Monday, August 12, 2013

The Luxembourg-Trip Picnics

Many of you know how planning a vacation is sometimes half the fun.  Watch Astrid and you'll see how true this is for her!

Our 4-day-long weekend trip to Luxembourg a month ago was a planned trip with lots of leeway for spontaneous exploration.  That's why Astrid was dreaming how the cool-box could be used optimally for at least 2 picnics while we were out-n-about.

After our first day in Trier, Germany, with an overnight nearby, and then our second day in Luxembourg City (2 posts yet to be done!), we drove to our B&B in Jucken, Germany, just north of the Luxembourg border.

It's one of those places where if you blink you've already passed through it.
2.39 sq. miles with less than 200 inhabitants.
But the B&B stays busy because it's only 65 km from Luxembourg City.
The church across the street reminded me of an old one-room school house.

Speaking of inhabitants, here's one of them.  And one who used to be, I assume.

And just a short walk from her our first morning, life was already in full swing.

But I digress...because that first evening in Jucken, after a long day in Luxembourg City (with a nice noon meal in that delightful capital), we decided to have our first picnic.  But where?  We were in the middle of farm country!

We hopped in the car, after checking in at our B&B, and drove a mile or so to this spot off a dirt road.
See the blue cool-box?  I had never seen one before moving here, though I assume they're "old hat" now.
You hook them up to your car's cigarette lighter to keep the contents cool while you travel.
And see the picnic basket?  €5 at one of our first open-harbor flea markets here.  HA!

At the golden-hour time of the evening, this was as close to heaven as it gets.
We had purchased the loaf of bread at a superb bakery in Luxembourg City earlier.
Anyone could have lived on it alone!
And did you notice how our fold-up chairs match Granny Towanda.  :)

Picnic #2 happened the next late afternoon when we were out-n-about, going from here to there, and wanting to find the waterfalls of Irrel, Germany.  Like the painted church in Eschfeld we had seen on our B&B brochure, we had also seen a blurb about the Irrel waterfalls and covered bridge.

With all the signs we saw, you'd think it'd be easy-peasy to find!
But, NO, it wasn't.  We had to stop and ask!
When we finally saw 500m, we knew we were there.

As waterfalls go, this one is teeny-tiny...but in such a spectacular location.
When water levels are high, it's a popular spot for canoe sporting events.

And the covered bridge is the best seat in the house to see the cascading rapids over the boulders below.

Astrid and I crossed over the bridge to the other side to find a picnic spot, if possible,
not knowing if/what was available.

When we found this vacant bench, I stayed to "hold" it while Astrid walked back to the car for our supplies.
What a trooper!  And 2 old geezers in the middle of the woods with a river running through it!
Did I ever say this was as close to heaven as it gets?  

So, as you see, Astrid's pre-trip planning and dreaming really paid off.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Totally changing gears...

We spent 2 lovely hours this past Saturday in nearby Arkel sharing koffie with dear friends Thelma and Siem, something we try to do at least once or twice a year.

 It so happens granddaugher Sophia, age 1 1/2, was visiting while her older sister and mommy 
were at swimming lessons...something all Dutch kids "have" to take.
OMG.  A D O R A B L E.

And then BOTH of my camera batteries were dead.  What the?

But not to worry.  Astrid's camera was working just fine, with her images above.
Thelma, who recently turned 76, was telling me all about her iPad.
She's Indonesian and moved here when she was 18...and then married Dutchman Siem, 77.
Almost 50 years of wonderfulness, with 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

 They have a HUGE yard and garden area.
These are Astrid's images (and collage) of Thelma's craftiness.

You learn a lot about someone by what they make, don't you!

So, with that added inspiration, I'm off to process more of the Luxembourg trip....


  1. Such a blip on the map... yet, how amazingly adorable. And that picnic!!! Do you know I have a cool box IN MY CAR beneath my radio... built in. Have never used it... but a bottle of wine, grapes, cheese, fresh bread and a portable table (adore the plaid little dish cloth) and chairs (and a great view.... I'm thinking the hills of Virginia which are about 1/2 hour away... I have an idea brewing. Ha... your little mosaic looks like an advertisement!

    What a little munchkin Sophia is - love cream-puff cheeks and I would have never guessed Thelma was in her 70's! I've yet to finish my "vacation" with you (the cruise) but have to start somewhere. You certainly travel and explore ... Someday I hope to be able to do that too.

    1. Get those juices brewing, Margaret, and use that cool box. Picnics like this, when you can stop anywhere, are so lovely. Astrid really was in seventh heaven. :)

      Thelma and Siem both are younger than life itself...and big-time dancers. If I'm like that in 10 more years, I'm sure I'll live forever.

      Your day is coming for traveling and exploring. Actually, you're already doing it all the time, and quite well, from what I can tell! Keep it up.

  2. It all looks terrific, but there must also have been wine and cheese in that basket. When you said, "covered bridge," I was thinking New England, but that's a whole different kind of covered bridge. Hmmmm, you have to come see Kent Falls.

    1. Wine and cheese and cherries, Ted, oh yes. If ever we get to your part of the woods, we will definitely want to see Kent Falls...and everything else in between. :)

  3. Those picnics were even better than I had in mind, we were at two great locations. 'No better life, than a good life'. I don't need anything more, I am happy with what we have.
    Thelma and Siem are amazing, I played tennis with Thelma for years, and she still plays twice a week...
    It was great to see two of her grandchildren, it is a very loving family.
    Thelma's figurines are made of clay and love...
    Great post again, of the joys of life.

    1. I LOVE the picnics you dream up for us, Astrid! Don't ever stop imagining them for us. Thank you!

      And how wonderful to have friends like Thelma and Siem so nearby. We're very lucky!

  4. wow those picnics are to die for. that's the way to eat good and be with nature too. kudos to the planning of astrid.

    1. That Astrid is something else, Maria, isn't she! :) Thanks.

  5. Now I've never heard of a cool-box so you've got to educate me on that one! Is that just a European thing? Oh how I love how you two girls travel. The picnic photos are my favorite! Priceless!!!!

    1. To be honest, Robin, I had never seen a cool-box till I arrived here in the Netherlands, so I have no clue. It hooks up to your cigarette lighter and causes a fan to cool off a liquid that cools the chest down. Surely they have them in America?

      Thanks for following us in our travels. You do know how much this is our life, don't you! :)

  6. Wow oh wow.. Love the picnic in the cool box.. just so um "cool".. lol.. And the friends.. adorable pics.. love love love them!

    1. It's so fun, Jen, to be here where I live. I know you fully understand, having had your "day" in Switzerland. I'm still pinching myself!