We had already decided last year that this year, holidaywise, would mean an ‘ in-between’ year. Meaning somewhere between home and away, only not too far or too long: tightening those strapping belts around the suitcases, after last year’s expensive, but worth-wile, USA road trip.
Like the cliché says, it’s not where or how far you go, it’s the journey, the experience and Lady Luck clearly decided to grant us some more experiences as both husband and me won a weekend break, how much fun is that?!
Some careful planning and scheduling and must admit the calendar looks quite inviting the next couple of months, and after that, well, we’ll see, first mission is surviving Winter and am extremely looking forward to these up-coming Spring breaks!
End of March we are heading for a b&b near Namur, capital of Wallonia, Belgium. Only heard great stories of those who already visited Namur, so am anxious to explore the city and region ourselves, which might also involve a visit to close-by abbey of Maredsous, well-known for it’s beers and cheeses.
In May, somewhere around Ascension, our wandering feet and hearts will bring us to Lenk in beautiful Swiss Bernese Oberland. Childhood nostalagia for my husband who has visited the region as a child with his family many, many times and since the first time I,myself, laid my eyes on the lush green pastures and lovely mountains covered under their snow blanket, it is also my place to exhale and relax! We were always fortunate with the weather when going in May, so do hope the good luck continues, can’t wait to be there again!
Somewhere in April of early May, still to decide, we’ll be heading for the Dutch city Den Haag (The Hague) and seaside with a stay on the pier of Scheveningen. You can take that litterally as the hotel with it’s Pier suites is located on the far end of the pier and all suites offer private terraces with perfect view on the North Sea which is just at and below your feet, which should be a unique experience.
Think for the next months, in my book and with a little help of Lady Fortune, this is a perfect match of countryside, mountains and sea. A perfect balance between city and nature, time for new experiences and time to exhale! I am ready…
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.
(Hans Christian Andersen)
Any leftover cranberries after the festive season? Always fun to sugar-coat them…
Make a syrup of sugar and water, turn off the heat, add the berries and let them soak at least a couple of hours or overnight. Point is to reduce the extreme sourness of the cranberries.
Then drain using a colander and make sure to keep the liquid as you can still use that when making cocktails!
Dry the berries lightly with a paper towel, they shouldn’t be completely dry, otherwise the sugar won’t stick.
Time for the fun part! Pour some sugar in a bowl, add some berries and toss them around until coated. Do not add too many berries at once, it will make the sugar clump and that’s not what you want at this point.
Leave them to dry on a rack or plate and that’s it!
I used mine decorating a chocolate mousse and added some in my morning oatmeal bowl.
Well usually there’s not much point in looking back, with this new year in full swing now, we should look ahead and hope for a year of light, laughter, respect and kindness in the way we live, in the way we treat our planet and the way we treat others. A warm pair of arms like the warmest blanket to comfort us when we need it most, a listening ear to tell our story without being judged, whatever that story may be, as every story is unique and deserves to be told. And maybe, maybe, that story gets a happy ending or closure, just because there was someone to listen or just be there, to help, to not judge, wouldn’t that be great?!
When new replaces old, it’s a strange mixture of hope and melancholy and I allow myself just for once to look back on what the past year has brought us, to me personally, and to our little family, being my husband Bert, son Nick and our stray cat Wiskie, living with us for more than five years now.
The year started off for me personally in January with lots of medical examinations and hospital visits: the ongoing tinnitus, which I am still coping with, sometimes ok to deal with, sometimes a burden, stomach problems and examinations, and no, not as a result of too festive meals… blame it on too many pills for the chronic back pain, but as I can not alter that situation…onwards we go…
February was a month were nothing really happened, that twilight zone, were your heart and the shop windows make you long for Spring but looking outside only brings grey, cold and wind to freeze your brain. That meant seeking refuge inside and luckily had my hands full and mind distracted with the planning of our Summer holiday road trip.
In March we were fortunate to spend a weekend in lovely romantic Bruges, weather wasn’t that great but had a wonderful time exploring tiny streets, new restaurants and coffee houses. Life was wonderful and we were all starting to dream of Spring when time and life were abruptly stopped on the 22nd when our capital and hearts were under brutal attack.
Was counting down in April to have a pain clinic treatment, which meant a lot of ‘bad’ days in that month prior to the treatment and just after, a lot of staying inside, resting and dreaming of better days.
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride No need to run, no need to hide It’ll take you round and round Sometimes you’re up Sometimes you’re down It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride Don’t be scared Don’t hide your eyes It may feel so real inside But don’t forget it’s just a ride
(just a ride – Jem)
Early May brought better weather, which my back and joints were extremely thankful for! Lots of things to do in the garden, my head full of plans and ideas, some seaside trips, Spring at it’s best.
June meant tiptoeing through the house with a student hitting the books, or pretending to be…all ended well and finally ready to start that last year of secondary education after holiday break. If not tiptoeing or baking something as a treat for the above one I hit the books myself, tourist guides, websites, whatever I could lay my hands on to prepare ourselves for our upcoming southwest USA trip.
July was all about that big adventure, a three week trip, bringing us from San Francisco to Phoenix with stops in Monterey, Yosemite NP, Mono Lake, Death Valley NP, Las Vegas, Valley of Fire, Zion NP, Bryce NP, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Grand Canyon.
The trip was on all levels wonderful but exhausting, so August meant rest, rest, rest and another pain clinic treatment. With husband back at work and son joining him making some money as a working student the house was empty, leaving me plenty of time to go through and edit the more than 5000 photos we had taken.
September meant back to school for Nick and I started taking yoga classes…still haven’t figured out if it’s my kind of thing considering my back condition and history. A smaller group with more focus on the limitations some people are facing would be more favourable. Have raised the issue with the physiologist of the pain clinic, maybe they are aware of other programs more suitable for me. We celebrated Nick’s 18th birthday, another page turned and new chapters to write.
October and November granted us the most perfect Indian Summer, we did some re-arranging in the garden and had a lovely relaxing Halloween break in Durbuy.
Early December meant another trip to the pain clinic and some unexpected and at first upsetting news after some random cardio tests. Further tests luckily meanwhile showed the problem is existing though minor. Step one, as not completely out of the woods yet, trying to determine the cause and reason why I went to a cardiologist in the first place. However, needed a break of the whole doctors and hospitals world that was becoming weekly business, will deal with that one of these weeks to come!
So here we are, we made a full circle again, from pain clinic to pain clinic, from season to season, from end to beginning.
Let’s start dreaming again and hope this year brings lots of pleasantries on our path, the small ones, the big ones, the unexpected ones, the ones that make our hearts jump, our eyes twinkle and put a smile on our faces!