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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some of my Favourite Photos

Here is a collection of some of my favourite photos from our trip in no particular order.
Happy tourists in Brussels

An old favourite place

Old favourite friends

Where Grandpa Tripe's Spitfire crashed

Favourite morning greeting in Luxembourg

Favourite stories

Favourite summer place
Great lookoff

Moving memorial

Holly's favourite elephant 
Favourite memories

Favourite city
Wonderful beach

The Elephant Parade

One of the events I saw in the Luxembourger Wort (daily newspaper) before I went on this trip was the Elephant Parade. It was/is being held in both Luxembourg City and Trier and I thought it was a brilliant idea for raising funds. First here is the website where you can find all the information on the raison d'être for the event -

And we saw elephants! They are absolutely marvelous. We watched kids play on them and under them. We had our pictures taken with them. They made us laugh and smile. So enough of the blather here, this is our collection of elephant photos.
First, the ones in Luxembourg City -


This is taken from the Hop-On Hop-Off bus.


And these are ones in Trier -


Jemp and Holly


Anne and Jemp



One of our favourites!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 2 and 3 Catch-up Notes

Below are some notes I took as we went along. I'm going to edit them very briefly rather than try to make them literary masterpieces. I really want to just keep all of this in one place. I will add some photos here as well. This one starts on the day we were to meet with Josée and her sister Germaine with whom we were staying until they left - Josée back to her home in West Virginia and Germaine on a trip to the States with a choral group. So here we go -
August 2 – Breakfast, got some computer stuff done, checked emails, etc. Checked out. Ladies' Lunch at hotel. Josée, Germaine, Emelye, Mely, Holly and me. It was just great seeing them all again. We all had lunch and talked for about 2 hours Germaine remembers Louise and Donald very well.
Mely, Anne, Emel, Josée and Germaine.

We loaded our suitcases in Germaine’s car and went to her house in Echternacherbruck – across the river in Germany. We had a suite that had been added to the house for her daughter Nathalie. Small kitchenette, door to back courtyard which lead around to the main house kitchen, dinette, bathroom and bedroom. Germaine's house is right across the river from the Pavillon. And then she toured us around all over the place – up on a hill to look down on Echternach;

the Basilica and the Orangerie and we went past the door where we went to school.
We stopped at our house on rue des Bons Malades and Holly took pic in front. Apartment buildings across from our house now where Lissons lived. Germaine’s house in Echternach is off the Letzebuergerstrasse near the old cinema. We drove along the old wall and the towers that have been renovated to accommodate tourists; Emel’s house (her mother’s) on rue des Remparts, it backs onto the ancient wall.
There is a gas station is now where Schaak's was. And there are trees on both sides of promenade by the river now. Hard to see river from road.
We drove a bit out of town towards Diekirch where Holly climbed up a split in the rocks and came down the other side – a place called Pereskop. Germaine’s little white Scottie Diva actually whined when she saw Holly climbing up that split, it made me a tad nervous too but Holly said that if Josée could do it so could she.
Holly at Pereskopp.
We drove up to the old Blockhouse where we went as Girl Guides for the summer and there are lots of memories there for sure.
Germaine, Anne, Josée and Germaine's little Scottie Diva.
We met a few kids from Netherlands who were building a bonfire and were on their last night at guide/scout camp. They were staying in the big newer and now much updated Blockhouse. Around 11 pm we met Ria Phillips,
an old school chum on the rue de la Gare as we strolled down to get ice cream (Holly and I had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches) at a restaurant owned by a cousin of Josée’s. It was a great memory lane day for me.


August 3 - Big storm overnight – thunder and lightening woke us both up around 4. Had breakfast with Josée and Germaine. Took in the gift books and cards – they were really pleased. Holly went for a long walk this morning along the Sure River. She walked through the Saturday flea market. And along the river to the Pavillon. Called Jemp with info about today and he said that Mely has invited us to drinkies and nibblies at 5 on Sunday at Lauterborn. And then he invited Holly and me to go touring around until a BBQ at his house at 6.

We went to Beaufort
and Vianden where we looked the castles. There is an 8 mm film of Beaufort when we visited with Grandma Rannie in 1954.

Vianden is amazing. We did a bit of walking there and saw the house that Victor Hugo lived in on one of his exiles from France.

The Sauer River is very pretty here as well.
On our way out of town, we pulled into a closed hotel’s parking lot where Jemp kneeled down so Holly could get up on a pedestal to take a photo of the Vianden castle without trees in front. It was all pretty spectacular.
We had lunch in a little Asian restaurant in one of the little villages before heading to Ettelbruck and the Patton memorial. There are lots of photos from there.

Holly and Jemp at the Ettelbruck Patton Memorial.
The Patton Memorial plaque.
6 pm - We got a bit lost getting to Jemp and Lony's with Josée and Germaine. BBQ on the patio with chicken on skewers, potato baked with vegetables, salad and pineapple with cookies. Champers and red wine. A lovely evening with great friends. Home at 11:30.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

HLW - Part III

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I rolled my still stuffed-belly self out of bed and fumbled my way through to the bathroom. Water!  Making a mental note to self, "Take it easy on the food and drink! Ugh!"  A little breakfast of bread, cheese and tea along with a shower lifted the fog and I was ready for an afternoon of...

In the car and off with Lony and Jemp to a hunting lodge!  Now, a hunting lodge from my perspective can look like a compact shack on the tundra made from waste wood procured at the local dump to a massive log cabin in the mountains. This hunting lodge fit somewhere in the middle.

A cute little place that had been purchased by our hosts 19 years ago, this lodge has hosted many BBQ's and hunting parties with family and friends.  It is rudimentary and quaint.  The necessities are there and they date from present day to likely the 1950/60's. Fun!

Our generous hosts were quick to place champagne glasses in our hands and fill them up. It's going to be 'one of those' afternoons.  Le sigh!  I just have to pace myself.

In quick time, the flow of approximately 25 people began. Standing on the front porch gave me the chance to meet each one as they arrived. I couldn't tell you even 20% of the names of the people there! With the language and numbers of people speaking that language, my brain was entirely focused on trying to translate.

The appetizers and champagne were delicious! There was an added treat of a dash of a homemade berry juice into the champagne glass. Amazing! Too much and it is much too sweet. To little and well, you're just drinking pink champagne. Ask me the name of the berry and, I couldn't tell you. It had been repeated to me many, many times but, nope, it didn't stick.

Lunch was a variety of meats cooked over an open flame accompanied by salads. The BBQ (seen above) is portable, light, and a great idea!  I was very good and took less than my eyes desired and proceeded to join everyone under the tent. Then the wine started to flow.

As the food was eaten and the wine drunk, the volume of the conversations went up and it was primarily spoken in Luxembourgish. I think my need to try and understand, at the very least, the conversation right in front of me, saved me from getting smashed on wine. Wine made it much too hard to focus. As the conversation flowed, I would get brought in by the language switching to English when it pertained to me. The next thing you know, I'm booked for a tour of Luxembourg City the next afternoon with a friend of Jemp's. Uh...okay!? Thank you! There's that randomness I was talking about earlier.

The afternoon carried on and bottles of water were added to the tables, next to the wine bottles still being savored. The weather was cooler than the weeks before and I was glad to have brought my wool wrap. I took a couple of short strolls along the roads, took pictures and popped into the small clusters of conversations that spread out after lunch.

Lony and I strolled up the road to break away and stretch our legs. It was nice to speak English to one person and shake off some of that food and wine. We discussed that we knew we weren't going to be leaving the lodge anytime soon. We were likely going to be there until about 9:00 pm. Pace yourself!

The fire was lit, the BBQ put back in place and the yummy smells of wood smoke and more food were present again. By the time it was all ready, I was adamant with myself to eat only what I could, not what I wanted to. Oh, and to eat some more of the pasta soak up the wine!  Sheesh!

A special note about the animals. I love dogs and I enjoyed watching these two work the crowd. The cattle are pretty and were alert. They weren't too impressed with me making silly clicking noises to get their attention. Silly human!

More eating (a little rabbit for a change) and a little later than planned, by about an hour, we were back at home base for the post-party recap.  It was great fun!  With great people!

I crashed into bed.  What was it that I had told myself this morning....?

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's All About the People!

August 26 – And now to the people. While it was wonderful to visit all those well-known places and buildings and see all the changes and see what had remained the same – I really wanted to see my old friends. I wanted to hear how their lives had gone since we last saw each other all those years ago.

I think I have to talk about them as I saw them first on this trip. Jean-Pierre Friedrich met me at the airport in Luxembourg. I hadn’t seen Jemp for nearly 60 years. I think the last time would have been in 1956. We “went out” together for about a year and a half during those 3 years our family lived in Luxembourg. You might recognize the urn in the Parc.

This is Jemp in the States in 1958 where he went to school.
He went on to become an important businessman and, as I posted earlier, did some amazing things with his life including doing a circumnavigation of the world. Jemp and his wife Lony Hansen were the absolute best hosts Holly and I could have asked for on this whole adventure. So I made two new good friends – one from years ago and one from now. We were able to share old memories and we told each other about our intervening years. I think Jemp and I agreed that we had both had very interesting lives in very different parts of the world. His life was perhaps more far flung than mine and in warmer climes but my life has been pretty neat too – just in somewhat colder climates! LOL
And here he is now in 2013.
And then seeing Josée again – it was just wonderful. Josée was my very first friend in Echternach. She lived on my way to school. When we first went to Echternach, Mom and Dad wanted us to go to the local school. The younger kids were OK as they had a teacher who could speak some English and eventually they spoke fluent Luxemburgish by the end of our 3-year stay. I was another matter. I would have been in Grade 9 back in Canada and that equivalent had a teacher who could not speak English. So I went to school with the young kids for a month or so and then went to the same class as Josée – Marie-Josée Prim. We had a grand time together over those years. We walked together, we laughed together, we talked about our crushes on boys, we hitchhiked to Bitburg to see the US airmen together, we went to the end of Mass on Sundays so she could say she had been to church and were good friends. Her mother was a lovely lady who sewed clothes for us. I remember the sleeveless seersucker blouses she made for us – one was blue and the other was green.

This was taken on the bridge going across the Sauer River on an excursion to Bitburg, Germany. Standing l. to r. - Emelye Knepper, Melanie Gallo, Gitta Geisen and in front is Josée.

And here is another photo of Josée and Gitta on another occasion.

And here is that photo that I am so fond of - taken in the Marktplatz in Echternach in about 1955. Melanie, unknown cousin, Anne and Emel!

While I did get to see Josée in 1996, when she and her husband Vince were able to come to Arnprior to visit when I was at my sister Louise’s place, this visit with her was just great. We shared old memories and laughed lots!

So that was then and here some of us are now in 2013 -

Mely, Emel, Josée and Anne in front of the Hotel de la Sure where Holly and I stayed for 2 nights in Echternach. We had wonderful day laughing and remembering!

Holly's Last Week (HLW) - Part II

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Claude's condo clean? Check.
Bags packed? Check.
Garbage taken out? Check.
Plants watered? Check.
Off to Lony and Jemp's home as the next and last home-base in Europe.

By mid-afternoon I was ready to move on to exploring Luxembourg on my own for my last week. The casemates, Vianden, and the Palais Grand Ducal were on the list of places to experience (while leaving a little room for social events with my hosts and room for last-minute changes).  I like ensuring there is time for randomness. You just never know!

After getting settled into my new space and freshened up, we received dinner guests.  A lovely couple from Germany and a retired friend who consistently travels from place to place. It was a great evening of conversation.  Everyone was most considerate by speaking English for most of the evening.  I was also fortunate to be seated next to the retiree. His career had been translation. A translator with an amazing memory for facts and figures.  The conversation was never boring.

It was a good transition day and a lovely evening with good company.  There was also champagne, nibblies, wine, food, wine, homemade plum tart dessert and the after dinner drink.  Whew!  I don't know if I can keep this up!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Then and Now - 1945, 1950s and 2013

August 22, 2013 – I am now playing catch-up with this trip. I understand that things aren’t in chronological order – hope that doesn’t bother our readers too much.

Today I want to do some comparisons from back then to now. When we first moved to Echternach in 1953, the town was still in major recovery mode from the war. Buildings were being scraped up after being blown up. My memories include the building across from the Ciné being in piles. The stonemasons were working away at restoring the buildings around the Basilica and restoring the Basilica itself.
When we were staying at Germaine Prim’s house early in our visit, she brought out some photos which were taken in about 1945 which give some idea of the damage. This was something I had never experienced and it brought home to me what war does – to people and to their homes. Below are some of the then (1945), from the 1950s and now (2013) photos.

St. Willibrord Basilica - 1945

St. Willibrord Basilica - 1945
St. Willibrord Basilica - 2013
Echternach Parc Pavillon - 1945
Echternach Parc Pavillon - 2013

Rue de la Gare looking towards the Marktplatz - 1945
Rue de la Gare looking towards the Marktplatz - 2013

And to bring things forward a bit – here is where we lived when we first went to Echternach –

And here is what it looks like today – gone!


This is the house we moved to in 1954 after my brother Gordon was born. It was on Rue des Bons Malades (and still is). I would still like to know how the little street got its name. This house was newly built and there were no other houses next to it. There was a vegetable garden behind it and beside it.

PS - Jemp Friedrich helped me out on the name of the street - rue des Bons Malades. Bons Malades is a euphemism for lepers. It is a very short street. Poor folks!
This is a view of the back of the house. My room was the one on the second floor on the left of the photo. Baby Gordon's room was next to mine with the little balcony. The kitchen was directly below Gordon's room. Rob, Louise and Don had rooms on the third floor.
I remember when the stonework was being done for the front "fencework" was being done. The stonemasons were amazing to watch. The living room was right above the garage and the dining room was directly behind it. Mom and Dad's room was directly above the living room. There was a half bathroom right next to the front door on the left. The roller blinds on the outside of the windows were wooden when we were there and they took to place of storm windows in the winter as well as sun blinds in the summer. 

The backyard is still the same and the little alleyway that we used to get over to Sauergaase is still there –

And here is the “Douanes Zoll” building next to the bridge where we went to Germany on the other side.

This was where we had to have our “Grenze Pass” stamped both in and out. I had to apply for one as I wasn’t a Luxembourger and it took a while but eventually it came through. Unfortunately, I don’t have it any more. And it’s still there, a lovely little building -
And that's it for this post. There will be more to come as I work my way through all the material.