Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Naughty Week!

Yes, you read that right- it is now Naughty Week. (Just wait, the idea will catch on. We all need to contribute a new movement or idea into the world and, oddly enough, this is mine... well, one of them.)

See, Santa bribes us into being good all year to get gifts, right? Remember how he asks if you've been a good boy or girl this year? Well, on December 25th we all get our payoff from Santa for being so good. Now do we need to keep on being good right away to ensure us goodies for next year?- NO! I found the loophole as it were, next year is a whole week away. So come next December when the jolly man asks if you've been good all year- technically he is asking about the year 2009. I say if we have to be good 51 weeks of the year we should live it up like Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras (just before the Ash Wednesday of Lent.)
So, give in to that 2nd (or 3rd) brownie.
Call in sick to work and play hookie.
Let the laundry and dishes pile up some.
It is our chance to be a little naughty!! (Yes, a little- I don't really need to go streaking in my underwear like the Santa pictured here.)
And let me be the first to officially wish you a Very Merry Naughty Week!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have Yourself a Groovy Lil' Christmas

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Holt Clan Christmas

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The Pickett-Holt Family Christmas

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Picture Updates

Rob had Tuesday off so we ran some errands- including getting some fresh milk at the place I mentioned in the last post. (Thanks Leslie for showing me this spot!) Rob says the Nalgee bottles will work for now but we need to find some of those old glass milk jugs soon.

Also: Here are some pictures from the Christmas Markets we visited and a picture of us at the Knights Meal at Auerbach Castle.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Moo-ving On

Well as some of you know we were planning on adopting a cow from Switzerland. We would get to pick out a Swiss cow- and Lea above was the one we would pick- get to visit and work the farm and get her cheese in September. Well- after looking into it further it turns out it would cost far more than we could reasonably afford for such a silly venture and so we are simply praying our dear Lea will be adopted by some other loving family. (Who wouldn't fall in love with that face? who, I ask you, who?)
And so we are mooving on.
A friend has shown us a place nearby where we are able to get raw milk so we drank it in honor of the Swiss cows (even if the milk is from German cows- they all speak in the same German moo.)
In other news: We went to some Christmas markets yesterday and had a medieval dinner at a castle last night. It is late though so pics will have to wait for now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Couch Sleeping & Wine

Well, Rob is sick. He was told not to come in to work today. Last night he fell asleep on the couch- of course I covered him with a blanket before I headed off to sleep in the middle of the bed. But not before I took a picture of him sacked out on the couch. You'll just have to trust me that it was quite the funny picture because he has said there is NO WAY that I am posting that picture on the blog. (Sorry, folks but he is cranky enough with being sick that I'm just not up for risking it.)
Today was special in that we received the wine hutch that we bought at the Ramstein Bazaar 3 months ago. We didn't realize at the time that the wine hutch we saw was only a model and ours was to be shipped from India- hence it taking so long. But now it is here and we have a little furniture shifting to do that Rob says we can putoff until later this weekend- when he will hopefully be feeling better. At least you get to see a picture of it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

13 Years

So, Yesterday was our 13th anniversary. No, not our wedding anniversary (we're just coming up on 4 1/2 years for that one.) This was the anniversary of the night we met. It was Saturday, December 9th, 1995- one month before I turned 15. There was a winter tolo (informal, jean wearing dance- that was western themed this time.) We decided to go as a big group so 3 other girls came over to my house to make a spaghetti dinner for the 4 guys. Rob was actually the date of my best friend, Kristen.
Though Rob actually talked more to my mom than to me that night- it still is the first time we met.
Later in January I started going to youth group where both Kristen and Rob went and came to know him better there. You can see some of our earliest pictures of us playing around at youth group here. The dark haired guy in the middle is actually Rob's younger brother, Mike.
We did end up going to a handful of dances together, the first being the homecoming dance you can see us pictured at below. Funny, but I just wore a dress of the same color this past Saturday at the Battalion Formal.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Busy Weekend

This weekend:

Friday was my mom's birthday. (Happy B-day Mommy!)
Rob and I had our first Suppers for Seven group meeting. It was a great night of food and fun with friends (even if the guys beat the girls in both board games we played).
Next time we meet is on my birthday and Mike even offered to make me a red velvet cake. We've even picked out a game to play that the girls can't help but win- Friends Trivia (from the TV series).
On Saturday:
We got all fancy and went to the Battalion Formal at Schwetzingen Schloss. Again it was an evening of fun, food and friends. We even received two bottles of Gluhwein to take home.
On Sunday:
They had an all musical service at church followed by lunch out down by the river with everyone. We were going to go to the Christmas Market downtown but decided to go rent some movies and stay warm at home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving in Poland

This past week has been busy. I made my first solo turkey (and then made another one, a ham, a green bean casserole and 2 pies) to freeze and take to Poland.
Thursday morning we loaded up and drove to the Elim Christian Center in Poland (arriving in time for dinner). Friday I spent the whole day in the kitchen helping make a traditional Thanksgiving meal for about 400 people. My feet were very sore at the end of the day- but it was worth it.
On Saturday we went to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It was drizzling while we were there which only seem fitting for visiting such a place. As we left however, the rain had stopped and we saw a gorgeous sunset over Birkenau. The picture of us has the gate to the camp behind us. It says "Work makes you Free." Only by working so hard that it killed them were they able to be free in death. I can't begin to describe what it was like being at Auschwitz- so I won't even try to explain the feelings I had at seeing the site where so much had happen and so many had died.
On Sunday we packed up and returned to Mannheim as the end of the Thanksgiving weekend approached.
I am so glad that we went and had the opportunity to serve, reflect, fellowship with others from our chapel and give thanks for all our blessings.
My friend Stacy went on this trip and her blog describes the weekend far better than I did. To read her blog click here.(Go ahead, click it- it is really good and you know you want to anyway....)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Baby Bug seems to be Biting

Oh, no! Not me. I'm not the one preggers, folks.

But it seems that there is a Baby Bug flying about.
You see, 4 of my friends that I had met here in Mannheim (but who have all gone back the States) are pregnant. But that isn't the strange part because you see:
One is expecting her first child.
Another is pregnant with her second baby.
Yet another is just recently found out that she has her third bun in the oven.
and, yes, you guessed it- the last is expecting her fourth little bundle of joy.


How crazy is that?? Oh well, congrats to all of them. (I just wonder who- and where- that bug is gonna be biting next though!!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

2 and 1/2 Years

That's how long we've been in Germany- 2.5 years. It has been a pretty good time so far- with new travels, experiences and friends. God has blessed us something fierce (because He loves us something fierce) and I'm giving Him nothin' but praise for this time.
We aren't sure how much longer we have here. Technically the Army says we have another year and a half left (having us leave in May of 2010)- but we are aiming to be back in the States sooner if Robs gets accepted to flight school. (So for those friends and family who have been putting of seeing us- don't wait too long!)

This past week I had the joy of going with some of my fellow PWOC gals to Willingen for the annual Worship and Study Conference. This was my 3rd year (and sadly, possibly my last for the European Region). I can't begin to tell you how amazing these conferences are for the refocusing of the soul, the building up of friendships and the quiet listening and learning from the Spirit. Each time I come back and feel so hopeful and refreshed.
And luckily this weekend is a weekend due to Veterans' Day so I get to spend 4 whole days with Rob. We've rented movies, done some shopping, some lazy book reading and are planning to head out to Worms tomorrow if the weather agrees with our plans.
For now we are off to do some more reading. I have a pile of books waiting for me- but Rob and I are reading together "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo. It is the story of an unexpected hero, a tiny mouse with large ears, and his love, the Princess Pea. We are loving it so far and are looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation to come out very soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A week closer

Our week closer to home is over. *sigh*

Since Europe falls back the last Sunday of October and the States now don't fall back until the first Sunday in November-- there is a whole week that I get to be an hour closer to my family and friends back in Washington. (My mom swears she can feel the cord stretching and linking our hearts give a little slack during the week.)
But now that one special week of the year is gone.

On other news fronts:
Our kitchen was leaking for 2 weeks from the apartment upstairs (yes, it took the repair people 2 full weeks to figure out how to stop the water from coming down our walls.) Then it took a week to dry out. Now it is repainted and we are only in need of a new cabinet. (The current one is water damaged and stinky.)

I have a PAINful middle ear infection. And it hurts. I can't touch my ear or sleep on my left side because even if it brushes against the pillow-- OWIEEE! Not to get too visual for you but it makes we wonder if my brain isn't trying to be birthed through my left ear.
( Yeah, did I mention my left ear has quite the boo-boo?-- And all before I leave tomorrow for PWOC's annual Worship & Study Conference.)
I pray that my ear doesn't ruin my time of faith building and fellowship.
Well.. I'm off to pack and then bed. Just thought it was about time I did some catching up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The big 5-0-0!

Can you see it? I've had over 500 hits on my blog. Thanks y'all for reading (did I just go southern there for a minute?) Oh, well- thanks, again, for reading.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Movie Recomendations

I have seen a few movies recently. These include:

Lucky Seven- a cute romantic comedy set in Seattle (the Space Needle skyline on the design drew me to it.) It has the actress from Father of the Bride.

Mamma Mia - Makes you smile and sing along at some points but not a best musical for me.

The Golden Compass- I waited until it was only $1 to rent so that the makers wouldn't make money off a book written by an atheist trying to spread his (un)beliefs. I still say nothing will beat Narnia.

Army Wives (Season One)- I waited to watch this show until it was out on DVD and I could see all the episodes at once. While it makes Army life seem WAY more exciting and scary and dirty than it really is (trust me) it is still a good show.

Definitely, Maybe- Cute show that brings a few twists to just the question of just who is the mom. I saw 2/3 of the movie on my flight back to Germany this summer and was dying to see the end.

And my #1 recommendation: Music Within! It is based on the true story of Richard Pimentel who helped greatly in the passing of the 1990 American with Disabilities Act (ADA) after becoming deaf while serving in Vietnam.
My advise: Watch the movie then go to the bonus features and watch his speech- the real Richard, not the actor portraying him. It added to the story to see him share it all in a nutshell after you see the movie tell it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A 60 Day Catch-up

Ok, so I leave on a jet plane over 2 months ago and never come back to blog? All I can say is that I'm sorry blog readers-- I was simply having too much fun on vacation these last 2 months to try and capture it all in blog form. And now if you'll bear with me (for I have no idea how long this will take) I'll see how well I can catch you up on all that has happened: (And here are some pics to help.)

Day 1 (July 15th): Rob dropped me off at the Frankfurt Airport. The flight to Detroit (where I had a layover) was great. The food was actually quite delicious and I had my own little TV that had over 30 movies for me to choose from for viewing.
Day 2 (July 16th): I did not enjoy my hour and a half in Detroit. I didn't like having to wait in line after line, claim my bags only to check them again and wait in more lines-- all with needing to pee and no bathroom until after customs. *Arrg!*
Then I made it home (Washington will always be "home") and was able to borrow a cell phone to call mom & dad to come pick me up. We went to Applebee's for dinner (their oriental chicken salad is awesome!) then it was off to bed in my garage suite. (The king size Sleep Number bed doesn't fit in my parents' above the garage apartment so I had it and a 1/2 bath to myself in the box filled garage.) I slept like a baby at setting #75.
Day 3 (July 17th): Was simply a day seeing the work done on my parents' new house on Angle Lake near the airport. (More updates to come on this I'm sure.)
Day 4 - 6 (July 18 - 20): The Pickolts (A combo of Pickett & Holt) went to the Oregon Coast. I was able to see my brother, Chris', house as we picked him up. Then it was like we were kids again as we shared the backseat on our way down to Seaside- just as we did every summer growing up. (Pic on the right is my brother Chris and me.)
With trips to Pig 'n' Pancakes, Norma's seafood restaurant, arcades in Seaside and art gazing in Cannon Beach-- along with tax free outlet mall shopping as well-- we crammed a lot into those 3 days and a lot into that car trunk when the shopping was done.
Day 7 (July 21): My best friend Kristen had her 2nd little baby boy today- Aaron James.
Day 8 (July 22): Went to Cherokee Bay Clubhouse for a wedding tonight. Mom and Lorna had made the wedding dress for Cindi, the bride (Lorna's sister). All the food and even the cake were in bit size servings- making it tempting to try a little of everything.
Day 9 (July 23): Happy Half Birthday to me! I celebrated by having dinner and watching the movie 21 with the in-laws.
Day 10 (July 24): I spent the day in Seattle shopping while mom worked. I went down the Pike Place Market and bought some Seattle-ish items for the home so now friends visiting won't have to guess where Rob and I are from.
Day 11 (July 25): The Southcenter Mall I grew up with is now Westfield Center and today was the grand opening for the new expansion that more than doubles the size of the mall. I was able to get pictures of the opening dance ceremony done by people hanging by ropes and running and flipping around on the new 90 foot high glass front. Unfortunately, you won't get to see these pictures since my camera was stolen at the mall after I had only had it a week! (But later I was able to buy an even better refurbished camera for much less.)
Day 12 (July 26): Can't recall what I did this Saturday. (Isn't vacation wonderful this way sometimes?)
Day 13 (July 27): Visited Kristen and her mom and was able to see the new little bundle of joy- Aaron James! Later Chris came over for dinner.
Day 14 & 15 (July 28 & 29): Nothing written down in my calendar for these days- probably doing some yard work at the house.
Day 16 (July 30): I spent the day with Rob's brother, Mike. I enjoyed the time we were able to talk and catch each other up on the Holt families while going in circles in the paddle boat on the lake. As good as it was to see Mike I wish I could have seen Wendy and my niece and nephew- Kaylie and Matt.
Day 17 (July 31): Happy 4 year Anniversary to Rob and me! I spent the day doing yard work and going to the dump with my dad. Later I had a touch of the stomach flu while Rob fell asleep the minute he got home from work and forgot to call! All in all- not the best anniversary, but if you keep reading you'll see that the 2nd part of my travels more than made up for this one poorly spent day.
Day 18 (Aug 1st): Happy Birthday to Wendy-- just wish our schedules had worked out better to get together this trip.
Day 19 (Aug. 2nd): Happy Birthday to Andrew.
Day 20 (Aug 3rd): It was Rob's 1/4 birthday and we celebrated (even without him) by having family and friends over for a pot-luck BBQ at the lake. Thanks to Uncle Terry and my cousin Shawntel, I was able to borrow one of their kayaks and take it for a go out on the water.
Day 21- 25 (Aug 4- 8): Not sure exactly what we did- probably a lot of HGTV watching, shopping and I do know there was 2 full days of garage organizing in there. We went through and better labeled all the boxes and found 9 boxes of my stuff! (2 of stuffed animals, 2 with collectible dolls, 2 with clothes like my prom dresses and ballet costumes and 3 boxes with books.) I took pictures of all my things so I can remember just what I have being kept at the Pickett Storage Co. -- I have been told that my contract is up once mom & dad decide to move again so hopefully we can get stationed nearby in the next few years.
Day 26 (Aug. 9): Tonight we went to Noe's Birthday party. (Gosh I love the Molina Family!) My other mom, Sam, makes wonderful Mexican food and is the sweetest person you will ever meet. My "sister" Mia (well, if we share moms we must be sister in some form, right?) and I had unknowingly coordinated in green for a picture together. That same night I saw someone at the party that I had known from Mannheim!-- small world after all it seems.
Day 27 (Aug. 10): Went to Maple Valley Presbyterian (where Rob and I met going to youth group) and had the joy of hearing one of my high school classmates giving the sermon. (The sermon was amazing and I can't wait to listen to all 3 of the sermons in the series when Mom Holt sends them on CD.) After church I was treated to salmon at the in-laws for lunch (yummy!) For dinner I went with mom, dad and Chris to the Bull Pen Tavern where they have bingo every Sunday. None of us won anything- but that isn't so bad since the prizes range from a loaf of bread to a bunch of bananas. LOL.
Day 28 (Aug. 11): It was another day in Seattle- only this one was spent shopping and having lunch with mom after helping her move from the 27th floor to the 8th floor of her office building.
Day 29- 33 (Aug 12- 16): *More than 1/2 way.. bear with me* I went back to Camp Sealth to work for a single session. I had been a camper here growing up and a counselor in the horse camp the 2 years that Rob was down range and I had so much fun I just had to go back.(On the beach at Camp Sealth- my crocs have Care Bear Jibbitz now!)
I was suppose to simply sub in wherever they needed me but God had orchestrated something even better. There was a Deaf girl coming for just those 4 days and they did not have an interpreter-- so instead of doing kitchen work I was able to be a part of a 4th & 5th grade girls group and help out there. The girl was 11 and had only been adopted from Ethiopia a year before- that was amazing to me because her English and signing levels were pretty darn good. And her personality and love for anything fun was pretty darn good, too. So, all in all- I had a blast at camp.
Day 34 (Aug. 17): Church and lunch again with the Holts. As an anniversary present they gave Rob and me a 12x12 inch digital picture frame (now displaying pictures from our trip- we love it! Thanks again Mom & Dad!)
Day 35 ( Aug. 18th): Last full day with mom and dad at Angel Lake.
Day 36 (Aug. 19th): Happy Birthday Lindsey! A week earlier I was able to visit my high school friend, Lindsey and her new--adorable-- baby girl- Peyton Elizabeth. I just wish we could have had longer to visit together.Day 37 (Aug 20th): I arrived back in Germany. Rob had received the suits he had ordered while I was away and decided to dress up in order to pick me up at the airport. It was a nice surprise to have a dashing man in a suit come pick me up and take care of my heavy, stuffed luggage.
Day 38 (Aug. 21): Drive to Edelweiss Lodge & Resort in Garmisch, (southern) Germany.
Day 39 (Aug. 22): We drove to Innsbruck, Austria. On the way we saw an older gentleman crossing the road wearing traditional country clothes and hat. It just made my day- knowing that he wasn't dressing up for the tourist but was simply dressed as he always is for the day.
On the way home we passed by Fernsteinsee and I fell in love. It was the cutest little lake with water so clear the small boats looked like they were floating above the surface. There is a castle ruin on an island there that we need to go back and investigate next summer.
Day 40 (Aug. 23): We took the cog train to the top of the Zugspitze- highest point in Germany. It was freezing temperatures up there with frost a few inches thick covering everything. We also went to Tirol, Austria as the border runs right along the top and we were able to simply step over into another country. We took the gondola down which had great aerial views and was much faster.
Day 41 (Aug. 24): Rob and I had a lazy day of massages at the resort's spa followed by a nap and dinner out in Garmisch at a traditional German restaurant with a live dance show.
Day 42 ( Aug. 25): We left Edelweiss Resort and drove through Austria to the Lindau-Bodensee (a beautiful big lake bordering with Germany and Switzerland as well). Then it was down to Vaduz, the capital of Lichtenstein. The old castle was amazing but, unfortunately, we were not able to go inside as the prince and princess still live there! Then it was the most relaxing, scenic drive through winding roads in Switzerland before returning home.
Day 43 (Aug. 26): This was our 6 year anniversary of the day Rob proposed to me on the Oregon coast. We spent the day running laundry, having a lunch date at the commissary and doing other errands to prepare for the second half of our travels.
Day 44 (Aug. 27): Since I would be missing the kick-off for PWOC I simply had to attend the board meeting this morning. Because there was so much to cover and we still had some packing to do, and a couple of "oh we forgot this or that at the house" turn arounds- we got started late (about 1:45pm) on our drive to Copenhagen, Denmark where our cruise would be leaving from the next day.
Day 45 (Aug. 28): We arrived just after midnight and finally found a hotel room to crash in. Later we went to Tivoli Gardens (one of the first amusement parks in Europe and fortunately not bought out by 6 Flags and, so, is still charming on its own). We went shopping along the pedestrian streets and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (I know, typical tourists.)
We were able to book a room for the night we would be getting back to Copenhagen and were able to go to the Parking Dept. and get a parking pass for the 10 nights we would be gone on the cruise for about $18 - instead of 10 Euros a day to park normally. (So glad I had looked this up before we left!)
And so, we parked and had the silly thought that we could park and carry the luggage to the cruise boat ourselves-- not realizing we had to lug it up and over a pedestrian bridge and down the road. Well, we made it over then were told our boat was waaaay over to the right. Well, luckily, I happened to see only the very top of a boat just to our left that had a symbol of a lady's hair blowing on it. I couldn't imagine the chances of there being more than one Princess cruise boat at the port that day so we gave it a shot- and it was our boat! I wouldn't have been a very friendly person if we had walked all the waaaay to the other docks only to realize we were wrong and had to walk back.
So we got onto the boat, checked out our room, the 24 hour buffet and the variety show they offered that first night- and fell in love with cruising by the time we started to leave the harbour.
Day 46 (Aug. 29): It was a day at sea. We had our first of 2 formal nights and enjoyed dressing up for dinner and simply having the time to explore the BIG boat.(Dressed up for a formal night on the crusie- Rob's suit is brand new- how dashing!)
Day 47 (Aug. 30): We arrive in Stockholm, Sweden. We explored on our own and this is now our 2nd favorite port call of the trip. The highlight was the Vasa Museum and seeing the mighty sunken ship that was brought up from the bottom and so very well preserved in the less salty harbor waters.
Day 48 (Aug. 31): Hello to Helsinki, Finland. It was a nice enough city- but simply another city all the same. We enjoyed the shopping most- both in the stores and at the market. We also were able to get Rob a free cup to keep from Robert's Coffee (the Starbucks of Scandinavia it seems.)
Day 49 & 50 (Sept. 1 & 2): St. Petersburg, Russia! We had 2 full days here. We saw many churches and other such sites- including the basement were Rasputin was poisoned and shot. (Makes we want to watch the animated Anastasia movie again.) We enjoyed a Russian dance show the first night and souvenir shopping the 2nd day as well.
Day 51 (Sept. 3): Happy Anniversary Mike & Wendy. Today we went to our favorite stop of the cruise- Tallinn, Estonia. It was just the right size for a walled-in city with so many old walls and buildings to see. We saw the equivalent to the White House- only it is quite literally the Pink House! We enjoyed the Market here as well and the exchange rate (10 Estonian Croons to the $1). We spent the rest of the night daydreaming of someday moving to charming little Tallinn.(Tallinn City's Main Gate- also known as "Fat Margaret" for the large, round tower on the left side.)
Day 52 (Sept. 4): We arrived in Gdansk & Gydynia, Poland today. We took a tour because things were fairly spread out. After visiting the city we went to Malbork Castle- and simply loved this huge, old fortress. We only wish we could have had a week to fully explore the castle and its grounds.
Day 53 (Sept. 5): Another day at sea. (We had our second formal last night- even better than prom.) We spent this day on the water taking over 200 pictures of all the murals and artwork (and fruit sculptures) throughout the boat- so anything we might have missed before we were now able to see- including the putting course.
Day 54 (Sept. 6): Happy 30th birthday Chris! We went to Oslo, Norway today and visited the Viking Ship Museum and Frogner Park with over 200 sculptures of naked people! Oslo sure is interesting. It is now the world's most expensive city- having recently beaten out Tokyo for the title- and we were told McDonald's workers make about $30 an hour! Later, back on the boat, we played two rounds of putt-putt as the sun was going down before the live entertainment show started (I beat Rob both times a mini-golf.)
Day 55 (Sept. 7): A very, very sad day today. Our cruise is over. We enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast before we had to leave the boat. This time I stayed with the bags while Rob fetched the car. Then it was off the airport where the only Starbucks in the area is located in order to get a city mug. Afterwards it was to the hotel and dinner at a Chinese buffet.
Day 56 ( Sept. 8): We leave Copenhagen and make our way to Haarlem, Netherlands (near Amsterdam). We get a big hotel room with free parking and is right on the bus line.
Day 57 (Sept. 9): This was our day in Amsterdam. We took the train in from Haarlem and got tickets for the hop-on hop-off canal boats. Our first stop was The Anne Frank House where I was shocked by the almost non-existent line and the speed at which we were able to get in. Our luck ran out, though, when we reached the Heineken Experience Museum to find that it would be closed for updates until October. So it was off to Hard Rock for lunch (again, I know) and more sightseeing and shopping in the city.
Day 58 (Sept. 10): Haarlem today. We went to the Corrie Ten Boom House and even crawled into the hiding place ourselves. Then it was a most scrumptious lunch at the pancake house (not just for breakfast in this part of the world) and shopping at a store nearby. We even found the perfect chair to go with our antique school desk. Of course that meant the chair went with us all the way on the bus to the airport and back in order to get... (yup, you guessed it) another Starbucks city mug! Then it was back into the car for our drive to Brugge, Belgium through Delft (the city that makes the famed blue and white porcelain of the same name) and our first of two nights at the Royal Stewart Bed & Breakfast owned by sweet (and Scottish) Maggie.
Day 59 (Sept. 11): It was a full day in Brugge. Rob fell in love with the town (as I knew he would) only 2 minutes after we arrived at night and saw the bell tower all lit up withan eerie full moon glowing behind. We climbed to the top of that bell tower this morning- all 366 steps- and were rewarded with a clear view of the city below. Then it was some window shopping- and more window shopping- before lunch and a trip to the Gruuthouse Museum and some ice cream. It was then (about 5pm) that our wonderful weather wore out and the sky got dark and cloudy- fast! It rained and rained. We waited out the worst of it- donned matching blue ponchos and a big striped umbrella and made our way back to the room in style before getting dinner and calling it a day.
Day 60 (Sept. 12): The last day of our trip. With the rain still coming down we said goodbye to Maggie and donned our rain gear to do some last chocolate shopping in Brugge before meeting up with our messing, full car at the train station parking garage (only 2.50 Euros a day for parking!) and headed out for home with a stop in Tongeron for Belgium antique shopping.

And you --if you actually made it through all of that-- have reached the end! Thank you for bearing with me through all of that catching up. I will try to never, ever (ever!) get so behind in my blogging and will supply more details from the trip as they come to mind at a later day- for I'm sure you've had plenty to enjoy for now.