Tag: <span>travel</span>

Big Dutch Vacation – Part 1

As another update to this long-delayed post, now that it’s been well over a year since the vacation, it’s right damn time I post this thing.  So, here goes.

These are some terribly late entries for a vacation we took from the 3rd to the 16th of October in 2015.  Yep, I’m a delayed gratification blogger.  Oops.  Well, as the saying goes, better late than never!  I’m going to split this into three parts since there’s A LOT to go over and it’s just incredibly too long for one single post.  This is another one of those drive-your-own-boat holidays with a few days on each end to give us breathing space.  It was really an incredible vacation, and I can’t wait to get back to Holland.

Saturday, 3 October 2015:  Our flight was in the evening, so we had time to burn and visit with family while we dropped off the dogs with my husband’s parents.  Everything went as planned with the flight, but neither of us got much sleep since we had a fidgeter sitting between us.  Husband likes the aisle seat for his long legs, I prefer the comfort of the window, and while the flight had an empty space between us that morning, the gamble didn’t pay off and we ended up with this guy who would move/wiggle/fidget in his seat every 20 seconds for the whole flight.  *sigh*


Sunday, 4 October 2015:  We landed in Amsterdam at 7:30am in super heavy fog, collected our bags and took a cab to our hotel instead of hopping the train with all of our bags.  Apparently there’s a huge fleet of Teslas in Amsterdam that do the runs from the airport, so it was pretty neat to get to sit inside one (well played, Tesla).  We were only able to drop our bags at the hotel (Fine Seasons Hotel), but we could return after about 10am to check into the room and get settled.  We went on a little walk around the corner to find a cafe for some coffee and hit upon almost the only thing open that early on a Sunday, ‘t Loosje.  Had a really nice breakfast and filled the caffeine requirement, and then took a slow meandering walk around the market that had set up while we were eating on the Nieuwmarkt square, then a slow walk back to the hotel to settle into the room by 11am.  The room was a basement room, pretty small, but enough to sleep in comfortably, so I really didn’t mind for the price.  We contemplated taking a nap, but decided to power through instead.  By then, the fog had started to lift and it was turning into a really nice day.  We set off for Het Scheepvaartmuseum which was just a short walk from the hotel.  Starting outdoors, we toured the Amsterdam, a replica  ship from 1749 that served the Dutch East India Company.  Really beautiful, but rather small – husband couldn’t even stand up straight in the captain’s quarters!

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After taking a stroll around the indoor exhibits, we went off to an old favorite, the Brouwerij ‘t IJ, having passed a sheep tied up on the street nearby.  Odd, but hey, Amsterdam!   We sat outside, filling ourselves on delicious beer, cheese, and sausage and chatting with the folks at our table.  Since our last visit, the inside had seen quite an upgrade, so it’s great to see them doing so well!  We stayed right up to closing when the light was fading and took a slow walk back, stopping briefly at another bar near the hotel, Moes.  They were featuring a tap takeover of a local beer called the 7 Virtues (7 Deugden).  The bartender was super friendly and talked a bunch of geek talk about beer.  Went back to the hotel and fell right asleep.

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Monday, 5 October 2015: Got up and went to have breakfast (espresso and something to eat) and found a little place down the street open.  Nothing spectacular, but they had wake-up fuel (ESPRESSO) and this crazy thing that we’ve dubbed the pizza hot dog – it’s pizza toppings on top of a hot dog.  The place  doesn’t even have a listing on Google Maps, it’s  that small, but it served its purpose.  Gathered our bags and set off on a train to Almere Muziekwijk to meet Peter, a man I had been corresponding with via email about all sorts of genealogy and Dutch related stuff.  He offered to meet us at Almere and then drop us at Lelystad so that we could meet, and because the train was passing so close to his home anyway.  Peter collected us and took us to his home to meet his wife.  We chatted for a little while and had some tea and cookies before heading off across the Zuiderzee Works.  The highway serves as a dike that keeps the sea water out of the land below.  There’s a saying that gets tossed around a lot, “God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.”  The engineering involved in keeping water out of lands well below sea level is really phenomenal – the pumps, dikes, and locks that all work together to keep the land below dry is truly amazing.  They use the land closest to the dike here as a natural preserve so that in case of flooding, there’s a natural place for the water to go before destroying the towns.  Smart, these people.  Peter dropped us at Lelystad (a city that didn’t exist until 1967 when the land was reclaimed from the Zuiderzee) at about 1:30 and we were off to Akkrum.  We arrived at Akkrum around 3, but ended up waiting about 40 minutes for a taxi since it’s not exactly a bustling hub of activity.  The taxi driver was nice though and took us straight to the marina for Yachtcharter Wetterwille, costing only €15.  We met Alex there who told us we could’ve just called them for a pickup at the train station.  Oops!  He went into the basics about the boat, the Mistral, rules, etc, and we were handed the keys, a set of maps, and sent on our way!  Fortunately, we’d had some experience with this sort of vacation and the husband is a sea captain, so this is all old hat for us.  The maps did take a little getting used to, but I’ll get into that later on.  Sailing ends for the day pretty much at dusk, so our first stop was at the Watersportbedrijf ANJA in Grou.  Each marina has its own fees that aren’t included in our boat rental fee, so the cost for the night was €9.45, paid to the harbor master who visited us once we were tied up, just as the sun was setting over the harbor.  The yachtcharter had done a shopping trip for us to get us prepared for the first day or so of food, but we found a grocery store (Poiesz) a short walk from the marina to fill in the gaps and keep us supplied for a few more days.  We made pasta for dinner and then the husband taught me how to play cribbage.  I didn’t win, but at least I didn’t get skunked!  We turned in earlyish, around 10:30pm.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015: Got up, made breakfast on the boat, and got underway around 9:30am.  Took what the husband thought was the right way, but after navigating a bit, we found the next fixed, non-opening bridge was MUCH too low for us to go under and had to turn around, knocking us an hour back.  However, that small mistake gained us a bunch of map reading skills.  You see, the main canal map comes with an almanac.  Every bridge/lock/etc comes with a number that corresponds to a number in the almanac that’s only written in Dutch.  Neither of us are fluent in Dutch, but I spent some time with Duolingo before our vacation and had a decent enough comprehension of basic words, plus our cellphone plan includes international roaming for free, so we had Google Translate to help when there was an unknown word.  We had assumed the bridge heights on the map (major bridges have clearance heights listed next to the almanac reference number) were in meters, but they were in decimeters, so what we thought was a bridge with a 2.6 meter clearance was actually a bridge with a .26 meter clearance.  Our boat had a clearance of 2.4 meters, so that wasn’t going to work at all.  However, we were now getting the hang of going between the canal map and almanac and felt pretty secure in the route we planned from there on, carefully checking the bridges the whole way to our final destination that day of Leeuwarden.  We made it to Leeuwarden by 1:30pm and the weather was still drizzly, foggy, and a bit chilly as it had been all morning.  We’re not bothered much by rain, so it really wasn’t a problem since it wasn’t coming down in buckets.  To make it into  Leeuwarden, there are a series of drawbridges that cost a total of €7, paid all together at one bridge.  The bridge tender hangs a wooden shoe attached to a fishing pole out of his office window and somehow manages to land the shoe right in your hands every time.  You stuff exact payment inside, wave a thank you, and the bridge tender  pulls up the shoe.  We didn’t have to wait terribly long at any of the bridges, but we were also part of a line of a few boats advancing through each one.  After we tied up next to a pretty spot off the Prinsentuin (a lovely public park/garden), we paid €12.27 to moor for the night.  Our first stop in Leeuwarden was the Boomsma distillery and museum.  The popular drink is a bitter liquor called Beerenburg, and Boomsma has been in the Beerenburg business for 125 years.  They also make gin, aged gin, blackberry and elderberry liquor, and a few other spirits.  We watched a short video on the history and production of Beerenburg and got to have a few samples.  We walked around Leeuwarden a bit, making a stop at an amazing cheese shop, Zuivelhoeve, and eventually ending up at the Oldehove.


Oldehove is the tower of an unfinished church began in 1529.  Unfortunately the tower began to sag and construction was stopped, the church eventually demolished, but the tower remains, leaning at an odd angle at the end of the square.  Never put off by a couple of steps, we went in and grabbed tickets for our ascent to the top, a climb of only 183 steps.  At the top of the first floor of the tower, the steps flip to the other side of the tower (an attempt to help straighten the tower by adding weight to the other side) and  climb up to the top in a narrow spiral staircase.  Much like the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, the tower felt weird to climb – even though you know you’re going up the stairs, at times the angle is enough to feel as though you’re not going upwards at all.  At the very top of the tower there’s a glass platform that hangs over the outside wall of the tower letting you stare down past your feet to the ground a few stories below.

We made our way back down the tower finally and headed back to the boat for dinner at 5pm.  Part of the benefit of having the boat is that we try to make our own breakfast and dinner most days so that the vacation is a little more affordable (and healthy).  We went back out after dinner to have a few beers around town, but things were pretty quiet and closed up around town.  We turned in early, heading back to the boat and made it just as the skies opened up and it started raining buckets.

(Part 2  is on its way, standby!  I’ll add a link here to Part 2 once it’s published.)

Oktoberfest 2012 – part 2

Wednesday, 26 September 2012
The trip on the night train was a little rough.  Doug and I were both coming down with some sort of illness (congestion & low grade fever) and neither of us really slept.  We got into Florence around 6am and found the bus station to catch the bus to Siena.  In my sickie fog, I had to ask a local (in Italian) where the station was because I couldn’t quite remember.  We found it, caught the bus without a problem, and made it to Siena around 7:30 or so.  It was still REALLY early, so we figured we’d find the hotel and leave our luggage until it was official check in time.  Well, between when I booked and when we arrived, the hotel had changed addresses, and we had no idea.  We stood outside, feverish and bewildered, until someone passing by saw us with our backpacks (and thank goodness I still remember enough Italian) and communicated that the hotel had moved, it was up the street.  It was still MUCH too early anyway, so we took up a spot in the Piazza del Campo and alternated taking naps on the sun-warmed bricks.  After we finally checked into the hotel, we found a pharmacy and some cold meds and then went back for a long nap since we were both pretty well beat.  It ended up being a very off day, but we needed the rest pretty badly.  We did manage to get up for a walk and dinner later in the evening and then it was back to the hotel for sleep.
Siena Panorama


Thursday, 27 September 2012
We had booked a tour with a local company, so we got up and met our guide, Gianni, at the entrance to our hotel.  It may have been much more expensive than renting a car and driving around ourselves, but not having to drive and having the knowledge that Gianni had was really worth it.  Gianni took us to some little known places, knew the best wineries to tour and sample, and taught us about the wineries and how they worked.  We visited during peak harvest season, so most of the operations were in full swing and really neat to see at that level.  We stopped at the Borgo San Felice which was once a town, but had been completely bought up by a hotel company.  The whole thing, except for one house, was a resort.  As Gianni explained, people slowly moved away, closer to Florence and Siena, and this little town out in the country was getting emptier and emptier.  It’s happened a few times, apparently, and all sorts of celebrities will rent out the town for a weekend for events.  We made two stops at wineries for wine tastings, had an incredible lunch at a small, family-run restaurant, and wandered through little Tuscan towns all day long.  We got back to Siena around 5pm, wandered around for a while, and found an amazing dinner – wild boar was ‘in season’ and pici was on the menu, so we had our fill of some very regional and typical Sienese food.


Friday, 28 September 2012
We got up early, found breakfast (espresso and a pastry) and got a taxi to the train station for the train to Rome and then out to Ostia.  There was a snafu with the hotel that I was pretty pissed about.  We booked the hotel four months in advance, but somehow they were overbooked and we got bumped to a ‘sister’ hotel that was further away and probably the most gaudy and tacky hotel I’ve ever seen.  Think Caribbean (palm trees, etc) meets Rome, meets China, with a military museum, ALL AT ONCE.  The room we were brought to was clean enough, but we couldn’t walk anywhere which was one of the benefits of the hotel I had originally booked at.  The plan for the day, since Rome was really a stop over for our flight to Brussels, was to go to Ostia Antica nearby.  It’s basically like Pompeii without the volcanic activity.  Really, IMHO, better than Pompeii, because you don’t have to go through Naples and it feels SO much bigger.  We spent the afternoon wandering through the ruins, and then went off to find dinner.  Well, the restaurants didn’t open till 7:30 or 8pm, and were pretty firm about that time, so we walked around and had a glass of wine at a cafe to waste time.  We ended up at a really wonderful little place that even gave us a complimentary cordial to finish the incredible dinner.  We got our pickup back to the hotel and prepared for the flight the following day.  By this point we were both feeling better and not hitting the cold medicine as much!
Saturday, 29 September 2012
The hotel had a shuttle service to the airport which was nearby in Fiumicino, so that was thankfully an easy transfer.  Our flight was pretty short and we arrived in Brussels in the early afternoon.  A short train ride later and we were brought practically to the front door of our hotel.  Not bad!  The hotel was a B&B based out of an artist’s studio and the retired couple who ran the whole operation were really sweet.  The rooms were SPACIOUS and each had a different theme and color scheme.  Really neat – it felt so comfortable and like home.  Breakfast consisted of bread brought up in the morning with a layout of spreads (jam, nutella, etc) and coffee/tea, all do-it-yourself in the kitchen on your floor.  I really loved this setup and how well it worked.  We had been in Brussels the year prior, so we had a pretty good handle of where we were and where we wanted to go.  First stop was the Cantillon Brewery, my personal favorite brewery, ever.  They still make beer in the old fashion, using wild yeast, and have such a limited production that we can’t get it at home, so we brought a few bottles home.  Then it was off to Moeder Lambic for a few more beers before dinner.  The beer tends to be not as strong (ABV 5% or so), so it’s easy to sit around and enjoy a beer or three and not get totally sloshed.  We walked around the area around our hotel for a while, saw the Manneken Pis and the usual crowd gathered around him, had dinner, and made it back to the hotel.


Sunday, 30 September 2012
We figured not much would be open on Sunday, so we decided to head back to the Military History Museum since we knew we missed a section of it the last time, plus, it’s free to enter!  We did sleep in a little though and took our time getting going in the morning.  On the walk there, we wandered through a flea market and oogled all the things on display, mostly antiques.  Turned out that we didn’t miss nearly as much as we thought we did at the museum, but we did get to go to the roof top and see a full panorama of Brussels which was pretty neat.  The musuem also had a special exhibit on the day-to-day items of soldiers during World War I and II which was pretty fascinating.  The things they brought with them, the things they were issued, things they made themselves.  After the museum, we went to find Wafels and Frites, as you do in Brussels.  We made a few stops for food and beer as the day went on, lingering for a while here and there, having a taste of some AMAZING Chimay 150th anniversary beer.  There was of course, Delirium, and another stop at Moeder Lambic before dinner which was Doug’s favorite, Waterzooi, and I had the Flemish Rabbit.  Brussels, I love you, and would love to spend more time seeing the rest of Belgium!


The following day, which I don’t need to make a whole entry about, was our flight home, involving a 7 hour layover in Washington, DC.  Ick.  The joys of frequent flyer miles flights.

Overall, the trip was incredible – from the crowded and crazy fun time at Oktoberfest, and then to the more relaxed trip through Italy and Brussels, it was really an awesome vacation.  If you’d like to see more photos, I’ve got the full set uploaded to flickr, here.

Oktoberfest 2012 – part 1

This is a VERY belated post from a trip we took in late September. Things have been really hectic since then and I haven’t been able to sit down and put it all in a blog post, so FINALLY, here it is.  I’m splitting this into two parts because the first half of the trip was Oktoberfest and the second half was a mini-trip through Italy and Brussels.  We used frequent flyer miles for the flights, so we ended up having to fly through Rome and Brussels to get home anyway, so it made sense to extend the layovers and make a bonus vacation out of it.

Friday, 21 September, 2012
Landed in Munich where I met my husband and two of his friends from work who had arrived straight from their ship earlier that day. Made my way through the incredibly crowded metro system and met them at the train station. We split up and got settled in our respective hotels (all three different) and met to go out for lunch at the Augustiner Keller.  We were all pretty tired after the travel (the guys got in at about 6am local time), so we decided a nap was a good idea and headed back to our hotels with a plan to meet up later for dinner and beer (as you do in Germany, during Oktoberfest).  Well that didn’t quite happen.  Doug and I were the only two who woke back up.  We did manage to go out shopping for Dirndl and Lederhosen though, ready for the opening day on Saturday.




Saturday, 22 September, 2012
Got up and had breakfast at our hotel (the spread was AMAZING at the breakfast buffet).  Got together with everyone and headed out to watch the parade.  It was drizzly and cold, but we were determined.  Grabbed some beers on the way to enjoy at the parade and grabbed a pretty decent spot.  The first man down, opening the parade, was a stout man leading two dachshunds.  After that, Wagon after wagon of beer barrels rolled by, each wagon representing a tent at the fest grounds or a brewery in Germany.  Then it really started to pour down rain, as the parade was finishing.  We scrambled down the street to the entrance to the grounds and tried to get into a tent which just wasn’t happening.  We turned around and went back out into the rain, off to find somewhere to eat and drink, but everything was full.  Finally we made our way back to the Augustiner Keller from yesterday, hoping they still had room indoors.  THEY DID.  A very nice waitress ushered us to a table that was reserved for later that day, but we had enough time to eat, so it was no big deal.  Turns out the folks who had reserved the table never showed up, so we spent a good long while inside, drying off, and enjoying food and drink.  It FINALLY stopped raining, so back to the fest grounds we went.  The guys hopped some rides (bumper cars, and some ridiculous scrambler-on-steroids type ride), and we had another pint or two and some sausage.  As it got dark, we found our way into the Hacker-Pschorr tent, well, the outside anyway, and met two nice young men from Venice, and two other guys from England.  Had a blast.  Went back to our hotels to try it again the next day.





Sunday, September 23, 2012
Again, we had plans for everyone to meet together, and it never really happened, so, it was down to me, Doug, and Paul.  Doug and I got stopped by a huge parade that we stood to watch for a while.  The same man with the two dachshunds from yesterday opened the parade again – all the service companies involved in Oktoberfest started this one. We walked around and did a little shopping, eventually having lunch at Schneider Weiss.  We wandered around the fest grounds for a bit and made it into the Augustiner tent, and found a table!  Granted, it was later on in the day, and the place was still shoulder-to-shoulder, but we found an empty spot and grabbed it.  We sat talking to a bunch of random people at the table, and Doug even found his slightly older beard twin (he grew that out just for Oktoberfest).  Lots of laughs, and it was an incredible time.  No one in our group speaks much (any?) German, but it’s amazing what you can get across without words.  Google Translate on the phone was pretty helpful too, but most people seemed to speak at least a few words of English.  After the tent closed, the guys did another round of bumper cars, and somehow we ended up at a bar on the way back which was really crazy.  It was a LONG night, and we were sure to sleep in LATE the next day.


Monday, 24 September, 2012
We managed to make it to Mike’s Bike Tour, a little worse for wear, but had a blast on the tour, even if it rained.  AGAIN.  After the tour was over, we went to the Hofbrauhaus since it was right at Mike’s Bike Tour shop where the tour ended.  We sat with a few guys who were in our bike tour group and found two other Americans to add to our table as well.  Always a good time  🙂   We split off and wandered around the fairgrounds for a while, having a beer on a carousel small beer tent, and enjoying all kinds of fair food – chocolate covered fruit, candied nuts, sausage, etc.  Really, the whole of Oktoberfest is like an enormous state fair with LOTS AND LOTS of beer.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
We signed up for the tour of the concentration camp at Dachau since we’d had plenty enough of the fairgrounds and wanted to do something cultural.  I had been to Dachau almost 10 years ago, but didn’t do a proper tour, so I’m sure I missed a lot.  Turns out the place had gone through some massive changes – the entrance was in a different spot, and overall, the grounds and buildings had been upgraded with better exhibits.  Our guide was really wonderful, in spite of the horrific history that happened there, and was able to present everything in a clear manner without trying to diminish what had happened there.  After we got back (it was almost a full day tour), we went back to the grounds for one last go-through (and I needed to pick up a postcard), and the guys used up the rest of their ride tokens.  Doug and I were hopping on the night train to Florence, Italy, so we parted ways and off we went.

New Hampshire Vacation

The last week of February was a full week in Bartlett, New Hampshire, at the Attitash resort.  Neither of us enjoy skiing at Attitash, but our timeshare transfers there and puts us close to Bretton Woods, Great Glen Trails, Mt Washington, and the cute little town of North Conway.  On the way up on Saturday, we stopped off at a little Meadery, the Saphouse Meadery.  Chatted with the brewer for a while, sampled all the meads, and bought a few too – they were REALLY amazing, and reasonably priced.  My favorite by far was the Hopped Blueberry mead – there was something about the subtle bitterness of the hops that combined with the sweet of the honey and blueberry that REALLY worked for me.  We left, our heads swimming with all kinds of new ideas for brewing more of our own mead.

Sunday we spent some time in North Conway and relaxed at the resort.  That’s what vacation is for, right?  We also geared up for our trip to the summit of Mt Washington, gathering some extra base layers and clothing that aren’t really available in our warmer suburban Philadelphia area.

Monday we got up early and headed to the meet up point at the base of the Mt Washington auto road.  Our guide collected all of us who had signed up for this special trip up the mountain.  The observatory and auto road are closed during the winter, and the only ways up are on foot (if you’ve got the experience and gear to do so) or by these special winter day trips with the Mt Washington Observatory.  There were 13 total people in the Snow Cat that took us to the summit – a driver, a driver’s apprentice, our guide, and 11 guests.  Think of the Snow Cat as what could be the baby of a snow plow and a tank – it had treads somewhat like a tank and a hugenormous plow on the front, with a cab in the back for the guests.  Not a bad piece of equipment!  The Snow Cat reaches a max speed of 8 miles per hour, so the trip up took 2 hours, and another 2 hours back down.  We did make a few stops along the way to swap out people sitting in the front cab with the driver/operator and to take a look around, watching the scenery change from sunny and mild to windy and grey.

Starting the journey at the very bottom. The skies are cloudy, but the sun is still peeking through. DSC_5362
About two-thirds (4,000 ft) of the way up. The vegetation is all short and scrubby from the high winds and cold. DSC_5376
The Snow Cat overlooking the summit. Weather was changing the whole way up, and by the time we arrived, we were in the clouds. DSC_5383

At the summit, we deposited our gear in the area that’s open to the public in the summer as a cafeteria. The observatory uses volunteers that swap out once a week to help with the day-to-day chores around the observatory – cleaning, cooking meals, etc. The volunteer had prepared a wonderful lunch for us, and we had some time to sit and chat with her for a while. After that, we geared back up and went for a walk around the summit. Winds were gusting around 80mph and the temperature was reading at -9 with the wind chill factor. Really, not terrible weather when you think about how bad it can get up there. I don’t think I’ve ever been subject to an 80mph wind gust before then, so that was quite the experience!  We even went an additional height above the summit into the observation tower.  Husband took a short video of a small group of us at the top of the tower.  Even shielded somewhat by a part of the tower, you can still see our jackets rippling in the wind.  Rime ice covers pretty much everything up there and forms due to a combination of high wind and cold temperatures that cause any moisture in the air to freeze to any surface.  Periodically, the observers have to come out and hack away at the ice to remove it from their weather monitoring equipment using ‘specialized’ tools (ie. crowbars, metal rods, poles, anything heavy and blunt).  We came back in from the tower, took our gear back off, and had some time to chat with the observers (three, plus one intern) who also rotate out on a weekly basis.

Doug (left) and me (right) at the Mt Washington summit, next to the famous sign, covered in Rime ice DSC_5392
Summit of Mt Washington, showing the summit marker sign and observatory tower DSC_5395

Our Snow Cat operator gave the signal – weather at the summit was deteriorating (or getting more interesting?), and it was time to go if we wanted to reach the bottom before dusk. We geared back up and climbed in the Snow Cat for our trip down. We made a few stops in order to swap out the person in the front cab, and made it to the bottom before dusk. It was really an incredible trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day. You wouldn’t think that a short walk outside in that weather would affect a person as much as it did, but a lot of the other guests took short naps on the way down. The combination of the pressure difference and physical exertion just to keep standing in the wind was enough to tire anyone out.

For the rest of the vacation, husband took a day skiing while I did some knitting in the lodge, and we took two nice snowshoeing adventures. On our way back home, we made two stops in Lee, New Hampshire. First stop was at the Flag Hill winery.  We sampled some wines and ended up buying a few bottles.  The other stop was at a little farm, Riverslea Farm, just down the road that has wool and yarn and even sheep and goat meat.  Needless to say, I consider the combination of these two things, wine and wool, to be the absolute best place on earth.  We had a good long chat with the owner of the farm and came home with wool and some goat meat.

There are a few more photos on flickr here, in case you’re interested!