A Travellerspoint blog

Launching Mij Blaag

Dublin - Amsterdam - Brussels - Copenhagen - Stockholm



Welcome to my travel blog where I will attempt chronicle my travels in Europe and South America from July 1, 2009 to April 1, 2010.

In my desperate attempt to come up with a witty blog name, I satisfactorily settled on something Dutch that would remind me of home. Okay, okay let me just explain it so you can appreciate how clever I am (or not).

Netherlands will be home base while in Europe so something Dutch seemed fitting. As some of you know Mij is a cat that adopted me about thirteen years ago and who now rules the feline roost at my home in Portland. I have come to learn that the second entendre for her name (The 1st: "Mij" is Jim backwards) is the Dutch word for "me." "Blaag" is a Dutch term for a poor homeless child wandering the streets. Not exactly my situation, but there will be a measure of truth in this forlorn image when I want to dramatize my homesickness. So there we go: Mij Blaag. It will remain to see how much I make time for it. (It is hard to imagine spending too much time sitting in front of a screen recording everything I've done).

My initial feelings about this trip in general are ones of gratitude. Gratitude for all the people (some of you may be reading), relationships, opportunities, and circumstances that have allowed me to take this trip at this point in my life. I can't imagine embarking on this adventure if I didn't have such a wonderful home and community of family and friends in Portland. I am very fortune to be able to explore this amazing planet and its people and places. I want to keep that sense of gratitude in mind and heart as I go forth and deepen it along the way.

To catch you up, here's the short chronology of my travels since I left Portland on June 30th. After arriving in Dublin July 1, I traveled for 10 days with Celine Fitzmaurice in Ireland and spent 4 fabulous days with her in Amsterdam. Then I briefly visited Arnhem and Nijmegen in the eastern part of the Netherlands en route to Brussels. I was in Brussels for a week staying with Andrea Broadhaus who was house-sitting for a friend. She generously put me up for about a week (and inspired me to do this blog) while I finished up some work related stuff and prepare for the journey ahead. It was wonderful to have an inexpensive and beautiful place to get my feet on the ground, and in Brussels of all places! We explored the downtown, took day trips to Brugges and Ghent, explored a great neighborhood park and natural area, and danced some tango. I left Brussels on Friday July 24. Now I am in Stockholm after two days of beautiful train rides and not-so-great hostel stays.

Rather than go into more detail, I'll try to catch you up thematically in future posts. In the meantime below are some photos for your viewing pleasure.


Me in Dublin


Gresham? No Dublin


Birding in Phoenix Park, Dublin


Celine and her friend Petria Malone in Banagher, Ireland.


Jim and Grainne Malone jumping rope.


Leo and baby Ailis at the Malone-Family peat bog.


No Dumping (Ted!)


Grey Heron on sign in Amsterdam


Jim and Celine atop Westerkerk


"Celine In Amsterdam"


Biking to Voledam


Dutch dinner prepared by Hennie Emans, our fabulous host in Amsterdam


Oyster Catcher near Amsterdam


Andrea in Brugges with Fries.


Birds eye view of Brugges.


Tango in Brussels


Biking in Brugges

Posted by jim.labbe 02:05 Archived in Sweden Tagged preparation

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Good to see you are staying close to Gresham, even as you travel across the globe. Mij is excited to see that she has a blog named after her, and I think it may inspire her to update her Catser page soon. Stay tuned for that...


by Ted

Nice stamppot!

by Jessica

was that LAST tango in Brussels?
got an artist friend in Holland you might contact, she's a sweetheart: [email protected] tell her I sent you!
Have a great trip and keep the pix and words coming!

by greeley Wells

that last picof you from the back is so european school boy--you're killin'me. and the birding in ireland shot is ultra handsome, jim. that is a facebook profile pic if i've ever seen one!

by susie

It appears you're doing Europe in proper fashion. All about people, culture and environment. Seems I missed the first 2, 40 yrs ago, on motorcycle. Easy rider didn't register with most Europeans, thus nowhere near the people contact.
As your uncle I should remind you and Ted that you too will soon be, if not already.
Have a great trip/keep the postings coming.

by uncle Jim

Thanks Uncle Jim!

I am eagerly awaiting the news that I will officially also be an "Uncle Jim."

Meanwhile I am considering going by Jim Rosenfeld during my travels in Germany. Hope you don't mine. I remember hearing stories of that famous motorcycle tour of Europe. Maybe I'll get a bike and go for a spin on the Autobahn. Hope my mom is reading this.


by jim.labbe

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