Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Days in Europe

By Claire
We arrived at Lianne and Kees' house Thursday afternoon with the plan to spend one night then head to Amsterdam to meet with René, pack up, clean up and go.

Lianne convinced us to stay with them, generously offering to drive us to Amsterdam to turn in Homer and bring us back to their house. We thought it over and decided to do it. But, it meant quickly clearing out everything inside Homer and piling it in their house, which we did. I was frankly amazed at how fast that part went. I had visions of an entire day of work, but it took about two hours.

Before and during


Once we had all our stuff out of Homer, we were able to relax, have coffee and cake, and get caught up with Kees and Lianne. We also spent time getting all our stuff organized to go into our four suitcases, two backpacks and two small duffle bags, which we would pick up the next day from René.

Their house is very large and very high--3 stories with lots of room and beautiful inside and out. We loved the very modern architecture of their village, Glanerbrug and the adjoining town, Enschede.

Kees and Lianne's house--you can see the top of their caravan.

The next morning Lianne followed us all the way to Amsterdam for our meeting with René. It went pretty much as we expected. He was unwilling to share in any of the repair costs we had incurred, claiming that that's the risk you take buying a used vehicle. I was under the impression that since this was their business, selling these campers over and over, they would check them out thoroughly and make sure everything was in good working order. No harsh words were exchanged and he will wire transfer the €9,000 we had agreed on. However, it would be impossible for us to recommend going this route. We patted Homer goodbye and that was that. We stopped for lunch on the way back, but it was nice to get back to their house so we could tackle the big job of stuffing everything into the bags. We did it!

After a fantastic dinner prepared by Lianne, we went for a walk around their village and into Germany--it's only 200 yards away. They had experienced torrential rains and there were many areas of Holland that were flooded.

Pork rolled around cheese, with potatoes and salad.

Bridge into Germany

We saw lots of deer, penned up in a huge area for their safety.

The architecture was distinctly different from Holland once we were in Germany.

Dutch houses

Saturday morning we drove into Enschede where a market was going on. We had coffee, then mostly walked around, looking at the town center. What a great place, with so much happening and so many shops and things to do.

We enjoyed these sculptures on the old theatre building

For lunch, we met up with Kees and Lianne's daughters, Inger and Karin. All three women are so beautiful!

We drove on to a small village that was having an art festival. It was fun to see the neighborhoods, the houses and the art.

This kind of work always looks hard to me

Twig woman

Driving back, we stopped to see this 17th century house. A wedding was going on that included a white horse. I was only able to catch the bride walking away.

This is a different bride, just a few yards away. I like her dress with the decorations on it. Very different from home.

We did a lot in one day but managed to make it home for a quick cup of coffee before setting out for dinner at a great restaurant Kees and Lianne picked out. We had a good time then went for a walk so they could show us the redevelopment in the city. 10 years ago, a fireworks plant exploded and burned destroying 400 homes and killing 23 people. Many people were injured. It completely wiped out a section of the city. We were able to see all the new, gorgeous homes and the beautifully laid out neighborhood plan. I could live here very easily (if only we could afford it!)

Each of these very large homes was designed individually and all the different architectural styles work together beautifully.

This is an amazing apartment building with a very retro look. I love the terraces looping out the side and the big balconies wrapping around the building.

We are eagerly looking forward to the next phase of our lives--retirement at home! We hope that with all the excitement and distractions of re-entry we will be able to note our thoughts and feelings as we transition back into our lives in the United States. We know there will be some surprises and challenges; we anticipate writing one final blog post in the near future about this experience.

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. ~ Ivy Baker

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