Dublin - Amsterdam - Brussels - Copenhagen - Stockholm
17.07.2009 - 24.07.2009
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