Monday, June 15, 2015

Butterflies 2015

Each year the local Bereaved Parents group has a Sunday when you can release some butterflies.  This year it was held June 14.

In the past few weeks they have been doing a lot of work in the area of Springbank Park to upgrade the area with a much nicer sawdust trail, many more plants, clearing of some brush and the building of the second monument.

Instead of names listed on white coreboard, the names -- including David's - are listed on the new monument that is the same and stands back to back with the first monument.  Another day I will get some pictures of the area now.

Both daughters, 4 grandchildren, 1 boyfriend, 2 of my friends, my Sister and Brother-In-Law all attended.  Had rained all morning which meant the hot dog lunch was cancelled.  The rain did stop for when they were doing a brief ceremony to mark the new monument.

As we moved out to the open area the sun came out and the weather was really quite warm.  It was nice to have the various families open their own butterflies this year and I think they enjoyed it.  Didn't take long for the butterflies to take flight.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Coming home -- May 20

We had reached the point where the only focus of our trip was the final part of getting home.  Travelling on our own we wanted to get to the airport early to ensure we had time for everything.

Headed across to the train station and purchased tickets to Schipol airport. 
May I note here that there are numerous trains and buses that go to the.  The trains are enroute to many places outside of Amsterdam.  We tried for the 9:30 train but weren't certain of the destination as all the names seemed to be everything but.  Realized afterwards that the airport was about the third stop listed so caught the next train -- 25 minutes later on a train that was headed 203 km to Vissingen
And the cost was just over 10 Euros for the two of us. 
Big difference from what Toronto is planning to do and the cost they have suggested.  No wonder they don't have to worry about the cars the way we do here in Canada.  I have a car but would certainly use public transportation if it was done like Europe.  And don't say about the distances and populations because the Windsor - Montreal corridor could certainly support it.  There are many areas in Canada that could support it and with it integrated into a cross Canada train it would certainly encourage an economical alternative to the almighty car.

A view from our platform to the area behind where the ferry connects.

It didn't take very long to reach the train station below the airport and now began the trek to find the right areas and such.

The airport itself is huge!

We asked an employee about the KLM area and were directed to it.  Once there a KLM employee directed us to numerous machines set up where you printed out your boarding pass.  Asked about checking the bags, we were directed to a short line where we could do the weighing and tagging of our luggage.  Once completed the front of the machine came down and our bags disappeared until the end of our trip.

Through passport control and we were in the departure area.

Not too many eating places that we found but one served sushi so we had a lovely mixed tray.  Around the area were numerous shops and they were ALL duty free.  Did more shopping in that area then we had done all throughtout the trip.  Had the best idea of what space we had and didn't have to worry about lugging it around with us.

We were in the side three seats so slightly more room.  Unhappy father directly ahead of my aisle seat as his wife, approx. 5 month old baby and a 4 year old were in two of the center seats.  He wanted to be beside here but there was a party of two booked for the center so he was not too happy.  Think he was more problem than the kids.  The baby got a cot that hung on the wall in front of the mother which seemed very nice and was certainly handy.

Must say that the food was very good but then I don't fly often and was just glad to get some.

7:30 arrival time in Toronto.  The long multiple moving sidewalk in Toronto was NOT appreciated.  Seemed as it should have been booked as a separate trip.  Customs is all automated and our bags were coming down as we approached the carousel so no delay at either.

Thought Andy might meet us after all his "stalking" but Alex did instead.  I was pleased to see him but he hadn't been given all the instructions so Andrea was making a quick dash to Tim Horton's almost before speaking to him.  He had parked at the far side of the parking garage so went over and got the car to meet us outside.  Cars pulled out in front of us just as he arrived so that worked out well.

The next day Andrea, while on her second Timmies, drove me home with Mandy along for the ride.  And to ensure she stayed awake going home.

We met my sister and BIL for lunch and it was very nice to see them.

Apparently both Andrea and I were up quite awhile on Thursday before the tiredness hit.  The adjustment seemed much easier than what we had at the start of the trip.

Went back to work on the 25th.  Will adjust eventually to being back to work and the daily routine.  Now I just want to consider where and when I can go next.

Two last pictures taken out my front window
.  One was taken the day I left and the other a day or so after I got home.  The first one was taken the day I left: 
The one below is taken just a few days after coming home.  No matter what you may be doing or what has happened to you -- the World just keeps on moving and changing.

Enjoy each and all moments.  They go by too very fast.


Hotel #3 - May 19 - 20

Just to remind everyone, Andy had booked our hotels and trains and such for us.  He had concerns about this last hotel but it wasn't at the very top of the prices nor was it at the very bottom and the reviews stated that it had a good location.

So when he asked us how it was the reply texted was "It has a good location".  For some reason that didn't ease his mind at all.

The place consists of two buildings that aren't obviously joined.  The one on the right has a doorway straight ahead set back about 36" and a door set at an angle to walk into the "hotel".  The room is wide enough to have two small tables on either side of the room and an area to walk to the back where the night man stood when we arrived.  I must mention that the entire room is in shades of brown and black and has a very high ceiling.

The night man tried to be very helpful but was new so uncertain about several of our questions.  Since we could see the shape of the stairs in the office we knew there were a lot of them and very step ones.  Since he wasn't about to take our bags upstairs we had to be moved from the second floor to the first floor which for us would have been the second floor.  He did say he would check with the Owner when he came in later to see if we could leave our bags in their back room.  Turns out that they state they do allow the bags to be left all day.  Had to pay the city tax (about 5 Euro) and a 10 Euro deposit for the one key allowed.

There was no way we were going to do the trip until we had to so we headed out to a restaurant right across the road for supper.

There was an Argentinian Steakhouse across the road so we choose it.  The seats and benches were all covered in cow hide.  It was a long narrow room with another larger room opening up off it near the rear.  They had an extensive menu and the choice of three cuts of beef in a range of 3 different sizes.  We both chose the mid-size priced cut and the smallest size and then had two appetizers -- skewer of large roasted mushrooms and French fries.  The mayonnaise was already on the table in large pouches like ketchup comes here and no extra charge which was a nice change.  The meal was very good.

Now --- the hotel.  From across the street.  Have used some of the pictures that they had on their site and most are ones I took myself.
The upper stories of the two buildings -- the black front and the white fronted building.
 The view looking towards the train station.  You must agree that it is a good location.
 A nice view of the train station.  And do you also notice all those things in front of the station?
 If you said buses and trams you are absolutely right.  So you can tell instantly what you have when they are running and you are on a nice wide street.

Yes, it was noisy until they stopped running after midnight on this Tuesday night.
Fairly comfortable but low beds.  Those two windows that had the HOTEL sign between them -- those were our windows.
Turn to the wall that would be on your right and there was a desk with these lights.  Only problem is that none of them were plugged in and we didn't want to go looking for outlets.  Under the desk was a small frig that needed to be plugged in also.  Not that we would have put anything in it.


This is a view below of when you turn left from the first picture of the beds.  There are some shelf areas and the area beside it is just open space for the one light that was plugged in.  Actually this area is over the stairs coming up.  Our sink was nice and handy but don't stand there when someone comes in. 
A better view of that side of the room. 

To the left of the door was the door to the shower room.  Those are very small tiles -- about 5" maybe -- so you can tell the width.  Again a very high ceiling and a good six feel back.  No windows.  Yes there was a light in the ceiling but we could not find a way to turn it on and with those other lamps I am sure we never would have turned it on.

When you opened the door to the hallway, this was our view:
The rolled up hose at the end was a fire hose.  the handle on the right led to the shared toilet room and beyond it the other door led to the stairs between floors.

The shared toilet.  Long and narrow and tiled.  What more can I say?

The floor in our room was laminate flooring and the pictures didn't turn out as I so wanted people to see them.  There were 1/2" gaps between the ends of the boards in the middle of the room!  Someone wanted to do a very quick and inexpensive job and they most certainly did.

The next morning the Owner was there and couldn't understand why we hadn't taken the room he had booked for us.  He was told quite plainly that with mobility issues we had only wanted the one flight of stairs to do.  They were easier to do going down as I travelled them sideways and had both feet on one tread before moving to the next one.
Even found a YouTube video someone had take of a different room.  Think we did better.

Another point about the location -- we were just a 10 minute walk from the Red Light District so Andrea did a trip over to see it.  I must admit to being glad when she got back but she had felt safe while out so I am glad she did get to visit it.


Train to Amsterdam - May 19

Great breakfast at the hotel.  When it is this good and is included it does make sense to enjoy it.

Decided to take a tram tour of the city to see the downtown and all.  The hotel didn't mind holding our bags for us and the tram is just across the road.  Only cost 8 euros and had a hour ride.  Was fun just to sit back and see all the houses and gardens rolling by.  People watching was also fun as had school kids and seniors.

Saw this bird on one of the platforms and very curious as to what type of bird it is so any input appreciated.

 This is where we turned around at the end of our trip.  Was interested to see that it is on the Rhine and that the seven other towns were listed.  Here Lambeth that touches "old" London can't get regular bus service even though it is now part of London but this town is 17km away from Karlsuhe city centre and has service every 15 minutes.  Have included a link telling the history of the system and ideas behind it.  Only wish our politicians had as much sense to do this!!!!

Finally time to collect the bags and head to the train station.  Karlsruhe has elevators to the platforms and all clearly marked so it was easy to reach our platform.

A lot of the trains were inter-city so they were two story much like the Toronto Go train. 

 And if you hadn't come prepared there was snacks available before you got on the train.
 Advertisement for some shows coming up in the Cologne area.
 Some of the inter-country high speed bullet trains.
 On the platform at Cologne where some people were checking out exactly where their car would be when it reached the platform.

Got into Amsterdam in the early evening. 
Came out of their station which services the trains, buses and ferry and walked to the right of where we had started our canal cruise and crossed the square.  A turn to the right to cross the street and our hotel was just down a few doors.

Every trip should have one hotel like this! Definitely an entry of its own.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Back to the past - Part 2, May 18

Headed further north to Iffezheim which is where we lived for the first 10 months in Germany.
From the car the base/airport was now on my right and I could get some pictures as we drove past.
It looked like the same fence was there.

 And could now see the golf course behind it.

One of the things the place is famous for is the horse racing which we never attended but we did drive past the buildings and pastures today.

And past the center of town although I must admit there were many more shops and restaurants but liked this square.

Driving through town we could not locate the house we had lived in and not even a house that was situated the same.  The one end of the house was at a right angel to the street and right along the sidewalk.  A fence completely enclosed the grounds that had a garden area at the rear.  The front door was halfway along the house so you had to go through the gates to reach it.

We did find one house that had a paint job that Andrea really liked.
Yes, it is green with grey accents.  Can identify it easily when giving directions I am sure.

Also on one of the back roads we found a farming place that had signs out and a large parking lot with quite a few cars so we decided to check it out and I am so glad that we did.
 This was Huber of Restaurant & (?). (Did find it on Google map on Spitzenweg to the left of Iffezheim the town)  There were more areas inside the building where you could eat and you can purchase fresh produce in the last building seen above.  And below is the view to my left
 This was my lunch and it was so tasty!  A lovely cold salad of white asparagus, fresh baby peas, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, radish and fresh herb flavorings in a white dressing.  Unbelievably good.
 Andrea wasn't hungry so she ordered the small size of wiener schnitzel with French fries and a salad.  For some reason she ate the salad much later that day.
 And we shared our dessert.  The glass bowl is much higher at the back so the display was lovely.  The strawberries were fresh grown there and full of color and taste.
 There was another patio area in front of the house to our left and I am sure that many children have enjoyed the strawberry table and chairs.

 This one did!

And she made a new friend but I didn't think it was nice to sit on him.

 And a playground area.
 Bikes were parked in slots cut into a large log.

When we got back to the car, this was a view of the house where the bikes were parked and that backed onto the eating area which is tucked away at the left end of the building.

 How they marked a corner of the driveway.

And as a new memory, the rear of the car showing the car model.

 And to prove this was the one she got to drive.  I think the smile says it all.
This is the sign at the north entrance to Iffezheim.  Would be the south-east corner.


And at the south-west corner.
Drove home through Rastatt which was the nearest city along their highway 3 enroute to Karlsruhe.  Plainly remember going there sometimes for the market and buying myself flowers.  Will never forget one time taking a VW van there with the husband of the couple upstairs at that time in Leiberstung.  He was a big tall man and we had car problems which meant he had to open the back of the van and crank the motor to start it while I stood alongside to "supervise".  This was enough to cause glances but then in the rear window were the faces of 6 children stepped down in ages from 9 to 3 probably.  The first 3 looked very much alike with red hair and then there were my 3.  Caused a few double takes.

 Some city views:

Of course, we did get hungry later in the day and had to have our supper after getting back to Karlsruhe.
Recognize the gold circle in the center right of the picture?

Would the picture below help?

Yes, we are sitting in the hotel restaurant at the edge of the Zoo.  And don't you love the boundary between the two -- that thin piece of wire going across just above the back of the chair.

I choose a menu of soup and the entrée below which is cod and vegetables.
 Andrea choose this meat in pastry with salad -- sorry but I forget the full and proper description of her meal.
 Again we shared the dessert so it was gone before the camera was picked up.  Warm apple strudel with ice cream and a chocolate drizzle on top.
 The door into the restaurant.  The name is Lowe am Tiergarten.  It was very interesting to see the pictures on their Booking .com site.
 This covered sidewalk continued completely along the sidewalk for the full block.  To the right would be the hotel, just to the left the zoo store and entrance and then a three story building that had a small grocery store and some empty storefronts that had been a butcher and another store and there were signs for doctors in the suites above.  At the end of the block to the left you crossed the road and were at our hotel. 
The building you see through the arches is the train station.

Finished the shawl with the wool I had brought with me.  The wool in the picture is what I had bought for myself in Basel.  Started another shawl the same shape but doing different stitch patterns for each colour change.  The stitch in the last color, the purple, will be the same as the last stitch pattern in the yellow shawl -- a plain yarn over, knit 2 together across the row.  Thought I would like this connection for the two shawls.
To bed before another train trip in the morning.



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