Kijkduin Beach - about 15 km south of Scheveningen. 
If you look real hard, you can see the Scheveningen pier!  
About 35 km south of Scheveningen, is the waterway (Hoek van Holland) leading to Rotterdam! 
A serene park that I rode through on the way into Den Haag. Several beautiful swans and some baby ducks were enjoying the pond on this sunny afternoon! 
Saturday Afternoon Music Festival! 
"Bom" announcing this group of musicians. 
They were quite good for their ages! 
I'm pretty sure this is the water management office! The building is designed with windows that look like water bubbles and a buoy (sculpture) sits in the front.
 Creative architecture! 
Peddling by cottages and gardens 
that come straight out of storybooks! 
As I was stopped and reviewing my bike map, 
a tour group of about 20 people came through.
They were enjoying themselves but they were loud and the long line reminded me of a cattle drive!! :-O  
At that VERY moment I was THRILLED to be alone in my quiet rides and decision making processes!  
I love Delft, and have been there many times by tram.
This was my first bike ride to Delft (about 25km) and I never made it into the 
center of town because I found something BETTER to do!  

I found this park to eat my picnic, read my book and enjoyed other people  enjoying their lives! 
These 3 girls were laughing so hard, I thought they might pee their pants! 
It was a stitch! 
Monday, June 7

I biked a little over 70 km. and my day was PHENOMINAL! 
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Beach, Beach, Beach!  Summer has arrived and I've taken FULL advantage! 
These pictures were taken in Hoek van Holland! 
All ships must pass this point as they go to and from Rotterdam! 
BEAUTIFUL tomatoes were in abundance here, look hard! 
Kijkduin Beach - about 15 km south of Scheveningen. 
If you look real hard, you can see the Scheveningen pier!  
Saturday - Wednesday, June 2
I was working or riding… either way, I was having fun!  
BEAUTIFUL tomatoes were in abundance here, look hard! 
2 moms and their 4 children out picking wildflowers! 
Holland June 2010  
Tuesday, June 8th

My Dutch friend Jaap, shared his hometown with me. We took a tram, train and bus to get to Doorn and had a delightful day! 
I am appreciative of his kindness and patience in translating everything from menus, street signs and the palace tour!  
Jaap in front of the church he was baptised in! 
The Huis Doorn was the final residence of Wilhelm II, the  last Emperor of Germany.  He lived here during his years of exile from Germany 1920- 1941. 
Shanty Choirs are quite popular in Holland and this group sounded quite good while singing the old fashioned maritime songs! 
Another beautiful city in the Netherlands! 
This banner was exceptional. I had to stand under it to confirm that it was flat and not concave... 
what an illusion! 
Flying saucer!! 
Winkel van Sinkel was  formerly a famous general store. Today, it is an entertainment center/restaurant/bar.   
The center disco ball was HUGE!  
I've never seen one even close to this size! 
June 13- 21   A week spent with another friend visiting! 

An Australian friend (Richard) came up to Holland after his family vacation in France to bike and say hello! I was very excited to share my newly gained excitement and knowledge of the fiet (bike) routes and it was quite fun having someone here to ride with! 
Making friends with these nice girls from Canada! 
There was a method to my madness... now I didn't have to do ALL the map reading work.. I  share the responsibilties! 
That's ME!!! 
Zaanes Schans 
Watching the peanuts getting crushed... and the oil being extracted! 
A cute, little ferry/taxi ride across the river into town! 
Watching Holland win in the World Cup game against Denmark (I think) 
Dinner in Amsterdam after leaving Zaanse Schans 

July 22- 30 

So the weather warmed up a LOT and I really didn't have too much to blog about... I got really lazy and pretty much just went to the beach every afternoon!!  What a life!!! 

My job finished at Kurhaus on Wednesday, June 30th and it was a bittersweet evening. I had LOTS of friends stop in for the night to say goodbye, take pictures and give me kisses. I managed to keep my composure for the night, although my last 2 songs did cause me some emotional grief and tears! .... Just The Way You Are and Imagine!!  

Good bye Kurhaus... see you next year! 
July 3, 2010

Thank goodness for toilets, music & the Kurhaus! 

Just when I think life is about as good as it can be, it somehow gets amazingly better.

While performing at the Kurhaus last year, I met Leen, a beautiful young lady who loves music and sat listening to me play for an hour or two (on the entrance steps)!  Because of our connection and internet, we have stayed in touch over the past year and I was finally able to accept her invitation (from last year) to come and visit her and her family! 

Leen & Lieve (her mom) greeted me at the train station with a cool bottled water to help endure the sweltering heat of the day. The family van isn’t air conditioned (nor is their lovely Belgium home) and they were definitely concerned about the heat and my comfort, although it really wasn’t that BAD for this Florida girl! 

9 days off to do whatever....??

Deal or no Deal...  DEAL!! 

I narrowed down my "hmm.what do I really want to do "...

Hiking in Switzerland 
Laying on a beach in the Mediterranean
Biking in Belgium and Holland. 

THE joys of Europe... it's ALL within such easy reach! 

Final answer was... biking
Caroline, me, Robert, Vladimir, Poputou (Vlad's father) 

Leen needed to make a quick stop at the school where she had just finished a teaching internship and in those few minutes of chatting, Lieve and I got to know each other pretty quickly… in fact, we discovered that her oldest son (Toon) and my youngest son (Dakota) had been born on the exact same day in 1986. (Ahhh, bonded for sure!)  
Their next idea was a good one! We stopped at the local bakery, so I could make some selections of real Belgium pastries!!  YEAH!!  But, how could I pick 1 or 2 things when my mouth was uncontrollable watering at the sights and smells of that little shop??? After about 10 minutes, all 3 of us had big smiles while carrying several bags of “heaven” out to the van! 
Riding my bike into Haag to catch the Belgium train.This car was small enough to qualify for the bike lane! ha ha
 I got treated to a REAL Belgium bakery by Lieve & Leen! 
Learning and rehearsing Leen's "Special" song for her boyfriend Kevin

A few months ago, Leen had asked me if I would play piano for her so she could sing a song with “special” lyrics to her boyfriend as an anniversary gift. Of course, I’d help, (if I could!) We spent a couple of fun hours rehearsing her “gift”. I learned that the family used to spend a lot of time playing and singing together, but now with everyone’s super busy work and university schedules,  it doesn’t happen as often! I couldn’t  help but be a little envious of a family “band” night… how cool! It was gratifying to watch how supportive they each were to Leen’s project! 

Walter (dad) balanced the microphone and piano sound levels and lovingly suggested for Leen to annunciate her lyrics more clearly (it was loving, not critical), Ben (brother) helped with some computer issues and then ran the video camera, Lieve (mom) took still pictures and at an appropriate time, they all vanished so we could get in serious rehearsal. 

Walter (dad) used to do the piano parts, but he’s not able to play anymore due to challenges from Multiple Sclerosis. But, Leen was quick to tell me that he doesn’t dwell on the things he can’t do, but instead focuses on what he can, and now enjoys music by singing in a local chorale group! 

Lieve and Walter are the proud parents of Toon, Leen, An and Ben.  4 young adults full of life, love and successful futures. They are a close-knit family and all 4 kids still live at home. 

A yummy lunch of bread, meats, cheese, salads, fruit and “our” specially selected pastries were eaten around the family table while we chatted, laughed and got to know a bit about each other. I asked if this was a typical lunch, with such a variety of sandwich selections, and they assured me it was nothing fancy, just a basic lunch. Good, I was being treated like family which was exactly what I wanted! And additionally, what a spread!!  

I was very fortunate to be invited to attend the BIG celebration dinner to honor the school and university accomplishments of the 4 kids. We were a group of 10 at a wonderful restaurant and we spent several hours enjoying the food, WARM night air and each other! After dinner, Kevin (Leen’s boyfriend) drove us to the beach bar that he manages. Very clever concept… an upscale beach setting.. all artificial but nonetheless GREAT atmosphere. 

After a VERY good night’s sleep, I took a morning walk with Lieve and 3 ladies in her Walk/Run group. It was a beautiful park and I felt very special to have been invited to join them. As a courtesy to me, they spoke English for most of the walk even though I told them I didn’t mind at all if they spoke Flemish. 

Finally, Lieve and I walked around the Saturday morning market where she bought some REAL Belgium waffles from a vendor that was cooking them hot while we waited. OMG… DELICIOUS!  They are small and not as crisp as a potato chip but not as soft as an American waffle (like a pancake). Not too sweet, but sweet enough.. juuust right! 

After our walk, Lieve, Walter and I enjoyed coffee in the garden of a local café and the three of us once again enjoyed learning more about each other. I love the relaxed attitudes of Europeans and try to imagine living like this year round.  But sadly, I know the reality of my schedule when I return to the U.S.  (Rush, hurry, fast!... boo hiss).

I boarded my train in Antwerpen, Belgium and as the train pulled away, Lieve stayed and waved on the platform until I rolled away (reminded me of how I stand waving on my front porch when people leave my house). I had a few tears rolling down my cheeks; almost mocking the rain that was rolling down the train windows after leaving the shelter of the beautiful domed ceiling of Antwerpen Centraal Station. 

I had just spent 26 hours with this loving Belgium family and yet, I felt like I had known them for years.

  I VERY MUCH look forward to my return visit!
 I arrived in Brugge to a light sprinkle of rain and after locating my hotel and getting rid of my bags; I rented a bike and peddled around this beautiful city. In some ways, it reminded me of Amsterdam but much smaller and very charming! 
I had a relatively early meal of pasta and then biked the perimeter of the city before heading to my room for a much needed shower and bed.