I have finished my assignment in Austria and travelled back over Ljubjana (Slovenia). As my flight was supposed to start early in the morning I already traveled on Wednesday evening to Slovenia and stayed in Kranj, an older town next to the airport. In Kranj you have a few old churches and an older castle (“Kislkamen”). The city itself sits on a hill, between two rivers.
In the morning I went further to the airport (6:00) and learned that I did not have a ticket. Last ticket I could get was for a flight at 16:55. So I had suddenly half a day to kill and traveled into Ljubjana itself. I took a bus (taking 50 min, 4.10) to the train station. The day was rainy so I rushed through the city. Main sight seeing is the castle overshadowing the city, but I did not go with all my baggage up. However I visited the three oldest churches and downtown. The downtown is nicely renovated and is beautiful next to the river. It is also covered with statues and modern art. You can feel that Ljubjana is the cultural center of Slovenia. Sadly I had no time to visit any museums.

#Slovenia; #Kranj; #Ljubjana
Nice looking town! Found it on wikipedia too:
Kranj – Wikipedia
Kranj (deutsch: Krainburg) ist mit 37.553 Einwohnern (2017; in der Kernstadt) die viertgrößte Stadt Sloweniens und Hauptort der gleichnamigen Stadtgemeinde (Mestna občina). Die gesamte Stadtgemeinde mit allen Ortsteilen zählt 56.081 Einwohner (2017).[1] Kranj liegt auf 350 bis 406 m Seehöhe in der Oberkrain (Gorenjska) in einer Ebene, die von...
Pictures uploaded to the "Slovenia" folder.
Austria IV

On Sunday it was raining very heavily in Villach. After I did not have any rain equipment with me I thought it would be a splendid idea to drive somewhere else and make there a small hike. My target was the Ragga Canyon, pretty famous in Austria.
It is a short but deep canyon by Flattach, Schmelzhuetten. Around 45 min drive from Villach. I was very lucky, because the rain stayed in Villach and I drove into the sun shine (ok, it was foggy). The parking place was very empty and my excitement grew for having another quiet hike. The reason for the empty parking lot became clear around 15 minutes later: the Ragga canyon was closed. I learned later that it had to be repaired due to heavy flodding half a year earlier (October storms in Austria 2018). Opening should be around 10th May 2019 (so I was 1 weekend to early).
Next to the Ragga canyon is another hike which goes up to the Ragga Alm. From this hike you have some views into the canyon and further up, the river is very close to the hiking path. So I took this one till I reached the snow boarder. The path was sometimes damaged, I saw several older landslides. Understandable that the area was partially closed.
My second stop was the castle Falkenstein, which lies romantically under a train bridge. It is also privately owned but visits inside are not possible.  I later learned that this castle contains out of two castles and I have been to “Oberfalkenstein”. Car access is not possible, but the walking took 15 minutes.

#Austria #RaggaCanyon
  last edited: Mon, 13 May 2019 22:59:10 +0200  
Seems you were a bit out of luck. The wikipedia page to this Ragga Canyon is here, in German it's "Raggaschlucht":
Raggaschlucht – Wikipedia
Die Raggaschlucht ist eine Schlucht im österreichischen Mölltal in der Nähe der Ortschaft Flattach in Kärnten. Der Name stammt vom slowenischen Rak (= Krebs). Sie wurde seit der letzten Kaltzeit vom Raggabach in den Gebirgsstock der Kreuzeckgruppe geschnitten. Mit etwa 800 Metern Länge ist sie eine der kürzeren Schluchten Österreichs, aber d...
Regarding opening times I had not so much luck in Austria....
Austria III

I have extended my trip in Austria and instead of working through the weekend I did a bit of sightseeing.
Las time I was here I tried to visit the castle Hochosterwitz which was closed. This weekend I gave it a second try and yes the castle did it’s duty, it was open.
The view and the construction of the castle are unique and worth the visit. The museum on the top is not unique. However as the castle is still privately owned and maintained, every support is necessary.
The castle also has a functional smithy which is giving classes. And I found a traditional wood artist sitting in the rain.

After that I did a small nature tour visiting the water falls in Finsterbach. These are three small waterfalls (one closed for construction….) which flow into the Ossiacher Lake. Somehow it is not the main season, so the area was very lonely and I had the area for me alone. Trip takes around 30 minutes and good shoes are necessary.

#Austria #Hochosterwitz
Never heard of this castle before, but looks great!
Austria II

I am back in Villach, Austria for a customer visit. This time I flew over Ljubljana, Slovenia. I got my rental car and the information that it had snowed and the passes are blocked for traffic. So I had to use the highway and pay a fee at the tunnel between Slovenia and Austria (7.40 Euro). It is the karawanks tunnel,
Luckily freight traffic and personal traffic are separated so I did not have to wait for 4 hours. The customs also waved me through, only to check if I had paid the highway fee for Austria.
As it was late in the evening (dark) I did not see much of the landscape. I hope my trip back will be earlier, so that I see something….
Sounds rather complicated, ... is it faster than by train to austria?
PS: what about 1. May?
I tried one time the train to Villach, that costed me around 12 hours if I remeber correctly. The 1. May is for me a working day, it is called Day of Work, isn't it?
But here at the company we have mimimum staff, so at least I found a parking spot.
Family Visit in the Netherlands

On day 3 (kings day and last day) I took my mother to Maastricht. Maastricht is one of the oldest places in the Netherlands. Of course we all know that Nijmegen is the oldest, but Maastricht is only short behind. Big advantage of Maastricht: it was not bombed during the second world war, so more old architecture is still standing.
Luckily for us rain and storm was predicted, so we did not see the usual crowd of Kings day. We went from the tourist information (old building) to the “groete Maarkt”. Here I think the city hall stands. Not so impressive but distances are not big so we took it with us. After that we visited the Dominican Monastery Church. This is now a book store.
The next stop was the red tower and the basilica of Saint Servatius. These are two very nice church buildings which are a “must be”. You can climb on the red tower and enjoy the view over Maastricht. Which we did not do.
Behind the basilica is another old monastery which is now a hotel. Also very nice and they have good coffee. I have never eaten in the restaurant but perhaps that will be a future blog entry.
After that we went back to the train station alongside the old city fortifications. The trip back was a bit painful as we had construction work around Nijmegen. Meant we had to go by bus for 1 hour….
Family Visit in the Netherlands

On day 2 of my family visit we went to “Keukenhof”. That is an old castle with a small park, which is now full of tourists and tulips. To be honest, nobody looks at the castle, its only about tulips. Keukenhof is also an advertisement for the dutch flower traders what are the new “in tulips”. The theme of this year was flower power.
Keukenhof is around 30 km south of Amsterdam in the middle of the flower center of the Netherlands. The park itself is devided into small pieces by Grachten (no boats, these are only going around the Keukenhof). It took us around 4 hours to walk through the thing.

After that we went to the sea and collected some shells. That was not my normal day.
Family Visit in the Netherlands

I had family (= my mother) over for the long weekend and got therefore forced to do a big Netherlands tour for three days. Also my mother met the parents of my girlfriend.  
Day 1 was occupied with picking up my mother, showing my new living place and talking. In the evening our parents met and had a 2, 3 hour talk. I think it went pretty well, without a fight and no screaming.
Not all are such lucky! ;-)
Killing Time in the Netherlands

This weekend I got kicked by a horse (I survived) and I had the pleasure of getting two gratis tickets for the Nick and Simon concert in the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.
I can now say: not my music. Also the guests they invited: not my music.
Very nice: we passed successfully the alpha test of the bbq.

On the easter Monday we visited a national park in the west of Dem Bosch (nice walking) and after that had a short visit to Dem Bosch itself. In Dem Bosch we made the boat tour through the old trade harbors, that is not as nice as through the downtown channels.
How come, that a horse kicked you? -- did you want to fondle it?
Not everyone at the riding place is smart and recognizes what horses can do. I got trapped between two of the horses and a stupid hobby rider who put her horse in its stable. After I got the kick (not on purpose but accidently) the horse also fell, I was a bit surprised that it did not break something....
This weekend I was invited to a cooking course for italian and spanish tapas. That was an interesting expeirence. We were dived into 5 teams who had to cook the different meals. I don't know how but my team had to do the desert. As I was in the team we finished of course first and I had time to try the wine collection. I stopped at the white.
Meal was very tasty.

Sunday my  spouse's parents showed up for their christmas gift and I cooked dinner (with the new wok!). I can proudly say that my cooking was better than the saturday cooking course stuff. I did not ask for other opinions.
Congrats! ;-)
So your gift was a dinner invitation? and you cooked .... noodles and tomato sauce?
Amateur Theater

I was invited to see the amateur theater of Graubeck, a small village in Limburg. The play was in the local dutch dialect which raised some worries. My worries were correct, I could not follow the swear words. The play itself was quiet funny, something about a treasure card hidden in a broken statue.

Fun Fact: the dutch dialect of limburg is now an official language. I am still confused as each village has its own dialect. So what is now the real official language is unkown to me. But I am full of hopes that I will get that information in the next couple of months.

  last edited: Tue, 16 Apr 2019 15:40:16 +0200  
We had our housewarming party a few weeks back. That means on a weekend I had to clean my place twice.
It was a nice party which lasted a bit longer than anticipated. But we got a wok for the kitchen. Our colleagues collected and gave us a cool Weber BBQ for 8 to 11 people. I have tried out the wok, works very well. But the BBQ is still unused.
Means we have to throw another party when the weather is nicer. At least we have the space for it.

My usual sushi snacks were not so appreciated but the filled wine leaves and the cheese heads were popular.Image/photoImage/photo
  last edited: Mon, 15 Apr 2019 16:34:44 +0200  
Puppenbuch is back blogging! :-)
Was it the same sushi snack you offered last year? -- the one of which your mother told you, she wouldn't try them? ;-)

I am on a business trip to Austria, Villach to be precise. Villach lies in the three country hook of Austria, Slovenia and Italy, in the southern Alps. So the weather is better than in the Netherlands, which is no big surprise.
How did I come here: I took a flight to Graz (130 km from Villach) and took a rental car to come to Villach using the highway. Its pretty nice to have your own car once in a while and can see something of the country.
Villach itself has around 60000 people and the downtown is ok. I did not have time to explore the churches and sightseeing spots yet. However its pretty nice to understand all my customers at once and not to need a translator all the time. I have visited a few restaurants (austrian kitchen is pretty tasty) and I got a parking ticket. I think it was the first parking ticket in my live.

* "in my life"! ;)
Doppelpost! ^

I am on a business trip to Austria, Villach to be precise. Villach lies in the three country hook of Austria, Slovenia and Italy, in the southern Alps. So the weather is better than in the Netherlands, which is no big surprise.
How did I come here: I took a flight to Graz (130 km from Villach) and took a rental car to come to Villach using the highway. Its pretty nice to have your own car once in a while and can see something of the country.
Villach itself has around 60000 people and the downtown is ok. I did not have time to explore the churches and sightseeing spots yet. However its pretty nice to understand all my customers at once and not to need a translator all the time. I have visited a few restaurants and I got a parking ticket. I think it was the first parking ticket in my live.
Killing Time in the Netherlands

I had the pleasure of observing the local tribes in Limburg on a very strange custom called "karneval". And I survived this adventure!
We started with a good base of snacks and french fries.
My first visit was to Sint Joost, a small village near Roermond in the middle of Limburg. First we had to costume (=me being a clown) so that we would blend in the locals. Then we would see a parade with a lot of funny made cars (from groups) or people walking in special costumes.
Only two waggons would throw candy, one would be the waggon of the youth prince, the second one of the carnevals prince.
After the parade we went to the community center where everybody (except the kids) would get drunk and the carnevals club (organisator of the parade) gave prices to the different groups for their outfit. There were almost as many prices as groups. So only the music club did not get a price.
After that - snackbar for fried snacks and french fries to fill up the base.
After that we had to go to the local bar (only one in the village) to listen to more carnevals music. Bed time was around midnight.

I got a closer look for the carneval in Klimmen, that is really in the depth of Limburg.
1.) The colours for carneval in Limburg are green, yellow and red. No more, no less.
2.) In November (11.11) a carnevals prince is chosen. He has to represent the village till the end of carneval (this week).
3.) The prince must be:
- from the village
- still living at home
- not be married
- members of at least two clubs additional to the carnevals club
- His parents need to have a certain financial base as they have to finance dinner for the whole carnevals club on various evenings.
- Needs to join during the carnevals periode (11.11- till February/ March) all club events, so no free weekends.
- Has to throw the candy
- has to be male
4.) The youth prince/ princess:
- from the village I assume
- still living at home I assume
- Not sure about the marriage thing
- also throws candy
5.) The parade is on Monday, starting 11 minutes after 13:00. The last waggon is the waggon of the prince.
6.) We watched the parade and directly after that we went directly to "Tom" or "Niels" (= the two cafes in the village, elsewhere described as a "bar" or more precise an alcohol wonder land). That is around 15:00.
7.) My relatives went for 40 years to "Tom", but "Tom" had the saloon closed, so we went to "Niels" an old class mate from my mother in law.
8.) Drinks have to be bought at the cafe but you can bring your own food (cheese, sausage, waffles, chips, hard boiled eggs,...)
9.) At 16:00 the saloon is opened, and you have to storm in to find a table for all your food supply. If you can still storm.
10.) For the next 4 hours only carnevals music in german or limburgs, no dutch because that is a foreign language for the villagers.
11.) The prince is proclaiming the victors of the parade, nobody cares.
12.) Between 20 and 21:00 fight to the Snack bar for frnech fries and fried snacks. The Snack bar closes at 21:30. Advice: be careful of the small kids (4 to 12 years?), which have been drowned in coke and candy. The coffein and sugar makes them unpredicable.
13.) Back to "Niels".
14.) Around Midnight we walked back home.

For blending in I went as "chinese", not having the important colors red, green, yellow. But I did not stand out.
Tuesday we had a day off and went back to Nijmegen....

#Carneval; #Limburg
my love disguised as a hawaii lady
Ah, so my guess wasn't that bad.
A photo of that hawai dressing would be "helpful"! ;-)
I can imagine!
Killing Time in the Netherlands

We have now almost finished with our last flat. My spouse needs to remove the floor from her old flat. The floor consists of laminate which could be removed pretty easy.
The difficult part is getting rid of the stuff. Here in the Netherlands you can bring the garbage to a "Milieu Straat" which is in end effect a collection point for recycable and non recycable waste. Laminate belongs to the later. For entering the "Milieu Straat" you need to scan a special card from DAR (= the waste company of the Netherlands). The card is connected to a household. The recycable waste is free of charge but the other stuff costs money. So far I have found out that this is depending on the area where you live.
We have a free charge of 250 kg per year (which is nothing).
My spouse old card had no free charge at all.
My spouse's parents have 6 free trips (independent of the amount) to the "Milieu Straat".

As by us the amount of waste is weight limited you get weighted before dropping your waste (including a scan of the DAR ID) and after the drop you also get scanned again. Sadly we have to pay immediatly instead of an automatic bill to our account.

The ID card also works for some containers where you can drop your non recycable waste. It just costs one euro per bag. That helps with the motivtation for recycling. The other method is to store the waste in special bags (only these ones will be picked up). But also the special bags cost a euro per piece.

All in all an interesting system.
^ Hast jetz extra ne Kategorie "Recycling in the Netherlands" angelegt? -- planst du da noch ganz viel in die Richtung zu bloggen? :-D
Killing Time in the Netherlands

We have done something cultural this weekend. I know that is a surprise for a lot of our readers here....
The Bach Choir & Orchester of the Netherlands (see: had a concert in Nijmegen, in the Stephanskerk (the old main church of Nijmegen). Mozarts Requiem was the topic of the show.
I think we were one of the youngest attendants but it was worth it. I cannot really judge the skills of the choir and the musicians (except they were better than me....) but I enjoyed the performance. It was different listening to the requiem in a building for which it was made.

All in all worth the money and the time.

#Nijmegen; #Mozart
Killing Time in the Netherlands

We have ordered online 1 baking dish out of glass for baking.
Deliverment 1 was totaly broken.
Deliverment 2 had a broken lid.
Deliverment 3 had a broken bowl.

So I have now one complete baking dish set! Service wise: after each deliverment they asked us nicely if we want a new one or our money back, no need to sent pictures or the broken stuff back. No wonder when 0 in three deliverments survives without damage  :).
Very funny! -- you are so lucky! --- you could also have received 3x times broken lids or 3x broken bowls!
Killing Time in the Netherlands

The carneval season is approaching and I promised that I would join, so yesterday we went to a costume shop in Limburg (Heerlen, to be precies) to outfit me.
I start to suspect that most stories over carneval in Limburg are not exaggerated and I will have a "fun" time.

Fun Fact: moving is finished, we have put the last furnitures together.
So you diguise as what? - cowboy? serial killer? spy agent? Geert Wilders? :)
That info I will share in my expedition report of the carneval traditions in the backwater areas of Limburg :)
Killing Time in the Netherlands

  last edited: Mon, 11 Feb 2019 11:06:34 +0100  
My stuff has arrived and is now occupying the living room. Almost everything has survived except one piece.
I was also a bit surprised about the 4 boxes of spare parts from my old car. Luckily I have two basements.

Funfact: our heating system is working again!
  last edited: Fri, 01 Feb 2019 19:30:56 +0100  
Where in your new home is godzilla hiding now?
Again behind the curtain? ;-)
no, protection the area between kitchen and dining room.
Killing Time in the Netherlands

We visited a 12.5 year surprise party. That seems to be a dutch tradition after 12.5 years of marriage (half of silver, I guess). Was nice, I had a long discussion about Aikido with the only other guests who were not family members. After we had to move a day later we were the first to leave the party.

On Sunday we moved the big furnitures to our new place. Now we have a washing machine, the dryer, a table (juhu!) and a couch. The rest is not installed yet. Tomorrow my stuff is coming and I am very excited!

Funfact: I have given back the keys of my old place for a second time - no call yet. So I feel lucky this time.