stop and park when it is dark.

I SAY we are going fast because I can’t see many stars because of the overhead lights at the truck stop.

HE THINKS thinks we are going slow because he sleeps in late in the morning.

I SAY we are going fast because we wake up to the sound of speeding traffic.

HE THINKS we are going slow because we take the “green road” through the mountains rather than the “blue road” on the flats.

I SAY we are going fast because we are driving at the fastest speed our old truck will take us on the “green road”.

Cartandtruck

HE THINKS we are going slow because he drives with his camera in his lap and snaps quick photos of the horse and cart on the side of the road and the minarets above the village square.

I SAY we are going fast because we didn’t stop to take a photo of a meaningful encounter with a local or walk through the door beneath the minarets.

HE THINKS he is going slow because it took us 4 whole days to drive across just one country.

I SAY we are going fast because we aren’t still there.

HE THINKS he is going slow if he is not in a plane riding on top of the clouds.

I SAY I am going fast because I am not walking, or listening.

HE IS MAN.

I AM WOMAN.

Categories
Romania

Stufstock, Romania

We are headed for Stufstock, Romania. Big arts, movie, music festival on the beach. Hope to be there tonight.

Stufstock

Categories
Hungary

Budapest

We just had a great time at Camping Arena, Budapest, the cheapest campground in the city of Budapest. Nice people. We might return here next time. Highlight of our stay here was the thermal baths at Szechenyi Bath and a few dinners with campground neighbours and Gaby our Hungarian friend.

Categories
Germany

Freakstock…Again

Well, once again we were to be found at The Freakstock Festival in Germany. We think this makes 9 years we have gone. We didn’t plan to come back for the very next year but here we are.

First we had to reunite the family.

Sam is back after about a year and a half away from the truck. He met the older girls in Scotland and journeyed back with them. Really great to have the family all together again.

Every year we seem to get closer to the noisiest part of the festival and have lots of friends, old and new, around for most of the time. Some highlights were…

Being with friends.  Old friends and new friends like clowns, physical theater artists, musicians and other artists and just plain ol’ amazing people.