Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Coming Ontario

Angela writes:

We first arrived in Canada in St. John’s Newfoundland where we got used to Canada’s funny, colourful money again and of course Tim Horton’s coffee.

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We then arrived in Toronto, Ontario where my Dad and Step-Mom Doreen picked us up at the airport. It was so great to see them after a whole year.  Next we went to visit my Mom and my Step-Dad Terry who had kindly looked after our dog Echo while we’ve been on our adventure.  Echo is in great health and spirits and we can’t wait to take her home – once we get one! Thanks Mommy for looking after our “baby”.

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I suspect our next and final post on our blog will be when our motorcycles arrive in Toronto which we are expecting to pick up in October 2011.  As always, thanks for reading - we will miss reporting on our adventure to you.  We’ll keep you updated on the condition of the bikes when they arrive. Stay tuned:)   

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Count Down to an End

Daryll writes:
As each day passes, it gets that much closer to us returning to Canada.  Over the last month, the reality has started to set in and we have both started to send our resumes out; so keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait long to pick up work.  Our last city on our Europe leg was going to be a visit to London to see the sights and that’s exactly what we did. 

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Us with London Eye & Big Ben      London Bridge
Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

Angela writes:
We were lucky to be in the city for the “One year to Go” celebration for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.  The new countdown clock and London City Hall below.  I was also very excited to see my friends who I used to work with at the Vancouver Olympics - Dave, Norm, Mike, Cam and Brie who now work for LOCOG.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

If you’re not Dutch you’re not Much!

Angela writes:

If our visit to France was about us being tourists, and our visit to Germany was about visiting friends, than Holland was all about enjoying the company of our dear family!  Although no trip to The Netherlands could be complete without a quick trip to Amsterdam.
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We arrived via train to Den Bosch where my dad’s cousin Maria and her husband Hans greeted us with open arms and the customary triple kisses on the cheek.  I last saw Hans and Maria in Ontario during the summer of 2009 but it was as if no time had passed at all.  I guess that’s a luxury of being with family. After stopping off at their beautifully renovated heritage home in Erp, and meeting their 7 month old puppy Yarah, we were whisked away to the Uden fair for food and laughs and more family.  We met my dad’s other cousin Hariet and her daughter’s Louisa and Simone a few days later.
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We tried oliebollen (a deep fried dutch donut covered in icing sugar) and dubblesaut dropes (double salted black licorice) and washed it all down with some lovely port.  I even ran into another cousin Barry who was also at the fair who didn’t know that I was in the country yet. I’m glad we recognized each other after 19 years!  I’d like to think we haven’t changed much.  I met another cousin of my dad’s, Maria’s brother Martin and his girlfriend Herma.  We have now nick-named him “Juke-box Marty” after I asked him if he had learned to speak English after singing English songs.
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In between the showers of rain we took a field trip to Kinderdyke for a lovely walk among the windmills. We also received a personalized tour of the mill that Hans works at that produces pig and chicken feed.  A very high tech process all managed by machine and computers.

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It was with a heavy heart that we parted company with Hans and Maria with promises of seeing each other in Canada soon.  Daryll and I were warmly welcomed into our second home with Willy and Jose who I had last seen in Ontario in the fall of 2008.  They had arranged to have their sons and their families home for a joyous Sunday night dinner.  We laughed, told stories and shared photos well into the evening.
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Willy & Jose, and dogs Triksy and Torsca
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Barry, Karin & baby Minke                   Roel, Lizet & baby Teun
Next time we visit Holland we will have to make sure it coincides with a performance from my cousin Roel’s Metallica tribute band “The Unforgiven” who plays throughout Europe. 
We had a wonderful visit over a couple days and tried more yummy new foods like raw herring and bitterballen as we strolled through the quaint little city of Oss.
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Willy and Jose kindly drove us to the airport in Eindhoven for our flight to London.  It was a tearful good bye with promises of seeing each other in Canada soon.
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“The Hills are Alive….”

Angela writes:

Our visit with Paul made Daryll’s BWM dreams come true and on our final weekend with him, Paul made my dreams of visiting Salzburg, Austria come true. Not only did I want to see the beautiful Alps but I wanted to wander the streets of the city where my favourite movie “The Sound of Music” was filmed.  I suspected that there would be hordes of tourists trying to invoke Maria while strolling through the city, like I secretly was, but  the presence of the famous musical was subtle and only the bike tours offered through the country side really focused specifically on the Sound of Music sites.
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The Alps “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”

The fountain Maria and the von Trappe children danced around singing the “Do-Re-Mi” song.
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The garden where Maria and Captin von Trapp dance face-to-face, Schloss Mirabell Gardens.

 The roads through the alps were every motorcyclist’s dream come true and next time we are there we vowed to be on two wheels!  Although riding in Paul’s luxurious BWM was a close second in great experiences.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

BMW Welt

Daryll writes:

We’ve spent the last few days with Paul and his lovely wife Kathy and they have been absolutely incredible with their hospitality – another one of our extended families.  Even though just returning from a weekend trip to Berlin, Paul has made the time to show us around Munich and some of the smaller towns in the area to see the sights.  Germany is such a beautiful country and each day as we travel around by car, I wish I had our bikes with us as the roads are amazing, especially the smaller country roads.  No potholes insight and some nice twisties.  Well next time!  The country side is lush with trees and agriculture and there are quaint little villages as far as the eye can see.  There is so much history in this country that a few weeks isn’t enough to see everything and we would have to come back.  The people we have met are just so nice and if I could only speak the language, would definitely rank high on somewhere were I’d settle.  Spanish was so much easier to pick up listening to other’s, but German is another story all together.


No trip to Munich is completed without a tour of the BMW Museum, BMW World and the BMW Munich plant.  Paul used to work for BMW and arranged everything for us.  I was like a kid leading up to Christmas for a few days prior to us visiting BMW World and boy was it impressive.


We started in the Museum and even though the motorcycle part of the museum was closed due to some flood damage a few days prior, it was impressive.  From seeing the Art Car’s painted by world famous artists to some of the cars from yester-year to the Hydrogen Car, it was impressive.

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Our next stop was a tour of part of the Munich Manufacturing Plant to see how the cars are built.  It was incredible to see all those robots moving around in such close quarters and handing parts to other robots to perform the tasks that they are programmed to do.  As you would expect, no photography was permitted.  As we walked through each of the different stages in the manufacturing process, I didn’t imagine the scale of production and the output of such plants.  Even Angela enjoyed the 2 hour tour.  It’s something that I won’t forget – thanks Paul!  We were also fortunate to meet Paul’s and Kathy’s children (Claudia & Tobias) for dinner.  Tobias has in my opinion the best job in the world – he is an engineer and developer for the motorcycle division with BMW.  Part of his job is to test out the parts that he has designed and every so often will get new bikes to ride.  He is leaving on a 3 week trip to the UK in about a weeks time on a 1200RT – tough life.  I hope that some day the entire family travels to Canada so that we can show them part of our country.

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