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Newsletter October/November 2013 “A Holland and France Special”

Newsletter October/November 2013  “A Holland and France Special”

Twice a year I go to Holland, driving my own car. To visit my children and grandchildren, to see the publisher, to give my car a good overhaul, to see my friends and to do some shopping. And often to give a presentation, this time on Orbs at Op Hodenpijl in Schipluiden.

And also to act as deliveryman, bringing wines and Blanquette de Limoux, home made sambal and goods from Joke’s shop Renaissance to Holland. And taking back all those special things from Holland, like my new books, DVD’s, peanut butter, lots of stuff from the Toko and more, much more.

On the way up and on the way down, I always try to visit new places, interesting places. Or places I want to see again.

This trip was special. In many ways. I took my time, three days, going up and three days going down. And saw how beautiful France is. And I stayed a bit longer in Holland and saw how beautiful Holland is. And I met some wonderful old and some wonderful new girlfriends. All very, very special. Join me on this trip and I will tell you, and show you, day by day, what happened. Enjoy dear friends, enjoy!

The images that I refer to are included in each section. You can step through them via the thumbnails and clicking on an image enables you to enlarge them. Enjoy!

End of October

We had a wonderful autumn. Nice and warm, clear blue skies and white clouds. So wonderful, so peaceful. See my friend enjoying her stay in the hammock {PIC 001}. See the beautiful red earth {PIC 002}. Watch this lovely woman sliding out of the birthing cave, being born again {PIC 003}. See her playing with the water at the Source of the Mother Goddess {PIC 004}. Look at this awesome sight, the ruin of the abbey in Alet-les-Bains {PIC 005}. And the strange face, part of the Roches Tremblantes in Rennes-les-Bains {PIC 006}. See the sun shining through the trees on the plateau south of Rennes-les-Bains {PIC 007}. Pure magic. Watch the enigmatic basilica ND de Marceille {PIC 008}. And the just as enigmatic village of Rennes-le-Chateau {PIC 009}. And image yourself standing on top of the hill, looking at your friends and watching the sun go down over the Tour Magdala {PIC 010}.

November 2

I left early in the morning. Going to Moissac, 100 kilometres northwest of Toulouse. A bit a touristic place with a beautiful Abbey {PIC 011}. Inside there is this strange, three persons Pietà {PIC 012}, Jesus laid out {PIC 013}, the ND de Moissac {PIC 014} and a pregnant? Mary Magdalene {PIC 015}. Outside I found this lovely piece of art {PIC 016}.

My next stop was Perigeux in the Dordogne. But now the bad weather had set in. Low clouds, fog, rain, cold. Look at the beautiful, but cold cathedral {PIC 017}. And inside this strange picture of the crucifixion, with Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross {PIC 018}.

From Perigeux I travelled to Limoges. Famous for its porcelain. It was already going dark, but the cathedral was still open {PIC 019}. Inside was this lovely statue of Mary Magdalene {PIC 020}, a very strange painting of two angels catching the blood of Jesus {PIC 021}, (and you know that if a person is bleeding he is still alive) and finally this magic picture of the Black Madonna of Limoges {PIC 022}. Truly magnificent.

November 3

A long way to go, up north, all the way to Stenay, near the Belgian border. The weather was good, the Dordogne beautiful {PIC 023}. I had one last look at the cathedral of Limoges, a view from its famous gardens {PIC 024}. Then onwards to one of my favourite churches, the church of Mary Magdalene in Troyes {PIC 025}. Such a beautiful church. Look inside {PIC 026}. Look at the wonderful paintings {PIC’s 027 – 029} and the beautiful stained glass windows {PIC 030}, all depicting the life of this lovely Sainte.

It was late when I arrived in Stenay. Everything was closed except a small pizzeria. I took a shot of the church, bathed in light {PIC 031}.

November 4

I got up early. The church was open. There I took this picture of Mary Magdalene being lifted up to heaven {PIC 032}. I would have loved to visit the crypt of Dagobert II {PIC 033}, but it opened too late for me. So I drove on to the famous abbey of Orval {PIC 034}. What a magic place. Look at this very old crucifixion scene, captured within the shape of a heart {PIC 035}. On the west side are the ruins of the old abbey {PIC 036}. And in the museum I could only find one picture of Mary Magdalene {PIC 037}. Then via a small, secondary road to Belgium. Just across the border, in the village of Chiny, I stopped, just a hunch, to look if the church was open. It was. And surprise, surprise, there I found a beautiful Black Madonna {PIC 039}. A little further, another surprise. A lovely chapel with the sign ND de Luxembourg {PIC 040}. It was closed but I nevertheless took a picture through the door {PIC 041}.

Then I went on to Franeker in Friesland, the place where I have lived for a few years. I stayed at the Bungalow Park Bloemketerp, the place where I always stay when I am in Holland. Here I unloaded the car and took a bath.

The next day, November 5th was for my car. It got a much-needed overhaul, after the many, many guiding tours. And it was also a day for shopping.

November 6

That day I had planned to go to the publisher in Soesterberg. But they had postponed the meeting one week. I guess because my books were not yet ready, not yet printed. So I picked up Door in Amsterdam and together we went to Utrecht, the place where I was born and raised. A beautiful city dating from the time of the Romans. We visited the famous Kloosterhof {PIC 042} and the Domkerk where I found this wall painting of the crucifixion {PIC 043}. But what is the dragon doing there? Then we walked under the Dom {PIC 044}, along the Oudegracht to the Neude. Lovely old shops everywhere. So many familiar places. And special was this shop, the ‘patat kraam’, where, so they said, they made the best frites in Utrecht {PIC 045}. Next we went into the huge building complex of Hoog Catherijne, where some extensive renovations were taking place. Looking for the ‘Grenswisselkantoor’. The only place where I could change the rest of my dollars in euros. Then back to Franeker, where it was raining. A perfect opportunity for taking another series of Orb pictures {PIC’s 046 – 048}.

November 7

On special request of Door we went to Drenthe, one of our northern provinces. To Borger, the place where many dolmens are spread out over the area and the place with the largest dolmen in Holland. Here a relatively small dolmen {PIC 049}. Door is enjoying herself on top of this even smaller dolmen {PIC 050}. But next it became more serious. Lying on top of this dolmen she started meditating, and connecting to the Spirit World. A very special experience {PIC 051}.

Then we went to the largest dolmen. A real tourist attraction {PIC 052}. Here I am in front of the dolmen {PIC 053} and next a picture looking at the stones from underneath {PIC 054}.

It was such a moving experience that we decided to ‘cool off’ in the well know sauna of Vrouwenparochie, in the north of Friesland. Where the water, pumped up from deep below the earth, has a wonderful, soothing effect.

8 November

Saskia’s birthday. Saskia is a dear friend who I had not seen for over 30 years. She suddenly came back in my life. That is what the Internet does for us! We had in the previous months exchanged several e-mails and I had promised, when in the Netherlands, to look her up. Which I did. In Volendam. Here she is standing in front of the houses so characteristic for that place {PIC 055}. We walked along the harbour with it fishing fleet {PIC 056}. I love those sturdy sailing boats, especially the ‘botters,’ made of wood and varnished {PIC 057}. Here is the office of the Harbourmaster {PIC 058}. We went to the restaurant Cathrien and had lunch. A very lengthy lunch. Recalling and reliving old memories. And telling each other of the life’s we have lived and the life’s we live. With a glass of wine to help us along {PIC 059}. Mostly good memories, as you can see on the happy face of Saskia {PIC 060}. So good to see you again after all those years!

9 November

Joke’s birthday. To be celebrated together with my sons Gjalt and Ewout in Lexmond. It was a beautiful day. On my way through Friesland I passed the Tjeukermeer, the largest lake in Friesland. I stopped at the parking place and could not help but taking these pictures. It was just too beautiful. Have a look and see for yourself {PIC’s 061 – 064}.

Here the house of Ewout, behind the dike {PIC 065}. Ewout has developed a new game, very exciting. He has played it with many of his friends and they are all enthusiastic {PIC 066}. Could be a big money-maker. Gjalt came a bit later with his lovely partner Jorien. They are such a handsome couple {PIC 067}. Much of our attention was of course directed at my lovely granddaughter Lola, just two years old. Here she is following a good Dutch tradition by eating erwtensoep (green pea soup). See {PIC 068}.

10 November

The next day was for my daughter Femke. And my other granddaughter Simone. And again it was a beautiful day. And again I had to take some pictures on the way. Like this characteristic view of Friesland {PIC 069}. And the imposing statue of Lely on the Afsluitdijk. Silhouetted against the white clouds {PIC 070}.

Then I came to Egmond aan Zee and there was Femke {PIC 071}. She looked very well. There I also met her new friend Roelof. A nice man. We walked to the North Sea, just a few hundred metres away, passing the lighthouse of Egmond aan Zee {PIC 072}. Then came the traditional walk along the beach. And whatever the time of the year, this is always beautiful. But especially so in autumn {PIC 073}.

Femke had ordered a complete Indonesian rice table, one of my favourite dishes, and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch. Here she is sitting next to her friend Roelof. A happy, handsome couple {PIC 074}.

My sister Marian had come over, especially to see me, and we had a wonderful time. Here she is looking at the empty battery of her camera {PIC 075}.

11 November

My day off. A day of leisure. I got up late and walked around in Franeker. Again a wonderful day. I took a lot of pictures, it is such a beautiful city, but I can’t show them all. Just this little bridge {PIC 076}. I did some more shopping and then went to Harlingen, the city at the Waddenzee. Harlingen with its salt-water harbour. How I love that smell. But then I am an old naval officer. Harlingen with its ferries to the isles of Ameland and Terschelling, its fleet of tall ships and it wonderful shops, restaurants and café’s. Here some of the tall ships in the harbour {PIC 077}. And here a shop for ‘cooks and kitchen maids’ {PIC 078}.

The inner harbour, always chock-full in the summer, was almost empty. Just this sturdy tugboat {PIC 079}. And at the other side my favourite café, where they have everything you might want, from all kinds of coffee to beer and Beerenburg and from bitterballen to erwtensoep {PIC 080}.

12 November

The meeting with Saskia was so good that we decided to give it another day. A day to explore Friesland. And each other. First we went to Bolsward, a beautiful city with a magnificent town hall. But most important was the big church. The church, Saskia remembered it well, where her mother once played the cello. A moving moment {PIC 081}. Our next stop was Workum, with the wonderful museum of Jopie Huisman. Look at Saskia watching a video of his life {PIC 082}. And looking at the famous self-portrait of the painter {PIC 083}. Then came Hindelopen, with its wonderful harbour, its small streets and the Skating museum {PIC 084}. Further south, following the well-known “Elf Steden Tocht”, the eleven cities (skating) tour, in the opposite direction, we came to Stavoren. Where she can be seen next to “Het Vrouwtje van Stavoren”, the woman of Stavoren, looking out for her fleet of ships. The ships that would bring her the most valuable thing in the world. Beautiful golden grain. Later that day we returned to Franeker and had a spirited conversation, at candlelight, before she left for home {PIC 086}. Thank you for this wonderful day!

13 November

A busy day. Very busy. First I went to my publisher, Uitgeverij Aspekt in Soesterberg, to pick up my books. A reprint or second edition of “De Geheime Boodschappen van Rennes-le-Chateau, deel III”. And a reprint or second edition of “Maria Magdalena in Frankrijk”, and that after only one year! And of course to pick up the first edition of my new book “Verschil moet er zijn”. A book about the wonderful, natural, but often misunderstood differences between men and women {PIC 086a}. Next we talked about the possibility of writing a book about Orbs, in Dutch. A reduced version of my book “The Beauty and Message of Orbs”, available at Amazon.com. I also gave them my new manuscript called “Uit in eigen huis”, (Going out in your own house), a cooking book for men. Talking about the fun of cooking, of how cooking can reduce your stress, and renew your contact with nature. I hope to hear from them soon.

Then I met my dear friend Rian {PIC 087}. We took a long walk in the beautiful nature reserve of Oud Amelisweerd, near Utrecht. Talking. Enjoying the wonderful landscape. Looking at the huge trees {PIC 088}. And walking back along the Kromme Rijn, the river where my father used to walk with us, me and my twin sisters, every Sunday morning, more than 55 years ago {PIC 089}.

Next I paid a short visit to Ewout and Lola. Here on her bike {PIC 090}. And of course I had to help her building a huge tower {PIC 091}. That is what grandfathers are for. After an hour I said goodbye to this lovely father-daughter couple {PIC 092}. I checked in at the Van der Valk hotel in Rotterdam, close to the Schipluiden where I would give a lecture on Orbs. Here the church of OP Hodenpijl where the lecture took place {PIC 093}. It is a wonderful location. I have no pictures of the lecture itself, but Rian was so kind to take a picture of me, talking afterwards with some interested ladies {PIC 093a}. And guess what? On my heart appeared an ORB. Thank you Rian! Thank you! Before returning to my hotel I paid a visit to the Black Madonna in the church. A gift from the grateful people of Peru {PIC 094}, for all the good work the people of Op Hodenpijl had done for them.

14 November

Back to Franeker again. On my way north from Rotterdam, where I had stayed that night, I paid a short visit to another dear friend, Mirjam. She is living in Hengelo and we knew a Japanese restaurant where they serve the most wonderful food. What a pleasure! Both the company and the food {PIC 095}.

Then, I keep touching old friends and memorable, old places, I went to Oldeholtpade, to the ‘lovely’ cemetery where my parental grandparents are buried {PIC 096}. And I went to see the house of my great grandfather, a blacksmith, also in Oldeholpade. The house is in a very bad state {PIC 097}. It is as if it is calling out to me to buy the place. Well, who knows?

That evening, another important moment, for Door would give a presentation about vaccines in Heerenveen, Friesland. In one of the halls of a modern sporting complex {PIC 098}. It was a very spirited presentation. Very good, very open and sincere. Here she is talking to one of the women {PIC 099}. And next, very proud, after the presentation, with a bouquet of roses and her new book {PIC 100}. Well-done dear Door!

Back to Franeker. After this spirited day and as the rain came down, there just had to be Orbs. And there were. Look at them {PIC 101} and {PIC 102}.

15 November

The day to prepare for my trip home. And to pack my things. Saying goodbye to Franeker and its beautiful town hall {PIC 103}. Doing my last shopping. Special fruits and vegetables in my favourite shop {PIC 104}. Buying kale and Cox Oranje apples. Then stowing everything in my car {PIC 105}. It was not too bad for I could still see through the rear view mirror.

Then Ewout came to say goodbye. After delivering his daughter Lola to her other grandparents in Kampen. We made a small tour through Friesland, the land and especially the waters, we both love so much. Here again the church in Bolsward, now baking in the light of the late afternoon sun {PIC 106}. Next we went to Harlingen, walking around the harbour {PIC 107}. And ending our tour at our favourite café. For a beer, a Beerenburg, some cheese and some bitterballen. And a good father-sun conversation {PIC 108}.

16 November

The day of departure. The first day of the long trip back. Fortunately Door had offered to accompany me to Les Labadous. To keep me awake, to talk, to rest a bit and to visit some special places. A wonderful opportunity. It is always a pleasure to be with her.

And, surprise, surprise, on my way to Amsterdam I had to stop for the open bridge in Den Oever. Because Sint Nicolaas was coming through, coming to town. In a boat, as it should be. What a great moment {PIC 109}.

After picking up Door in Amsterdam we drove south. Our first goal was the church of Mary Magdalene in Lille. A huge church. Unfortunately the church was closed. I could only take this picture of her standing  above the entrance {PIC 110}. After having a coffee and a pizza {PIC 111} we drove on, to Fecamp. On the coast of the English Channel. The place was hard to find but we got there, eventually. And it was a lovely place {PIC 112}

17 November

Again a beautiful day. We had a large breakfast, look at the table laid out for us. And we were the only customers {PIC 113}. Then going downtown, to the harbour. So wonderful to see the blue green waters of the English Channel or La Manche as the French call it. And to sniff the salt air. See how Door is enjoying herself {PIC 114}.

First we went to the Church of St Stephen, where we admired the beautiful faces in this stained glass window {PIC 115}. Then to the famous Abbey Church of he Holy – Trinity. Just before the morning service. What a beautiful church {PIC 116}. With so many statues and paintings. I can only show you a few. Like this Lady of Pity {PIC 117}. And the stained glass window of the crucifixion {PIC 117a}. And the astrological clock, dating from 1667 {PIC 117b}. And this strange picture of Mary Magdalene, or is it John the Beloved Disciple {PIC 117c}? And Jesus laid out {PIC 118}. And Mary Magdalene being lifted to heaven {PIC 119}. So beautiful, so rich. And then, when the service started,

the people were signing. So beautiful. Pure magic. Outside we paid a quick visit to the famous white cliffs of Fecamp. Not as big as those at Dover, but still impressive {PIC 120}.

Then on to Mont St Michel. What a special place. I had been there 50 years ago on a school outing of the Stedelijk Gymnasium in Utrecht. But what a difference. We could not reach the mountain, but had to park our car on the mainland. Where I luckily found a place where they sell  Calvados, my favourite drink. I finally settled for a bottle holding 70% alcohol. Eau de Vie de Cidre. Great stuff! They even had movable distilling equipment, for making calvados out of apples or cider {PIC 122}.

We parked our car and hopped on one of the many busses to Mont St Michel. A free ride. But even in November it was busy. We walked up the mountain, past all the restaurants and tourist shops and entered the abbey complex. It is huge! See {PIC 123}. It is not just the abbey, but there are many buildings built around the abbey, like this dining hall {PIC 124}. In one of the rooms we found this beautiful Black Madonna {PIC 125}. It was curious to see that groups that were being guided by professional guides completely ignored her. Another room was called “The Merveille” because it is a wonderful building, a thing of beauty {PIC 126}. And the view is magnificent. Join Door in enjoying the view {PIC 127}. Late that night we arrived in Paimpont. The centre of the legends about King Arthur, Merlin, Viviane the Lady of the lake and the Holy Grail. Where we stayed in the B&B called La Maison du Graal.

November 18

The next morning we got up early. Door was quite rested and really wanted to get going as you can see {PIC 129}. It is a magic area, the whole area of Broceliande. Look at this lake {PIC 130} near Paimport. First we went to the abbey. With this wonderful scene above the altar. Is it the Virgin Mary dressed in the clothes and colours of Mary Magdalene {PIC 131}? And look at this beautiful ND de Paimpont {PIC 132}. Such a special place. Door needed some time to contemplate {PIC 133}. Here the outside of the abbey {PIC 134}.

Then on our way. Through this magic landscape. We stopped, enjoyed the view and could really feel the energy of the place {PIC 135}. There is a special tour, a tour “Au coeur de Broceliande”, taking you to all the magic places like the Eglise de Graal in Trehorenteuc {PIC 136}, le Tombeau de Merlin and L’Etang (the lake) of Viviane. We only went to the Eglise de Graal, a wonderful and wondrous church, where we took several pictures. Like the ND du Graal {PIC 137}, the Holy Grail {PIC 138}, the Grail held by two angels catching the blood of Jesus {PIC 139} and this moving painting of Jesus bleeding at the cross {PIC 140}. But bleeding means, dear friends, as has been said before, that he is still alive. Next we went to the Tourist office, close to the church. With this painting on the outside wall! Look at it and enjoy {PIC 141}.

Then the long way back to Les Labadous. Over 850 kilometres. With the weather getting from bad to worse. We finally arrived at 2000 hours in the pouring rain.

Les Labadous

But here a strange thing happened. Even though we were both exhausted after this long and arduous trip, the moment we came to Les Labadous we got ‘energized.’ We had so much energy that we talked with Joke and Franklin about our experiences, unloaded some of our ‘cargo’ and even went outside to take some pictures. Celebrating our safe return to La Source/Les Labadous. And now an even bigger surprise awaited us. The most wonderful Orb pictures you can image. Have a look. See these blue and red Orbs {PIC 142}. See the Orb with a cut in the middle near the tree of Mary Magdalene {PIC 143}. See Door engulfed by Orb clouds {PIC 144}. And strangest of all, see these beams coming down from heaven {PIC 145}, or originating from Orbs. As in this picture of me standing in front of Les Labadous {PIC 146}. I have never seen anything like it!

End of November

The next day a group of 12 women, all from Holland and Belgium, came to our place. They stayed for four days. They had a lot of fun, but that was not due to the weather. For it had been raining for days and days. You can still see to what level the river, Le Ruisseau des Couleurs, had risen  {PIC 147}. On very sparse moments the sun came through, so we could take a picture of the last leaves of autumn {PIC 148}. The group nevertheless enjoyed themselves. Going with Anneke Koremans to Rennes-le-Chateau and to the Galleries des Anges in Alet-les-Bains. A few of them went with me to the Source with healing waters for the eyes at the ND de Marceille {PIC 149}.

Then it started snowing {PIC 150}. Snow in November. Incredible. But then there was a powerful low-pressure formation over the Mediterranean Sea, bringing havoc to the people. More than 19 people were killed in Sardinia. At night is half rained, half snowed. Ideal circumstances for photographing Orbs {PIC 151}. And, it must be said, the snow gives our place a wonderful white glow, even at night {PIC 152}.


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