Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

Now here’s something most US high school bands don’t have…

An accordionist right next to the violin section. Too bad; it makes the whole more sprightly. A festival came to town this weekend, with non-stop action (and noise) down in our little piazza below. The festival culminated in races all day Sunday, with (non-stop) commentary from a megaphone from 7AM on. We left for church and then took a ferry ride. When we came back, the whole thing was gone. Just one guy busking The Magic Flute in an alley. We felt this was a big improvement.





Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

June 6. Hot. Just Hot. Cooling off in Cannero





In truth, we didn’t cool off much in Cannero, though it sounds good. The temperature was well above ninety. Ambrose, a felt mouse we are traveling with, took a nap by the harbor. The rest of us splashed around near a small waterfall. We went into some old churches–usually nice cool places–but this one was a bit alarming thanks to a memorial to a martyr named Faust.

Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

June 5

The heat has been intense and pretty unrelenting, but the picture of the swans makes me feel cool so I’m posting that. I’m intrigued by the abandoned convent. The sink is on the small porch off one of the upstairs bedrooms.




Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

The Loveno Gondola

From the harbor at Intra, we noticed what seemed to be an enormous house sitting by itself on top of the mountain across the lake at Loveno. Tim bought monthlong passes on the ferry, so we take it often as it’s always something to do to cool off or pass time. On one of our trips, we realized that this “house” was actually a gondola station. The next day the kids and I took it up the mountain.

I have a problem with heights, and I have to admit that after jumping in this waist-high open bucket, I had a couple moments of regret and terror. I closed my eyes, opened them, had a little freak out, and closed them again. Going up was not a completely smooth process but included a lot of stops and starts and some violent lurching. When I opened my eyes again, the view was so completely stunning that I couldn’t help praising God. What a masterful Creator he is. Nobody else could hear me, but after a verse or two of How Great Thou Art, all my fear was gone. I was in awe all the way to the top.

“When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!




Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

Along the Lake




Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

Around Intra





Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

While they were sleeping

The gang crashed but by the time they did I’d caught my second wind, so I went out for a walk alone to explore. I found a beautiful chapel, some memorable doorways, and a car the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | June 10, 2015

We made it to Intra! May 30, 2015

Here is our neighborhood for the month: the Piazza Ranzoni. After some rest, the first stop for most of us was the closest grocery store, called Tigros. Tim’s first item of business was trying to get working wifi. Of course this could not be the simple process we all hoped for. He’s waving from the window in the dining area.

Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | May 31, 2015

Bella Italy! Day 1

After several of the easiest and most pleasant flights I can remember, followed by an hour long train ride and a 15 minute ferry ride, we’ve arrived at our rental apartment in Verbania. We have figured out the intricacies of the locks, run the washing machine once and hung clothes outside (no dryer), and found and visited the grocery store. The wifi, however, is not working reliably. Hopefully that will be remedied soon.

Meanwhile, at various times today we have all felt like Elizabeth in this photo. Poor kid, when we got to our station, we couldn’t rouse her. The only thing that worked was forcibly sitting her up.

Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | July 25, 2012

25 July, 2012 09:36

Sunday morning Margaret and Elizabeth indulged my insatiable desire for ancient churches and pipe organ music, and accompanied me to church while Tim and the older kids packed everything up at the hotel.

The Hoogland church is an enormous one, but there were fewer worshippers inside than the number of people attending church last week in the small farming town near the rental house. But they were a cheerful group, and once again, it was worth sitting through a sermon we couldn’t understand to hear the music. The last hymn they sang was Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, which has always been one of my favorites. It was one of the ones Tim and I chose for our wedding, so even in Dutch it was a special treat to hear it soaring through a building that’s half a millennia old.

After we left, I stopped to take pictures along the canal and Margaret said, “Mooooom! Enough with the pictures!”

“But I don’t know if I’ll ever be back in Leiden,” I said.

Margaret said, rather confidently, “Oh, we’ll come back here.”

“Well, we haven’t gone back to the places we stayed in Switzerland, or Austria,” I pointed out.

Margaret said, “This is different. We’ll come back.”

Elizabeth added, “Mom, of course you’ll come back to the Netherlands, because I’m going to live here. Remember?” She’s been fascinated by the houseboats we’ve seen along the canals and wants to buy one someday. She’s offered Tim and I our own room on her boat, which is definitely a deal too sweet to refuse.

Our other trips have been fantastic, but I don’t think it diminishes them to say that this one had a little something extra. I’m sure part of it came from having the bikes, which allowed us to visit so many of the small towns around the one where we stayed, and to get to know the area there in a way we wouldn’t have from a car or bus. But since we have more Dutch genes than anything else in our American Heinz 57 make up, it was hard not to feel that the Netherlands was just a little bit ours, and that was what made this trip extra special and a time we’ll never forget.

So yes, I will be back. In fact, I can’t wait.

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