Nan and Walt's Summer
June 24 - July 7
We took the train from Vienna to Rijen
in the Netherlands. The
trip was long but fine except for the last leg. There had been a
traffic controller screwup and trains were backed up for over an
hour. It worked out ok for us though. We had anticipated missing
our train for that leg anyway as there was only supposed to be 4
minutes to change platforms and with all of our luggage that seemed an
impossible feat. Fortunately trains covered that leg every half hour or
so. It was kind of funny in the end that we actually made the
train (it was an hour late) that we had
planned to miss.
We stayed in Rijen with friends from our sabbatical at the University
of Twente in 1992-1993, Klaas and Margot Wijbrans. They have two
and a lovely home and were very generous to let us base ourselves there
for a couple of weeks. We picked up a rental car on Monday from
National Rental Car. Both unfortunately and fortunately, changes
to our rental arrangements made in the States didn't get propogated to
the Netherlands. Unfortunately, because we ended up with a Saab
93, a much bigger car than we wanted/needed with gas prices above $7.00
a gallon; fortunately, because
it had cruise control and air conditioning, both of which were very
(After Barcelona we had temperatures that were 80-95 degrees and with
humidity once we left Spain. As not much is air conditioned, the car
sometimes the only escape from the heat.)
Klaas, Margot and Daughters, Bregje and Marijnte in their
From here we visited Remco DeRechter in Breda where
we had tapas - something we hadn't done in Spain. :-) A short
time later, Remco was in NYC celebrating the Italian World Cup win and
got his photo in
the paper with his bride Lindsey (just behind the painted guy).
And now came the reason for the trip - Erik and Rachel's wedding (Click for more photos).
The next day we traveled to Eindhoven
to visit other friends from the
Twente days. The Wijbrans went as well, so there were eight
and six children ranging from 3 to 11. The folks we visited were
Nune Sunter in their new home, as well as Herman and Ira Roebbers who
live in the same neighborhood. One
of Herman's children had just bought a 50 Euro "ipocket" which is
somewhat of an ipod knockoff. They were on sale marked down from
Walt decided he had to have one, so we trouped to the local shopping
to pick one up. (Boys and their toys!) It was WONDERFUL to
everyone again and to see how these kids have grown.
and I'm not sure why, we took no photos. Thankfully both Herman
and Johan did and shared theirs!
Dinner with UT Friends (clockwise
starting with me:
Klaas and Margot Wijbrans, Nune
Sunter, Ira and Herman Roebbers, Johan
July 3 - July 4
We made a two day trip to Dortmund,
Germany (or here) to visit with Thomas Braunl
who is in Germany on
sabbatical from Perth Australia. We'd last seen Thomas in 2000 in
Perth and had not yet met his wife Marion or their baby Sonja. We
couple of very filled days, going to the World Cup Robot Finals,
walking through Westfalenpark
Dortmund, visiting a local carnival, and visiting a very
neveau(!) coal mine.
Unfortunately, our spare camera battery was in another location
and the web site just doesn't do justice to the very interesting
Back in the Netherlands
July 5 - July 7
Visited the storm surge barrier (The Maeslantkering)
Rotterdam with the Wijbrans.
Klaas was responsible for designing
software. Walt and I had visited the storm gates earlier but no
was available for the tour. It was really interesting to see it again
get the inside scoop. For more info, see http://www.keringhuis.nl/engels/home_flash.html
Klaas telling us how it works
Traffic on the River
From there we went to the beach and then stopped in Rotterdam to pick
up some more equipment for Margot's photography and web design
business. She does beautiful work. (See http://www.dagpauwoog.nl/)
Besides reading in our down time, we did some gardening and ran
through the sprinklers with the kids to cool off.
July 7-July 9
We took the train to Brussels to meet with Vali Lalioti, whom I'd met
during a SIGGRAPH delegation trip to South Africa, and her husband
Brew, and son Alex. We spent a wonderful time with them, touring
Brussels and going to a garden dinner party with a group of their
friends, mostly ex-pats
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
July 9-July 13
From Brussels, we took the train to Amsterdam and met Renate Korinek
who does work in a glass studio there and Natalia Straszewicz, our
hostess for our final days in the Netherlands. We did a little
touring, a lot
of talking and went to dinner.
Amsterdam area where on a previous visit a couple of porn
surrounded Micky D's
We had dinner with Erik's brother Ronald and family (Franja, Sonja, and
Sonja's mother). It was nice to see them again and to see the
progress that was made on their house restoration. They live
quite close to
Natalia, so both got to meet their neighbors! These are actually photos
Sonja from Erik's wedding.
Sonja (at Erik's Wedding)
Natalia joined us on an excursion to Utrect to meet a friend,
whom we'd met in South Africa in 2000. Michael is
a percusionist/composer/producer and has recently finished remastering
1950s-1960s African tribal recordings to CDs. They are wonderful!
Check them out at http://www.swp-records.com/.
We had lunch and caught up. Michael then gave us an insightful
tour of old
town Utrect. For example, the Cathedral
of Saint Martin was hit
a hurricane in 1674 when the nave was destroyed separating the
from its bell tower (Dom Tower).
Utrect Train Station and Lunch with Michael and Natalia (Nata)
Utrecht (river/canal with "garages, street musicians, bell
Aside: Today (Aug. 26) I was listening to a local radio station and
heard an interview with Michael! It was a 2005 interview done in
England...but it was really neat. It is transcribed at
and I found it to really interesting. And, it was also nice to hear Michael's
voice again so soon!
We had originally planned to go home on July 19, but were by this time
feeling quite tired and ready to be home. Erik and Rachel
graciously came home a day early from Switzerland to entertain us in
their home in Boxtel. We
had planned to spend the next
weekend with them. It was nice to see their new house and catch
up a bit. It was a short visit, as we needed to pack and get up
quite early the next
morning for our trip home.
Lunch in Boxtel
Check out my new place in Boxtel!
Europe Summer 2006
Author: Nan C. Schaller
Last Updated: August 27, 2006