Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carnival - Day 1

Okay, so it is Day 1, Saturday, of my first Carnival experience. We start the day getting ready for the parades.

In the spirit of Carnival, everyone gets dressed up. And I mean EVERYONE. Over the weekend I probably saw about 4000 people and only 10 of them not wearing costumes. Here, I think Tucker is a little offended that Sadie decided to dress up like him. Twins!
Mia in Sadie in their real costumes.

At the parade... as Zach says 'paper mache gone bad'

Two large men dressed up like Mermaids. Don't ask why I was taking pictures of their rear ends.

The Cobra Kai make an appearance. Where is Mister Miagi?

A pretty stylish family costume theme. Even the little one wants to shout 'Off with their heads!'

If you don't have a costume, just look like you are going to a football match.

Tucker was a hit with his Mickey costume. All the kids at the parade thought he was styling. AND he wasn't the only dog in costume.

People in the Netherlands ride their bikes everywhere. No exaggeration. Here the Man of La Mancha is off to the parade.

For some reason the parade involved a lot of dancing monks and nuns....

After the parade, it was time to wander around downtown and check out the scene.

Ahhh... fried goodness. Gotta love the street fair/Carnival/County Fair. Mmmmm...

As darkness settles, it's time for the adults to go out for some fun. Voila! Tucker and I are a theme!

Did I mention the Dutch bike everywhere? It's time for some adult beverages for us!

In the clubs, it was wall to wall people in costume. These people know how to have fun! And let me tell you, you just can't say you've been to a party until you've danced to the polka version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door. I'm serious. It was Roll out the Barrel meets Guns and Roses. I still can't get the song out of my head. I need to share it with Wisconsin.

Barb, Zach and I take new Facebook photos.

I think I'm trying to take a picture of the balloons.

After countless high alcohol content hoppy beverages, I decide to put the moves on Prince Charming.

Don't tell Barb/Dutch girl/the wife, but I think it is working. (Remind me later why I actually share these photos with the public?)

Group photo before we call it a night. I haven't had that much beer spilled on me in..well.. ever. All in the name of fun. To be continued.......

Monday, February 23, 2009

Road Trip

My good friend Barb (we played soccer together at Michigan - many, many years ago) invited me to Eindhoven to celebrate Carnival with her and her family. I eagerly accepted and plotted my travel to the Netherlands. In keeping with the blog theme (it does have Adventure in the title), I ended up deciding to drive. With my dog. Oh Yeah.

The trunk is packed with essentials. You'll see Cheerios (for the girls), wine (for the adults) and the costume bags.

Tucker hops in and literally will not get out of the car even though we weren't leaving for 10 minutes.
I thought this was a great sign on the road because I like the picture. You probably can't tell but the picture for the EuroTunnel is a car inside a train.

The trip itself is relatively simple - about the same distance I'd drive when going from Chicago to Michigan for a weekend. This just involved crossing three countries and a body of water rather than navigating around Lake Michigan and through a few states. Tucker was excited for about the first hour and then decided he had enough.

We make it to the EuroTunnel and clear customs. Tucker proudly passed the checkpoint and is ready to get to France. Here we approach the entrace to the train. We go in the far door with keeps us on the bottom level - it's a double decker car train.

Driving up to the front of the train.

Inside the train and under the English Channel.

We made it to France! (Sorry, I missed the sign so you are stuck with highway indicators). I left my house at 10AM and was in France with my car by 12:20. Way cool.

The great thing about French roads is that everyone is religious about staying in the right lane except to pass. My mother and her lead foot would love it. My father on the other hand would get honked at a lot. And yes, to answer your question, I had to switch from driving on the left side to driving on the right side. The other great thing about the French is that the speed limit is 130 km/h.

Can't do the conversion in your head? That's 85 mph.

Since I was cruising right along - I made it to Belgium in no time.

And then to the Netherlands. Travel time was around 5 hours until I got lost about 2 miles from my final destination. I know. Pathetic. I think it is time to invest in a GPS.

And so ends the Friday of my weekend - Sat and Sun posts to come shortly.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Getting Ready for Carnival

Okay, so I'm torturing my dog. Rick - you don't even need to comment on the fact that he hates what I am doing to him. I promise it is all in the name of fun and he gets numerous treats to compensate for his misery.

As mentioned previously, I'm heading out of town this weekend. I'm going to visit a friend in Eindhoven, Netherlands and it happens to be Carnival weekend there. Therefore, costumes are required.

Here's Tucker's costume. I'm still wavering on mine but it will be revealed soon.....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How Many Cyclists Does It Take...

This weekend, I took my camera with me in anticipation of going on the 'B' ride. I planned to stop and take pictures of neat historical areas, Hobbit-like structures and pleasant English countryside. Unfortunately, I ended up on the 'A' ride where we only stopped to change blown tubes.

Puncture #1 was changed by a field of sheep.

Taking a photo during the pucture change, Joe and I are smiling in the sun despite the fact that part of my water bottle froze from the early morning chill. Also Joe is training for an Ironman. When asked "Why?", the answer is "because my wife is pregnant and after we have a baby I won't be allowed to".

Punctures #2, #3 and #4. Just how many cyclists does it take to change a few tires? (I know, I promised no more cycling photos but it's either this or pictures of me taking a nap on the couch. Sorry!) That's it for me weekend. Look for more to come soon - I'm taking a road trip next weekend which means photos of me lost somewhere.....

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Another full moon this morning gave me wonderful running conditions. It's nice when you can actually see where you are going for a change....

Something I really do like about living in England is the fact that when you are driving - you are driving. People here are on the ball, not on their cell phones, not texting or falling asleep at a light. Maybe because you are usually motoring through a roundabout and there really isn't that much 'stoppage' time in a car. I'm not sure - but I like the fact that they keep traffic moving (when not doing 5 sets of road works - which is what is happening on my morning commute right now) And when you are stopped, they let you know to get ready to start going again.

Red light = stop

Red and Yellow Light = foot on the clutch, get in the right gear, poised and ready to...

Green light = Go!

Anyway, thought you might find that interesting for those of you not playing speed racer as part of your daily commute. (By the way - notice the blue sky in these pictures??)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lovin' the Winter Runnin'

I was supposed to run another half marathon on Sunday but it was cancelled due to the weather. The roads were pretty icy so they decided against lawsuits and cancelled the event. Since I ended up with a 'free' day, I took Tucker and the camera out to the Great Park for some fun.

Still some snow on the ground after last week. A few other hardy souls are out early with me. The castle is in the background.

It's a good thing Tucker has to be on the leash in this part of the park. I think Bambi would eat him.

Empty park roads

I want to live in this cute cottage!

The Iron Horse statue opposite the castle. The park is home to around 20 or so monuments - my goal is to get pictures of them all.

Nobody is playing on the polo grounds today. (That's not really an attractive picture, is it?)

The Obelisk is situated opposite the indoor gardens. I probably should have read why this is actually in the park. A gift from the Egyptians maybe?

And finally, Tucker and I out and about. I was fiddling with the self timer when another dog walker came to my rescue. As usual, Tucker won't sit still. No pictures from my bike ride later in the day though. Unfortunately, that wasn't as 'relaxing' as my photo run....