23 Nov '09: During our prelimenary correspondence about which places we would visit and what things we would do the following discussion took place :
I wrote on the 14th of October to Karen:
I think that the area around Terwolde will appeal, esspecially to you. We're close to the pine forests where you can go for great walks and I think we would be better off doing a few 'closer to home' trips in the first few days because it will give us a chance to settle in and I'll bet you now we'll have to a bit of shopping to do anyway which we could combine... The German border is only an hour away and if shopping and fashion is your thing, one of the biggest shopping cetres of Germany (Centro) is only 1.5 hours via the Autobahn.
To which she replied:
[Karen] I am looking forward to doing a lot of walking & maybe a bike ride (weather permitting). I am not that much of a shopper – No doubt the ladies will enjoy a shop & I am happy to join them at anytime. I will need to come home with a souvenir or 2......
I can advice our dear followers and readers of this Travel Blog that this is the biggest fib Karen S. has ever told. Whenever there was a shop in sight she spearheaded the expedition flanked by her loyal accomplices and me struggling to keep up in the rear. I can truly state that I have blisters on my feet simply from standing on them waiting outside some new shoe shop like a faithfull puppy waiting for its master only this puppy was ready to kill !! How I wished I could have lifted my leg against yet another shop front to show my intense dislike for its wares, its For Sale signs in a variety of languages and for all I care its very existence in the Universe.
Stupid me had revealed in that particular email that a rather large shopping outlet http://www.centro.de/english.html existed only about an hour and a half away in Oberhausen, Germany and this particular day was chosen to explore this walhalla of shopping centers with its many boutique shoe shops. Fortunately I came well prepared this time and had my faithfull laptop with me and I spend a peacefull 2 hours or so at some ice cream parlors outdoor dining area but well within their wireless internet connection.
The weather was cold and miserable again that day and although we had planned to visit the old Roman village of Xanten as well we were forced to cancel that as the wind was just too cold to spend time outdoors. We made our way back to our faithfull and warm chalet and set down for our second home cooked meal in a row!