Ferdy & Marion


Ferdy & Marion

We are Ferdy & Marion and live in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, one of our country's most desirable places to live. We’ve been married for more than 30 years, are “somewhat” retired and love to travel. Have a look at our blogs, you might like it!

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam August 11th 2019

As we sit at Schiphol airport waiting to board, here are some final reflections on this trip. Not a top twenty, only 18 I think. Marion and I corroborated in these. So here they are, Netherlands best, not in order: Family, friends, people. We saw a lot of family and friends, some I saw in 2015, and some before that on other trips. All were just as welcoming as they ever were. It did not seem like I moved from here some 53 years ago. People we met along the way. Strangers. Staff in museums. Store workers. All very helpful, with a smile, and most often speaking in English. Highways. So many highways, so many interchanges. Speed limits at 130 km/hr in many cases. Fast-moving traffic, lane changes at high speed, and drivers signal lane changes ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Brabant » Oirschot August 10th 2019

We intended to spend our last full day here well. And we did. Our visit to Oirschot yesterday made us like this town and we took my sisters Toni and Annemie back there for lunch today. It was a bit of an adventure to get everyone into our little car, since both my sisters have issues with their legs, but that effort was overcome. The Gelagkamer, meaning taproom, looked busiest yesterday, so we figured it would be a good place to go. It turned out to be a good choice. The uitsmijters, spicy chicken and goat cheese salad were good choices for our lunch meals at very reasonable prices. It was a fitting occasion to say goodbye until a return visit maybe a few years from now! Our AirBnb hosts had previously invited to a “last ... read more
Marion and Annemie best buddies
Toni and her spiced chicken
Ferdy and the house special Uitsmijter

Europe » Netherlands » North Brabant » Oirschot August 9th 2019

We still needed to pick up some souvenirs to take home, but Eindhoven is not exactly a tourist hotspot. The one small store that was supposed to have some, only carries cheap Delft blue. So back to the Bijenkorf, a large higher-end department store where we had a bit more luck. Marion really liked the town of Schijndel when we were there yesterday and she wanted to look around some more, because it looks less affected by progress when compared to some other towns. So off we went. We looked around a bit, bought some more stuff, then decided it was time for some refreshments and bitterballen. I also wanted to show Marion the Jan Heesters Museum there. Jan Heesters, a local artist painter, lived here and some of his work is on display here. We ... read more
Refreshment at the Glass Farm in Schijndel
Main Street view from Glass Farm in Schijndel
Refreshment for Marion, latte and beer

Europe » Netherlands » Gelderland » Appeltern August 8th 2019

We have almost completed seeing everyone we hoped to see and this morning it was coffee time with more cousins in Schijndel at Hannie and Sjef’s house, and also Hannie’s brother Christ. It was great to meet up again with them, and to see Hannie’s garden. She has won 9 national championships in garden arrangement, as well as more than 20 provincial titles. Little wonder she came up with a great suggestion for us to spend our afternoon, that is to visit Appeltern gardens which I had not heard of before. But first she fed us, then she insisted in packing a full lunch for us to enjoy among those gardens. The GPS would have sent us the long way around, almost as far as Nijmegen, but Sjeff’s recommendation was far better and more scenic, leading ... read more
fltr: Sjef, Christ, Ferdy, Hannie
Ferry across the Maas
Appeltern Gardens

Europe » Germany » North Rhine-Westphalia » Düsseldorf August 7th 2019

One of the things to do for Marion on this trip was to go to a German city on the Rhine. So off we went, and we invited Peter also, since he had not been this far into Germany yet. It’s only about a 75-minute drive, but the highway is quite busy with international trucking. We noticed almost right away when we entered Germany, that there looked to be more space and that land use was not as tightly organized. The highways too were not as numerous and had fewer interchanges. And believe it or not, the speed limits were a bit slower than the 130km/hr on most highways in the Netherlands. We found a central parking space close to the Altstadt or old city. We walked though the area with numerous restaurants, probably one or ... read more
Looking like tourists in Düsseldorf
Refreshments on top of the Rhine Tower
The Rhine Tower

Europe » Netherlands » North Brabant » Oss August 6th 2019

Today was another day to visit family. Who needs a destination when you can drive along secondary roads to get to where you want to go. That was the case today, starting with a visit to my cousin Mieke in Lith, a bit off the beaten track. They have a gorgeous “Dijkhuisje” built on top of the dike next to the Maas River, which means the back part of the house is at least one level lower behind the dike. Makes for interesting architecture. Her husband Frans is a very handy man that rebuilt the place from the foundation up after he retired from their restaurant business. He did an absolutely incredible job, even a home-made elevator in recognition of their retirement age. Their motorhome has a completely automated levelling system and Marion was quite taken ... read more
Friend helps to clean the house, caught in the bath
Home-made elevator
Marion with Frans and Mieke

Europe » Netherlands » North Brabant » Oisterwijk August 5th 2019

No museums today. We decided to take in some special local scenery and wander the backcountry roads a bit. We started off by locating the Doreleijersweg in Boxtel, named after one of my ancestors who constructed it on his own land to bypass the government toll road and give locals a break. What a rebel! We drove the full one kilometre length of the road, quite narrow and part of it not paved, to then wind our way towards Oisterwijk. Oisterwijk is a National Park with mature forests, many biking paths, many fens (little lakes), as well as great little restaurants and very expensive homes in the small village. We stopped at a restaurant in the forest called Meneer (Mr.) Van Eyck, to just enjoy the scenery. The back roads here used to be the main ... read more
Rural setting for our picnic
Picnic along the road
Meneer Van Eyck restaurant in Oisterwijck

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam August 4th 2019

We got up bright and early to catch our train to Amsterdam. Being the Canadian car travellers we are, our hosts had to convince us to take the train, especially since there was a special rail pass for train, tram and museum entry fee for only €33! They were right. We got to Amsterdam with a transfer in Utrecht in a little over an hour. The tram was right outside the Amstel train station and 10 stops later we were at the museum. Last time we were inside the Rijksmuseum was back in 1988. It has undergone some big renovations since then, I think it may have been closed for some time, but we couldn’t say what it was. The temptation was to rush into the Rembrandt chamber and the Great Hall where the Nightwatch hangs, ... read more
The Nightwatch being scanned
Still life with cheese
An unlikely intimate moment

Europe » Netherlands » North Brabant » Eindhoven August 3rd 2019

There was no post yesterday because we didn’t do anything special. Just hanging around Eindhoven and doing some shopping. Today was also spent around Eindhoven but we had two things in mind: walk to the Woensel Market and then to the annual fair called Park Hilaria. Brother-in-law Peter joined us for the walk and also to be our guide. The market was not as busy as usual, even several empty sales spots because of the vacation period in the southern Netherlands. Lots of cheap clothes, knick-knacks, vegetables, baked goods, fish and of course cheese. The smoked eel, a delicacy here, was quite expensive and looked greasy to me, so I did not try it this time around. After having stopped off at the train station for a coffee and quick snack, we headed to the fair ... read more
Bowling statue paid by Dutch emigrants to U.S.
Park Hilaria fairgrounds
Cheese merchant at Woensel Market

Europe » Netherlands » Drenthe » Assen August 1st 2019

On our way to Leeuwarden yesterday, we had decided not to go over the Afsluitdijk since it might have been too much to do. Today, we believed it was a site too important to miss. We first had coffee at the hotel, but refused to pay €13 for a buffet breakfast that some other guests appeared to have included in their costs. So we decided to go have an Egg McMuffin at the McDonalds in Harlingen, first time eating at McD’s this trip. Their coffee was surprisingly good, though not at all the same as in Canada, because I think it’s made in the same kind of Nespresso coffee maker that everyone else uses. Got to get one of those! Harlingen had not been on our program but we were sure happy we went there. What ... read more
Harlingen street scape
Afsluitdijk visitor centre
IJsselmeer view

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