Freiburg – I can’t remember getting embarrassed much

July 2nd, 2009

before I had Tarpi and Cleo :)

I came back from class yesterday and Tarpi met me at the front door of the apartment building !

which is a little surprising considering I had said goodbye to them a few hours before inside the flat..

well the front door of the flat was open and and I think they had been playing in the little internal garden of the apartment building or at least I hope that was all they were doing..,

anyway I am pretty 100% sure they had opened the flat front door (they have opened the living room door before in Holland (its a handle not a knob just like this flat), but I did not think they had the well (some combination of guts, cheek, temerity) to open a front door..:) its quite sweet though, even after years of training and they can still channel their inner potcake… :)

thankfully they hadnt got out on the street … but still.. .. i dont know.. so in addition to their anti-bark collars I now have to lock the flat door from the outside ! a sort of dog fort knox for these two..

As you can imagine, this will all go down like a lead balloon here in Germany :) so I have been a little too scared to look in my mailbox now.. expecting a little letter or two of complaint :) groan

Lots of love Cath

ps (its a circular apartment building so the garden is in the middle in full view of everyone) so yes I did have to go on a poo patrol, to make sure they hadnt left a few little ‘we were here’ turds in the little internal garden..

Freiburg – You have to laugh ..

June 3rd, 2009

Hi all,

I went shopping for some trousers for my interview suit and took Tarpi and Cleo along.

We stopped by at the Kaiser, the equivalent of Harvey Nichols in Freiburg,

I tied the dogs up by the front door inside the shop

when I came back , I found Cleo happily sitting in the shop front display window…

it turns out the floor of their stylishly crafted summer swimsuit display was sand… and Cleo loves the beach :)

shed dug herself a little hole to get comfortable ..

some people entering the shop where smiling though but .. oh the shame..

there was one small mercy, she hadnt done a poo. :) God is indeed good :)

oh dear, I’m really going to need some dark glasses..,

Lots of love Cath

Freiburg – Camping with my Potcakes

May 30th, 2009

Potcake Camping :)

I have to say the first week or so was in a caravan on the camping site and it was luxury :) we had our own little terrace attached to the camper which had a little kitchen, little lounge (well you could sit round a little table), little bed, it was sweet :) . Only incident was that I woke up one morning to find a tick the size of a small grape in the bed.. some people may go euw here… but I laughed..  I remember waking up groggy , just focusing and wondering what that could be .. and thought it looks like a grape.. I cant remember eating any grapes.. .. 

We had to do a nightly tick inspection every evening after that… its lovely having two potcakes.

later was a little less luxurious.. me and 2 Potcakes in a tent…

Ok, I have to say its not all that… 1 dog fart in a small tent is an event, two dogs farting in a small tent is an incident in my opinion hehe.. dear oh dear, I’m glad I had them because I felt safer walking in the mountains with them, but what a price to pay, its not for everyone sharing a tent with your dogs, but I’m glad I did, I still love them.

Camping culture :) Its new to me, second camping site in my life and in the last 2 months

I have to say its been an eye opener, the camping culture, the way people trick out their campers and the different versions.. its quite tempting to do something similar, i can see myself in a tricked out piagio mpv traveling through a Italy, visiting museums and churches.

Freiburg – Potcake German relations.. are dogs welcome?

May 30th, 2009

Well i have to say I think it is a little strained..

What is also important to me is the people and my observation is that on the whole they are pretty dog unfriendly, every day three times a day and in the town I routinely got scowls and glares, and found it almost impossible to find accommodation with the 2 dogs.

I finally found something but after almost 12 days of not finding anything and trying every day, I did have a word with God saying i’ve really tried if you dont step in, maybe its not meant to be, and then finally we found something even though it is more than I want to pay it is quite ok for us.

I have to laugh because I sometimes think I’d like 3 more potcakes.. I cant imagine what it would have been like to find accommodation for me and 5 dogs….

The girls and I walked a lot during the 2 weeks, (the weather is wonderfully warm, even boiling hot sometimes (for me anyway)). One day it was really hot and the dogs being really hot and i was a bit worried about them, I picked them up and put them in the little town square fountain and started cooling them down.. its probably been a while since the locals saw two potcakes in their fountain. so I would say dog-Frieburg relations are strained at best and probably not improved by me cooling two potcakes down in the town center fountain..

Freiburg – Freiburg the jewel

May 30th, 2009

Hi everyone,

Switzerland – Basel Bad

At first we ended up in Basel Bad by accident and everything was very copecetic all the same,

we did not get any scowls.. just a surprised ‘I’ve seen a lot of things ..’ look from the Swiss Douane when I came through with a bike, backpack and two dogs :) and kindness from the ticket man who helped me with my ticket.

We did get to Freiburg an hour or so later and ..

Freiburg is really amazingly astonishingly quietly beautiful. . really, i’ve never seen anything like it. Its really a little jewel by any countries standards… its hard to describe except the town planners deserve a little medal, its very beautifully laid out with beautiful colourful period and some stylishly modern buildings with mini-canals running throughout the town. I heard it described on TV as a little bit of a paradise.. and I have to agree..

Freiburg also has a lot of churches

which is nice :) (and also some in the surrounding woods) and they are all impressive in a teutonic sort of way, I have to say though i didnt find them warm and welcoming though, doors not open, no benches outside, or maybe it was just the general teutonicness :) of them.. or maybe it could be because Freiburg appears to me to have a homeless problem though and they try to discourage them from hanging about .. I dont know.. anyway I went to two church services on the last Sunday there, one by chance on my way to the anglican one :)

(by the way I felt I had to go to church after 4 days traveling in France .. in Germany I felt it was necessary after two weeks so it appears Germany is easier to live in for me than France.. if my need for some church attendance is anything to go by.. hehe) Well the girls and I headed into town to find a church service..

Well the first service was a Roman Catholic one (I think) in one of the old churches in the old town (It wasnt planned which church, I just thought id just visit churches on Sunday and it was pretty packed, I dont know if it was a special day but the service was given by 6 priests at the front and it was nice, I felt quite at home and there was good there, I noticed an old mural high up on the wall had a dog in it :) , someone 100 years or so ago sat on a scaffold and though it was worth his/her time to add a mosaic dog to the group of doves following one of the saints :) even if I did not understand most of it it was in German, I did feel the care from the priests and most of the congregation, lots of different ages and genders (no kids though!).

Then I walked to the Anglican service and it was nice and familiar and a good reading and good lesson, he seems to be a very well educated thoughtful pastor and the prayer reading was wonderfully good by a kind man, it gave me hope.

ps. you may be wondering what I did with the girls… no i did not take them into church, though I personally think why not.. ? I tied them up outside and they were good as gold.. though I think it disturbs people to have them there.. i dont know why.. they are such little sweeties..

Freiburg – German Course

I am continuing with the German course, the German teachers are really lovely, but I still think I am making my way to Switzerland, German courses are 4 times the price or more there though, so it seems to make more sense to base myself in Germany for a while till i pass the exam. I could end up in the UK or Germany too though, I really dont know yet, I will try to get into a follow-on summer course in Heidelberg this summer (this will speed up the traject to passing the exam) and see if the attitude to dogs is better there, I love Freiburg though because of its general buzz and livelyness, warmth sunnyness, rivers, woods and location its close to france and switzerland and it is very green , solar energy etc, its just the miserable looks on peoples faces and the attitude to my little fur girls, i dont want to become like that, i did meet a very nice couple with two sweet dogs  in the woods  (husband english and wife German and they had the same down turned (unchanging) mouths even though they were open, kind and nice and friendly) . strange eh..

I’m returning to Freiburg tomorrow evening with the dogs to finish the course so two more months and I just want to say Thank you to everyone for your encouraging emails and prayers, I really appreciated and needed them, I have had quite an experience living in holland these last few years and its not every day you decide and uproot and change countries and I am grateful I can try to do that, but its not so easy and your encouraging words have been good for the soul, I ‘m not sure how my travels will end yet or where but its a good experience to try :) .

Lots of love

xxx

Cath

Freiburg – Here we come

May 10th, 2009

Hi all,

just a few little words to let you know what I am up to. I had a month without internet and these last few months quite some problems with my neighbors and have not felt much like socialising which is of course a little isolating and not great.  I’ve made a little headway with plans, house in Voorburg for sale and am starting an intensive 12 wk German language course in Freiburg Germany next week.

We are leaving this evening (night train) to Freiburg, Germany (with dogs + bike) the 12 week intensive language course, starts with 2 weeks, see if it is ok and I can find accommodation, then 3 weeks school holiday, then the rest of the 8 weeks (ive missed 2 already but they have said they will let me join a bit later in the term).. if it goes good I’ll take a summer course (aug-sep) and then another course starting oct 9, this is whats in my head planning, maybe God has other plans, my aunty is still ill in new mexico and I am on standby in case my mother needs me.

In Freiburg, the first two weeks i’m staying in a camp ground, 5 nights in a caravan and then 10 days in a tent with the girls (tarpi and cleo) .. I did this walking camping in Belgium and its quite funny, Cleo had a ball and rolled in everything she could find, a sort of combi, farmyard, forest animal wee/poo possibly dead animal smell,  i dont know what woke me up first in the morning, The Smell or her 4 little paws pushing into my back as she woke up and stretched at 4am to the birds singing :) , i think this time I am going to buy a cheap little camp bed to sleep on so I am not on the same level as the dogs.. they tend to try and snuggle up in the night.. :)

Anyway I am a little scared because this is the first step to get out of my neighborhood and holland  .. it will be a challenge renting a flat with 2 dogs and no job in Germany.. since Freiburg is a university town estate agents may be a bit more sympathetic to student renters, its a chunk of the market I think.. so hopeful :)

it would be a help though if anyone knows of anyone who would not mind renting to a financially reliable renter in Freiburg, let me know :)

Lots of love as usual :)

xxxxx

Cath

Belgium GR5 – Camping with Tarpi & Cleo

April 30th, 2009

Camping in general .. whats it all about..

What i did learn about camping was mostly on this camping trip,

a small bit of the gr5 in northern Belgium,

well.. camping can be quite humbling..

I did some camping au sauvage and it was very easy to get discouraged, one afternoon, I had to ask if I could camp on a very nice looking farms farmland in northern Belgium (close to Holland) and the answer from completely respectable looking older woman.. I was refused.. can you imagine..

it was also hard to find water (I had to ask people (just ordinary people who happened to be standing outside their houses!) along the way and as you got further south into Belgium and away from Holland,  I found people really kind and kindly gave me water and water for the dogs.   one time I had to go into what looked like a greenhouse plant growing commercial park type business early on a  saturday morning and ask a gentleman to fill up our water bottles.. anyone who knows me knows I am quite shy and dont really like to put people out…so asking for help on and off was quite odd for me

It was a constant worry though.. food and water, carrying it, cooking.. shelter..

and I have the best (and id also add probably the most expensive lightweight equipment money can buy.. I was super well prepared ) and I was still challenged every day..

At one of my magnum icecream stops, a well dressed belgian lady came over to talk to me and she told me her sister had recently died from cancer and before she died had asked her to promise to go on the spanish pilgrimage and she wanted to know what it was like on my own with the dogs, she too wanted to go with a dog for protection (her husband did not want her to go alone or with a dog for that matter!),

I’d never been asked this before because i think I can safely say there is not one of my friends who would do such a thing.. go tent camping with their dog :) and I didnt have the words to tell her everything and the length of time it took for me to pluck up the courage to try it,

what I really wish I would have told her was that her sister may be saving her life from the grave, I really believe all households should have a sort of family-emergency-pack, you know the ability to survive if something happens to their homes, at minimum, backpack, tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, water sack, all very lightweight and easy to carry and 4 season (good for winter) and if she did the pilgrimage she would have these, she was planning the pyranese section.

I would have also told her you also will be relying on help from people along the way and how much any small kindness is appreciated and how often those who have a lot can be a little disappointing .. i include myself in that group.

These camping experiences also made me think a little about the refugee problems around the world (thanks also to miss jolie), what it must be like to uproot and not have food shelter water for yourself and your family.. its easy to get discouraged,

i ended up in a public toilet in Belgium for a wash.. i felt much better for it (and it made me recognise again how important water is) but it was humbling.. two days without a bath (a some limited water and food) and the cracks start showing.. I’m not making it sound like a lot of fun am I .. nevertheless I think its good to do because

a) you have the equivalent of emergency equipment that you have tested, (you also find out what is missing .. :)

b) you kind of discover what your limits are and then you can deal with it rather than be surprised and unprepared in a time of crisis.

Bottom line is my little adventures keep reminding me that its important to store some equipment, food and water for emergency situations,

Cleo lost her crown

February 16th, 2009

sorry mutti, i have not been writing,
a bit fed up with work and life in holland, otherwise ok.
dogs very lovely.

the only news is that cleo lost her crown as naughtiest dog on the planet.

tarpi held it for a few days by knocking a huge jar of nutella off the kitchen counter and eating all of it + quite a bit of glass (she threw up some big chunks) what girls wont do for chocolate…
so nearly chocolate poisoning and the vet had to give her a shot to protect her guts..

the good news is cleo a few days later regained her crown, i was in the bedroom and she came in with a huge loaf of bread in her mouth (the last i remember it was also on the kitchen counter)..

it was sweet, that happy little look of finding bread treasure on her face.. all hers.. :) , i dont think she was expecting me to be there..

anyway as you can guess, some things are the same :)

lots of love xxxxx
Cath

ravioli

October 25th, 2008

wondering if i will look away for a moment and that ravioli will be hers…

thats pretty interesting Ravioli you have there..

thats pretty interesting Ravioli you have there..

Mug Shots

February 28th, 2008

now I ask you..

does this look like the sort of dog that might take a 3/4 loaf of french bread and half a pound of butter from the kitchen counter.. (and eat them… of course.. :) )

My mummy may send me to Australia if I dont buck up my ideas :)

or does this look like the sort of dog that would chase a visiting migrating African goose around the courtyard of the childrens’ petting zoo.. (she must have got pretty close because a small ‘pouf’ of feathers exploded like an easygoing firework from the gooses tail-end), before being dragged away…

there was a hissing audience..

two black swans.. :)

I don't chase geese.. honest..

All in a mornings work.. :)

Lots of love

Cath

Its a puzzle

February 26th, 2008

I’ve grown to love her naughty naughty ways… weve been back to the pond twice now and each time she cautiously goes around the edge sniffing and checking and wonders what could have happened.. I think she cant quite work out why she can see the ducks walking on it but she cant… plus all those ducks juuuust out of her reach walking and swimming.. I can see here little mind working.. her little eyebrows move about.. :)
Anyway.. they are snoring away on the couch now.

You’ll have some trouble with her..

December 25th, 2007

Hi all,

We have had very cold weather for a few days now, frost on all the trees – it looked like the most amazing wonderful winter wonderland for two days – a sort of Gods extravagance, lots of people out taking pics.

Gods extravagance

Gods extravagance

Gods Extravagance

Gods Extravagance

The canals were also frozen over for the first time in over 10 years… people skating on them.. (its a big news item across the country, theres a whole generation of dutch kids that have never seen this.. )

We went on our usual Sunday morning walk and Cleo .. a little bit curious as usual.. tried her hand on the ice today.. and it being a bit warmer today… she fell through.. !

The look on her face..! sort of frozen..! :)

Anyway I was probably as shocked as her, Read the rest of this entry »