Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Markets.

I am having trouble with my humdifier and I am unsure on how I can go about correcting this one. The nights I sleep with it, it is held in place across my face by a piece of elastic and then a second clip around the neck. the last two nights however, I have awoken with it in my hand. It wouldnt just pull off as it would have to go over the head, so the only assumption I can make, is that while I am asleep, or even half asleep, that I am pulling it off. So not sure on how to get around this one. However, the coughing is not really getting any easier and at one point today, I was almost in tears when I coughed as my muscles are hurting so much. So tomorrow I have a GP appointment, though I have no idea what I need this time, as I dont have a temp and I still have good air entry to all parts of my lungs. It dosnt feel like an infection, more like an irritating cough. We shall see.

Anyway, as I wanted to post, my photos from my hols.
After traveling through the night, we caught an early boat across the channel and stop at Lillie Market in France. It was only a small market, but the smells were wonderful. Mulled wine was served everywhere with many other drinks and goodies.
There was a fair ride and a large Ferris wheel, that would become another common thing amongst the markets.

From Lillie we headed to the boat, where our luggage loaded and we were shown to our rooms before being served a four course meal. The tables were set to seat 6, but ours just had 5. To my right were two sisters who were traveling together and to my left, where an older couple. Over the course of the holiday, I really hit it off with the older couple and spent most evenings in the bar with them. He had chronic COPD and until recently was pretty much house bound on oxygen. Doctors had told him there was nothing much more they could do to help him, but a few weeks before he had had a heart attack and when they looked at things, his arteries where mostly blocked. Since then they had been repaired and he was now able to breathe a lot better than he had. So he was making the most of it and had booked a last minute get away around the same time I booked. It was funny the amount of stuff we had in common. As I spoke more to them, they told me that they had a son, who had died a long time ago, but he was born with airway problems and so had a trach in most of his life. They joked that if I were to get ill, they could fit me a trach, having had to perform an emergency one at one point. He was also a camera enthusisast. He used to own a lot of expensive cameras, but sold most of them when he thought he was dying. He gave me a lot of advice on lens and loved looking back over my photos. He was a very old fashioned gentleman and wouldnt let me buy drinks and such. I could have spent hours talking to him.

On the second day, we had to be up early. So after a buffet breakfast, we went onto Valkenburg in the Netherlands. They have a underground cave, that used to be used as a secret entrance to the castle. Now they host a market in the cave, all lit by fairy lights.
They had themed it as Father Christmas bedroom and the elves chasing through the caves. There was lots of drawings on the walls of the caves. amazing art work. All done with soot from the fires, mostly from the time of the war. Very sureal some of it.
The town itself was also very pretty, though it was very wet the morning we were there. After going back to the boat for lunch, in the afternoon we went to Liege.

There market was very spread out. I got so lost and it was wonderful. No idea where I was, yet so much to see and do and it didnt matter that I didnt know where I was. 
Again they had a ferris wheel.
I also visited their Catherdral whilst there. 
I lit a candle whilst there, in memory of those lost and those in my heart. Eva, Bree, my Nan, my donor and spent a few moments peacfully reflecting on how each has touched my life.

That night was clear and dry. After taking some pics from the top of the boat.
And talking in the bar for a while.
I decided to go for a walk across the road to Maasterich, where I fell deeply in love with the town.
The ice rink was right next to the catherdral and the mood was wonderful.
Again they had a ferris wheel.

I spent a while just sitting here. Cup of Mulled wine and perched on a stool watching those on the ice rink. Christmas songs where playing and I just felt so content and relaxed.

The next morning was to mostly be cruising on the boat, but everyone was mainly in the bar where there was a quiz and other games. I planned to go back to Maasterich that morning instead of cruising, however, I had difficulty waking up and had had a bad night sleeping. In the end, I stayed in my cabin and slept, to let my body catch up and I think it was for the best.

That afternoon, after lunch, Aachen in Germany.
This was a huge market, spread around a catherdral. More stalls here than anywhere else and so many hot baked goodies you would not believe. The shops were crowded with shoppers and the window displays wonderful.
Gingerbread seemed to be the biggest seller

It was so pretty, though very wet and windy.

That night after tea, I ventured back to Maasterich to soak up some more atmosphere for an hour. I took some pics of the boat but generally just chilled out.

When I got back, I sat and drank cocktails in the bar with some of the people I had been talking to. It was the night of my transplant anniversary and I thought this was a suitable way to celebrate. 

The next morning was an early start to begin the journey home, with just enough time to stop at Bruges on the way past.


The buildings all decorated and the hourse drawn carriages carried such charm. 
From there we began the long drive home. I said goodbye to the people I had met on board the boat and on the excursions and off we went, where I arrived home at 6am. It was exhausting, but wonderful and I cant wait to do it again.

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