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Learning Dutch

My Bike

Dat is mijn fiets – That is my bicycle

It is hard to learn a new language at 45 years of age.  Especially  when all of the locals want to speak English (why I don’t know).  In Germany, I had to learn German, while most Germans spoke English it was easier to break ice if I spoke Germany.

Now that life in the Netherlands is mostly settled and routinized, I decided to start learning Dutch.  I am starting with Rosetta Stone .  It is new to me.  Most of my education from learning a foreign language including German involved textbooks, classes and lots of red marks across my assignments.  Yes I am a slow learner.

I am enjoying the program, I spend about 30-60 minutes every day going through the lessons.  It has been fairly intuitive matching pictures with words and using context to understand, but I feel like I am acquiring basic knowledge that I did not get in a traditional class.

Coffee

Even more exciting the terms coffee – koffie and bicycle – fiets are already in the second lesson a huge motivator.

I think  Rosetta Stone will help me learn enough that I will be able to communicate in a day to day basis – shopping, touring, eating out and basic conversation with the neighbors.

I know the more Dutch I learn to more I will enjoying living in the Netherlands for the next five years.

Heller Route or Hellerrondje

On Sunday, a nice warm day (40 F), my wife and I decided to try out a hiking route, the Hellerrondje, that starts about a mile from our house and goes for about two miles, making it about a four mile hike from our house.  The hike was relatively easy.  The only difficulty was the sheer amount of mud along the route.  My wife put her trekking poles to good use traversing the some of the muddier points.

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Three Lands Point – Belgium, Germany, Netherlands

Last week I received an e-mail from long time friend and bicycling buddy that he would be in Germany flying in from WV, USA and planned on coming to visit me and Crystal for a couple of days.

Running in Limburg, NL

I have to confess when it comes to bicycling and rain, I become a recluse (I know send cheese with this whine).   I don’t mind cold or wind, but rain stops me from starting a ride.

Kerstallendorp Schimmert or Christmas Village Schimmert

Several days ago, I saw a new sign posted as you enter town “Kerstallendorp Schimmert” .  Of course not speaking Dutch, I had no clue what it meant except it had to do with Christmas. I went straight to the all knowing Google Translate and got a translation of:   Christmas Village.  Instantly I envision something […]

Top 12 Events of 2012

Over the course of the year I had a lot of adventures and experiences, alone, with Crystal (my wife), with family and friends. It was both a rewarding and challenging year.  Below are probably the top twelve events for me. 

First Snow in the Netherlands

Our first accumulation of snow.  I had wrongly assumed that being close to the coast (about an hour away) that if we got any snow it would like melt on impact.  However we have about an inch (2-3 cm). on the ground.  Enough that I had to go and break out the Bavarian snow shovel to clear the side walks and the driveway. Read More…

Boererij en Heemkundemuseum Schimmert

Recently, I pedaled over to the Boererij en Heemkundemuseum Schimmert. I guess it roughly translates to Ranch Museum.  The museum depicts traditional farm/ranch life in the early 20th century (1900-1950). It is a pretty interesting place.  The museum has gathered traditional equipment from around the Limburg, Netherlands region. The museum has a diverse collection collection from […]

Being Passed

I am not a fast biker.  Mostly because I am busy looking around at my environment to take pictures, so I am not concentrating on pace.  In the end I get passed regularly.  Right now it appears to be by groups of bikers in club uniforms, so I just shrug it off.

I always try to have my GoPro cameras running. Yesterday, I got passed by an an old lady which one of my GoPros decided to film.  Usually fog or dirt or battery prevents any good shots.

I added the jet sound, but you can hear in the background comments made by a a person in a biking group (they were just getting ready to start).  that I was passing as the old lady passed me.

Morning Tour – Sunday, 21 October 12

Taken with iPhone

Castle Rivieren, taken with iPhone

Sunday mornings have rapidly become my opportunity to explore by bicycle the scenery, the sites and routes in and around the area I live.  It has the advantage of less traffic and great lighting for pictures.   I get up at first light which right now is at about 0745 and just ride a random 15-20 mile loop. My goal is to stay on the country roads and not the main roads.  While the main roads all have bike paths on them around here the scenery is just not as interesting.

All week, we have had 60-70 F weather (13-20 C) with a bit of fog in the morning, so it was a pleasant  morning ride.  I headed East and South which took me through Aalbeek, Nuth, Klimmen and Hulsberg.

Harvest is in full swing now so the roads and paths are rough with farm debris, which makes for a dirty bike at the end of the ride.   Along the ride I saw piles of harvested sugar beets and potatoes.  Naturally all over there are the fall colors on the trees.

Along the ride I came across the pictured castle, outside of one of the little farm villages.  It looks like it has a couple of towers and a moat with a stone bridge.  The castle appears to be converted into a restaurant. Unfortunately pedaling early, I am not able to explore the grounds as it is closed up, but nice to look at from the road.

This area that I live in and ride through is fascinating to me as I run into castles everywhere and is littered with history predating the US.   My personal interests lie in I like biking, history and exploring new places combining all three makes its a great ride.  If there was coffee involved it would have been a perfect ride.

I guess I will have to come back another day to Castle Rivieren for a coffee!

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