Friday, May 30, 2014

Big trees, bigger trees, biggest trees

If you've already seen the sequoia's at Mariposa's Grove at Yosemite's National Park, do you still need to go Sequoia National Park, that's the question when planning a vacation.  A lot of the traditional tours that tour operators here in Europe offer don't include this national park. They often drive in a loooooong day drive from Yosemite to Las Vegas or so. But with Kabouter we limited the calculated hours that we should spend in the car so that was not an option.   So we planned a day in and out Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.

Even though it's mostly about trees, I enjoyed my day very much.   The entire park is quite high up int he mountains already which often gives you great vista's. Most spectacular was probably however the descent back out of the park.   Great pass to drive!!

and after all it's great to know to have seen the biggest trees in the world. Even after a day they remain enormously impressive

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Feeling right at home in Yosemite

Half my lifetime ago (OMG? really ? wasn't that just a few years ago?)  I toured California with a group of exchange students.  It was great fun, good international bonding, sleep was for the bus, ... the end of the tour was 4 days relaxing in Yosemite valley.  Before I got there I had never heard of it and I had consistently wrongly pronounced the place (cfr Dutchspeaking readers, it is not stressed on the "mit" like 'might' but on the te at the end with a very short i ...josemmitieee).   But it was a great place to come "home" at, hang out and recover some energy from all the touring and lack of sleep.  I remember hanging out on a little beach along the river most of the days after an early morning hike to the top of some falls and a picture walk with a Kodak tour guide, watching the sun rises above Half Dome.   Glorious memories of gorgeous landscapes.

I was so excited to go back and be there with my little family this time.  Unfortunately not to hang out and relax for 4 days but to enjoy and suck in the breathtaking landscapes nevertheless.  And breathtaking they still are....oh the glorious El Capitan,...the massiveness of Half Dome, the beauty of the multiple falls, ... Wow, just wow.

Besides driving around in the valley we also stopped on our way out of the national park at Mariposa Grove where we had a pre-taste of of some giant sequoia trees.   The next day we'd see many many more.

Never too young to party

This kid has style
...and fun :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Made in Belgium: Udo

I generally don't like the talent shows on tv that hype every year until the new hype know the Idols,  X-factors, The Voice, etc etc... First you see a series of awefull contestants that everyone mocks and then some talents get hyped, pushed in a commercial contract after which you don't hear them anymore  pretty soon because we're already on with the latest hype.

Udo won the X-factor in 2005 in Belgium but I've never paid any attention to him.  His first single "Isn't it time" was a number 1 hit, but still surfed the X-factor hype at that time.  Ok, granted, his voice is great but that doesn't make him a good artists that will last.

This week I heard a song on the radio (De Prinstepolste) in a Brussels dialect that I liked very much. It's not a typical pop song and I was greatly surprised to hear this was from Udo.  I also heard that he was a rather succesfull & praised contestant in the local election to represent us at the Eurovision songcontest.

So maybe I should shed off my prejudice that all talent show winners are commercial and uninteresting and soon to be forgotten.  Maybe Udo really has talent , especially if he is more and more focussing on writing his own songs (he's a songwriter apparently for a lot of other artists by the way) and dares to truly develop his own style even in a niche style.  Go for it!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gold rush fever

At the start of May we started our California trip vacation in the state's capital Sacramento from where we cruised along highway 49 through old gold rush towns.  The trip across the ocean had been rather smooth, also for Kabouter and after we all crashed in our beds exhausted upon arrival we were ready to hit the road after a good night's sleep.  

We strolled in the morning through the few blocks of "old Sacramento" along the river where in the past the peddle boats brought in the cargo for the gold rush towns from San Francisco.  We also went to see the capitol building and after a stop in the local supermarket for some baby diapers we got in our rental car in search of little ghost towns, old saw mills, ...  A very nice relaxing stop was the pitoresque town of Sutter Creek where the wine tasting was enjoyable too. 

At the end of the day we entered the foothills of the Sierra Nevada with unexpected passes & vista's. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some random pictures of a random day in Leuven

At the start of the afternoon we were disturbed by multiple fire trucks racing by....and stopping nearby.  Unfortunately our favourite "frietkot" (fries take-out shop) one block further was on fire: fortunately only material damage.

Some chair dancers crossed our road multiple times in the city

The Old Market Square was quite busy already while all the pubs seemed to test their tv installations across all their terrasses for the upcoming world cup soccer, by broadcasting the champions league final.

Youngest (future) diver in the club??

There were training dives in the club today and Kabouter and I tagged along to sit and wait along the water and watch the activity among the divers.   Kabouter claimed an empty dive material box right away and turned it into his play box  and he also tested Jan's regulator..... we have a proverb in Dutch that would literally translate like this "Learned when young is done when old."

Monday, May 19, 2014


If it's quiet here: we've been travelling and enjoying vacation and now we're battling jetlag.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Positive attitude

Kabouter teaches me to take a positive attitude on things like having a cold :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014