Monday, August 29, 2011

For Bob and Peggy

In my last post I mentioned we had just had our first overnight guests ever to our apartment here in Gorinchem, Netherlands. For 5 days and 4 nights, we had the pleasure of their company!

Peggy goes back to my assisted-living days, when she was our Executive Director. Lucky for me, and I might add with some surprise, after we both retired we kept in touch, meeting for lunch once a month. Somewhere in there, she, who had been widowed, married Bob, who had been single for years after his divorce, with two grown children. I had the good fortune of attending their wedding 7 years ago and ever since, it's been a delightful acquaintance. Peggy often was my confidant when I needed a listening ear and both have been there for Astrid and me from the get-go, supporting us and waving us on to victory, sometimes before anyone else was able.

So it's appropriate they were our first guests! This post is for them.

Our apartment is a one-bedroom apartment with no sofabed, so it's lucky for us that our complex here has 2 guest bedrooms available directly across our courtyard.

Every day we could watch them come-n-go...
(click any image/collage to enlarge)

...for breakfast, first, and then for whatever else was on the agenda after power naps!

That Wednesday when we picked them up at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport (first collage above), we scheduled nothing but a walk around half of our citadel to give them the lay of our land.

I've already taken you on this walk, remember?

See how we celebrated afterwards?! Italian ijs.

That was Wednesday. After a good night's sleep and a good breakfast, we spent Thursday in nearby Culemborg, Wijk bij Duurstede, and Buren, all cities we've visited and wanted them to see.

In Culemborg we wanted them to see the gate and city hall as you can see here from 2010.
As it was, we spent more time at the gate and only peeked at the city hall (seen through the gate in the bottom left-hand corner above).

The biggest thrill for me, however, was seeing this De Hoop windmill from 1854 being painted outside the city gate. It was a first for me.

Then we continued on to Wijk bij Duurstede, our main destination of the day. We just had to show them the world's only drive-through windmill, which we saw in April of 2010.

Yup, Bob and Peggy are in our car (Granny Towanda). They drove through!

Then, on to the Duurstede castle a short walk away...

...where a wedding was actually taking place!
We had read that this castle was often used for weddings, so we were delighted to see it.
(BTW, if an image is Astrid's, I'm adding an 'A' to identify it in my collages now.)

We decided to make one more city stop on our way home and made it Buren from our time there in March of 2010. Some places nearby really impressed us that much, to show them off.

But the surprise of the day was when we walked to De Prins van Oranje windmill....

...and found it was open for us to tour, on a Thursday!
Talk about a gift for Bob who loves to see how things work! It closed right after we left.
(I won't mention that Peggy is afraid of heights and didn't walk up to the top with us.)

We had had a long day....

...but still stopped at our Gorinchem second-hand store before supper that evening.
We are often surprised by little goodies that are vintage and Dutch!

That was Thursday. On Friday, we had a 2 p.m. tour scheduled at the nearby Trappist brewery, but first Astrid headed us to a new city for me, Heusden:

To be honest, it's like a sweet little tourist town! And it's a citadel city, like Gorinchem.

Full of gevelstenen, too! I was in heaven.

But it was the harbor and the windmills to die for.
First, the Nr. 1 windmill from 1971....

...and Nr. II behind it, from 1973. What creative names, right?!

All that before our brewery tour at the Abdij Koningshoeven near Tilburg! Remember when we were there this past February? This time we took the tour because Bob just happens to be a beer connoiseur and even makes his own beer!

Before the tour started, Bob and Peggy sampled the beer.

Then the tour...only 6 of us plus the guide, speaking English...

...followed by another beer that came with the package! No, we're not drunk yet.

And then another beer with our meal. Still not drunk!

Maybe it was the monks sitting outside. Maybe it's just good beer!

You'll be glad to hear that we basically did nothing on Saturday instead of what we had originally planned. We took it easy and finished the remainder of the citadel walk we had already started on Wednesday.

Enough photo-ops to last a lifetime.
And this time Bob treated us to a refreshing drink on our market square,
not far from the ice-cream cones we had had on Wednesday. Full circle.

Astrid propped up her camera and did the timer thing. I love it!

That evening we celebrated our "last supper" at our favorite pannenkoeken place.

And then on Sunday we drove them back to Amsterdam for their Viking River Cruise to Basel, which they just finished yesterday before flying back to Atlanta:

They said their time with us was a good appetizer. It was Peggy's first time in Europe.
And guess what WE now want to do, as soon as we are able! HA!
That Viking boat really looked nice. Only 200 passengers.

Talk about a great visit, chock-full of the things we love best! Thank you, Bob and Peggy, for coming. We still can't believe the time came and went so fast. Here's till the next time!

And to our next visitors. Who will it be?


  1. I might be first to comment unless I go on too long (always a possibility) and someone else clicks first to publish theirs). ;-) You are blessed in your friendships and your friends are lucky to have you document their visit so beautifully! If you had only been with me in Sweden, I might not be scratching my head so much trying to recall what some of my images are!

    I love the gable stone collage! And the windmills and brewery! Please put the brewery tour on the agenda for when I come to visit (hope I do before TOO long). I so enjoy the way you document your visits with friends as well as your photo hunts. Today is a boring day for me ... paperwork and house clutter needs my attention ... so I came here first to brighten up my outlook! Until next time...

  2. Victoria: You are indeed first. HA! And yes, we feel very blessed indeed.

    If/whenever you come, the brewery tour is already on the list. In fact, since you follow these posts so carefully, YOU get to choose where YOU want to go. What we think is the best place may not be what YOU want to do. So we will take suggestions. Seriously. Just tell us when! :) (This is fun.)

  3. that was lots of fun from a reader's perspective.

  4. PC: That's very kind of you to say so, Maria. Thank you.

  5. It was a delight to have Bob and Peggy as our first guests.
    The pictures show that we had a great time and that it is possible to see a lot and still have time to relax.
    That is what vacation is all about.
    It was our joy to show part of the country to our friends, we enjoyed every second of it.
    This post is a memory added to the many we already have.
    Thank you MLS for putting together this wonderful post.

  6. Astrid: We did indeed have a great time and will never forget it. They were so easy to have, rolling with the flow! You can be very proud of your country. I sure am, as you know by now. :) Hartstikke bedankt, MLMA.

  7. This is a doozy! Partly because it helps me imagine how it would be if we visit. :-)

    It's good to learn more about Peggy, much of this I did not know.

    I think my favorite pic, of all the wonderful pics here, is of the 3 eating ice cream, perfectly timed with balls of ice cream at their lips, especially with Astrid's sweet smile.

    It's precious to see you enjoy your home over time, like the painting of the windmill, seeing firsts like that.

    It's clear you are marvelous hosts. What a start to their European tour, just fabulous.

  8. Ruth: Actually, sister, the ice-cream image is my favorite, too. The smile on Astrid's face is so precious to me. We both bring out the Inner Child in each other in all the good ways.

    I loved telling more about Peggy and showing how in love she and Bob are. They remind me of what Astrid and I will be like in 7 years. Did you know that today (Wednesday) we celebrate 4 years since we met each other on Shutterchance?!

    And if ever you visit, we will make this place just as special and just for you and your own tastes. That's the thrill of this place. So much is right at our fingertips. We could even drive to Paris. :)

  9. Looks and sounds like you all had a wonderful time! Would love to visit some day some year. But we're also looking at buying possibly buying a house of our own back here. Time will tell.

  10. Tim: We did have a great time! And I LOVE that you might buy a house. Priorities are what it's all about, as we all know. You'll have your traveling day eventually. :)

  11. I love that there is so much orange and green accent colors splattered all around. Looks like you had perfect weather. How fun for you all.

    I just bought a 1/2 Friesian gelding. (I have two horses now) Pop over to my Just Horses blog and watch the video of my little guy when he was a baby. Do you see many of the Friesian horses where you live? They take my breath away!

  12. Oohhh this was a marvellous trip fo Bob and Peggy and I think you and Astrid had a good time showing them around. It's fun being a tourist guide isn't it? I love the brewery and beer pictures, and those elegant beer glasses, and the gablestones, and the windmills, and the castle... and... everything! Great times. That's a great idea to be able to use the guest bedrooms for visitors, very convenient for everyone!

  13. I love that your complex has two gastkamers available, though I would be creeped out if I saw a big ol' lens staring at me when I stepped out :-).

    The tiny doorway in the center of your Gorinchem collage reminds me of the short doorways I saw on the Warner Brothers Wild West set. They are designed to make the cowboys look extra tall. They also have oversized doorways to make the ladies look petite.

    I don't know about you two, but in our family, if we hold food for someone they risk getting taxed for the service. I wonder if Astrid was smiling because she was about to lick your ice cream?

    The Dutch do gevelstenen like no other! I looked up the meaning of "Geef me de Vijf" because the picture did not represent the American meaning of "Gimme five". I love the idea that this organization fashioned a new, yet old-style, gevelsteen for their building. I have no idea how effective their methods to treat autism are, but I loved this story on their website.

  14. Margaret: We had great weather and totally emjoyed our time together! Astrid says the Friesian horse is very famous...and strong, but we don't see many horses in our neck of the woods. We'll have to check it out. I'll definitely check out your blog as soon as we recover from our trip to England. :)

    Sham: You can definitely see what a great time we had. Our first visitors! Now we'll know how to make it work for everyone you, if ever you come. :)

    DB: I love seeing this country through your eyes when you comment, Diana. That's fun for me. It gives me another perspective. I especially love that you found the link for the gevelsteen. I want to show it to Astrid!

  15. Beautiful renderings of a special visit with special people. What a delightful time you guys must've had. I'm so glad Peggy shared the link with me. Namaste, betsi

  16. Betsi: Oh, how wonderful for you to stop by and comment! Thank you. I know your name, but not the spelling. :) We had such a great time with Bob and Peggy. Namaste, indeed.

  17. Ginnie,
    I have one serious comment here:

    and you are good to take care of people you love - and share it with others as well.

  18. Tor: Oh, yes. And you yourself know what this is all about. THANK YOU.