Week 48-2017. Amersfoort.

Traveller Ready to fly away.
This week started differently. My friend Hanke flies to Switzerland and I offered to take her to Schiphol. Apart from that I am taking care of her dog Toots for the duration of her trip. So, I have been busy on the road. We arrived early at Schiphol, allowing us to go through the necessary procedures in an easy pace. The gate for planes to Switzerland appeared to be far away from the central hall. I was told that Schiphol has divided Europe in sections, in order to diminish the travellers pressure in the central hall. After the departure of Hanke, I drove to Amsterdam IJburg to take some documentation to the guy who is planning to go to Argentina, for a couple of weeks horse riding in the Andes.

Edmond Halleylaan IJburg.
Back in Amersfoort, I have to change my daily practice, dealing with the needs of Toots. I walk again four times per day and I like it. When I am not walking, I am writing Christmas greetings to friends and family, 3 cards at a time. Each time when I am walking the dog, I put the 3 cards to the post-box.

Streetwork Paving work on the way to the post box.

Toots My lodger Toots.
In the flat I take Toots with me each time when I go down to get coffee. She barks to everybody and sometimes people are taken by surprise. Nobody however is showing any opposition to her. I tell them to ignore Toots and when they do, she just goes without barking and seeks her own people for a cuddle.
I was asked to transport a sea gull to Naarden and a hedgehog to Huizen. The next day I went with their containers to the sanctuary, walking through the forest. On the way back, I let Toots go free, just to try if she would return to me at the sound of a whistle. To my relieve she did react immediately.

Toadstool Toad stool.
On Saturday Hanke came back from Switzerland and I brought Toots back to her in Hollandse Rading.
It was nice to have Toots here for a week, no problem.

Argentina, Ushuaia, 1-12-1998.
My Australian friend left on the Russian Icebreaker, on the 22nd of November. I took her there and listened to the lecture about this trip and the work of a group of scientists. The leader of this group is a Dutchman, Rinie van Meurs. I watched the departure, waving to my friend Ros.

At Russian Icebreaker to Antarctica

Ushuaia, Ros from Australia and me from Holland.
Today, the first of December, things start to move a bit. The owner of the Centro Hipico, called Adolfo, takes me to a trader. First, we drive into the wild, behind the trader in his truck with food for the horses. He uses a megaphone to call his animals. After his call, you see horses everywhere, totally wild, kicking one another, biting around and defending their part of the food sprayed out in the field. After feeding, the trader takes us to a place where he keeps the horses they use for work and rodeos. Here I get my first trial and I am absolutely satisfied. The horse reacts fabulously and the trader tells me: this horse will do your trip and if not, just call me and I will make sure you get another one. That is quite something. I bought this horse, a criollo gelding of 9 years old.
I am now feeling properly ‘in business’.

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Week 47-2017. Amersfoort.

This week, I was mainly working at home, sorting my documentation from Argentina. I found a lot of objects that made me relive that fabulous horse riding trip of a yearlong. One of the things I found, was a picture from a horse riding trip in New Zealand. During my first world tour, in 1992, I came to the South Island of New Zealand. In a town called Greymouth. At the backpacker hostel there, they had lots of offers on a clipboard, for a large variety of activities. One of those, was a horse riding trip in the mountains. I enrolled, together with a couple of Chinese people. We all appeared to be absolute beginners and got instructions how to sit on, and ride a horse. It became a hilarious trip. Many of the Chinese fell of their horse during the trip, because they were unable to keep the horse from bending its head down to take a juicy bite of grass on the way. My horse was a big one, that had come from nowhere during a winter when millions of sheep had died in unmatched snowfall. An owner never showed up. I had a wonderful ride that day, unforgettable.

New Zealnd mountain ride

Horse riding in 1992 in New Zealand.
This particular event lead eventually to my plan to go horse riding in Argentina on a 15-month long holiday in 1999.

Ensemble to be This picture will disappear when plans are executed into “ensemble”.
Apart from that sorting of documentation, I did not much else but walking, eating and sleeping. Of course, I attend a service in my local church and the follow up, seeing my family in Eemnes.

De Lichtenberg, home for pensioners in need of help Centre for elderly care: The Lichtenberg”.
I bought a birthday present for the daughter of my friend in Slovakia and posted it.
On Friday, the animal sanctuary called and asked me to take hatch hog to Huizen, which I did.

Market van Weedestraat Market day in Soestdijk.

On the way back, I went to the family in Eemnes, where I only found one of the boys at home. He had a list of ‘things to do’ from his mother. I did help him with one of the more difficult jobs.

Memorial for Hessel since October 29th. This rose, in memory of my son, is proudly standing there now for 4 weeks, not deteriorated.
And that was all this week.

Op 'De Berg' daily walk Walking the neighbourhood.

Week 47-1998, Ushuaia.
I am a bit stuck this week, because the owner of the local ‘Centro Hipico’ is in Buenos Aires. He is the only one helping me to find horses. At the tourist information office, I get some information about travelling to Chili, with horses. They advise me wrongly, that going to Chili with Argentinian horses is possible: it is not! The weather here is changing from pure winter with lots of snow, into lovely spring weather with a warm sun the next day. I do a lot of walking and talking, especially with the many travellers from all over the world. Prices for living are pretty moderate, for me. Meat, sigarettes and alcohol are cheap. I can stay here a long time if I want to, but that is not my idea.


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Week 46-2017. Amersfoort.

Station Amersfoort Railway station Amersfoort.

My friend Hanke asked me to pick her up at the railway station. It is raining, so that was a good idea. The service is interesting as usual with our own minister. Later that day I am back in the church, to listen to music from Philip Glass. I am not impressed by the performance.

Station Hollandse Rading Railway station Hollandse Rading.

On Monday, I pick up my friend and her dog Toots to go to a specialized veterenarian clinic. Toots does have problems with his back and his hind leg. From an x-ray we hope to get an idea what is wrong. When the pictures are taken and examined, the conclusion is that the problem will cease with rest and medication against the pain.

Veterenarian clinic in Putten Veteranarian clinic Putten.

The acquiantance who is planning to go horseriding in Argentina, next year, came to me for additional information. We chatted an hour and I could give him some new information from the documentation I am sorting nowadays.

During one of my daily walks, I spotted coffee cups, dumped aside the path leading to- and from the apartment building. I picked them up and took them to the living room, where I confronted one of the therapists for the youngsters living here nowadays. I asked her to tell her clients not to dump cups outside the building. Of course I expected her to keep my identity safe, but she bluntly told them who had blown the whistle. I was pretty angry about that.

Red beech in my backyard Red beech in my backyard.

This week I bought, via Internet, tickets for a concert from André Rieu to be held in July next year. I bought those tickets for my old schoolfriend in Jakarta, because he had asked me to. When I told him the date of the concert, he responded that he could not attent. His son is having his wedding in the same period. That’s a pity, but I am sure to be able to find others for those tickets.

On Friday there was a Animal Protection Festival in Amersfoort. I went there and noted that there were much more women than men. After walking around for an hour,  in the large premises with a variaty of activities, I had seen enough and went back home.

Animal Protection Festival Animal ambulance.

Halfway the Saturday, the sun was shining, I went to town to buy some birthday presents. Once in town the weather changed dramatically and very quickly. On my way back home I got pretty wet and cold. At home I took a shower and filled a washing machine with laundry. Everything is now clean and fresh again.

Shopping in Amersfoort Shopping in Amersfoort.

Bonus: Remembering my horse riding trip through Argentina.

This week I still lived in a backpackers hostel, with a lot of very noisy Israeliens. Through the tourist information office I got in contact with the owner of the Centro Hipico ‘Fin del Mundo’. The owner, Adolfo Imbert, agreed to help me find horses for my trip and further necessities. In the hostel I got to know an Australian women who had planned to go to Antarctica on a Russian Icebreaker. Accompanied by her, called Ros, I made a very nice tourist trip on a train through the hills and a trip on a catamaran through the Beagle Channel.

El tren Fin del Mundo

There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen. On a Sunday I accompanied Ros onto the ice breaker, where a Dutch researcher was present as a guide. The weather, mid November is spring in Ushuaia, is changing rapidly here: one moment people are walking around in shorts enjoying the sun while the next hour you really need winter cloths to protect yourself from fierce hail storms.

Aguila MoraAguila Mora.


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Week 45-2017. Amersfoort.

Sunny autumn Street in Amersfoort.

The first three days of this week were rather dull, as far as physical activities are meant. I have been busy responding to a variety of messages, from friends primarily. On television I saw some interesting programs. Alzheimer was one of the well documented programs. Sorting out documentation from my trip in Argentina will continue for some time, because it is a lot of work and there are days without the necessary motivation.

Backyard Hollandse Rading Backyard.

On Wednesday I was asked to assist with taking Toots, the Springer Spaniel to the veterinarian. The result from that visit is, that for the dog an appointment was made for next Monday, to have some x-rays taken at a specialized clinic in Putten.

Dead wood Dead wood.

The only interesting activity on Thursday was to buy tickets for a concert by André Rieu, to be held in July next year. These tickets are for my friends from Indonesia. Now that I bought the tickets they wanted, they have to organize their trip to Holland.

Colourful autumn floor Unknown mushrooms.

On Friday I contacted friends in Argentina, to investigate their willingness to help two men from Holland to organize a horse riding trip in Argentina next year. So far, they have not responded.

Hebron Empty psychiatric paviljon.

Smitshof shopping Shopping in Soest.

Saturday was the most interesting day, with a friend coming to Amersfoort. We met at the nearby restaurant, which happened to be closed. So, we went into town, parked her car and walked through town. It was busy in town and even though it was rather dull and cold, many terraces were well occupied them being heated. After visiting two locations, for coffee and for beer, it was diner time. The first restaurant where I intended to take us, was fully occupied and so was the second one. We concluded that it is clear: the Dutch economy is on its way up again. After some driving around and some checking on the i-phone, we ended up in Soestduinen. There we enjoyed a lovely meal. At the end of our pleasant meeting, we shared the conclusion that we should not wait too long to meet again.

Restaurant closed Awaiting my friend.


Saturday was the 11th of the 11th. I remember that day very well, certainly since I am now reliving my Argentinian adventure through the documentation.

It was Wednesday, the 11th of the 11th in the year 1998 when I started my adventure. I said goodbye to my mother in her apartment: she read a bit in the Bible, prayed and cried a little bit. My plane took off at midnight. At Friday the 13th I was in Buenos Aires and ready to fly to Ushuaia. I was told that I had been lucky to get a seat, because these flights, on Friday, are usually fully booked. Due to the superstitious nature of the Argentinians, flights on a Friday the 13th are not so popular. The plane appeared to be only half full. At arrival in Ushuaia the real adventure started. I had to find a place to sleep. I took a taxi into town. Fortunately, the driver understood the problem and dropped me at a backpacker’s hostel, where I could stay for some time. Lucky me.


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Week 44-2017. Amersfoort.

Golf links Golf links.

It’s ‘wintertime’, last night we were allowed another hour of sleep. I could well use it, because I had been working until far after midnight. This Sunday is ‘All Souls Day’. The service in church is therefor extra long and for me extra emotional. I pray for Hessel’s soul, light a candle for him and after the service I take a white rose for Hessel’s wife Gerry. I was lucky to have a clean handkerchief with me to wipe my tears. My friend Hanke does have difficulties in church, sitting in the same position for longer periods: she is in pain, suffering a lot.

Autumn trees Autumn collors at my frontdoor.

van Hoornbeeck college Nearby Hoornbeeck college.

My downstairs neighbor came for help. She, a former refugee from Eritrea, needed a well written letter to our landlord. Cats from her neighbor cause her a lot of inconvenience. I am not easily convinced when people complain about annoyance but in this case I see the point. She will send the letter accompanied with pictures taken from for instance catshit on het balcony and in her potplants.

345678 My car, ageing at 345678 km at  teller.

Later this week we experience unusual activity: the landlord and three of his slaves are scourring the area around the ‘cat feeding’ fellow. They address my downstairs neighbor with promises: action will be taken, the cat lover will receive a letter!!

King buzzerd King buzzard unable to fly.

Early Wednesday morning the R.S.C.P.Y. rang and asked me to take a hatchhog to the sanctuary in Huizen, as fast as possible. So I interrupted my breakfast and went there to pick up the animal. On the way back I had coffee with Gerry in Eemnes. I was not even back at home, when the organisation rang again, this time for a moorhen. The poor hen appeared to be attacked and had various wounds on its back primarily. I took this bird to the specialized sanctuary in Naarden. Back at home my downstairs neighbor invited me for a traditional coffee. Her way, the Eritrean way, is roasting green coffee beans, grinding and cocking it. This extremely tasty and strong coffee is a real treat and the whole ceremony takes nearly two hours, including talking a lot of course.

Wounded moorhen Damaged moorhen.

On Thursday I have an appointment with a friend for dinner. I drive to Utrecht, where she is living with her partner. It was a very pleasant dinner, good food and lively discussions until late. My friend is working as a coach for 37 convicts. She is tired of it, because this amount is rediculous. She told me to be able to handle 17 cases, so the result of this workload is, that the convicts don’t get the attention they need. This situation leads inevitably to accidents seen these days, with convicts committing serious crimes.

Lichtenberg empty block Lefthand side building, already >10 years empty!

Lichtenberg pond Pond at the back of unusued buidling.

Much of my time was spent on the documentation gathered during my horse riding journey through Argentina in 1999. It feels like experiencing the whole journey again. The idea is to cut down on the amount of paperwork in my archives. It takes a lot of time, firstly because I have to get the documents in the proper time line and then I have to decide either to keep of to throw away. Especially throwing away is very difficult, but I force myself to do it. This activity will go on for much of this wintertime.

Argentinina Argentinian newspaper from 20nd. November 1999: me with my horses.


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Week 43-2017. Amersfoort.


A phone call from the animal sanctuary nearly wakes me up on Sunday morning: ‘Do you mind taking a hetchhog to the sanctuary in Huizen?’ No, I don’t mind but with some delay, because I go to church first, as usual. They object, because the animal need treatment. The applicant choses to ring another volunteer but returns to me eventually. I pick up the hetchhog and continue my Sunday routine: going to church, taking my friend home, and after delivering the hetchhog to the sanctuary in Huizen, I visit my family in Eemnes.

Birthday guests Party .

In Eemnes they are preparing for the birthday party of my grandson, today. Lots of people are being expected to attent. Before the crowd arrives, at 4 o’clock, I leave. I do have other essentials to do. The smell from the hetchhog in my car is quite strong. Later that day, going to the central living room, I run into two huge policemen dealing with aggrevation in the house. Of course I attend to hear what is going on: some of the inhabitants did have an argument; not so strange in a place with many inhabitants of a totally different nature and age.

Ragdoll Birthday present.

On Monday I took my grandson for a shopping spree in Amersfoort. We did have a good time together and my grandson bought his birthday presents. This way providing him with presents is much better than trying to find out what he prefers. He bought himself a nice and warm cap, but nearly lost it half an hour after the purchase: left at KFC where we ate chickenwings.

Marnix with cap Grandson with cap.

The installation of certain settings on my new laptop did not lead to the preferred result. Help from a much younger neighbor did not work either, so I decided to take my laptop to the vendor. On the way to an appointment in Diemen, I went to the vending shop where the salesman did have difficulty to find out what was wrong. After 15 minutes of scrolling through all the settings, he saw one tiny ‘v’ which he deleted. That appeared to be the solution. Unlikely that I could have found that unless accidentily. I continued my trip to Diemen and had a lovely meeting with a niece and her husband. A nice meal and good wine completed the pleasant talks about many subjects.

Church in Diemen.                                      The name at the back of the truck in front struck me as rather odd: Jaap Speelziek. (A games addict.)

With two guys I had a meeting on Thursday. These two men intend to go to Argentina for a couple of weeks horse riding in the wilderness. They are picking my brain for information and experience, since I did a year long what they want to do. Later that day I rang a friend in Argentina for further assistance in their preparatory work. This story is not over yet, until they depart somewhere in February next year.

My archives Archives in my cellar.

The remaining two days of this week, I used to enter my archives in the cellar. I did find the many maps with documentation, took these to my room and started going through them. I have planned some time ago, to reduce the amount of my belongins, especially old documents. Now is the time to start doing that. I register what I do have, give comments, make a number of scans from interesting documents and throw away most of the paperwork. So far it feels good.

Many mushrooms Many mushrooms. 

Clavulina crestata Clavulina crestata.

For good health and rest to my eyes, I walk in the forest in my backyard, watching autumn to proceed towards winter.

Autumn forest  Autumn forest.

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Week 42-2017. Sætre-Amersfoort.

To church in Saetre To church in Saetre.

We went to church all together, my brother and his wife and I. In the towncentre we picked two old ladys up. Kitty is one of them, 92 years old, deaf but otherwise 100% mentally healthy. Kitty is one of the very loyal visitors of any evangelical meeting in town and my brother had known her as long as he is living here. The service was accompanied by a locally living former refugee from Afrika bongo player and by a local Norwegian bariton singer. After the service we were treated with coffee and waffles backed outside the church.

Back at home we just enjoy a peaceful Sunday, of course inclusive a short walk through the neighborhood. There is a lot of wind today, originating from a rare phenomenon which is a 3rd category hurricane hitting Ireland very hard.

View during fishing View during fishing.

Monday will be my last full day here and I used that day to go fishing. I went on my own because my brother had other plans, like changing his wheels from summer tires into winter tires. The fishing trip was very nice and quiet but not in any sense succesful. I had two or three times notion of something on my line, but did not manage to bring any fish back home. After the fishing trip I prepared my belongings for the return trip home.

Tuesday morning at five o’clock  the alarm went off. I was already half awake and jumped out of bed. At quarter to six we were on the road, my brother driving me to Lillestrom, not far from where he had to go for some work anyway. I was dropped off at the railway station with his instructions regarding trains, departure times and tickets. I took my time because I am four hours early. Its is raining and I smoke a cigarette, looking at a store inside the railway station building.

Lillestrom railway station Lillestrom railway station.

I make a picture from the store, with cigarettes and ‘snus’ (substance like concentrated tobacco to chew or keep behing your gums to dissolve nicotine) hidden behind doors but with another type of unhealthy substance in full view: sugar bombs in liquid form. It strikes me as pretty hypocrite.

Lillestrom station shop Lillestrom station shop.


Buying a ticket for the train to the airport appears to be easy after I found the appropriate vending machine. The train was comfortable and accurate. At the airport I had no problem finding the departure gate, where I fell asleep. Just in time I did wake up again, arriving at the entry of the plane as the last traveller.

My seat was in between two others, a young Norwegian woman travelling to Aberdeen to board the supply vessel she is working on and a Dutchman slightly frustrated about the fact that he came to Oslo for an event but that went sour because his import documents appeared to be not in order. The stewardesses were very kind and supplied me with whisky and nuts, while everybody else was respectively drinking coffee, tea or water.

Back at home I found everything unchanged and managed to distract enough food from my freezer for a good meal.

On Wednesday I have my last appointment with a speech therapist, who had tried to find out why I sometimes get something else but air in my airvent, to the point where I nearly die trying to get it out again for proper breathing. I get the idea that the exersices recommended are helping somewhat.

On Thursday I have an appointment with an eye-specialist in the hospital in Baarn. I made an appointment some weeks ago, because I have the idea that one of my eyes is slightly blurred. I am in the waiting room straight in front of the door where the specialist appears, shouting my name. I respond immediately shouting back: ‘I am here for my eyes, I am not deaf.’ The specialist, an attractive women, laughs and apologizes. After the usual tests, she concludes that my left eye shows very light cataract: not worrying, not unusual for my age. When it gets worse, I can come back.

Soest-Zuid shopping Soest-Zuid shopping.

On my way home I pass the Eemplein with a shop where laptops are sold. I park my car, enter the shop and one hour later I leaf with a new laptop. That move was very necessary, because my old laptop was causing very time consuming difficulties.

Eemplein Eemplein.

On Friday I have visitors: now a middle aged woman, I met her as a young girl back in 1989 in my appartment block. She came with her mother and her daughter, to meet me and to see how the block is looking now. I did like her coming to see me.

After taking a young hedgehog from Amersfoort to the sanctuary in Huizen, I returned through Soest. I saw a shop where they repair mobile phones. They also appeared to have batteries for mobile phones. I ordered one for my phone, because the battery of that phone sometimes last only a couple of hours. The battery was swollen and definately fit for the dustbin.

Ragdoll Ragdoll, pussycat from my grand son.

The Saturday was used to do laundry and to learn about my new laptop.

Mushroom time Mushroom time.


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