Monday, July 30, 2007

More news about Heerlen

I had a bad migraine on the way to Heerlen. We traveled on a diesel train which stank. Met Robert's Tante Jo in the evening. We saw her flat; very nice and decorated in true Dutch style. We went to a Chinese restaurant for supper. Tante Jo kindly treated us and wouldn't allow us to pay for anything. I really like her; she reminds me so much of my father in law!

On Thursday July 12, Robert took our dirty clothes to a laundromat and it took him 2 hours to wash and dry 2 loads and it cost 8 Euros for each load!! The dryer was free. That's around $24!! I had a nightmare before we left home, and in it I paid $30 for laundry so I wasn't far off! But we had clean clothes...

Matthew and I went across the street to the Thermenmuseum (4 Euros each) and saw a 2000 year old Roman bath. The Romans called the town Coriovallum and the street is named after it. It's the first time I've seen a Roman bath. It was very stinky.

We walked to Tante Jo's flat and then walked to the train station and took the train to Sittard. I really loved that place. I found a neat shop with Dutch linen, made in the Netherlands by hand, and I bought a table runner and place mats for myself, and a pretty tablecloth for my Mom, who has always longed to come here. I also bought a lovely red print saddlebag for my bike in another neat shop. It was 37 Euros so it wasn't cheap, but I intend to ride my bike a lot when I get home and hope to pack home groceries that way.

We visited 3 old churches. We met Ellie, Robert's second cousin by marriage, at 5:00 and joy of all joys, she had a car and we drove to her lovely home for a Dutch meal, prepared by her husband, Theu (pronounced Choo, short for Matthew). We had tomato soup with meatballs, roast beef, roast port, fresh veggies and tiny fried potatoes. I loved the garden in the back. Lovely flowers, unique fountain and 2 large stone elephants from Germany.

Later their two sons, Maurice and Noel came over. Theu is the son of Jeff Houben, my father in law's brother. Theu is so quiet! He knows English but doesn't speak it much. We drove to Maurice and Muriel's home afterwards. Their house and garden are stunning. The house is fairly new and the garden is like a park. Robert and Maurice crawled up into the attic to see if there were any old photos of the bike shop as Maurice is the family archivist. He didn't have any photos but he promised to send Robert a hand painted picture of a country scene, done by a Dutch artist. (totally unrelated to what we were looking for, but Robert really liked the painting)

It was a neat day. I really like my new relatives. They are so nice and friendly, and so hospitable!

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