JFC Brunssum Gym Facilities

To get to the main gym parking lot, you’ll have to circle around the main headquarters building (the building with lots of flags in front of it) because of all the one way streets. The signs on base should help you find your way. Follow the signs for “Courier Gate” until you reach the back gate traffic circle, then turn left and head back up the hill towards the gym. The parking lot is on your right. The gym has four floors and is part of the building that also houses the Alliance Theater and the Chapel.

Visit the Brunnsum MWR website for schedule, hours and contact information.

If you would like to use the gym outside of normal working hours you must first attend a safety briefing with the fitness center staff. Contact the gym for more details.

Ground Floor
This is the level that you enter from at street level. There is an office to sign out equipment and ask any questions you may have. The Men’s locker room is also on this level along with the basketball court.

Rental lockers are available for your use with the use of a 1€ coin. Put the coin in the slot inside the locker door, close the locker and turn the key. The key should then release. When you unlock the locker, you will get your coin back. There is a solarium available on base at the pool.

Basement
The Basement level has the Cardio Room and the Weight Room, both of which are the best I’ve seen (for free) in the area. There is also a massage therapist available during certain hours.

2nd Floor
This floor has two Squash courts, the Spin room and a Parent’s room (which has a treadmill and a few other pieces of equipment). The Women’s locker room is also on this floor.

3rd Floor
This floor is the aerobics room, which has floor mats, weights and bands available for your use.

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HEMA

HEMA is one of my favorite places to go. You’ll see them everywhere, with their big capital red letters outside of each store, calling you inside.  This store has a little bit of everything, you can browse their website to get the full scope, but here’s a list of my favorite things about HEMA.

Leggings – Especially their fleece lined leggings are great. They stay in place, are super soft and keep you warm. I’ve worn them under dresses and as long underwear under jeans. They definitely help keep the cold out.

Cheap clothing and jewelry – Depending on the size of the store, they can have quite the collection.

House and office supplies – Curtains, decorations, binders, and paper. It’s all here.

Discount Tickets – These are somewhat like Groupon promotions.

Package Deals – This is another Groupon type promotion. For example, you can buy a Sushi package for two for €44 and it’s good at several different restaurants in the Netherlands.

Train Tickets – HEMA is one of the Dutch stores that sells the discounted NL train day passes. These sales are for a limited time and usually only occur once a year per store.

I have found HEMA in every shopping area I’ve been to, but here are some of the locations near us. You can also go to their website and search for locations and opening times by city.

Rosmolenstraat 1-3, Sittard

Kerkstraat 220-226, Brunssum

van der Maesenstraat 1, Heerlen

Posted in Clothing, Craft/Home decor, Maastricht, Sittard | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Travel and Entertainment Deals Online

Europe can be expensive, but there are deals to be had if you know where to look for them. Here’s a listing of websites that I use to find deals both near and far. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

Groupon – The website offers deals in and around the big cities in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The Groupon for France and the UK can also help you snag deals (even for Disney). If you don’t want to sign up for their mailing list, just click the “Already a Member” link (in whatever language).

Social Deal – This site is very similar to Groupon and is mainly for the Netherlands. Sittard-Geleen, Maastricht, and Parkstad (Heerlen) are all worth looking at for local deals.

Travelzoo – This site mainly offers deals for hotels and flights but they do offer discounts on tickets as well. There is a German and UK version that are worth looking into. You can set up email alerts for a particular region.

Eurosun.de – This site searches for deals based on your input for flights, hotels, vacations rentals and cruises. Enter your dates and city and the site will give you current deals.

Lastminute.de – Another website where you enter your dates/location and it gives you dals to choose from.

Hotwire.com – Works just like it did in the States. Search your city/dates and pick your deal.

German Wings Blind Booking – This is for the more adventurous people out there. For these tickets, you pick your flight dates and a theme, which includes several different possible destinations. Once you buy the tickets (at a reduced price), you find out where you are going.

Life Lessons of a Military Wife – This blogger used to be in the travel industry, so she finds out about deals all the time. She’ll post them on Facebook, so if Like her page, you can get the updates too. Her blog is full of useful information too.

Pouring Pounds – This site works as a cash-back program. You sign up for the site, then click through their website to buy on other sites (like amazon, hotwire, lastminute). You get a certain percentage cash back from each purchase.

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Gamma

Another hardware store that is comparable to ACE, Gamma can be found in many places throughout the Netherlands and Belgium. You can also check out Praxis in the Netherlands or Mobau in Germany for similar style stores.

Gamma Website

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Praxis

Located throughout the Netherlands, Praxis is a great place to look for your hardware needs.  Clean, well stocked, and loaded with options, my husband loves to go on a trip to this store. No need to ask him twice to go to Praxis!!

Similar but in my opinion larger, this store could be compared to the German Mobau.

Check out their website for locations and hours! (we normally go to the one next to Ikea in the two story Woonboulevard shopping center.)

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Woonboulevard

A two story shopping complex next to ikea, this makes a nice place to stop and take a look around. With home decor, hardware, furniture, and pet stores, you can find it all here. Blokker, gamma, praxis, Xenos, etc. Woonboulevard also includes the small stores on the otherside of ikea as well which includes furniture, baby items, and lighting stores. You could probably spend the better part of a day shopping in this huge complex!

Woonboulevard 

In de Cramer
6412 PM Heerlen

 

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Rd4-Kringloopwinkel

If you are looking for a new hutch,  maybe a dresser, a book shelf, or a table, then there is no better place to stop then one of the many second hand furniture stores. We’ve previously written about two in Sittard, but personally, this is my favorite one. It is not far from Ikea and is a great stop if you’re in the area or looking for some new items. Prices are fair and you never know what treasure you may find. Stock changes almost daily so there is always a chance to find something new (well, new to you anyways!!).

Monday – Saturday from 0900-1700 (check website for holidays)

Rd4-Kringloopwinkel

In de Cramer 9, Heerlen

Spekhofstraat 4, Kerkrade

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Casa Leonardos

A superb Italian experience, this should be on your list of places to eat. This is an upscale restaurant in the center of Gk and is a mouth watering experience. I have had the pizza and dessert and my husband went for a pasta with prawns. We tasted each other’s meals and found both the pasta and the pizza to be amazing.

Monday to Sunday and public holidays:
1130 – 1430 and 1730 – 2300

Website

Alte Haihover Straße 2
52511 Geilenkirchen

Tel.: +49 (0) 2451 – 9124 396

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Get Email Alerts for NL Train Sales

This website keeps the most up to date information on the sales of NL train day passes. It tells you the price, the rules and when the sale has been offered in the past year.

Sign up for a mailing list and the site will email you when a new sale starts. Now you can be the first in line to buy your train tickets!

http://goedkoop-treinkaartje.nl/

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Minicards – Tourism Ideas Online

You’ve probably seen these business card sized minicards at the AFRC. These cards contain information about many of the attractions in the local area. Most also provide discounts to the businesses advertized. Aside from the AFRC, I have also found these cards at the VVV in Maastricht, which has a ton.

If you’re just looking for new things to do, you can check out the minicards online. Just select the country and region you are interested in to get relevant cards. You can print these out, but the cards online usually don’t have the discount included on them.

www.minicards.nl

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Maastricht Underground

Maastricht is a very old city. One of the ways to experience its history is by taking a tour underground. There are three types of tours offered: Caves, Casemates, and Fortress. All stand-alone tours are €5,75 for adults and €4,75 for children. Tickets can be bought at the VVV, online or at the starting point of the tours (provided on the website). There is currently a Minicard at the VVV which gives you 10% discount.

Caves:
There are two caves that can be toured: North Cave (Grotten Noord) and Zonneberg Caves (Grotten Zonneberg). Both tours last about 1 hour. These caves were made by mining marlstone, just like the Valkenburg caves. English tours are given in the North Caves (all year round) and in the Zonneberg caves (6 Jul – 25 Aug). You can always join a Dutch tour if you like. 

Casemates:
Maastricht was once a fortress city. This tour explores the underground passageways that connects the different parts of the casemates surrounding the old city. The tour takes about 1 hour and is usually only provided in Dutch. The guides were nice enough to give us a bit of history in English before the tour started though.

Fortress:
Fort Sint Peter dates from the 1700s. The fort was recently restored and the tour takes you through the fort to it’s top, where you get a great view of the city. The tour lasts 1 hour and is usually only provided in Dutch.

Maastricht Underground

English Tour Times

All Tour Times

VVV Maastricht
Kleine Staat 1
6211 ED Maastricht
+31 (0)43-3252121
info@vvvmaastricht.nl

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Recycling Plastics and Cans – Get your money back!

There’s a way to get money back by recycling your German plastic bottles and cans with very little effort. Here’s what you need to know.

If your can or bottle can be refunded, it will have this symbol on it.

recycle symbol

After your done using the bottle or can for it’s intended purpose, rinse it out and hold onto it until you get a bunch together. Make sure they are mostly dry and don’t crush them. There are machines that you can take these recyclables to that will scan the item, send it back to the crusher and count your refund. The one I use is outside of Lidl, but I’ve seen ones at Trinkgut (which is red) as well.  Just keep an eye out for them near grocery and drink stores.

Once you’ve scanned all of your items, press the button for the machine to print out your receipt. Lidl has a button for euro and a button for a credit to their store, some only have one button. Take your receipt to the store cashier and they’ll give you your refund. Simple as that! Most cans and bottles are worth 0,25€, sometimes more, which is definitely worth it to me.

Known Locations (I’m sure there are more):
Lidl in Tüddern
Rewe in Gangelt
Trinkgut in Heinsberg and Niederheid
Kaufland in Geilenkirchen

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Pannenkoeken & Meer – Maastricht

This was my first experience with Dutch pancakes. The pancakes are larger and flatter than traditional American pancakes and the toppings are quite a bit different. Mine had ham, onions and cheese on it and ended up tasting more like a quiche than a pancake. My husband had salami, ham, peppers and a few other things on his pancake and it tasted like a pizza that was missing sauce. It was an experience to say the least. I think if we go again, we will be sharing a savory and a sweet pancake between us (or just going for dessert). One pancake is more than enough for one person in my opinion.

The sweet pancakes are what really shine here. You can get anything from fruit, to ice cream, to powdered sugar on your pancake, and they all sound delicious. If you’re in the Maastricht Markt area, check out Pannenkoeken & Meer. It’s a Dutch experience you have to try at least once.

Markt 70, Maastricht

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ADAC and ANWB the European AAAs

We recently learned that ANWB will give you discounts on certain items in their store (i.e. maps) if you are an ADAC member. It may work the same way the other way around. Of course, it never hurts to ask!

ADAC is like the German AAA. Most people end up using ADAC for their towing service. The yearly dues costs about the same as a normal towing service, but ADAC will take your car to the nearest garage instead of the nearest exit. They also sell maps and guides of Germany. My favorite are the Motorcycle guides, which give you around 15 routes per region. FYI: You can buy the maps and guides without a membership. You can get a full listing of services provided by an ADAC membership here.

Just in case something does happen, and you don’t have a membership, ADAC will sign you up on the side of the road if you need them. Just call them at 22 22 22 on your cell phone in Germany or +49 89 22 22 22 if you are out of country and press 1 for an operator.

Our Recent Experience

On a busy holiday weekend, my husband was driving back from Garmisch on his motorcycle when it abruptly stopped working. Police made sure he safely made his way to the side of the highway, and called ADAC for him. We already had an ADAC Plus membership (about 90 euro/year), so he gave the ADAC office our membership number and they headed to his location with a trailer. The driver drove him and the bike to the nearest ADAC highway office, where he was given a rental car to make his way home. The bike was returned to our house two days later, where they then put the rental car on the trailer to take back to their highway station. A few weeks later I received a letter stating that these services would have cost us over 1000 euro if we had not had an ADAC membership. ADAC made the whole ordeal so much easier to handle and saved us hundreds of euro.

Closest ADAC Office (Garage)
Strangenhäuschen 16
52070 Aachen
Mo.- Fr.: 09:00 – 18:00

ANWB is the Dutch version of AAA and offers many of the same services as ADAC. Both have memberships that can cover you and your car throughout Europe. If you need help, call +31 (0)88 2692 888.

Closest ANWB Offices
Rosmolenstraat 40
6131 HZ Sittard

Honigmanstraat 100
6411 LM Heerlen

Sittard and Heerlen Opening Hours
Mo: 13.00-18.00
Tu-Fr: 9.30-18.00
Th: to 21.00
Sat: 9.30-17.00

Hoogstraat 150
6373 HZ Landgraaf
Mo: 13.00-17.00
Tu-Fr: 10.00-17.00
Sat: 10.00-16.00

Remember, this blog is not getting paid to say this. I’m just letting you know these services exist if you’re interested in using them. Call or visit their office to get all of the info.

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Hair Crew by Concept in Kerkrade

A review from our reader: Lineik Lazare

I have been an Aphrodite customer since we PCS here in March 2010. (Aphrodite was a hair salon that ironically closed down according to our sources on the day this post was published) I was very happy with their service and specifically Tamara since she was the only one I booked for my hair.

A few months a go I contacted Aphrodite for my bi-monthly appointment and I was told that the Tamara was no longer with them and that they are they would not be able to inform me as to where she was working. So after some research and asking around I found my Tamara working at a Salon called Hair Crew by Concept in Kerkrade. I booked my appointment with Tamara and came out with great hair as always.

When it came time for my Christmas appointment, Roger from Hair Crew by Concept called me and informed me that unfortunately Tamara was not well and was unable to do my hair. He was lovely enough to schedule me for another appointment (the following day) and he did a wonderful job too.

I just would like to give praise where its due and make sure that Tamara’s former customers will know where to find her.

Contact information:

Tamara Schaeks

Facebook

Terbruggen 9
6471 JS Kerkrade
Phone +31 45 545 2403
Email: haircrew.bc@gmail.com
Website

Thanks Lineik for sharing! I’ll be going there myself to check it out next time!!!

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Schnee-Express Overnight Train to Austria

I haven’t experienced this personally, but I thought you should know that the Schnee(Snow)-Express at least exists as an option for getting down to the slopes in Austria instead of flying or driving. On Friday afternoons the Schnee-Express travels from Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Cologne and makes several other stops picking up passengers. The train then travels overnight to various Austrian ski destinations. The return trips occur on Saturday nights, so a week long trip is required to make the train schedule work for you. Tickets are around €100 depending on the timing of your trip and which cabin type you choose.

Lists of all the train stops, times and prices are given on their website, which works well in Google Translate. Tickets have to be bought on their website.

http://www.schnee-express.com/

Posted in Travel, Travel Tips and Resources | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Decathlon – The Sports Superstore

Decathlon can fulfill almost all of your sports needs. Running shoes, swimsuits, yoga mats, skiing gear, tents, climbing shoes, and much more, all at reasonable prices. I’ve put the info of the two closest stores to the GK area below.

Decathlon Kerkrade
Wiebachstraat 75, Kerkrade, NL

Decathlon Maasmechelen
Kolenmijn Limburg-Maaslaan 3, Maasmechelen, BE

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“Ice” skating in Heerlen

You can stop by Minli Schaatsparadijs almost anytime as they are open for skating 7 days a week (doors open at 11am). This is a great indoor activity without the cold because the “ice” is actually synthetic. It didn’t feel exactly the same as skating in a regular ring, but it was extremely similar. I thought the falling was better because it wasn’t as hard and is definitely much dryer!

Adjacent to the ring is a place to order drinks and small candies. If you head in through the cafe to the other side of the building, your kiddos can play on the jumping castles. This was included in the price of the skating.

The price of the skating including the rental skate fee is 10€ per person (regardless of age). We spent about an hour skating and probably an hour playing on the jumping castles. There were several and this would be a fun party place for a birthday group.

Einsteinstraat 3          6372 BW Landgraaf

Telephone +31 (0)45 53 18 170

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Maasmechelen Village Outlet Shopping

There are over 100 stores in this shopping center. You can definitely spend some time here at least window shopping. Most stores are designer, although we did see some reasonably priced stores as well. There are a couple of restaurants, a movie theater and a tourist information building (full of pamphlets!)  all located here as well.

Address:
Zetellaan 100
Maasmechelen, Belgium

Opening Times:
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10 am – 7 pm

http://www.maasmechelenvillage.com/

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Euroscoop Maasmechelen Movie Theater

Here’s another movie theater option for you. It is located just across the Belgian border next to the Maasmechelen Village Outlets. Prices are slightly cheaper than Foroxity and they have €5 Tuesday movies as well. There is a restaurant connected to the theater and there are a few other restaurant options located in the outlets for you to choose from as well. Any films ending with “NV” after the title are dubbed.

Address:
Zetellaan 74
Maasmechelen, Belgium

http://www.euroscoop.be/nl/maasmechelen/home/ (Does not work well in Firefox)

P1040323

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Sandman’s New Europe Tours (Free)

I’ve been wanting to talk about Sandman’s Free Tours for quite some time but I wanted to confirm how awesome they were beforehand. This past weekend, I had the chance to go on the free tour of Amsterdam. The tour was a whopping 3 hours long with a 15 minute break in the middle. Our tour guide was excellent and we were able to gain some insights that you just don’t get by walking around on your own.  These tours are available in 14 cities, including London, Berlin, Prague and Dublin. Just show up at the meeting point a little before the tour starts to sign up or book in advance (for a small fee) during the busy season to guarantee your spot on the tour. At the end of the tour, you tip what you think the tour was worth. This gives the tour guides more incentive to be great at what they do.  Most cities also offer a few themed tours, including Pub Crawls, that you pay for.

UPDATE: We just went on the Prague Free tour and their Castle (paid) tour. Both were excellent and I highly recommend them.

Check out all of the cities where tours are offered here.

Information on the Amsterdam tours is here.

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Monschau Christmas Market

Monschau is my favorite place in all of Germany so you can bet that I went to the Christmas Market!

The parking situation is a bit unique. You can try to find parking (hahahaha, yea right!) just outside of Monschau, or you can take the easy way and park in the designated bus areas. 5km from either side of the city is a well marked parking area that you can use. We chose the one in Hofen and parked for free at a park. From there we walked a few hundred feet to the bus stop that was marked for the Christmas Market Park and Ride. The cost of the bus is 3€ per person and when you pay they will give you a ticket for your return trip. The buses come by every 10-15 minutes and the ride is about 5 min long.

Between the shops and the market booths, you will have a few hours worth of stuff to do. Especially if you have never been to Monschau before. I do recommend you go again when the market is not here because it is a beautiful place. You can read more here.

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Shopping Guides for the Big Cities

I’m a planner, even when it comes to shopping, and especially when it comes to shopping in the big cities. There are so many stores in Cologne that you can easily spend all day in their shopping district and not see everything. I’ve found something that can help you out if you’re a planner like me or you just want to see what the various shopping districts have to offer. ShoppingGuide – Köln is a map of the shopping districts of Cologne that is updated twice a year. It is available on their website in PDF form and should be available as a pamphlet at various locations in Cologne (Tourism office, Hotels and other attractions). There is also an iPhone App which is available in English and includes all the Shopping Guides for 9 cities in Germany.

Guides are available for Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Leipzig and Hannover.

Happy Shopping!

Posted in Cologne, Shop by city, Shopping, Travel Tips and Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

VVV – Netherlands Tourism

The VVV is the place to find out about activities and events going on in the Netherlands. As the tourism offices, it’s their business to know these things and to encourage you to explore the area. I visited the VVV office in Sittard during my last trip to the market. They had a huge variety of brochures and booklets available for free. They also had maps for hiking and biking for reasonable prices and products from the local area.

List of VVV Locations in South Limburg
http://www.vvvzuidlimburg.nl/ or http://www.southlimburg.com/

Go to vvv.nl for information about the rest of the Netherlands.

Posted in General Local Info, Maastricht, Sittard, Travel Tips and Resources | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pharmacy (Apotheke) and Emergency Services (Notdienst) Search

Here are two websites to help you find the nearest pharmacy and emergency services to you. Search by zip-code (Postleitzahl) and how far out of the zip-code you’re willing to go (Umkreis in km). Both websites will give you the hours of operations as well. The HS-Woche also lists the names and addresses of these services on page 2 each week. They also give information on a pet emergency care location (Tierärzte Notdienst) and an emergency eye doctor (Augenärzte).

Netdoktor.de

Meinestadt.de

You can also call the US Clinic on-call doctor (or dentist). Call the US appointment phone number 0245-199-2300 and wait for the “on-call” option on the recording.

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Trash Pickup Calender Online – Abfallkalender

New 2015 calenders should be coming in the mail shortly, but just in case it doesn’t get to you or it gets lost, here’s a backup plan. The garbage collection company, Schoenmackers, will be posting the new calenders online here. Just click on the Gemeinde/community you live in (Geilenkirchen, Übach-Palenberg, Gangelt, Selfkant, Heinsburg etc.) and save the PDF that pops up. There is also an iPhone and Android App available.

For those of you who always rush to get the trash out as the truck goes by, here’s a method that has helped me (besides paying attention to the neighbors). Take a normal calendar and write the trash days on it. As soon as I did this, I found that there was a method to the madness, like Gelb pickup is every other Monday in Selfkant. I hope this helps you too.

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Merode Castle Xmas Market

This is by far my favorite Christmas Market. I’m sure I will find others that are amazing, but this is kind of a Christmas topper!

A beautiful castle surrounded by a moat and then a trail around that moat that is lined with booths….. I dare you to top this place!!!!

I ended up buying a few items here and I was so pleased with them. The atmosphere and view were the biggest factors though. AMAZING!

Please visit this place as it is only an hour from GK. Entrance fee was 5,50€ unless after 7 pm (2,50€). Thursday thru Sat they are open until 9 pm. Sunday they are open till 8pm. The market took Megan and I about an hour to cover, so you could definitely get there at 7 and see it all!

WEBSITE

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Brugge/Bruges, Belgium

Brugge is beautiful. I think that says it all. It is home to Belgian chocolate, lace, and beer and it’s historic city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a sight to see. The city center covers over 1000 acres, and one day is not enough time to see all of the beautiful buildings, prominent landmarks, and serene canals. For more information, visit the Brugge Tourism site.

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Aral Car Wash

Technically you are not supposed to wash your car in the driveway. Some neighbors may do it and then you can venture out and do your’s as well, but because of the water laws here, it’s better to go to an actual car wash. German soap is much safer chemically for the water then American soaps and the laws regarding what goes in the water is much stricter. Germany has some of the best drinking water and they want to keep it that way!

I recently ventured out to the car wash at ARAL on Bundestrasse (the 56) in Gangelt. I have been told that most car washes you pay the person at the entrance. However, at ARAL you pay inside the gas station and they give you a card to give to the attendant. They range from 6-11€. I paid 10,40€ for the premium and added a euro for “softech” which is the upgraded brush that is nicer to your paint (or so they say! 😉  )

The lady came out from another building, rinsed my car very throughly and then scrubbed my windows and lights before I drove into the automatic washer. From there, it is just your typical drive thru auto wash.

I washed my car in the states in Apr 2011 then again in Germany Apr of 2012. So I’m sure my car appreciated this early xmas gift of getting washed! Turns out my car isn’t black, it’s silver!!! I enjoyed seeing it again from under all the dirt. 🙂

IMAG0175

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Trier

GK NATO’s IYA program offers many trips throughout the year. This years final trip was to Trier for their Christmas Market. It was a wonderful way to see Trier.

The trip on the bus was about 2.5 hours. It is only 30 minutes away from Spangdahlem, so you could also make a side trip here after you run errands on the base. When you arrive, you have a spectacular view of the city! We parked near the city center and walked directly into the large market. After several hours of combing through the booths, we ate in a beautiful upscale restaurant.

Whether you drive with your family or you book a trip like we did, make sure to leave time to explore the city itself. Trier is home to the Porta Nigra and the cathedral of Trier is home to the holy robe. It is said to have been worn by Christ himself.

You can also visit the palace which is a short walk from the center of Trier and has some nice walking paths through the gardens. (there was also a small playground next door for the kids to burn some extra energy!)

Trier is also the in the middle of Mosel wine country. Be sure to sample some wine from a local weingut (winery).

I think our favorite thing about this trip wasn’t the Christmas Market, but rather the city itself. Trier is the OLDEST city in Germany and a must see! For more information, go to the city tourism website.

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Base Services ICE Surveys

If you’ve ever had a good or bad experience with a base service, or you just want to voice your opinion on how services can be improved, you can easily provide feedback using the ICE survey online. These surveys are available at all bases, but here are links for our local area.

Geilenkirchen NATO AB
JFC Brunssum
USAG Benelux – Schinnen
Spangdahlem AB

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The Many Drinks of Christmas Markets

There are more warm Christmas drinks at the markets than just Glüwein, but it’s not always clear what they are, so here’s a list of drinks I have come across locally so you can hopefully find a favorite.

Most of these drinks are served in 0.2L collectable mugs that you can keep if you like. The Pfand is usually between 2-4€, so keep the mug if you want, or return it to get the Pfand back. You can also trade your mug for a clean one.

Alcoholic

Glüwein (rot/red or weiß/white) – You will find red Glüwein at every Christmas Market you go to. It is usually a sweet red wine, mulled with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, lemon and sugar. White Glüwein is made with the same spices, but is a little mellower. You can find the white Glüwein at most of the big markets in this area.

Feuerzangenbowle -This drink is a bit of a show as well. It starts with Glüwein, then the server places a sugar cube over the drink, pours rum over it, and lights it on fire. The sugar caramelizes and melts into the drink.

Schokopunsch/Lumumba – Hot chocolate with a shot of rum or amaretto, for those of you who don’t like Glüwein.

Eierpunsch – Eggnog mixed with white wine and rum.

Jagertee/Hüttentee – Black tea with a shot of rum.

Grog – A mix of rum, sugar and hot water.

Glögg – A Scandinavian form of Glüwein, the spices used include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and ginger.

Warmer Apfelkuchen – Mulled apple cider mixed with vodka or rum.

Alcohol Free

Kinderpunsch – An alcohol free version of Glüwein.

Apfelwein – Apple cider. I tried this and it seemed non-alcoholic to me, but check before buying.

Heiße Schokolade – Hot chocolate

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Augustusburg Palace and Falkenlust

Schloss Augustusburg and the smaller hunting lodge, Falkenlust, are one of four UNESCO World Heritage sites in NRW. Located in Brühl, about 20 mins from Bonn, the drive from GK is an easy one and parking is easy to find around the palace. The park and gardens surrounding the palace are free for everyone to enjoy and is sure to be beautiful during the Spring and Summer months.

Augustusburg Palace and Falkenlust were both built in the 18th century in the Baroque style. Seeing the ornate staircase alone is worth the entrance fee. Tours of Augustusburg are given in German about every 30 minutes and last about an hour. You can borrow a headset for €1 to listen to the tour in English.

Falkenlust is about a 30 min walk south of Augustusburg. Audio guides are available for this building too, but they will give you paper explanations to read on your self guided tour of the lodge that are sufficient.

Augustusburg and Falkenlust are definitely worth the visit. The palace is even more impressive than Linderhof, and a much shorter drive. I think you could see everything in about three hours and then head to Bonn for some shopping or site seeing while you’re in the area.

http://www.schlossbruehl.de/Home

Opening Times:
Closed December and January
Monday: Closed
Tues-Fri: 0900-1200; 1330-1600
Sat-Sun: 1000-1700

Ticket Prices can be found here.

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Mckaela’s Tea Leafs and Coffee Beans in Sittard

Mckaela’s is located a stone’s throw away from Bagels and Beans in the Sittard Markt area. This shop is a tea  and coffee lovers dream. The tea selection is enormous, and if you can’t choose one, you can buy sample bags for 50 cents each to try. All of the tea is loose leaf and is usually sold in 500 gram quantities. The shop also has all the tea and coffee accessories you could ever want. Check out their website to see a listing of their coffee and tea selection or stop by next time you are in the Markt.

Paardenstraat 9A, Sittard
http://www.mckaelas.nl/

Opening Times:
Monday: Closed
Tues, Wed, Fri: 1000-1800
Thurs: 1000-2000
Sat: 1000-1700
Koopzondag: 1200-1700

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Train Tickets and Deals on the Deutsche Bahn

NOTE: These deals only work if you are staying within Germany and are available on www.bahn.de.

KIDS RIDE FREE – Kids (14 and younger) can ride free on the train as long as they are accompanied by their parents or grandparents. Kids older than 6 must be included on your ticket, but are still free. If you have 3 or more kids, you can get a Family Card from the ticket desk that is free and valid for one year. This will count as ticket for your children.

BahnCard – The BahnCard is a discount card that is good for one year. The BahnCard 25 offers a 25% discount on all tickets and costs €61 for 2nd Class. If you plan on taking many long distance trips on the train, this could be worth the investment. They also have a 4 month trial version (Probe-BahnCard) available for €25. The site will also offer this when you are booking a trip online so you can see the savings before you purchase.

Sparpreis/Savings Fare – These fares are usually available while booking a longer journey online as long as you book more than three days in advance of your travel. The catch is that you have to stay on the itinerary given on your ticket, however, you are allowed to deviate from your ticket if your train was late arriving and you miss your next train. You can buy these tickets between 3-92 days out from your date of departure.

All of the following deals are available at the ticket booth at the station or online if you click “Local Transport” when searching for tickets. On the ticket kiosk, click Specials Fares then Group Tickets.

Länder Ticket/SchönerTagTicket/Beautiful Day Ticket – This is the best deal out there. It is a full day pass (0900-0300 next day on weekdays and weekends starting at 0000) for the trains as long as you stay within the state. For us, that means staying in Nordrhein-Westfalen. The ticket is good for up to 5 people and costs €41 in NRW. These tickets exist for each state in Germany and the price varies depending on the size of the state.

Quer-Durchs-Land-Ticket/Cross Country Ticket – This ticket is another day pass good for up to 5 people and costs €44 for one person and goes up by €6/person. The times are Mon-Fri 0900-0300 the next day and it’s valid for use on all regional trains. This would be a good deal if you have to leave NRW to reach your destination.

Weekend Ticket – Valid on Saturday or Sunday from 0000 – 0300 the next day for up to 5 people. This ticket costs €42 and allows you to travel anywhere in Germany for one day.

Open Ticket – You can buy group tickets to Aachen for less than the Lander Ticket listed above. The total should be about 24 euro for up to 5 people per ticket. You must buy this ticket from the ticket desk. Remember to validate your ticket before getting on the train at one of the yellow time stamping machines located close to the ticket kiosks. The GK ticket desk opening hours are listed below.

For more information on travel deals on the Bahn, go here.

IMG_20140920_085420_595

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Karin’s Guesthouse

Karin’s Guesthouse is a family run business which was started in Gillrath in 2001. They are currently operating up to 8 accommodations; 6 full family houses and 2 smaller apartments. Pets are welcome!

Update January 2015:

Karin’s guesthouse has just ordered 8 brand new Volkswagen cars, 1 for each  accommodation. Each car has automatic transmission, built-in navigation and Bluetooth hands-free as well as many other extras. Estimated delivery of the cars is March or April 2015.

There is no minimum stay required and no rental car charge. Basically, as long as guests stay with at the guesthouse, they will have a car.

All of their Guesthouses are equipped with the following and everything is included in the daily rate:

Modern kitchen with dishwasher
Microwave, Stove-top & fridge-freezer
Washer and dryer
HD LED Flat screen TV
DVD player (multi regional)
Free English SKY TV (up to 150 US & UK TV Channels)
Free Telephone including calls to the US, Canada and more
Free High Speed Internet DSL/wi-fi
Baby cot and diaper changing facility
Toys, trampoline and swing
Access to own garden (including your own BBQ)

If they don’t have what you’re looking for, just ask.

Karin’s also operates their own Airport Shuttle Service for the guesthouse and for all English speakers in Germany, they have an administrative assistance company called King & Mayr.

Karin’s Guesthouse Website

Karin’s Guesthouse Facebook Page

phone: +49(0)2451- 720 15 Call to book today!

Posted in Businesses of GK families | 1 Comment

SKY TV – Provided by KPK

Sky Tv is a wonderful way to get entertainment in you home. If you are looking at installing Sky, the prices can may make you think twice because of the price of the equipment and installation.

KPK offers a unique solution for you by providing you with a low cost alternative. You can rent the box and equipment required as part of your monthly cable cost. If the 50 free channels aren’t enough, you can also rent the viewing cards and KPK will assist you in getting them loaded with the channels you and your family need/want so that your not paying for things you won’t use.

With purchase of the sky box you receive a 1 year warranty  but KPK’s rental plan means that this 1 year warranty will actually cover you for the entire rental period (even past that year).

The contract is for one year, but after the first year, you are paying month to month and will receive a reduction in premium. If you decide to cancel, you only need to give KPK one months notice after the contract ends.

Give them a call today for all the details or check them out online!

TEL.:       +49 (0)2451 – 49 00 682

FAX:       +49 (0)2451 – 49 00 683

Email:    service@kpk-business.de

Web:     www.kpk-business.de

KPK Business Facebook Page

Posted in Geilenkirchen NATO Base - Info | 1 Comment

Facebook Pages to Help You Stay Informed

Updated 15 Jan 2016

One of the best ways to stay up to date on upcoming offers available on base is to like a few Facebook pages.  Some were easy to find, but others are harder to find if you don’t know what to look for. I’m sure I’ll have missed a few in this list, so readers, feel free to comment and suggest other pages that can be helpful to us all.

The most helpful pages are in bold. Like them to get important news and alerts.

Geilenkirchen:
Geilenkirchen AB Airman & Family Readiness Center
Nato E-3A Component
NATO Airbase Geilenkirchen Community (Group)
NATEX
Food Services System MWA GK
470 ABS School Liaison
Sports Department GK MWA
Crossfit GK
Geilenkirchen NATO AB Chapel
Geilenkirchen NATO AB Women’s Ministry
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 003 (Group)
Geilenkirchen Team 5/6
Geilenkirchen U.S. Top Three Association
AFSA Chapter 1678: Geilenkirchen
Geilenkirchen Riders Association (Group)
American Spouses of Geilenkirchen
International Spouses Club of Geilenkirchen: ISC (Group)
The GK Swap
GK/Schinnen/JFC Brunnsum Garage Sale

Brunssum:
Alpha Company, AFNorth Battalion SFRG
JFC Brunssum Happenings
Afnorth International School – Brunssum The Netherlands
Allied Joint Forces Command Brunssum
JFC Alliance Theater
JFC Brunssum Chapel
JFC Brunssum Arts and Crafts
Curios Thrift Shop
Bike Service JFC HQ
USAG Benelux (Schinnen and Brunssum)
AFN Benelux
AFNorth PTO
Afnorth Int’l. Middle/High School PTA
American Spouses Club
Tri-Border Walking Club
Alliance Players

Schinnen:
Tri-Border Community
Tri-Border Treasures

Spangdahlem:
52D Force Support Squadron
52D FSS Community Center
52D FSS Airman & Family Readiness Center
52D FSS Information Tickets & Travel
52D FSS Club Eifel
Spangdahlem Passenger Terminal
Spangdahlem Air Base

Ramstein:
Ramstein Air Base, Germany (official)
Ramstein Passenger Terminal
Ramstein FSS

Bavaria:
Edelweiss Lodge and Resort

Other Helpful Sites:
Stars and Stripes
European Stars and Stripes
Stay Safe Antiterrorism
Military One Source
Exchange
USO
SpaceA.net
U.S. Department of State: Consular Affairs
American Forces Network Europe
USAA
Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas

Local Tourism:
CheeseWeb – Travel, Photography and Expat Life in Belgium
The Charlzz – Tri-Border Cultural Events
Home Away from Home – Living in Düsseldorf and Making the Most of It
Het Smalste Stukje Nederland
Heart of Europe
Wallonia – Brussels Tourism

Local Train Systems:
SNCB – Europe Belgian Trains
DB Bahn German Trains
Nederlandse Spoorwegen Dutch Trains

Local News:
The Local – European News in English
Aachener Zeitung
Flanders News (website)
Geilenkirchen (City)
Drei-Länder-Kurier
Limburger.nl – Limburg News
Selfkant online ein Service der Huchel visualmedia Werbeagentur

Posted in Geilenkirchen NATO Base - Info, General Local Info, JFC Brunssum- Info, Newcomers, Schinnen Services- Info | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Füchschen Altbier Brauerei in Düsseldorf

Altbier is typical of Düsseldorf, just like Kölsch beer is unique to Köln. There are several breweries in Düsseldorf where you can try it right out of the barrel. Füchschen is one of four breweries in the Altstadt, the others being Uerige, Schlüssel and Kürzer. We visited Füchschen on a Saturday around 5pm and the bar area was already packed with people drinking “Alt” and watching the futball game.

The restaurant area is filled with long 8-10 person tables where you seat yourself. The only way to make a reservation is to reserve an entire table with a group of 8 or more. Many of the tables had reservation cards on them for 7:30, so we told the waiter we would be gone by then and took a seat. Menus for the restaurant are available in pdf on their website. The Sauerbraten seemed to be the popular choice among the Germans and my husband would agree that it is a good choice, but everything I saw looked delicious. So next time you’re in the Altstadt, stop by and grab an Alt and some authentic German food.

Ratinger Straße 28, Düsseldorf
Open Daily
http://www.fuechschen.de/

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Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz is about a 2 hour drive from GK and is located between Koblenz and Trier. Construction on the castle started before 1157 and was completed around 1530. It is one of only a few castles in the Rhineland-Palatinate that has never been destroyed. Tours through the castle run every 15 minutes. The tour takes you  through two of the three family houses that make up the castle. The third house is still used by the owning family. There is also a treasury room that you can wonder through while you are waiting on your tour to begin.

Address: Burg Eltz D-56294 Münstermaifeld

Opening Hours:
March 24-Nov 1 Open Daily 0930-1730
Closed During Winter

http://www.burg-eltz.de/

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IMCOM – Europe Road Conditions and School Closures

This website will give you up-to-date information on road conditions at all of the Garrisons, including Schinnen/Brunssum.

http://www.imcom-europe.army.mil/webs/sites/staff_org/safety/road_conditions/index.asp

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Bavaria in the eyes of a traveler

Neuwanstein

Neuschwanstein Castle  is a 19th-century palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwagau near Fussen in southwest Bavaria. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II as a retreat, contrary to common belief. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886.  The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle.

Hohenschqangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle or Schloss Hohenschwangau is a 19th century palace . It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II and was built by his father, King Mazimilian II. It was built on the remains of the fortress Schuangau,. A family of knights was responsible for the construction of the medieval fortress, and it served as the seat of the local government of Schwangau. In 1523, the schloss was described as having walls which were too thin to be useful for defensive purposes. After the demise of the knights in the 16th century the fortress changed hands several times. The decay of the fortress continued until it finally fell into ruins at the beginning of the 19th century.

Bavarian Alps

They are a mountain range in the north-eastern part of the Alps. This region is stunningly beautiful natural divide along the Austrian border.
One of the largest resorts in the area is Garmisch. One of Munich’s favorite getaway spots. The military has a great retreat getaway located in this region. 

Fussen

Some visitors come to tour the castles and leave immediately afterwards leaving the beautiful little town unexplored. This is a great pity as there is much to see in Füssen and the surrounding area if you know what you are looking for! There are magnificant lakes with beautiful views and the “Kalvarienberg” which has the “Stations of the Cross” on it.

This city is situated as part of the Romantic Road.

and more….

Upper Austria

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Schloß (castle) Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau – Schwangau, Germany

King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle is on many people’s To-Do list while visiting Bavaria. Schwangau, Germany is about an hour drive away from Garmisch. It is also directly along the route between Geilenkirchen and Garmisch, so stopping here on your way back home is also an option.

Most people know about Neuschwanstein (Cinderella’s castle is based on it), but Hohenschwangau, King Ludwig’s boyhood home, is also located here. Tickets are available to see the individual castles or both as a combo ticket. There is also a museum to visit that holds many of the Bavarian King’s treasures. The pricing of individual and combo tickets are listed here.

You can only enter the castles with a tour group, but you can walk through the courtyards without a ticket. Tours are offered in English and German at regular intervals throughout the day. There is a ticket center in the middle of town where you can buy your tickets with cash or credit card. If you know when you will be visiting, you can reserve tickets online one day beforehand (before 1500) here. There is a €1,80 reservation fee per ticket and per building, but this will save you from having to wait in line for at least 30 mins, and then wait another hour (at least) for your tour. You must be at the ticket counter one hour before your tour time to pick up your ticket.

Once you have your tickets, take a walk around or up to the castles and enjoy the scenery. The horse carriage ride is definitely worth the money for a ride up to Neuschwanstein. We walked the hill, but it can be quite a workout if you’re in a hurry. I also suggest walking up the stairs to Hohenschwangau if you can, which is a more scenic walk than the road up to the castle. They’ve recently put in a turnstile to keep people from walking down the stairs.

For more information on the castles.

For updates on the Neuschwanstein construction

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A&FRC – Family Support Services

It is impossible to list all the services that the Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) provides to our families  The amount of help and opportunities available are endless because they are always adding more and more. There are some general ones listed below, but even if it’s not listed, be sure to go in and speak to any of the community readiness consultants. You’ll be glad you did!

  • Family room available in the A&FRC. Here the kids can play while you use a computer with internet or simply while you need to kill some time waiting for other things you may have going on.
  • Coupon donation – Donate your coupons or find some to use for your next Schinnen excursion. The coupons are good for 6 months past their expiration while you live overseas! 
  • MFLC (Military Life Family Consultant) – Free and confidential counseling for couples, families, kids, or individuals. Counselor changes every 45 days to keep anonymity.  NO RECORD!
  • Playgroup for the kiddos

No matter what your question, they can point you in the right direction! Check them out on Facebook and give them a “like” to stay updated on all the upcoming events and classes.

Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) Bldg 78

 

Commercial 02451-63-3791 or DSN 458-6015

Email: 470abs.dpf2@us.af.mil

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A&FRC – A look at their financial support resources

There are so many wonderful things that the GK A&FRC (Geilenkirchen Airman & Family Readiness Center) can provide and one of the best ones is financial support resources. Whether you are having a tough time learning to balance the check book, you need an emergency loan, or you are paying your way through school, this is the one stop shop for information.

  • Air Force Aid Society –AFAS 
  • Scholorship information
  • Tuition assistance information
  • Employment Assistance Programs (Help writing resume or applying for jobs)
  • Coupon donation – Donate your coupons or find some to use for your next Schinnen excursion. The coupons are good for 6 months past their expiration while you live overseas! 
  • Classes on savings, balancing the budget, VAT, and more….

No matter what your question, they can point you in the right direction! Check them out on Facebook and give them a “like” to stay updated on all the upcoming events and classes.

 

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Private Music Lessons

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Carolus Thermen – Thermal Baths in Aachen

With the cold of winter quickly approaching, new and creative ways of warming up, aside from staying at home, are definitely on the mind. One option is to visit Carolus Thermen. They are open daily, from 9am to 11pm and are even open on Christmas and New Years for a few hours.

I went to the pools with my husband during the summer. I thought the pools would be really serene based on the website, however, it ended up being like most public pools, minus the rough-housing of kids. On a side-note, kids 6 years and older are allowed at the pool with adult supervision as long as they act appropriately.

The parking lot was easy to find and we made our way into the complex without difficulty. Your first stop is at the entrance desk to get your chip coins, which will be used to buy anything while you are at the pools. After you have the coins you head towards the locker rooms. First there are small lockers for your valuables to your left. If there aren’t enough lockers, you can go downstairs, where there are more lockers. Everyone with a coin should get a key, which can be worn like a bracelet in the pools and will hold your chip coin so you don’t loose it. The locker room is surrounded by changing rooms. Enter the changing room, get into your swim suit then head into the locker room. Your key from the smaller locker will have a corresponding big locker to put all of your clothes. After you’re ready, just follow the signs to the pools.

There are two separate areas, Thermal World and Sauna World. We stayed in Thermal World which includes around 10 different pool options, most of which are warm (around 90°F). Swimsuits are required in Thermal World.

Sauna World is accessed through an entrance in Thermal World, but is a completely separate area.  This area has about 15 different saunas as well as all of the spa services. Sauna World costs a bit extra. Sauna World does not allow swimsuits.

There are three restaurants to choose from if you get hungry as well. Remember to bring your own towels, as they are quite expensive to rent. Also remember flip flops, the more distinctive the better. You’ll want to be able to find them in the mass of other flip flops outside each of the pool entrances.

After your visit you will make your way back towards the entrance desk, where you will pay your bill. Remember to get parking paid for and validated (2,50) at the desk too.

Carolus Thermen Bad Aachen
Stadtgarten / Passstr. 79
52070 Aachen

You can see the opening hours and prices here.

Posted in Adults, Open Sunday, Parks/pools, Rainy day items, Things to do | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Meubel Depot -Used/Antique furniture

Another wonderful way to pick up some local furniture of quality is to buy it second hand. Stores like Bis-bis and Meubel Depot are great places to look for these treasures that have been well cared for by their first owner(s).

Anything from wardrobes, bars, dressers, nightstands, cribs, beds, dinning tables and more can be found at a low cost. Look often though because the inventory changes daily!

Bis-Bis is located just a block away so click on the name to go to our blog and read all about that and get a two for one trip to shopping in Sittard!

 

Dr. Nolenslaan 151
6136 GM Sittard
T: 046 – 210 01 04

Posted in Furniture, Sittard, Used items | 3 Comments

The Whisky Friend – Sittard

I know there are quite a few whiskey collectors out there and have I got the store for you. Located in the Sittard Markt area, the Whisky Friend is small, but has quite a selection to choose from. There are your usual suspects along with some gems, many of which are reasonably priced. I’m sure the collector would have a field day in this store, but maybe you should keep it a secret until after Christmas. That way you can give the best present EVER this year.

Haspelsestraat 4 Sittard, NL

Opening Times:
Sun and Mon: Closed
Tues, Wed, Fri: 10:00 – 18:00
Thursday 10:00 – 21:00
Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
lunchpauze  between  13:30 – 14:00

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SnowWorld Indoor Ski Park in Landgraaf

One of the largest indoor ski parks is just 30 minutes away in Landgraaf, NL. SnowWorld boasts two main slopes at about 520m in length, one of which currently has moguls on one side. There are also two smaller slopes for beginners to practice on. There is a fun park located at the top of the hill as well for the freestyle snowboarders.

Our Experience:
We showed up at SnowWorld on a Tuesday at around 1830 and bought our ski-passes and equipment rentals at the desk on the main level. Four two people getting the Evening special and equipment rental, it cost about €75. We then walked downstairs to pick up our boots, put our stuff in the lockers, then pick up our skies. Hold onto the paper equipment rental receipts to trade in for the equipment. Also, keep your ski pass handy to get in and out of the slopes. Once we had our skies, we went onto the slope, which is also where the rental ski poles are located. There are two lifts for the big slopes, a chair lift and a rope tow. It’s possible to get to both slopes from both lifts. We are pretty inexperienced so we practiced a little on the practice slopes on the right before going up the big hill. The slopes didn’t start to get busy until around 2000 so getting there around 1800 is definitely the way to go if you like to have the slope to yourself.

What’s available:
2 hour or 4 hour ski-pass (there are monthly and yearly passes for avid skiers)
Gear rental – ski, snowboard, boots, poles, skisuits and helmets are all available to rent
Rental lockers – Cost €0,50 and can probably hold everything for a whole family
Instructors – One hour trial lessons are available for €8,90. They also have 4 and 12 week courses for kids and adults.
Restaurants – There are three restaurants and several bars available to anyone and an Après-Ski halfway up the hill.

Prices for skiing/snowboarding and equipment rental are here. They also have monthly specials that usually consist of a ski-pass and dinner.

Evening Special:
This is where you can save a bunch of money. This special starts at 1800 everyday and gets you a 4 hour ski pass. If you stay any longer than an hour, this deal is worth it.
Monday-Saturday €24,95
Sunday €17,95
There are some other specials, including a Family pass, listed here.

The Outdoor Park is also located here and is opening in March (weather permitting). I wrote about my experience here.

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Esso Station Finder Website and Mobile App

If you’re planning a road trip. This website is handy in finding the nearest Esso stations along your route. Each stations lists their phone number, address, opening hours and other helpful info. You can narrow your search by clicking the check boxes to see which stations are open 24 hours or which one are right off of the highway among other things.

Esso Locator

Esso even has a free App that you can download for use on your smart phone (iPhone or Android) that should work the same way. I don’t have a smart phone, so if anyone can test this out and let us know how well it works, I would appreciate it.

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Centro Mall – Europe’s largest indoor mall

That’s Right! According to the Centro website, this is the largest mall in Europe. I have to say that it wouldn’t surprise me since it is rather spectacular.

The store list could go on forever, but they have everything popular and even some things from “home” for us Americans. Take Hollister… Yep, they have one! In the food court they have it all too with a mix of foods to choose from. Burger king (outside) and McDonalds, KFC, Subway, a Donner shop, Bubble tea, etc. You name a type of food, they most likely have it…

OPENING HOURS OF STORES IN SHOPPING MALL

Over 200 shops in the Mall are open Monday – Saturday from 10am – 10pm.
OPENING HOURS AT COCA-COLA OASE (Food Court)
Fr – Sa: 10am – 10pm

OPENING HOURS ON PROMENADE
Most of the catering outlets and leisure facilities on the Promenade are already open at 11 am in the morning and remain open after midnight.

Now what’s the promenade you ask?!? Oh its just the most beautiful area outside the mall. Just walk down the mall steps outside the food court and there are restaurants galore. During the Xmas season they have a tiny Christmas Markt too. It is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon on a nice day. Much better to eat out there in the summer then in the food court!

Basically, to sum everything up, this place is worth the 1.5 hour drive to Oberhausen. It is something you could spend an entire day viewing.

The attached photos don’t do it justice so please go check it out for yourself. I mean, if nothing else, the mall has three Starbucks so you’ll get a cup of coffee out of it! 😉

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Import Taxes

If you buy something outside of Germany that has to be shipped to your German address, the shipping company will request that you pay import taxes on the item (usually from 0% to 20% of the item’s value). Naturally, the shipping company does not know you are supposed to be exempt from these taxes, so there is some paperwork that is required to get your item delivered tax free. Once you have bought the item, you will have to go to the Customs office on GK (Building 84) with your receipt and request an AE Form 550-175A. The form is good for 90 days, so apply for the form early. This way, you can have it ready to go once the shipper contacts you about the import taxes.

How your form is processed by the shipper is different for each company so you will have to ask their employees about that part of the process. I know FedEx’s closest customs office is at the Frankfurt Airport and you must be present to clear customs, so tax free may or may not be worth your time.

For more information on German Customs and Import taxes you can look here.

More information on the AE Form 550 is here.

Posted in Financial Resources, Newcomers, Resources/Help, Shopping | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Tappas Sittard

Tapas! How can you say no?

We recently went here with friends and got to try a little bit of everything. My hubby and I split a tapas feast for 2 while our friends ordered À la carte from the menu. It was a fun atmosphere and the food was excellent.

Like all tapas places, expect to pay a little more for dinner, but I can say for us it was worth it and we’ll do it again. The menu had so much to choose from and I want to try it all. The only thing that everyone agreed on? Don’t get the nachos….

Markt 37 Sittard (in the main center)

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Roermond Outdoor Outlet Mall

This designer outlet has it all. Think of just about any name brand and you can probably find it here. Of course just because it’s an outlet doesn’t mean you can afford it all!

A beautiful area to walk and the parking is easy with lots of spaces (the all-day parking fee is 3€).

Due to the number of stores, I recommend you check their site for a reference on all that you can see.

Monday – Friday 10am – 7pm
Thursday 10am – 8pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am – 8pm

Stadsweide 2, 6041 TD Roermond,
Netherlands

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Makado (Mall) w/ Free childcare

This reminded me of one of the Tucson Malls. After not having been to one in a while, I felt in awe of this place. Not a large mall, it certainly had plenty to see. One of my favorite stores was Bruna. This store sells gift certificates and gift packages. You can buy dinner for two, or a spa trip, or a vacation package to give as a gift and the receiver can choose from all sorts of places to use their package.

Other places included one medium and one XL toy store. The x-large one was called Toys XL so I think you’ll figure it out quickly! 😉

This place had a few flower shops, clothing stores, a BCC (think of any electronic/appliance and they have it) and more shops to choose from. They did have a large Xenos and Blokker too.

It’s a wonderful way to spend a few hours picking up things you need and you could even grocery shop in their large center.

Just a few exits from Schinnen, this is a great place to go for those extra items!

Oh and the best news you ask?!? FREE CHILDCARE!!!

 

Open Weds-Friday 1300-1800 and Sat 1100-1700 for a max of two hours and for children under the age of 9.  See their website for more info!

Wethouder Sangersstraat 314 • 6191 NA BEEK

 

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Kinderstad -Heerlen

When it’s raining, this is the place to go with the kids. Perfect for the adults to sit down and enjoy a coffee or snack whilst the children burn their energy running through this warehouse of fun. With bouncing, climbing, riding, running, boating and more, this is a wonderful time for all ages. I know that I may be in my late twenties, but I rode all the rides and played just as hard as the kids did!

The price was 9€ per person and well worth it. When you enter you can also buy “munts” which are the coins to purchase food and drinks. You can also buy them from a machine next to the vendor. The food and drinks were more then reasonable in cost too which my wallet appreciated!!

They are open 365 days of the year! (Yes you read correctly) Hours are 1000-1800 daily.

Please give this a try next rainy day!

Parallelweg 4
6411 ND Heerlen

 

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Ristorante-Pizzaria Roma in Tüddern

Roma’s is a small restaurant on the main drag through Tüddern. There is seating inside and out back on the patio. They will take To-Go orders and have English menus for you to use.

Roma’s offers schnitzel, a gyro plate, 50 different pizzas, pasta, salads and, my favorite, Indian. Their main special is “Get three pizzas for the price of two” from Monday-Friday. So stop by next time you’re in the area . You won’t be disappointed.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 1600-2300
Holidays and Sun: 1130-2300

Address:
Sittarderstrasse 15, Selfkant-Tüddern

Phone: (0)245 650 7794

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Biercentrale/Drankenhal Corstjens – Belgian Beer Heaven

Located just across the Belgian border in Maaseik, Drankenhal Corstjens can fulfill your Belgian beer needs without the long commute. As usual, you can buy beers individually or by the crate at a reasonable price. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. They’ll help you pick out new beers to try according to what you already know you like. The store has beer, wine, liquor as well as juices and water. I was told that the beloved Christmas beers will be on the shelves by the end of November.

The store also makes beer gift baskets (the ones in the picture were 15€). Beer tastings are held most Saturdays. If you’re interested, you can also join their mailing list by sending an email to DrankenCorstjens@Hotmail.com or like their Facebook page.

Opening Hours: Tues-Sat   0900-1800

Address:
Schoorstraat 6 (you might have to use 1520 in your GPS)
3680 Maaseik, BE

Phone:  0032 (0)89 75 19 95

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Christmas Time HereAtGk

Spending Christmas at home is a luxury for those who have home at their finger tips. HereAtGK has compiled a list of places that would work as a home away from home during the holidays. Ranging from absolutely picturesque to the birthplace of Christmas, these locations should suffice for places for the Tri-border community to fulfill their Christmas holiday memories.

Vienna, Austria

Popular attractions at the market include the Nativity Scene, Carved Nutcrackers, toasted almonds, Christmas cookies of forms of soft gingerbread, a sort of egg bread with candied fruit, Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market if Gluhwein: mulled wine, or Eirpunsch a egg based warm alcoholic drink. Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. Many other handmade items, toys, books, Christmas tree decorations and can be found at a Christkindlmarkt.

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http://www.austria.info/uk/home/christmas-markets-in-vienna-1428274.html

Prague, Czech Republic

The markets consist of brightly decorated, wooden huts selling a variety of traditional handcrafted Czech products, such as wooden toys, Bohemian Crystal, jewelry, embroidery, metal-ware, ceramic plates and mugs, scented candles, hats, gloves and scarves, beautifully dressed puppets and dolls, and of course Christmas tree ornaments. Indeed, visitors may find some very nice Christmas stocking fillers. The Prague Christmas markets are not just about shopping. Visitors can observe traditional foods being made, and sample all manner of local food and drink.

There are large hams roasting on spits, traditional Czech pastries to try, such as ‘Trdelník’ – a hot sugary coated pastry – and of course terribly unhealthy, but wonderfully tasty barbecued sausages. To accompany the food, you’ll find Pilsner Urquell and other Czech beers on offer. And warm drinks can be most welcome too. Outdoor Christmas shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot wine (svařené víno or svařák) in your hand! At the Old Town Square Christmas markets there is an animal’s stable, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey. And there is also a large Bethlehem scene depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings in a wooden stable.

Most impressive of all is the Christmas tree, shipped from the Krkonose mountains in the North of the Czech Republic. The tree is erected in a central position in the Old Town Square and draped in a blaze of lights. It is then turned on around 5pm every night. Set against Prague’s dark gothic skyline, this is a spectacular sight.

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http://www.myczechrepublic.com/prague/prague-christmas.html

Cologne, Germany

Cologne celebrates the season with seven Christmas markets throughout its city center. The Christmas market directly in front of the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive one and boasts the largest Christmas tree in the region. Free Christmas concerts playing nightly in front of the Cathedral; starting at 6 p.m., you can enjoy everything from jazz, gospel and rock, to traditional German Christmas carols.

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http://www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk/cologne_christmas_market.php

Amsterdam, NL

Sinterklaas is a kindly bishop. He wears red robes and a tall, pointed mitre on his head. Sinterklaas travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam’s harbor every winter. With him he brings his white horse and a huge sack full of gifts for the children. The mayor and all the people of Amsterdam flock to the harbor to greet Sinterklaas as he arrives. Bells ring out, the people cheer, and a brass band leads a parade through the streets. The parade stops at the royal palace, where the Queen welcomes Sinterklaas.

Families celebrate St. Nicholas Eve at home with lots of good food, hot chocolate, and a letterbanket. This is a “letter cake” made in the shape of the first letter of the family’s last name. In some families, each person gets a little letterbanket with their first initial.

In the eastern part of Holland, farm families announce the coming of Christmas from the first Sunday of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas, until Christmas Eve by blowing a horn made from hollow elder-tree branches. The horns make an eerie noise as they are blown at every farm in the neighborhood.

Later in December, Dutch families decorate a Christmas tree and trim the house with candles, evergreens, and holly. Some children hang up a stocking from the fireplace mantel on Christmas Eve, but there are no more presents after St. Nicholas Day for most Dutch children.

Families go to church together on Christmas Eve and then again on Christmas morning. They gather together for a family dinner of roast hare, venison, goose, or turkey. Eggnog and a mulled drink are specially made for this celebration. After dinner, the family gathers before the fireplace to tell stories and sing carols.

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http://www.amsterdam.info/events/christmas/

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Bis-Bis

In Sittard there are a few places that you can buy used furniture. It is often in excellent condition, made from real wood, sometimes antique, and always a wonderful deal! One on my favorite places to look is the two story building known as Bis-Bis.

You can find couches, tables, chairs, dressers, toddler beds, cribs, etc. They also sell cups, plates, clothes and during the holidays, they sell decorations.

Stop by on your next trip to the markt. You will be pleasantly surprised!

BIS-BIS Sittard

Milieuparkweg 13
6136 KP Sittard
Tel. 0888 – 444 444

Opening hours:

Monday 13.00 – 17.00
Tuesday 10.00 – 17.00
Wednesday 10.00 – 17.00
Thursday 10.00 – 17.00
Friday 10.00 – 17.00
Saturday 10.00 – 16.00

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Brunssummerheide- Brunnsum NL

Located behind AFNorth International School is the 1800 recreation area used for walking, cycling, golf and horse riding. The nature park is an immense reserve that contains many ponds, hills, and trails for everyone to enjoy. On one end is Brunnsum, the other is Laandgraff. This gives you an idea of how massive the park really is.

The Brunnsum golf course is also located near the park and uses the park as a backdrop for golfers. Rode Beek and Schrieversheideven are both attractive spots for nature exploration.

The park is also home to the old landfill that was housed on this property before the current environmental legislation was put into order. The landfill is covered and now the area is used to promote nature.

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JFC Brunnsum Alliance Theater

The JFC Alliance Theater in Bldg 405, seats 365 people. AAFES Reel Time Theaters provides newly released movies with showings every Friday and Saturday. Visit the Brunssum Morale and Welfare website for more information.

Reel Time Theater Schedule or check on their Facebook page at JFC Alliance Theatre.

The theater is also home to the Alliance Players, an all-volunteer community theater group performing in Brunssum, The Netherlands since 1974. Located on the NATO Joint Forces Command Headquarters, the troop entertains audiences from the three military installations of the Tri-Border region: USAG Schinnen and JFC HQ in the Netherlands, plus Geilenkirchen NATO Airbase in Germany. The Players draw from all three installations as well as the AFNORTH International School for volunteer support and community involvement.

For more information about upcoming plays, visit their website.

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Ocean Wok Paradise- Sittard

Located in Sittard, the Ocean Wok Paradise is a moderately upscale Asian Buffet. If you go right near opening hours the atmosphere is perfect. They only serve dinner, however do offer take-out at lunch time.

The atmosphere is what I liked most about the restaurant. It was clean and pretty to look at. They even had koi swimming along streams throughout the eatery.

The buffet is pretty large and they offer a Mongolian grill as well. There is a nice ice-cream buffet in the back of the restaurant too. The price is steep at 20 euros per person and 10 euros for children. If you are a big Asian buffet lover, then the price is right, but a bit pricey for just a casual dinner.

Rijksweg Zuid 726134 AD Sittard Nederland

Telephone 0031 046 4586311

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Markets in the Local Area- Plus Late Night Shopping!

Markets and Late Night Shopping in the Local Area

TOWN MARKET DAYS LATE NIGHT SHOPPING
Amstenrade Thurs morning
Beek Wed morning Fri
Brunssum Sat morning Thurs
Elsloo Sat morning Fri
Eygleshoven Sat 10.00-17.00 hrs
Geleen Thurs, Sat all day Thurs
Heerlen Tues, Sat All Day Thurs
Hoensbroek Fri morning Thurs
Kerkrade Fri morning Thurs
Kerkrade West Wed morning Thurs
Klimmen Fri morning
Landgraaf:Op De Kamp Thurs afternoon Thurs
Schaesberg Fri afternoon Thurs
Maastricht Wed, Fri morning,
Sat (Flea market near rail station)
Thurs
Meersen Thurs afternoon Thurs
Merklebeek Wed afternoon
Munstergeleen Fri afternoon
Nuth Fri afternoon Thurs
Oirsbeek Thurs afternoon Fri (until 20.00)
Puth Wed afternoon
Roermond Saturdays until 15.00
Schinnen Thurs afternoon Fri (until 20.00)
Schinveld Thurs afternoon
Simpleveld Fri morning Thurs
Sittard Thurs morning, Sat morning Thurs
Susteren Thurs morning Fri (until 20.00)
Valkenburg Mon morning Thurs
Vorendaal Thurs afternoon Thurs
Waubach Fri afternoon Fri

MARKET DAYS IN GERMANY 
Wassenberg – Thurs morning
Heinsberg – Tues and Fri 0800-1200
Geilenkirchen – Tues and Fri 0700-1200
Rheindahlen village – Fri 1300-1800
Monchengladbach – Tues, Thurs and Sat 0700-1300

Posted in Food, Geilenkirchen, Heinsberg, Maastricht, Markets, NO COST, Other markts, Sittard | Leave a comment

Christmas Market Websites – Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg

The Christmas season is fast approaching, and with it come the Christmas Markets or Weihnachtsmarkts.  Most towns in Germany have at least a small market while the large cities, like Cologne, have several markets that you can visit within walking distance of each other.  You’ll find handmade goods of all varieties at these markets and you can be sure to find unique gems at each one. Gluwein, warm spiced wine in red, and sometimes white varieties, and Kinderpunch for the kids is readily on hand along with all the German food stands you’ve come to know and love.  So dress warm and put on your walking shoes. It’s going to be a fun and cheerful month.

I’ve compiled a list of websites that can help you out in planning your Christmas Market excursions.  Some markets will be open by mid-November with most starting by the beginning of December.

Germany –  Germany-christmas-market.org.uk is a good place to start your search. Everything is in English, they give descriptions of the different markets along with the dates and times of each, and they give the link to the official market page if you want to do more research. The list however is not as comprehensive as the next link.

Weihnachtsmarkt-deutschland.de has a huge list of markets, along with the same summary information as the first site. I tested the site out using Google Translate with no problems.  You can also filter the list by region or look at their list for markets in other countries. Their Termine gives you a summary of the opening dates for all of the markets listed.

FranceNoel.org lists all of the markets in France. You can narrow down your search to a Province (a map of French Provinces is here) and narrow further to major city location. The marches permanents are the markets that will be open the entire season.

Belgium -I had a hard time finding a good list for Belgium Christmas Markets, butKerstmarkten.nl along with Noel.org should point you in the right direction. Also worth noting is that some Belgian markets will continue until New Years.

NetherlandsKerstmarkten.nl again lists some of the larger city markets.  There is also Kerstmarkten.net, which allows you to search by region, although they don’t have much listed for the Limburg province.

Luxembourg – The main market will be in Luxembourg City. More information can be found here.

If you have any great websites you use to plan your Christmas market adventures, let us know in the comments.

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Current Traffic and Construction Information Online

Don’t you hate being blindsided by a detour when you’re just minding your own business driving down the autobahn? Me too, so I went on a mission to find highway traffic and construction information online. At least then, it would be possible to know what you’re getting into when you decide to go on a what you think is going to be a three hour road trip. These sites are the best I could find. They have interactive maps, where you can zoom in and out and click on the traffic signs to see how the construction will affect your journey.

Belgium:

This is the only site I could find for Belgian Road Works. But it’s pretty comprehensive. It even gives expected completion dates for construction. The key word is “expected”, but we can hope.

Germany: http://www.verkehrsinfo.de

This site was my favorite that I tested for German roads. The map is interactive if you click on it. You can also get summaries by region or highway.

Other sites I tried are http://www.verkehrsinformation.de and http://www.aral.de/ which both work, but they don’t have the cool map.

Netherlands: http://www.routenet.nl/traffic.aspx and http://www.onderweg.nl/ These sites are similar to each other. There might be a better site out there, but I haven’t found it yet.

So check these sites out and hopefully you won’t be caught by surprise again on the autobahns, and if you have any sites that you use, let us know in the comments.

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5€ Movies on Tuesdays at the Foroxity

This deal (Voordeel Dinsdag) is still going on. You pay 1€ extra for 3-D movies and it’s not valid for special events or on January 1, 2013, but otherwise, this will save you €2,50 on each ticket!

UPDATE: I have since found out that €5 movies on Tuesdays happens at many of the movie theaters here. So check out your movie theater’s prices online. You can probably cash in on this deal too.

There is also a Sneak Preview movie every Tuesday at 20:30. The movie is a surprise and is usually something that will be released in the Netherlands in the next week or so. You can ask the cashier if the movie is in English and what category it is (action, horror, etc.) so you don’t pay to watch a Dutch movie accidentally.

The movie schedule is updated on http://www.forox.nl under “Dag Overzicht”. Remember that (OV) at the end of a title means the movie is the original version with Dutch sub-titles while (NL) means that the movie has been dubbed into Dutch.

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Koopzondag – Sunday Shopping in the Netherlands

Shops are generally closed on Sundays in the Netherlands, but about once a month there is an exception to the rule in almost every city. These days are called Koopzondag and most shops will open their doors and operate their normal hours. Depending on how large the city is, this might rotate between their markets each weekend.

You can find out what markets will be open here. This site is really easy to navigate. The list of open markets is categorized by provinces. The home page will show you what cities have Koopzondag that week. If you want to look at a particular week or the yearly schedule of a particular city, you can look through the lists on the left-hand side of the page.

There are some cities that are always open on Sundays for tourism. Some of the cities in Limburg are Thorn, Vaals, and Valkenburg aan de Geul so going to these towns will always be a nice way to spend a Sunday.

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SnowWorld Outdoor Park

The outdoor park just opened in May, and is a great reason to visit SnowWorld. The website describes the outdoor park. It is basically a giant ropes challenge course, with two levels built on telephone poles and a 5 stage zip line. The course costs about €20 for adults and €17 for kids up to 12 years old. There is a height restriction of 1.4 meters and you must wear some sort of tennis shoes, but those were the only restrictions I could find.

There is also an alpine coaster that costs €2.50 per ride or can be combined with the climbing park ticket at a discount. The alpine coaster is definitely better than I expected. I like roller coasters so I thought this coaster would be tame, but it is surprisingly thrilling. The website says that the climbing course will take 2-3 hours to go through and they aren’t kidding. We went through the lower level of the course and the zip line and it took us 2.5 hours. You do spend some time waiting on people in front of you to progress, but as long as you aren’t behind a large group, you should be good. Overall, the experience was a good one and we will definitely be back. I went with my younger brother and sister (10 and 12 years old respectively). They both had a blast, especially on the alpine coaster.

If you’re climbing with kids, stay on the lower level of the course. The higher level is more difficult and some parts are hard for kids to reach. The attendants also require that adults be on either side of children so they can help out when needed.

Some words of caution:

Wear sunscreen – There is very little shade in the climbing park, and you’ll be out there for quite a while.

Brake on the zip line – The zip lines aren’t designed like the ones in the states that slow you down before you get to the end. There is a pad at the end, but you’ll want to slow down before you get to it. Your only brake is pulling down on your tie-in, which is just metal on metal contact so this method won’t leave you stranded in the middle of the zip line even if you brake as hard as possible.

Other activities at SnowWorld:

There are three restaurants on the ground level: self-service, a-la carte restaurant and a fondue restaurant. There are also several bars. SnowWorld is mainly an indoor ski facility. They have rental equipment and lessons for skiing and snowboarding if you are interested in learning before hitting the Alps.

Other things to see in Landgraaf:

GaiaZoo – The zoo appears to be fairly close to SnowWorld. I haven’t been, but their collection includes rhinos, giraffes, gorillas and many more. The zoo is free for 0-3 year-olds, €15.50 for kids under 10 and €18.50 for adults

Continium –  Located in Kerkrade, Continuum looks like it’s a children’s museum/science museum. Entry is free for 0-3 year olds, €8.50 for 4-17 year olds and €11 for adults. The Dutch Museum Card allows free entrance.

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Trinkgut

There are three Trinkgut businesses in the area, their addresses and opening times are given below. As the store name implies, this is a place to buy anything that you drink: beer, wine, liquor, water, soda, juice, they have everything. They also rent out glassware, beer equipment and tables.

The main draw to this store is the selection of beer. Sure you can get Erdinger at a cheaper price on base, but Trinkgut has a huge selection, including some of your favorite Bavarian brews as well as more local beers from Dusseldorf and Cologne. Check out their website  and see for yourself in the “Sortiment” tab. The store in Heinsberg is within walking distance of the Real, so stop by when you’re in the area. You won’t be disappointed.

Von Humboldt-Str. 103, 52511 Geilenkirchen – Niederheid
Tel.: 02451 4096949, Fax: 02451 4097005
Open: Mo-Fr: 09:00 – 20:00, Sa: 09:00 – 20:00

Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 103, 52531 Übach-Palenberg
Tel.: 02451 628705, Fax: 02451 628706
Open: Mo-Fr: 9:00 – 20:00, Sa: 9:00 – 20:00

Borsigstr. 38B, 52525 Heinsberg
Tel.: 02452 1061770, Fax: 02452 1062861
Open: Mo-Fr: 9:00 – 19:00, Sa: 8:00 – 18:00

Posted in Drinks/Beverages, Food, Geilenkirchen, Heinsberg | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Language Courses – Online and In Person

Courses are offered during the Spring and Fall on GK and Brunssum. The following flyers show you information on previous offerings. A German course for children has also been offered in the past.

IYA flyer_002
 Brunssum Language Program

Language courses 2015_001

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GK International Library

For current information visit the NATO E3-A website Newcomers Guide.

All items are available free of charge for all NATO ID card holders. The regular book collection contains over 12,000 books and is broken into nine language categories. (Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian and Turkish) There is a paperback book exchange, the McNaughton book Collection, some university text books and a large kids selection with more then 2,500 children’s books. There are also 40 periodicals in the English language and the daily ‘Stars and Stripes’ can be read in the library’s relaxed atmosphere.

The audio items include over 500 music CDs & 50 language courses & audio books. More than 650 DVDs for adults and children are available and there are 6 public computers with internet.
For more information, call +49 (0)2451 63 4956.

The International Library is in building 71, near the NATEX Grocery Store and Rotodome.

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Paris

If you haven’t read it yet, I recently blogged about Disney Paris.

Basically, we stayed outside of Paris at a hotel with a free shuttle. We did Disneyland one day and Paris the next. Anthony and I hopped on the free shuttle to Disney and took the train from Disney Station. It was very easy and cheap. We spent 20€ each to have an all day unlimited train pass. We really got our money’s worth too!!!

We did the Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs-Elysées, Arc du Carrousel, and Arc de Triomphe. I recommend looking up attractions.

As these places are spread apart, we used the trains to get around. We probably hopped on twenty to twenty five different trains as we moved through the city. It was very easy to navigate and figure out. I was able to understand it quickly and easily. Before this I had never ridden the trains and no, I do not speak much French.

Your hotel concierge can give you a basic explanation but you can look at the signs and know if the train pulling in is going to your stop. Trains run every 3-5 minutes at all stops so there isn’t much of a wait. If the sign says “Court” it means the train will be a short one and you should walk to the front of where it will be so you may board.

This train is only going to the places highlighted. If you need to go elsewhere, you must wait for a different train. Also in the bottom right corner (click to enlarge photo) you see “TRAIN COURT”. This when highlighted means to move towards the front which is marked on the ground. If you are too far back and the train is short, you will have to run!

The Louvre was quite empty until you got to the Mona Lisa, and it is also EXTREMELY large. I don’t think I could ever express how BIG this place is. To say the least, it would take days before you could see it all!!!

As for everything else, it is mostly free unless you want to go up into the Eiffel or the Arc de Triomphe. These things are inexpensive, but will be time consuming because of the lines. You should show up at opening time to avoid waiting for hours.

All in all, this was a great trip and something that is easily kept within a budget (see the Disney post for cost on the hotel we used).

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MWA GK

The MWA is located in building 81 .

For current information, look in the Newcomers Guide at NATO E3-A website.

Services:

  • German Postal service (including Postage of parcels/letters, sale of German stamps, telephone cards, and express international.
  • A dry cleaning service with general tailoring available
  • Newspapers/magazine/greeting cards for sale

 

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Schuhcenter & Schuhtreff -Shoe Stores in Heinsberg

Owned by the same company and across the street from each other, these two stores are a worth while stop. Although they did have a few identical pairs of shoes at both of the stores, for the most part, each store sold different items. The shoe stores are very large and you will almost be able to guarantee that you can find anything you need. The prices were pretty great too which you can see online. http://www.siemes.de/  (we cannot post the direct link per the companies request, but you can copy/paste it)

So pick an address and park. They are walking distance! (Also, a fellow reader advised us that they accept the VAT form!!!!)

Both stores have the same opening hours:

Monday thru Friday 0900-2000

Saturday 0900-1800

Schuhcenter:

Borsigstr. 38  Heinsberg

02452/21727

Schuhtreff:

Humboldtstraße 20 Heinsberg, Germany

02452 2026

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Brussels

We set our goal on conquering Brussels in a day and we may have eaten our way through it, but we didn’t even see 25% of what there is to see. If you really want the opportunity to check it out, I highly recommend staying the night. This is a wonderful city and full of adventure.

We started our morning at the Don Quixote statue. It was right next to the parking so that made it convenient! Finding the parking in the area was relatively easy and the parking garage is gigantic! For the day we spent about 13,60€ on parking for 7 hours. (see website below for exact fees and address)

From the parking we walked in the center and started shopping for chocolate. Belguim as you are probably aware is known for chocolate, waffles and beer, among other things. The chocolate is amazing and it’s so rich, one piece is truly enough to satisfy you.

After this, we checked out the square which was beautiful. The buildings are incredible and you will want several photos.

One of the more famous things in Brussels is the Manneken Pis. It’s a small boy peeing into a fountain. Originally built in the 1600s, there are many stories about why it exists. The more popular is because a sculpture lost his son and asked the town’s people to help find him. When they found him, the man promised to build a sculpture of what the boy was doing when the discovered him. He was peeing…. So as a thanks, he built the sculpture that people came to know and love. In the 1700s, the people of Brussels protected it from being stolen twice but the third attempt to steal it was successful and the thieves broke the statue into pieces. A replica was built and now, famous people bring it an outfit and it is dressed for all special occasions. The Manneken Pis has over 400 costumes from around the world and from presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, etc.

In the 80’s the town built a female to accompany the male. She is a few alleys away, but she is a sight to behold. For the adults, they will want to find her as she is located next to the bar: Delirium. If you haven’t heard of this place, you can look them up in the Guinness book of records for having the most beers out of any bar in the world. They have a phone book menu that lists over 2,004 DIFFERENT beers. You can buy the book as a souvenir for about 5€. The upstairs has 14 or so beers on tap, but the secret is to go down the stairs. This is where a large bar is and it is where they serve those 2,004 beers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though, because most Belgium Beers have 7-13% alcohol by volume. This is why you might want to spend the night in Brussels!

After walking around and seeing a few more sites, we ended up eating at a restaurant located next to Delirium where they served a fish dish that was for 2 people. A bit expensive and the fish was a tad overcooked, but we enjoyed it regardless. It included prawns, mussels, and two kinds of fish for each person. You should definitely look around at the menus posted outside the restaurants and see what appeals to you at an affordable rate. It is very expensive to eat in Brussels. Lunch consisting of mussels and fries was 23€ for one person and didn’t include the cost of the drinks.

In conclusion, this is a great place to spend the day seeing the sites or shopping and it’s a really great place to spend the night and enjoy the night-life if you can break away from the kids for a day!


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Parking Grand Place 
104, rue Marché aux Herbes
1000 Brussels
Belgium

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Disney Paris

After being raised right next to Anaheim Disney, there is one thing I’m crazy about…. MICKEY MOUSE! I don’t have kids, but this summer, my husband and I booked a hotel and went to Disneyland Paris.

Our vacation like all good vacations started online. We checked out several websites and found the best deal on a hotel at Booking.com. It was a “super saver” deal and they only had a limited amount of rooms at the special rate. The normal rate for the hotel was 480€. I had looked at this hotel the day before booking and had kept looking around for a better deal on any hotel. So when I saw 279€ for three nights at Park & Suites, I booked it right then and there! This was the price for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday stay in September. We went during the week and after school started in order to get a better rate and also to avoid crowds/long lines at Disneyland.

On arrival at the hotel, we took the free shuttle they offer (which is a nice tour bus) and we made our way to Disney Village. It’s a free area of the park with stores and restaurants. It was a great way to spend the evening without paying for admission to the park since it was already 4pm by the time we arrived. We ate at Planet Hollywood, but they had a McDonald’s and a handful of other choices as well. We also shopped and got 90% of our souvenirs so that we wouldn’t have to carry them all around the next day! This was a nice evening and it did give us the opportunity to buy our Disneyland entrance tickets with NO line! You are able to purchase them at the gate and just let them know you want them for the next day. (The prices are listed on their website below)

Tuesday, we hopped on the shuttle yet again and made it to Disney. They opened the park at 10:00 and stay open till 22:00. We did ALL the rides and attractions in about 6 hours because the lines were all less then 15 minutes. It is based after Anaheim Disney almost exactly, but of course it was built in 1992 instead of 1955 so it’s a bit newer! 😉

We ended up eating lunch and dinner at the park. For 11.99€ each, we had lunch at a burger fast food cafeteria. It was very similar to McDonald’s in taste and came with a large drink and a small ice cream. Very yummy!!! For dinner we went to a deli on mainstreet and had subs for about 6€ each. They were okay, but nothing to write home about.

All in all, this was a fabulous experience. On Wednesday, we opted to take the shuttle to Disney because it is right next to a train station and we went to Paris for the tourist sites. That’s for another blog though so stay tuned! Just know that the option is certainly available and we didn’t have to switch hotels or get taxis. NICE AND EASY!

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Geilenkirchen Park

A nice little park near downtown GK, this place has plenty of beautiful paths, a playground, and a nice pond with stepping stones. There was also a skate park in the back area.

If you want to grab a bite while you are here, there is a vendor that has a few items and has some clean restrooms in a trailer behind his stand.
The website the city has shows multiple photos and gives excellent info on the park so please check it out as you plan your adventure.

Herzog-Wilhelm-Str.
52511 Geilenkirchen

 

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Emergency Leave – My experience overseas

My first thought when I moved to GK was “My dad has cancer, what if he dies? How will I get back?”. It’s a hard and scary thought. I had warning of my fathers impending death, but sometimes we don’t get that luxury. What happens? How do we get home?

July 2012, I called my father for a chit chat and was told by my mom that he was being rushed to the hospital and had less then a week to live. I talked to my husband and we waited two days pondering what decisions to make. Go on emergency leave? Find a pet sitter last minute? Stay home? Go after and attend the funeral?

It was a confusing and emotional time, but we made the decision to go on leave and try to catch the chance to say goodbye. On a Wednesday night (rather late I might add), we called my husbands first shirt and started the process. The next day my husband went to work and within 2 hours arrangements were completed. Another family sent their high schooler to come sit the animals for a week, and on Friday morning we took off from the local airport on a civilian airliner. The airline costs from Dusseldorf to Dallas Texas (where my dad was hospitalized) was completely paid for. All we had to do was stay with family or pay for our own hotel. We stayed for 7 days (chargeable leave).

36 hours after calling the first shirt, we were in the air. That’s pretty miraculous that they arranged for that and people came together to take my husbands work shifts and to arrange to have a pet sitter, and to get round trip paid airfare. I’ll tell you that my father, my mother, myself, my husband, his father, his sister, and his sister’s husband have all served in the military or are currently serving. So to say the military is family is a drastic understatement. During this hardship, it was so relieving to know that the military had our backs and exceeded all of my expectations in taking care of us.

They did offer counseling and repeatedly checked on us to see what else we needed to have taken care of. It was a blessing and a heart warming experience.

I truly hope that no one ever needs to use emergency leave while overseas, but I wanted you to know that if you do, it is a simple process that happens quickly and makes things so much less stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I hope our experience helps to alleviate that worry in the back of your mind.

Just so you know, we made it in time. We got there and held his hand and gave him a kiss. He died about 15 minutes after our arrival. I don’t know if that last minute goodbye would have been possible without the quick actions of all those at GK.

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Kik

Kik is a pretty general outlet store. It has quite a bit of clothing (including some cheap versions of the German costumes for Oktoberfest) and some small accessories. It offered clothes for all ages and had items as low as 1€. There’s not a lot to say about this place other than it is a true bargain. Take a peek and send us a comment of what you think of Kik! 🙂

 

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Amazon.de – Get your VAT back

Amazon has recently updated their policy concerning VAT refunds. The policy now states:

“If you are an APO-address holder or work for the NATO troops we will be happy to refund all the VAT you were charged for your order. Please note that this does not apply to delivery addresses within Germany or for members of German troops.”

If you do intend on getting a VAT refund, you may have to ship the items to your APO address instead of your physical address.

So the secret to shopping here is knowing that you can get the VAT refunded. Simply get your package, then send your **SIGNED** VAT form and receipt back to them. Remember your VAT form must have been bought from the VAT office prior to you ordering on the site or they will not be able to use it. (ask the VAT office for more info)

Once you mail it back to them (the German post office is on base next to the dry cleaners and T-mobile), they will refund the VAT within a few days to your credit/debit card and send you back your copy and the VAT office copy of the form. Then all you need to do is return the white copy to the VAT office and enjoy your refund!

For the address and more info, see the website below:

Amazon.de’s address and return process in English

Amazon’s explanation on VAT and why some items are only charged a 7% VAT

Posted in Appliances, Clothing, Craft/Home decor, Financial Resources, Food, Furniture, Hardware, Health and Beauty, Outdoor/Camping, Pets, Shoes, Toys | 13 Comments

Computer Help – GKSQUAD

This “squad” is run by some of the tri-border residents and is available to assist with computer/tablet issues. They have a list of all services and contact info at their website and when I emailed them, they were very quick to respond. If you are having issues with technology, give them a call. We HereAtGk believe in supporting our fellow families businesses as much as we can and we know we will be calling them next time we have an issue!

“Solving your (IT) Information Technology problems”

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International Drivers License – GK stationed members only

According to GK base legal office, the USAREUR license that is issued to you when you take the test on base is only valid for driving in Germany.

If you want to drive in other countries legally, you need to get an international drivers license. This is actually very easy and cheap to do.

First you need the following items:

  • NATO ID card
  • Passport
  • Your German (army issued) USAREUR license
  • Passport Photo (Print on photo paper at home or use a passport photo booth for 6€ -one is at Kaufland in GK).
  • 12,80€ cash (This price may have changes since the original posting)

Next you need to drive to the Heinsberg government office:
Valkenburger Str. 45
52525 Heinsberg, Germany

The Citizen Service Center is open the following hours: (check for updated hours/fees)

There is a parking lot next to the building for your use.

Enter through this door: 

Look to the right as soon as you enter and you will see the info/kasse and even more to the right is some cubicle style desks with seats in the aisle. Sit in one of the seats and wait your turn for one of the people at the desks. Most were young and spoke English. You will go to their desk and explain that you want an international license. At this time, present them with the above items (except the cash as you will do that later) and they will begin processing everything. The procedure takes about 10 minutes and they will then have you sign your new license (a booklet), a paper with Nato’s info on it (you sign in two places), and they will return your items (except the passport photo as it is now in your license booklet).

They will give you a yellow card and ask you to go to the Kasse and pay 12,80€. Once you have done this, take your receipt and you are done! That’s it.

Honestly, it was too easy and I always get nervous when things are that easy! Obviously, they deal with us NATO folks a lot though….

Now you may drive in the other European countries. Just be sure to bring both your Army license and your new international one with you.

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Tongeren – Sunday Antique Market

If your looking for a no cost (unless you buy stuff!) way to spend your Sunday, this is a great trip. About 1 hour and 15 minutes from GK, Tongeren is a beautiful town in Belgium that is known because it is the oldest town in Belgium and also for it’s vast array of antique shops. On Sundays, people from the shops and all over, come together and host a market in the centrum area. You will see many vendors in the streets and in buildings such as underground parking lots. These areas are marked and easy to find and allow for a lovely walk outdoors. You will find that most vendors speak English, French, and Dutch.

We walked through and saw many wonderful collectibles and gorgeous pieces of history. After, if the walk has not worn you out, I recommend a short walk to the cathedral which is beautiful and has  a sign in English outside explaining the history. If you arrive around 10-11,you will hear the church bells and the mass. My husband and I loved the joyous sound of singing during this last Sunday’s mass. As you walk around this area, you will find a monument that celebrates the Romans who lived here first, and a monument that is engraved with the years of both world wars.

Lastly, check out one of the many cafes. We ate a baguette and had a cup of delicious coffee before the drive home.  The market is from around 7am – noon and so it is perfect timing to enjoy a little lunch before you go.

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Article I read before going

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Restaurant Palladion – Greek food in Aachen

Can you say YUMMY?!? A friend and I went to this Greek Restaurant and ate outside with a wonderful view and excellent service.  Don’t bother asking for ketchup though because that doesn’t exist here. LOL

I ordered a schnitzel and was very pleased with it, while my friend ordered pork medallions in mushrooms and sauce with potatoes. We also received a basket of some delicious bread that had me eating every last bite!

If you sit inside, you will find a classy set up with the ability to possibly sit inside with the windows and doors completely open giving it a balcony feel. As far as price, this is a bit more pricey then the average place in GK, but then again, when in the big city, expect bigger city prices! 🙂

Restaurant Palladion
Schmiedstr. 3
52062 Aachen
tel.: +49/(0)2 41/40 70 38

 

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FC Moto

If you are looking for gear for your motorcycle or scooter, this is a large one-stop-shop. With lots of helmets to choose from, you won’t know where to start. They carry most major brands and they also carry the big brands for clothing, jackets, gloves, and boots. As far as pricing, even with taking the vat form, this will still be a small amount more then what you would pay in the U.S. However, the convenience is definitely a bonus for FC Moto because being able to try the gear is critical!

Aachener Straße 21
52146 Würselen, Germany
02405 4950050

 

Monday – Friday: 10.00 – 19.00
Saturday: 10.00 – 16.00

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Valkenburg – caves and ruins

An adorable town that holds many wonders, I can say that Valkenburg was truly worth a look. I had heard of the Christmas Markts in the caves, but to be fair, I think that this was a great trip and it had nothing to do with the Markts. Not to say you won’t be reading about them come this Christmas!!!

My husband and I rode the motorcycle down to Valkenburg and enjoyed a beautiful trip. Upon arrival, we parked and took off to find out what the town itself was like. It turned out to be a busy but sweet little town with lots of little shops. After making our way through, we found a place to eat. It was nothing out of the ordinary, unless you count that they had many more options for Belgium’s finest beers than I’ve seen in the GK area.

A short walk away was the castle ruins. The best deal is to buy the combo since you pay for a dual ticket to the ruins and the caves and save money. The entrance to the caves is just across a small alley and very convenient.

(For info on days/time and ticket info, please see the links below!)

There are two sets of caves to explore, the Gemeentegrot and Fluweelengrot. Between the caves and the ruins, you will do a lot of walking. Also, the tour to the caves is only in Dutch, but they will give you an info sheet in English. You must read it first because you will not be able to read in the caves and you won’t want to miss seeing around you and having a sense of what it means.

Andrea’s family joined us for this adventure and the kids had a pretty good time. It is definitely something that slightly older kids may enjoy as they can climb all over the ruins and for moms, it’s a lovely photo opportunity.

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Biohofladen-Selfkant -Organic Food Store

Located in Selfkant this health food store of sorts is a bio lovers paradise. In Germany, products marked “Bio” are organic items that have a higher standard then your average food does. Bio items  may only be marked as such on the label of the product if at least 95% of the ingredients of agricultural origin come from organic farming. Water, salt, yeast and a few expressly authorized additives are not considered agricultural ingredients and are therefore not taken into account in this calculation. Consumers can rest assured that products labelled with any of these terms at least meet the standard of the EU Organic Farming Regulation.

This store had cheese, bread, fruit, veggies, meat, wines, and canned/jarred items. It even included food for your beloved cat or dog.

Although small, the selection is fabulous and fresh.  Give it a try!

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Selfkant street o146
53258  Selfkant
Phone: 02455/930 082

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The BAHN- trains in Germany

Trains in Europe have been a mystery to me until my recent train adventure. I would like to share with you my experiences with the train system in hopes that it will help you a bit during your first train expedition.

Geilenkirchen Train Station Parking Garage (Free)
An der Friedensburg 28, Geilenkirchen, Germany
(this address will get you really close to the entrance to the garage)

IMG_20140920_085420_595

GK Train Station Ticket Desk Hours

Step 1: Either log onto BAHN.de or call their number for a per minute fee booking (specifically 0180 5 99 66 33 – The number of train service
(14 ct / min from a landline, mobile phone max 42 ct. / min.) Chose your location of departure. In most of our cases it may be Geilenkirchen main hub. But please, feel free to look around for better deals by choosing Cologne, Dusseldorf, or Aachen as your departure city. This discount may be enough of a motivator for you to chose a city of departure further away from home. Then chose your city of destination. Lets just say your city is in the middle of no where away from the train tracks. You must chose the city closest to that train depot. How do you do that? Go to Mapquest.com or Google maps and check it out. For example, I was going to Pinswang Austria, my nearest city was Fussen Germany. Easily spotted by the bold letters of the city on the map.

Step 2: Chose your class. Unless you are riding ICE the entire time, don’t worry about paying twice as much for 1st class. No point. The first class seats are minimal and barely any better than the regular seats. If you are riding with a larger party then I would suggest paying for reservations on the train (this can be done at the train station after purchase of the ticket as well). This way your party may be seated together. For example, I chose to reserve seats on the ICE train from Bavaria to Dusseldorf because I wanted my 6 person party to sit together during this 5 hour leg of the journey. We chose compartment seating (the rooms on the train) and it only cost 8 euros. So chose 2nd class and book your seats. Unless your train is at 4 o’clock in the morning. Then no one is going to be on them, and there is no point. You will have the pick of the litter.

Step 3: Chose the train with the least connections and lowest travel time. This is obvious. You don’t want to be switching trains every 20 minutes just so that you can cut 30 minutes off of your trip.

Step 4: Pay. Can’t help you with this. Other than the fact that they BAHN.de website offers numerous deals and discounts at different times. Usually none of which you can utilize, but hey! If you are up for a trip at any given time and want to check out the deal they are offering, then they do have pretty good discounts.

Step 5: Departure day. The train stations have parking lots specific for their patrons. Follow the signs with the trains on them and the parking emblem. You will be just fine. In GK the parking is free and a moments walk from the platform. Arrive just a few minutes early for your departure. Trains are notoriously on schedule. If they are going to be off schedule then you will know so at least a day in advance (most of the time!!) and will be advised via e-mail of such delays.

Step 5: Check the information kiosk when you arrive. You can chose to have the information in english (or duetch if you are feeling crazy). Chose your time of departure, cities and voil’a! You have a train by train guide for your reference during your trip. This would also be the time to do a last minute reservation if you chose so.

Step 6: Finding the train of your liking. On your ticket reference you will see a train number and time along with a stage number. This is going to indicate where and when and what train you get on. Once you land at lets say- 11:30 in Aachen on stage 3 and you know by looking at your ticket that you must get on train 5011 at 12:00 on stage 5, then you will use the train stations handy dandy tunnels and follow their signs to stage 5. At this time you will see information on the signs located above your head. It will say something like Train 5011 – 12:00 – Liege (BE) <–Belgium. And you know you are in the right spot. Because you are going to Liege for holiday. Bam!

Step 7: Getting off the train. Get off the train at your allocated destination and go out the front doors of the train station. Here you will find buses and taxi’s or your rental car. Enjoy your vacation!

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Monschauer Vennbad- Swimming in Monschau

This indoor pool has basic amenities for a sports pool. It is a great place to take a swim and relax, not a water park. The hours and prices are posted on their website: 3€ for adults- 2,30€ for children. Hours are fluctuating per day but are vast. What I liked about this pool is that it’s inexpensive for the area and located in beautiful Monschau.

 

Located at:

Wilhelm- Jansen-Stabe 1

52156 Monschau

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Eifel National Park

A nature lovers paradise, this park offers a view at wild animals, gorgeous views of nature at its finest, and a tour if you aren’t sure of your naturist side :). The park can be reached easily by car and inquiries to the area can be addressed at +049 0 244495100. The Information office, a great place to start is located at:

Franz-Becker-Str 2

Simmerath 52152 Simmerath

The area offers bike paths, horse rides, and in the winter- skiing. The paths go from Aachen to Trier. The lake has sailing, swimming, camping, fishing, and a canoe festival in March. Don’t underestimate the vastness of this park or it’s ability to offer a nature lover what they need. The information on this site is too much for this blog to encompass. So take at trip to the info center or the website to experience for yourself every thing that the area offers.

For your information:

nationalpark-erlebnisregion-eifel.de

nationalpark-eifel.de

vogelsand-ip.de

monschauerland.de

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Yumi All you can eat! – Japanese Sushi & Grill Restaurant, Sittard, NL

Yumi is located in the Sittard Centrum next to Thaiphoon and is an “all you can eat” Sushi restaurant. This was a wonderful place to eat and we adored the view of the Sittard Centrum. Compared to other sushi places we’ve tried, this one was probably the best and as far as price, it was about equal with everywhere else.

With the option of all you can eat sushi, you can do up to 5 rounds per person with a max of 5 items each round. The menu of items included about 75 different options ranging from sushi, handrolls, spring rolls, gyozas and more. You have the ability to mix and match your rolls with appetizers and soups.You only have 2.5 hours to eat for the price of the all you can eat. Also, you cannot have more then the five rounds, but I have never heard of anyone making it to round five at any sushi place yet.

The cost is 17€ per person for lunch & 21.50€ per person for dinner (weekend nights is 23,50€). The menu also includes ala carte items for take away, or if you don’t want the “all you can eat”.  After you complete your rounds or your time limit, you may let them know you are done and ask what the ice cream flavors are. The ice cream is included in your sushi price and they had about 5 flavors to choose from. I had the green tea as it is my favorite!

(warning, as with all sushi places that offer All-you-can-eat, do not order more then you can finish as they will charge you for waste and this can become very expensive!!!!)

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El Greco, Greek restaurant, Stahe

Offering Greek fare right on the B-56 in Stahe, the El Greco Griechisches Restaurant is a very popular place among the locals. We live just a minute from the front doors of this restaurant and see the parking lot full almost every night. The price is moderate and the food can be very good if you stick with the Greek cuisine. Hours are Mon-Sat 16:30-24:00 and Sun 12- 24. Also, during a heat wave, this is the place to go as they have air conditioning!!

Bundestrasse 163 Gangelt-Stahe 52538

El Greco’s little brother has recently opened in Tüddern. The menu is smaller, but it’s nice to have an alternate location. They’re open Tues-Sat 16:30-23:00 and Sun and Festdays 12:00-23:00.

Kämpchen 16a Selfkant-Tuddern 52538

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Mosae Forum : Maastricht

The large town of Maastricht has a mall atop the parking structure that you use to visit the architecture and history. It is called the Mosae Forum and it’s pretty awesome! Maas is plumb full of shops, but only in this mall can you do it all without getting wet!

A list of the stores is below. I have only included descriptions for the stores I particularly liked, but there are more.

50/50: Fashion and Decoration

Amazing Oriental: Food

Antony Morato: Sophisticated (kinda) fashion

Bufkes: Food

Esprit: Clothing

EDC Esprit: Clothing

Grand Cafe: Food

H&M: Clothing

Disini: Accessories- Very cute Claire’s with style. Accessories for your cute european wardrobe.

Intersport: One of 1430 stores in Germany this store provides the sports enthusiast with the equipment they need to preform at their best.

Jumbo: Supermarket

Kap-Tif: Hair dresser

Kruidvat: Wellness, think Walgreens

Maison Florop: Food specialties

Pajar: Shoes

Preuve Limburg: Food Specialties

Saveurs: Food

Schoenenreus: Footwear

S. Olivers: Clothing- a store that has made it’s name all across europe specializing in laid back clothing for the family. This store is very much like most clothing stores around with a moderate pricetag.

Sissy Boy Homeland: Cute and boutiquey. I like to look around this shop if not to buy, but to soak up the design.

Subway: Heck yeah! You can smell it from the street.

The Sting: The Sting and Lady Sting, check out this store for a different take on younger european fashion.

Turquoise Mosae Gusto: Food

Your nails & Beauty: Salon

Van Haren Schoenen: Footwear

Van Melik Du Chef: Food

Q-park is directly under the mall for parking convenience (for a fee):

Maasboulevard 40, 6211 JW Maastricht, The Netherlands

 

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Camping in the GK area

This post will be ever changing and ever growing. I felt the need to post it, even with limited information, because of the growing myth that GK has no places to camp. In my travels I have come across a wide variety of places to camp. Most of them more built up and exciting than the places I was able to camp back in the Black Hills of SD. That’s saying a lot. If you have anything to add to this post please do and I will update it as often as I have contributions.

Signs directing caravans to camp

Germany:

A list of ACSI endorsed camping spots

Not all, but some of these sites can be booked on-line. Even if it can not, this list gives you contact information and addresses to close by campsites.

Android App for finding Camps in Germany

Netherlands:

Click through the sites to see them all. They are spread out but near this area.

A few camping sites that we have found to be interesting:

http://www.leistert.nl/web/camping/verblijf

http://www.ossa.nl/

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C&A Clothing

C&A is a franchise specializing in clothing. Their stores can offer an entire families clothing options depending on which city you find one in, but I especially enjoy their children’s clothing. Their looks are affordable, chic, and always cutting edge. It’s the place I like to check out when I want to know what looks are coming next in the kiddie world. I have composed a list of nearby C&A stores below. My favorite is the C&A in Maastricht. Website:

Germany

 

Netherlands

 

Posted in Aachen, Clothing, Cologne, Heinsberg, Sittard | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

H&M

H&M does not really need an introduction to this page, but for those new to the area: It’s a shopping paradise. The clothes are European, plentiful, and best of all- CHEAP! I used to love Charlotte Russe in the States and this is what I would compare it to if you have never been to an H&M in the States before. However, they have men’s and children’s dept’s as well. The store locator link is listed below.

Store Locations

 

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Eiscafe Peters -Huckelhoven

One of the largest Eiscafes I’ve seen, this place is a treat. A large menu and a friendly staff made this a fun and delicious place to try. Both the indoor and the outdoor area are large enough for groups. Also, there is a park across the street on the opposite corner and if you walk just a short ways, there is a playground for the kids. If you live in this area, I recommend this for a nice outing with the family.

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Am Kirchberg 17
Huckelhoven-Ratheim

 

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Van Haren – Shoes – Sittard

A large and inexpensive shoe store, this is one of my favorite places to pop by and try on the latest styles. In the fall and winter, they change the stock to boots and then I really go crazy. The best part really is the prices though. I bought a pair of boots 9 months ago and they are in great condition and I wear them quite a bit. I only paid 20€ for them too!

Since it is right next to the market area, I always make it a point to stop by on the way back to my car. If you haven’t been here, you should do the same. It will change your closet forever!

 

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Limbrichterstraat 23  6131 EA Sittard, Netherlands

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Thaiphoon – Restaurant – Sittard

Owned by the people that brought us Thai Garden, this restaurant is located right in the heart of Sittard’s Center. There is plenty of seating inside, but the thing that Thaiphoon has over Thai Garden is that you can sit outside. It’s a lovely view too!

The other difference is the ability to order sushi for an appetizer. I felt that it was fresh and tasty, but overly priced for the meager amount.

Overall though, I loved it and the menu is mostly the same as Thai Garden and we all know that is one of my top two favorite places to eat. I’ll be back there again!

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Markt 4 6131 EK Sittard, Netherlands

046 4581512

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Sausalitos – Restaurant – Aachen/Cologne

I’ll concede that it’s not authentic mexican food I’ve ever had (I lived in Tucson for almost a decade before GK so I know what authentic mexican is! YUM).  However, after eating at SEVERAL “mexican” restuarants, I have found this to be the best one. They have a large menu to select from and an even larger drink menu. A bit pricey for a meal out with the kids, this is the perfect place for date night. The restaurant located in Aacen has outdoor seating in the zentrum, it is a beautiful view of the area.

We ordered the beef fajitas and the chicken wrap. My fajitas came with four homemade tortillas that were cooked to perfection as well as a plate of sides and rice. It was large enough for two people to share! Anthony (my spouse) ordered the chicken wrap and was surprised when he bit into a strawberry. I tasted it myself and although I never would have put a strawberry in a chicken wrap, it was delish!! It was a surprise and we both really enjoyed the meals.

This was a definite ten out of ten for food and service even though I had hoped it would be more authentic. Give it a try and let me know what you ordered and what you would rate!

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Locations are located at bottom of their webpage. They have MANY locations including Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Aachen.

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Intertoys – Aachen

Equivalent to toys-r-us, this store had a wonderful selection of children’s toys and a large array of legos to choose from. If Santa shopped in Germany, I’m sure this is where he’d go. It is just a short walk from the Aachen center. As far as prices, it was definitely comparable to toys I’ve seen in other stores.

 

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Aachen- Kleinkölnstrasse 20-22

0241-4016489

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Nanu-Nana – Aachen

For some fun craft and gift items, this is a great store to look through. They have lots of different items to choose from and were very well priced. I ended up leaving with some postcards that had a painting canvas for the front of the card. I thought it would be fun next time I have kids over for them to paint them and send them to their grandparents or someone special in the states!

If your already making a trip to Aachen, stop by the shop for a few minutes. You never know what treasure you may find for a friends birthday, or even just for yourself….

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Grosskoelnstr.52062 Aachen Deutschland

Phone:0241-35294

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Villakunterbunt – Aachen

I love walking into this store because it isn’t just children’s toys. The main level is filled with fun home décor items and some fun gag-gifts. Some of the stuff is very cute and I do have trouble not buying it. From the main floor, the kids can head down the slide to the lower area that contains toys and a section for babies apparel, toys, and stuffed animals. There is something for everyone here because the outdoor lovers can head to the loft area and find interesting kites, balls, and games. My husband enjoyed looking through this small area and nearly left with one of the large kites.

A fun place to look for a party gift or a children’s gift. I recommend stopping by.

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Markt 1
52062 Aachen
0241 24868
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Schneiderwind – Aachen Cigar/whiskey/hookah shop

My husband drooled all over himself in this store. It is loaded with more cigar and whiskey options then you thought existed. With amazing selection and even rare collections, this is a wonderful place to take the man that loves cigars or whiskey. The staff spoke English and were quite helpful in helping Andrea select a cigar for her friend’s birthday. They do also carry hookahs and the tobacco for them if you are looking. This shop was well priced with items for the low and high end budget. Of course you get what you pay for, so if you want that 1930’s bottle of whiskey, prepare to spend all your pay!

 

Kramerstrasse 13-15 Aachen 52062

0241 30837

Posted in Aachen, Adults, Drinks/Beverages | 2 Comments

JFC Brunssum- Allied Joint Command Amenities

Brunssum is a NATO base in the Netherlands. Located just a hop, skip, and a jump from our west gate it has facilities that GK does not. Many services must be completed at this base including US ID Card replacement. The base contains entertainment facilities that children might enjoy as well. Our favorites are the library, pool, theater, and CYSS.

Visit the Brunssum Morale and Welfare website for a complete listing of their services.

Library

Gym

Pool

CYSS: Child and Youth Services

Alliance Theatre

Arts and Craft Centre

 

Auto Hobby Shop

Posted in JFC Brunssum- Info, Kids, NO COST, Open Sunday, Parks/pools | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Gas Station Hours & ESSO Locations

Do you need to find a gas station store open past 8 o’clock on a Monday night? I did some research and put together this list of gas station hours. Also located below is a list of the nearby ESSO Stations in Germany that take the AAFES ESSO card.

ARAL-

Monday – Friday: 0600 to 2130

Saturday: 0700 to 2130

Sun: 0800 to 2100

Shell-

Mon-Fri: 0600 to 2200

Sat: 0600 to 2200

Sun: 0700 to 2200

Pfennings Tankstelle between Gillrath and Geilenkirchen-

24 hours!

Opel-

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300-1800

Sat 0900-1300

Star-

Mon – Fri: 0600 – 2200

Sat: 0700 – 2200

Total

Mon-Fri: 0700-2200

Sat-Sun: 0700-2200

GK area ESSO Stations:

GEBR FREIHEIT LANDSTR 4
52538 SELFKANT
02456-1477

ROERMONDER STRAßE 36
52531 ÜBACH-PALENBERG
02451-909510

JANSES MATTES 3
52525 HEINSBERG
02452-21061

ROERMONDER STRAßE 152
52525 HEINSBERG
02452-989083

SITTARDER STRAßE 59
52538 SELFKANT
02456-1457

KOELNER STRAßE 77
41812 ERKELENZ
02431-3271

MÖNCHENGLADBACHER STRAßE 1
41372 NIEDERKRÜCHTEN
02163-81427

Other German ESSO’s can be found on http://www.essofuelfinder.co.uk/ or by using the Esso Fuel Finder App on Apple or Android.

CURRENT GAS PRICES FROM AAFES

 

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RS – Furniture store -Aachen

A high quality furniture store (Julie a fellow HereAtGk reader compared it to Pier1), this beautiful selection of wood furniture is just right for any home. The cost is reasonable for most of the items and they have a large showroom and big catalog for you to choose from. The items are made from real wood and were very just the kind of thing I’d love to fill my home with. I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself buying my next dresser or table there and was having a hard time leaving without one of their baskets as they have a large selection of adorable crates and baskets for decoration and storage. If your around the Aachen area, give them a look, you’ll be dreaming of what you want for days after!

I have been told they will take the VAT form.

RS Website

Pontdriesch 8    52062 Aachen

Phone 0241-20408

Open:
Monday – Saturday: 0900 – 1900

 

Posted in Aachen, Craft/Home decor, Furniture | Leave a comment

Porta- Furniture/Home decor SUPERSTORE -Aachen

If you can’t find it here, you’re not gonna find it. This four story building is bigger then most malls in the U.S. and it’s filled with furniture of every kind. You name it, they sell it. Porta also has a large home decor, kitchen accessories and children’s section with toys, clothes, and more. Even if you don’t need anything, this place is worth stopping by. Outside it has a food vendor with brats and pommes (frys for us Americans!) and an ATM. Inside is  a small sandwich restaurant, a bakery counter, and upstairs is a full cafe (cash only).

If you need to take the kids, head straight to the level 3 (fourth floor) and head to the back corner where there is a place for them to play (ages 4-10 only) and be supervised by employees while you do your shopping. The hours for the Kids area is:

Mon-Fri 1400-1900   Sat 1030-1800   School Holidays 1200-1900

Although I have not personally used the VAT form here, I have been told that they DO accept it!

Krefelder Straße/Am Gut Wolf 2
BAB-Abfahrt Aachen Zentrum
52070 Aachen
+49 (0) 2 41 / 1 89 81-0
(also located in Cologne)

Hours:
Mo.-Fr. 10.00 – 19.00
Sa. 10.00 – 18.00

 

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Planning Your European vacation

First off, I would like to say that what I do is not right, or perfect, or the only way you could possibly plan a vacations from Germany. I am just saying… this is what I do.

1. Get a great idea from a brochure, friend, dream, or movie.

2. Go online to Tripadvisor.com and see what they think about it. I decipher their “likeness” of the place by the number of attractions they have listed for such city. If it is, let’s say Paris, it better have at least 60. If, on the other hand, it is a more country venue like Neuschwanstein, then I expect less and understand that the trip is mostly targeted for the huge castle that looks like I am going to Disneyland.

3. I ask Tripadvisor what hotels it would suggest. It would give me at least 20 hotels that I cannot afford and then I would go to Booking.com.

4. Aaaah thank you Booking.com. You can chose to sort by price and by Km to the area you are actually visiting. The best part is that after a few visits to this site the cookies will build and it will know exactly what you want, posting that perfect hotel right at the top of the page. This is only after you have about given up on going to that particular place.

5. Chose Air, Train, or Car. There are many things to consider when choosing your mode of transport.

1. Do you really “need” a car when you are there. Munich, naaaa probably not. Paris, nope.        Lego Land (AKA the middle of nowhere) yes, yes you do.

2. How much do these items cost? If you are going to say, Croatia, I would suggest you seriously consider your sanity, gas rations, and money before you chose driving. Why not go to Ryanair.com and check out what they have to offer you first. Not every destination is perfect for flying, but I would say if it’s more than 6 hours away, consider it.

3. Something you need to know is that trains are NOT necessarily faster than cars. What they do  offer is convenience! If you are going to Koln for Karneval, take the train- it’s your DD. If you have more than 7 people in your party, take the train. If you do not have the rations of gas left on your card, take the train. If you are going to Aachen to go shopping for clothes and want to get Starbucks, don’t take the train. Check out the unreasonably confusing Bahn.de website for more information, or better yet, just call them! They do charge a fee for calling, but in my opinion, pay the fee.

6. So check, I know what mode of transport I wish to take me to my very desirable destination. Now you have to ask your spouse. OH NO! First, give him/her a back rub. Then give him/her a glass of wine. Then tell them that they could really use a trip; they have been working so hard! After these things are done break it to them that you have already booked it and you hope they can  get leave on such and such dates. Big SMILE!

7. Once these items have been checked off your list, all you have to do is wait. Wait for the fun, the excitement, the views, and the relaxation. Be sure to check weather.com for the weather for those days in order to know if you need to pack shorts, daisy dukes, or snow gear.

Tips:

I would consider reserving your seat on Ryanair.com. It guarantees you a seat with your family and you can go to the front of the line all VIP like,  for just 10 Euros.

If you need to take a suitcase, pay for it ahead of time and weigh it on your scale. Don’t go over the allotted weight or you will PAY!

Be sure to check the weather.

Have a friend to go with you for backup in case your spouse goes TDY on “accident”.

Go to the gov’t website for that particular country and see if there are any warnings for that area. Fires, spontaneous wars, and weather could put a damper on your trip.

Any other ideas please let me know!

HAPPY TRAVELING!

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Beaches of The Netherlands

Far north (about two and a half hours) is the wonderful ocean region of our community. They call this region for the most part The Hauge. There are many beaches scattered about this region ranging from straight up touristy to a little bit laid back. Even on the chillier days the beaches will be busy during the summer months, but not to worry- there is enough sand and sun for everyone.

Scheveningen Beach

Schevenigen beach is a wonderful beach for taking your children. The beach goes out for at least 20 beet without coming up to a child’s waist on good days. This gives a parent a bit of ease about the depths of the water. The area has three parking garages that are mapped out on the web page and has a plethora of places to eat. Get there early on high tourism days or deal with the traffic of cars and bikes. The beaches are somewhat divided into sections indicating where you are in vicinity to a hotel, but all in all I just find a spot and park it. Whatever you do, don’t miss the pier. It juts out an amazing 984 feet and gives you a panoramic view of the city and sea.

Katwijk Beach

http://www.katwijk.nl/

http://www.vvvkatwijk.nl/

Boat trips, water sports, you have it all in Katwijk! In general Katwijk is considered a little more low key than Schevenigen, but still busy on nice days. Check out the dunes, shopping, and nearby windmills for picturesque moments.

Noordwijk Beach

Located extremely close to Katwijk is Noordwijk. Don’t be confused though- apparently Noordwijk is Holland’s finest beach. Each area has many different attractions that they call their own. Take a look at Noordwijk’s website to see their proximity to Amsterdam and other sightseeing adventures. Now would be a great time to mention that many of the beaches offer Nudist sections that can be visited with or without clothes at an age limit.

Schoorl

VVV

The last beach I will mention is Schoorl. This beach is unique because of its high dunes and forest area. This area is a bit different than the others and can offer more than one nature experience. Because of its forest region, the area has a high camping turnout as well as crowds for the beach. That sounds like a good time to me!

The beaches I have mentioned in this article are just a few of the  beaches near us. Don’t forget about the numerous lakes and rivers as well. I have only included beaches in the Netherlands region due to the fact that they are closest to us at GK. Don’t discount France! Enjoy your time at the beach and be sure to read the safety warnings at each individual beach. Some can periodically become infested with jelly-fish or other marine life that could be hazardous. Have a good trip!

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Tri-border Treasures Thrift Store

American Spouses Club thrift store. This store is located across the street from Schinnen’s bowling alley. There is also a door to the building past the right corner of the post office. Everything you can imagine is sold here. I bought a 220v crockpot for about 10 bucks and it was in the original box and looked completely unused.

If you’d like to consign items, call first for an appointment (0031-46-443-7436). If you can’t reach them on the phone, then email americanspouses@yahoo.com. All proceeds go to support the Tri-Border community.

Posted in Schinnen Services- Info, Used items | 1 Comment

GK’s Base Pool

There is an outdoor swimming pool available during the summer. MWA members can enter at a reduced price. Visit the NATO E3-A Newcomers Guide for more information.

 

Posted in Geilenkirchen NATO Base - Info, Kids, Open Sunday, Parks/pools | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Van Cranenbroek

A superstore by anyone’s standards, this is an inexpensive place to find just about anything. Andrea’s mission was to find a tent for the Air Force Sergeants Association. She found it alright! A nice quality tent approx. 10’x10′ in size and only 40€. BARGAIN!

I enjoyed this store and found many home decor items that I’d love to go back and look through. I know my hubby will be kept busy and distracted by all the tools and such too, so it’s a win win for us!

 

Van Cranenbroek Landgraaf

Minckelersstraat 1 PP 6372 Landgraaf, Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0) 45-5213430

• Open from 930 to 1800
• Saturday Open from 830 to 1700
• Thursday Late night shopping until 2000
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Sparks Photography

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Ubach-Palenberg park

With a beautiful river to ride past on your bike, a pond to feed ducks, ruins to climb on, bridges to capture the perfect photo, playgrounds to burn the kids energy, and a cafe to order beers, you couldn’t ask for a nicer place to spend the day.

The playgrounds have lots of activities and they are located next to the cafe which offers a huge patio with umbrellas. There is ice cream for them and beer for you. A treat all around! If you are just looking for a place to walk and enjoy nature, this park has some great trails and is a perfect vision of nature’s beauty.

Take the time to visit and enjoy a free day under the beautiful skies!

Parking: Gps coordinates 50.927959, 6.093700

Closest address I could find was a house that is across the street. I am not sure how close it will get you though to the parking in your gps.

In der Schley 44     52531 Übach-Palenberg, Germany

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Day Trips : The IYA and MWA

Located on GK NATO AB is the organization, IYA. This group takes care of school aged child care on base as well as plans a plethora of outings for children and their parents. Visit their building during base business hours or the AFRC Facebook page for an upcoming trip that could suit you. You must go into the office located next to the old GK school to sign up for the trips. They will direct you on where to go to pay for that particular trip.

Schinnen support base is home to the MWR. Their trips are focused on families and single people alike. They have more varied trips than the IYA and the trips are sometimes over-night. Their Facebook and website will give you the current trip’s dates. You can visit their office located on the base to sign up and get information.

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Mondo Verde theme/amusement park

Mondo Verde is a theme park dedicated to the enjoyment of nature. This being said, there is also an amusement park located inside that has a variety of fair rides. Adults enter for about 15 euro, children 9. There are many animals to see at the entrance. My favorite were the porcupines. The park is divided up into geological themes. You can see the gardens of China as well as a nicely set up southwestern desert. Don’t miss the lion and lioness at the entrance to the lake on site. The lake also houses a cute monkey island. The monkeys are not caged, only kept in place with a moat. My children especially enjoyed the dino park. Replicas of dinosaurs on display are almost lifelike! The website leaves much to the imagination, so we were surprised to see and experience all that Mondo Verde has to offer. The park has plentiful parking and a restaurant on site. Enjoy the sights!

 

Open daily 10am-6pm

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Monschau-open Sunday

Located within an hour of the GK area, you can take the autobahn or enjoy the scenic route thru the eifel and make your way to Monschau. One of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever visited (and I’ve traveled the world quite a bit). We visited on a Sunday and that alone makes it a great place. This will be on the list for our family when they visit because it has to be one of the best places you could spend your day when most things are closed.

We walked around and found the tourist info office first. They speak English, French and German and were very helpful. They sold maps and tickets to attractions. After that, we found an ATM that accepts American cards and then we rushed to fill our bellys with Schnitzel and the local beer. We ate a a beautiful restaurant along the river and enjoyed the outdoor scenery.

From here, we walked around and visited all of the local stores. These stores definetly cater to tourists and are filled with lots of fun things to buy. I had the hardest time holding onto my wallet and my husband had to drag me out of most of the shops.

Next on our to do was a nature hike. We climbed the stairs of the old wall and walked until it led us back to our motorcycle. It was parked at a “mall” that we saw when first entering town so we ran in and took a peek at the stores inside. It had a bar, a resturant, some small souvenir shops and a HUGE glass shop where they made hand blown glass objects. It was spectacular!

All in all, this was a beautiful day with beautiful weather and we will be back again!

Here is the website with info on their Christmas markt. You can bet I’ll be blogging all about it this winter because as beautiful as this was in summer, you can probably bet it’s gorgeous in winter!

 

**Stores are open on Sundays

Follow the signs to find the parking lot that bests suits your location:

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Cook & Co.

Located just a short walk from the Sittard market, this store is a jewel for anyone who loves to cook or have parties. With hundreds of fun items to either decorate your cake, display it, or more, this is your stop. They sell tapas dishes, bakeware, kitchen appliances, and so much more. It’s definitely my store of choice when I need a serving dish or utensils. In fact, I would buy the whole store if my husband would let me.

So when you make your next trip to the Thursday Sittard Markt, be sure to swing by and check it out!

 

Limbrichterstraat 11
6131 EA Sittard Tel: 046-4528447

(other locations as listed on their website)

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Sashimi – Sushi in Maastricht

A higher end sushi restaurant, this sushi place will delight your tongue. With the option of all you can eat sushi, you can do up to 4 rounds per person with 5 items each round. The menu of items included about 65 different options ranging from sushi, handrolls, spring rolls, gyozas and more. The largest selection I have seen in quite some time and the ability to mix and match your rolls with appetizers was delightful. I ate more appetizer type items then I did sushi, but my husband filled himself on as many rolls as he could. We both agreed that it was fresh and well worth the price. Attached is a photo with the all you can eat prices listed for both lunch and dinner. I recommend this for date night! We will most certainly be there on our next date….

Image

Helmstraat 8-A , Maastricht , The Netherlands

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Hellas – Greek Restaurant, Ubach-Palenberg

If you need a gyro or something of that variety, Hellas is a great place to eat in or do pick up. It’s got a good amount of seating and is a nice place to stay and eat so my husband and I pick this place often. The quality of the gyro meat is exceptional and they have many options on how to eat it. I like mine with fries and I drown both the meat and fries in sauce. My husband likes his with melted cheese on top, and the neighbor likes hers on pita. No matter how you like it, they have options. There are many non-gryo items on the menu too, so just about everybody can find something different that they’ll really enjoy!

Give this place a try and you won’t be disappointed….

Open for lunch and dinner, but closed all day on Mondays.

Marienstr. 20 52531 Übach-Palenberg

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Geilenkirchen Riders Association – GKRA Motorcycle club

This group of riders are from all over the world. This association is non-military and rank is not used in any way. We (yes, my hubby and I are members!) love the rides that the group does twice monthly, along with events, meetings, and traveling opportunities. Many members do not attend the regular meetings or do the “pick-up” rides that occur twice a month, but they may attend the other events whenever possible. The freedom of this group means joining in on what you want, but no pressure to go to anything your not interested in. This is a fun way to meet others with similar interests. Some are civilian and some military. I can’t even tell you which are which because we have fun and keep work at work. So join us for a fun ride whether or not you want to be a member. We are always looking for a good time!

Facebook

 

2011 Poker Rally

GKRA

Posted in Adults, Sports Clubs and Classes | 1 Comment

Barefoot Park – Blotevoeten Park, Brunssum

Barefoot Park in Brunssum is located in the MiniHaven Schutterspark in Brunssum, perfectly situated between JFC Brunssum and the GK back gate. The park is a barefoot obstacle course good for the young and young at heart. My children and I enjoyed the 2 hour excursion across logs and rocks, into coves and through trees. The course also takes you through a pond on logs. Be sure to keep a towel with you to clean off at the end! Although perfectly easy for an adult, the course can prove challenging, yet fun for children.

You can read another person’s experience at the park at Maastricht Minutiae.

Ganzepool 9A 6443 WZ, Brunssum, NL

Open April – October.

Hours and Prices are listed on their site.

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Koln Zoo

This zoo is a vast collection of many different types of animals. We spent the day here and could have spent two. The zoo is divided into sections for the land animals and the sea animals as well as a nice collection of reptiles and creepy crawlies.

Restaurants are on premises for those who wish to restart their engines after a hard days work of sightseeing these beautiful animals. The prices are a bit high, but to be expected at a touristy arena such as this. You are able to bring your own food and water as well. Wagons for the children are available for a fee, as well as strollers. Be sure to stop at their fully stocked gift shop for something to send home to the family.

 

Zoologischer Garten Köln
Riehler Straße 173
50735 Köln

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Aachen Day Trip

Aachen day trip is amazing! Just a short drive away, this place offers a starbucks, shopping, restuarants, a centrum with an occasional market, and is where the college is located.

Using the trip advisor I have on my phone allowed me plan my trip. We stopped off on our way to Aachen in  Herzogenrath at Burg Rode castle. It was the off-season in March but the inside is supposed to be beautiful. Check out the Burg Rode blog for more information. 

Parking was easy once we arrived in Aachen and we strolled down market street and others and window shopped as we made our way to the Aachen Cathedral. . It was one of the most breathtaking cathedrals I had seen . The stained glass windows and artwork on the ceiling or something not to miss. There were free pamphlets that told the story of Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. Off  in a separate room Charlemagne’s tomb was open for viewing. Wikipedia actually gave us quite a bit of information before hand. Afterwards we headed over to the treasury.

 

For 10 Euros for our family of four we could visit all rooms of the building. For an additional 2 Euros we could rent an English speaking audio tour of the building. The building was remarkable. It had been used for several different purposes since it’s construction. There were rooms with beautiful artwork and a wonderful history of Aachen’s rich culture. The building is still used today for the elected city council member meetings. Be sure to check out the top floor which house is some of Charlemagne’s relics. The collection of treasures it houses are some of the most important ecclesiastical treasury north of the Alps.

 

After leaving we had lunch at Ratskeller which is a quaint pub like restaurant 3 small stories tall. The staff was friendly and helped us with the German menu of German fare. I of course had the schnitzel and it was the best I’ve ever had. They catered to my children taste as well making then a delicious spaghetti dinner. The price was fair for the touristy area and we left spending under 50 Euros for my 4 person family. Afterwards we had icecream in the marketplace. The trip took about 5 hours and was an awesome experience. I definitely recommend Aachen as a day trip .

 

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Burg Rode, Herzogenrath

Burg Rode is located in Herzogenrath Germany, near Kerkrade. The castle was first documented in 1104 as a monastery.  It is an absolutely beautiful castle that is used for weddings and is open for tours all summer long. The castle itself is worth a view, but they also have concerts and theater performances at castle.

Burg Rode Castle

Burgstr. 5  52134 Herzogenrath, Germany

02406 5230

Located at the gates is a sign, in English it reads:

1104 First documented
to 1136 Possession of the Earls of Saffenberg
1282 King Rudolf von Habsburg permits that must be stamped on coins Rode Castle
1289-1387 Possession of the Dukes of Brabant
1389-1393 The current castle tower will be built
1387-1425 Rode Castle and Country are the dukes of Burgundy, then they will include a year pledged to Jülich
1544 Emperor Charles V. Rode repurchases. Country and Castle Rode include the Habsburgs until 1794 (first Spanish, then Austrian)
1794-1814 Under French administration
1814 Castle and town Rode come to Prussia
1913-1978 Rode Castle’s Town Hall Herzogenrath
19771982200720082012 Inaugural meeting of the Association Rode Castle Herzogenrath eVRode Castle is transferred to the association Rode Castle Herzogenrath eV / 1 Castle FestivalThe association Rode Castle Herzogenrath Association celebrates its 25th anniversaryRedevelopment of the castle environment and installation of the new castle lighting35 years club Rode Castle Herzogenrath eV / 30 Castle Festival

June 2nd 2012 at 3:00 o’ clock the castle will host medieval folk in the Castle Street: expect artists, entertainers, artisans and musicians. Historic children’s games provide entertainment for the kids. At 8:00 o’clock the city of Herzogenrath invites you for a “sundowner” in the castle garden (admission: 7.00 € at the box office).

Enjoy your time at Burg Rode as much as we did!

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Jabusch German restaurant, Geilenkirchen

Jabusch is a great restaurant in the middle of the market place of Geilenkirchen. It serves fabulous and reasonably priced German fare. The restaurant itself is quaint with an outside eating place that serves as a great place to view the hustle and bustle of Geilenkirchen’s downtown area. If you order the day’s special as we did you can leave spending under 20 Euros for 2. A pork tenderloin with small fried potatoes was this day’s special. It was served with a fantastic mushroom gravy sauce. GK is incredibly close and this restaurant is a must hit.

Am Markt 3
Geilenkirchen
02451 2725


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T’loons (mall with carnival/party/costume store)

This mall has it all!!!! A grocery store, chocolate shop, gift shop, hema, blokker, electronics store, C&A, sports store and more. That’s just inside…. Outside is the greatest Carnival/party/costume shop ever! (see pics/click to enlarge).

Andrea and I checked everything out and had a lot of fun in the process. There were several places to eat so if you want to have a couple of fun hours shopping and having a bite to eat, this is your place.

You can park in the Q-park downstairs and walk outside to the party store from the second floor exit in the mall, but the parking does cost money. The other option is to park upstairs from the Q-park which is free. You simply drive down the street that the Q-park entrance is on and then take a right into the parking lot. This is where the party store and the other mall entrance is.

Homerusplein 1, 6411 AW
Heerlen

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Margraten Cemetery – NO COST – Open Sundays

Every Memorial weekend has a special ceremony at Margraten Cemetery. Although I was unable to attend this event on Sunday, I did spend Memorial Day with our soldiers.

My husband and I rode our motorcycle about 40 minutes to Margraten Cemetery to visit the soldiers that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Buried here are 8,301 soldiers. All of these graves have been adopted by local people out of gratitude for their liberation.

As you enter, there are two Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded 1,722 names. The rosettes mark the names of those who were recovered and identified.

Once you have visited the cemetery, you may want to drive the 5 km to the neighboring town of Valkenburg to visit the many wonders it holds.

Open 0900-1700 —- open everyday except Christmas and New Years

 

Other References

Amerikaplein 1
NL-6269 ZG Margraten
The Netherlands

Click to enlarge
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Maastricht

A visit to Maastricht can provide a wide variety of amazing opportunities for sightseeing, especially architectural. Maastricht holds their claim to fame as being the oldest preserved city in all of Holland. Holland is a state of the Netherlands. (Edit: Maastricht is the longest continuously inhabited city in the Netherlands and is located in the province of Limburg.) The city’s name literally means crossing at the Meuse and refers to the bridge built by the Romans to cross the river “Maas” in the 1st century. Great site! 

Insert from our reader Ashley: “So glad I stumbled upon this.  As a fellow tri-border resident, it is always great to read about other’s experiences.   Maastricht, capital of the province of Limburg, is the longest and continuously inhabited city in Netherlands.  However, the city of Nijmegen, in the province of Gelderland, is the oldest, as it received Roman city rights for being the first settlement in the Dutch country.  The 12 provinces of the Netherlands are like states, and there are actually two separate provinces called “Holland”:  North Holland (includes the capital city Haarlem), and South Holland (with a capital city of Den Haag.)”

We visited the VVV which is the information center for the city and a must do as soon as you enter the city. The helpful personnel at the site recommended the ride along the river as well as the city self guided walking tour. They sold us 2 maps for 3€ that were a detailed description of the walking tour and of the whole city center. The walking tour had a plethora of information written in English.

During our sightseeing cruise tour on the river, we observed many historical and even prehistoric highlights including the locks of the river which have an amazing history that you must go on the tour to find out about. The tour was just 7,50€ per person and well worth it.  They play the information over loud speakers in English and then in Dutch. The boat tours also offer an additional tour of the caves for just 5 euro extra (only offered in Dutch). The caves were used by the soldiers of Maastricht during the early ages and span the entire city! It is a must see.

The walking tour took us to St. Servaasbasiliek, the St. Jan’s Church and the Het Vrijthof square in the middle of town. St. Jan’s (John’s) is an ancient monument from the 16th century.  We also visited hells gate, which is the original entrance to the city dating back to the old ages .

The market located around Town hall built in the 17th century by Pieter Post. It is open every day except Monday. It is vast market that includes all that European markets would expect. A short walk away is the Centre Cermique- also on the map- which is a public library and exhibition space and The treasury of the Basilica of Our Lady, a beautiful church with religious artifacts. A fun fact is that Maastricht attracted over 100,000 people to its population in just 100 years. In 1818 only 20 thousand people lived in Maastricht and now it’s a hustle and bustle cultural hotspot. After all was done we made our way back to the car that we parked at the Mosae Forum. We stayed for approximately 4 hours and were charged 11 euros for our stay. Good money for great parking that can be extremely hard to find in the hustle and bustle of Maastrichts city center. Take a day or two and stroll the beautiful and historical streets of this delightful Netherlands city.

Parking: Mosae Forum 
Laag 40 Maastricht 6211JW
 
Other Parking Options

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Lego Land – Gunzburg, Germany

It was my son’s birthday just 2 brief months after we arrived here at GK. Being the awesome parents we are, we wanted to plan a trip to his most sought after adventure: Lego Land! I began researching in mid March for the best deals; first going to Legoland.com and checking the tab for Lego Land Germany. It is located about 4 and a half hours from GK in Gunzburg, Germany. I researched the hotels and found great deals and then even better deals and finally decided to go with Parkhotel Schmid Superior as our hotel. Good news is that Lego Land had a special going for the weekend of Easter that allowed us 2 days for the price of one! Parkhotel worked for us because it boasted a family room with tons of toys, internet access, a close proximity, and an awesome indoor heated pool! A beer garden is also open in the summer months. The service was amazing. The food was delicious. I could not say anything negative about this hotel.

A preview of our trip to Lego Land Germany

Lego Land started immediately as we arrived via car at our hotel. We only checked in and then sped to our destination. The kids were stoked. We had printed our tickets easily at the website and so checking in was easy and electronic. The park has tons of activities, rides, food vendors, and events. We started off at the Imagination section where we rode rides and took Lego classes. The classes presented certificates to the children (or adults) who completed their Lego projects. All was free! Then we went to the pirates cove where we enjoyed getting sprayed by some very naughty children and sprayed them back on the pirate ride. It was cold so we warmed up for 2 euro in their convenient  warming booths. The log ride was next. What a thrill!! We did get wet again, but did not care! We wanted to go again, and again…

Lunch was eaten at an Asian Cafe. We spent a little over 20€ for our Asian fast food and then visited the mini Lego City. Many people were checking out this area, taking pictures and just admiring the fantastic talent that it takes to create such beautiful art out of Legos. Many European cities were replicated including Dusseldorf, Berlin, and more. The star wars exhibit is what had my family in awe. Life sized Darth Vader’s and Luke Skywalkers challenged you to a fight. Replicas of the movies were put on display for all to reminisce. Then the time came to settle back into the hotel.

The pool was first and foremost on my children’s mind so we spent a few hours in the pool swimming and splashing and playing before our stomachs forced us out and to the restaurant. Dinner was pricey but worth it! Prawns and steak, meat and cheeses all greeted us with hungry tummy’s. The service was amazing. The waiters even brought a five star spaghetti dish out to my children and dished it out into two bowls while only charging us one fee. Then grated cheese and presented their food with charm. The beverages were served with ice which I loved.

The room was turned over for us when we went back upstairs. Our children slept on a couch pull out that was comfortable enough for them  and then there was one queen bed for my husband and I. Good accommodations for us sleepy heads.

The next morning was Easter morning so when the children woke up there was one extra basket outside our door from the staff , not the Easter bunny. What a delightful surprise. Our (free) breakfast that morning was even more extravagant than the next would be. We dined on bunny shaped pastries, bacon, eggs, meat and cheeses. A kids buffet was set up to the side with Nutella and breads, candies, and hard boiled decorated eggs. My children felt special.

Lego Land was surprisingly packed! We arrived at the opening time of 10 am and were greeted with hundreds of other smiling faces. Today we visited the Hero Factory, rode the car roller coaster 10 times, and went on their new attraction the Ninjago Dragon. We tried our skills building race cars that went faster than the next person and rode the dragon roller coaster. Our lunch at the Main Cafe was decent and pricey but filled us up for the next few hours of fun. Since today was our last day we dropped a few euro’s at the shops and picked out some souvenirs for those less fortunate back in the States.

We spent the rest of the day at the pool and restaurant mingling and laughing with the other guests. Our children got plenty of use out of their play area down on the bottom floor near the entrance to the pool. The next day was our drive back to GK and we were sad to leave.

I hope that our experience at Lego Land Germany will help you to plan your trip. Take the time to get to know this part of Germany at Lego Land and the surrounding area.

For the same great deal that we got for our tickets and the hotel we stayed at, check out LegoLand’s Website or you can check out Ramstein’s Travel site for their latest deal on a package.

Click to Enlarge

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Neiderbusch Park

In the small town of Neiderbusch there is a city park that my children just love. It is a large park that the town is very proud of and it is taken care of nicely. There is a zip-line, tall tower with 2 slides, merry go round, huge wooden play set and much much more. We love to go there with our ping pong paddles and soccer ball and take advantage of their small soccer field and ping pong table. They also have a huge chess set and type of Sorry! game that have pieces that are set out in the summer. The King is as big as my 6 year old! The park is located right next to the Neiderbusch bike path so it is a short ride from Stahe or Gillrath and a short drive from many of the neighboring towns. It is located on the main strip through Neiderbusch -L272/Dorfstrasse. Enjoy a sunny afternoon relaxing in this park.

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Rodebach/ Roode Beek Park

Gangelt is a beautiful town offering amazing activites and restaurants. One treasure is a setback park called Rodebach- Roode Beek Park. This park offers mini-golf, a great outdoor pool, boat rides on a quaint pond, and a restaurant on site.

Haus Hamacher is a charming restaurant located across from the beautiful nature and landscape park . It offers snack items as well as a full menu of great traditional fares of this region. We ordered the dinner for two as a special for Mothers Day and it came with 2 of 3 different types of meat (Schnitzel, steak, and fried chicken breast) and a plethora of vegetables to include fried potatoes, peas and carrots, broccoli and more. It was enough for my entire family of 4 and leftover’s for just 40 euro.

The park has a main building that is a great information center. They offer tickets for mini golf and boat rides. Go to the pool house to get entrance to the pool. It is May and the pool already had people in it. Not for me in this 60 degree weather, but hopefully soon. There are also walking trails all through the park and into the woods.

This blog is a brief description of the nature park. It is really a vast park that you must visit to appreciate. Take a weekend and take advantage of all this park has to offer!

Am Freibad 13
D-52538 Gangelt
Tel.: +49 (0) 24 54 · 93 63 41

 

 

The pool – for more info on pass, see below: http://www.gangelt.de/tourismus/freibad-clubcard.html

FOR POOL HOURS/PRICES: http://www.gangelt.de/tourismus/freizeitmoeglichkeiten/192.html

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Eis Brustolon

I love ice cream. This is my second favorite place locally and it beat out many taste tests from all over the area. My favorite is the Snickers, but pretty much anything you order is gonna be to die for. Closed for the winter.

Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 110
52511 Geilenkirchen

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Hahn Wohnen mit Kontrasten

A cute place to find seasonal decorations for you home without having to leave the area. They rotate the stock constantly and everything is very high end quality. I love to take a quick peak each month. If you let them know its a gift, they will beautifully wrap the item at no charge and its so pretty, you may find that you don’t want anyone to unwrap it!

Hahn Wohnen

Gerbergasse 9
D-52511 Geilenkirchen   (inside GK shopping center/Best to park by Bocadillo)

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AquaZoo- Dusseldorf Germany

Located amongst a plethora of beautiful parks in the museum district of Dusseldorf is the AquaZoo. As its name represents it is a garden of retiles, fish, and other water life including penguins. The facility also houses a small rainforest exhibit that contains turtles, crocodiles, and otters. The prices were very reasonable ranging from 7 euro to discounted prices for larger families. Their rock and fossil room was amazing. It contained gems from all over the world, including the USA! Butterfly and arachnid rooms were also on site. The most amazing part, in my opinion, was the fish. Their ability to house such a variety of fish and other sea creatures was just breathtaking. I could have stayed for hours admiring their exotic collection. Outside of the zoo were a fountain, waterspouts, and a flower garden 2 football fields long. Take a day trip to Dusseldorf and make this one of your stops along the way!


Kaiserswerther Str. 380 im Nordpark, 40200 Düsseldorf.

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Plant Market

For 72€, my friend just replanted her whole garden (that was a lot of plants). We stopped by to see what they had and WOW, what amazing prices on beautiful plants. They sold just about everything I could ever dream of planting. The women here were very helpful and they ended up gifting my girlfriend a few free plants because she made such a large purchase.

If you are looking for something to test your green thumb on, take a look and see how hard it is to pass up deals like this!

Pflanzenmarkt Doris
Alte Aachener Str. 17
Übach-Palenberg

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Cafe Alte Ziegelei – Burgers and Ice cream

The best burger you can probably find in 100 miles, this is as American as you can get. Yep, your new favorite place to eat! I found this place to be not only appealing to my taste buds, but even more appealing to my eyes. Our view was of a pasture of beautiful horses on one side, of their beautiful courtyard on the other. I can’t wait to eat outside on a warm summer day and I’m sure this place will be packed as they cater to bike riders as well! Don’t forget to eat some of their ice cream from the shop located in the restaurant.

This is paradise in Gangelt! Just walk in and sit in the back with the tables (if you want to sit inside). The menu on the table is only the ice cream stuff, but if you wait till the waiter comes by, they will bring you a dinner menu….

Alte Ziegelei

Ziegeleistraße 13,
52538 Gangelt/Kreuzrath

 

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Magic Park- Kids play park – Currently closed

Magic Park has temporarily closed! More information on this will be posted if the situation changes. Thank you!

Tucked back in the Industrial/Business district of Geilenkirchen is a gem of a child’s play place called Magic Park. Two stories tall this hollowed out warehouse houses bounce houses, rides, trampolines and more! Prices are reasonable for a day out with the kids. Adults are 5€ and children are 3€. They have special pricing for groups and birthday parties as well. Additional activities are their “Magic Ice” arena and “Magic Golf” packages. These activities are an additional fee, but the Magic Spielplatz is wonderful in itself. My children and I played there for 3 hours non-stop before we had to leave, but we could have stayed 3 more! We did not play in the Magic Ice Arena nor the Golf course, but we are interested to see how much fun it can be. This type of ice-skating has no real ice but a different substance that is skated on. The golf course is a glow in the dark type. Please share with us your experiences from when you go. There is an 1800’s Carousel, 2 theme park rides, a jungle play area, 6 Olympic sized trampolines housed in one, 2 jumpy houses, a ball pit and for 1€ a circus style trampoline with harnesses that take you to the roof and back! They also have a snack bar with moderately priced food and snacks. Take the family for a day of fun here locally; you will be glad you did!

Max-Planck Str. 14
52511 Geilenkirchen

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Thai Garden- Thai food restaurant, Sittard, NL

This is one of my favorite things in this world. I love thai food and it is especially delicious here! They serve it mild so if you want it spicey, you need to let them know when you order it. I love the Pad Thai Kai (#56).

Please don’t miss this experience. It is a clean and quiet place to enjoy some of the best food you can find!

Opening hours at THAI GARDEN:

Tue to Sat 1700-2200 hrs

Sun 1600-2200 hrs

Rijksweg Noord 8
6131 CL Sittard
Phone: +31 (0)46 4517324

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Cam Nguyen – Asian Restaurant, Geilenkirchen

Near the heart of Gk is a small and eloquent Asian restaurant that has become popular with many of my friends. I have eaten here several times and found it to be clean and reasonably quick with the food. This restaurant offers an English menu.

Personally, I could eat the spring rolls here all day!! So the next time your having a craving, give this place a try…..

Konrad-Adenauer-Straße 170, 52511 Geilenkirchen

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Moments Decoratie

This small gift/flower shop is so close to Schinnen Army base, that you would be shocked. The shop makes wonderful floral arrangements and has a few cute items for gifts or your home. Inexpensive and constantly changing ornaments make it worth stopping by every holiday. I visited during carnival and they had masks and decorations. During Easter, the stock was all about the eggs and the spring. A wonderful place to take a peak at and not inconvenient to your shopping at base.

Knit Weekender 3, 6365 CX Schinnen, Netherlands

 

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Biker Ranch

My husband and I love two things in life: 1) our motorcycle 2) food…

If you enjoy these too, take a ride and check this place out. It was inexpensive, but extremely delicious food. We spilt the cheese, ham, and egg baguette and it was more than enough to share. We showed up on a rainy day and the place was packed. Imagine how busy it would be on a day with some nice riding weather!

See you there!

Biker Ranch

Monschauer Strasse 66
52152 Simmerath

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Bonn, Germany

A large city with many things to see and do, along with lots of shopping, this is a great day trip for the family or to take with a friend. From the Gk area is it about 1-1.25 hours away.

Cherry Blossom Avenue-25 Heerstrasse Bonn Germany

This is something that you can’t miss and it only lasts about 2 weeks a year. We went today and the flowers were at the end of the blooming phase but it was still quite beautiful.

There is parallel parking on each side of the street and although there were already many people parked, we still caught a spot at about 9am when we showed up. There were no other tourists around, just a few locals on their bikes. My friend and I walked the street and estimate it to be around a kilometer in length.

Beethoven house– Bonn is the birthplace of Beethoven and hosts many museums and music halls named for him and about his life. Located at Bonngasse 20 is his childhood home and you may take a peek around for 5€ per adult. It is home to a few instruments, paintings, and music sheets that belonged to him. The English paper guide included in your entrance fee and for a few € more, you can rent an audio guide as well.

Bonn Munster– Gerhard-von-Are-Str. 5

This is a beautiful Romanesque Basilica that is open for public viewing. Inside, photo may be taken except in the crypt which is only open to prayer. In the center of this amazing cathedral is a courtyard which is worth a look and a few photos. There is a small area set aside for questions and purchasing of postcards, but other then merchandise, the cost of viewing this gorgeous piece of history is nothing.

The cathedral is in the middle of the centrum so this would be a great point to take some time and explore the area and have a little shopping. With TK MAXX, H&M, and most other major retailers, this is a shoppers paradise. I could have spent the day shopping and stayed busy much less see everything else!

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El Dorado Steakhouse

The El Dorado is a traditionally upscale restaurant in the Market Place of Heerlen. It is located on the Pancratiuspleen court next to a nice Korean restaurant. The fare was an authentic Argentinean steak house type. You must walk up the stairs in the court house, facing the Dom and to your left is the door. They have a nice outdoors sitting area, as well as a good seating area inside. The menu featured many different steak delicacies. I ordered a “Mexican” style steak that had a medley of vegetables atop a delicious steak of unknown type. The only negative thing I thought of this place was that they did not specify their steaks by type. Growing up on a beef farm, I know my steaks. We as American’s know our steaks. A filet minion is much more expensive than a sirloin; you know a porterhouse from a rib eye. But here, a steak is just a steak. The most distinction you get is a “piece” from a full steak. My husband ordered the mushroom sauce with steak. Ordered medium, it bloodied his rice to full perfection. He called it perfection! My steak was medium as well but plump and pink. As good as any steak I have ordered anywhere. No lie! It came with a salsa on top that was without coriander but still quite delectable. My children easily split an order of grilled chicken with fries. It was a huge order and in my opinion, fit for an adult. It was very good. Our order, along with a few adult beverages and two kids’ drinks, came above 50 euro but this is to be expected of a nicer restaurant in the market district of any city. I believe I will be returning when I feel that need to experience a bit of steak house very much like the ones at home.

Pancratiuspleen 42 — 6411 Heerlen NL

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Danny’s Bloemen en Kadoshop

Across from Kadoshop Bakker this place is a wonderful boutique with things that you won’t be able to resist. The prices were irresistible too!

They will make custom floral arrangements that will knock your hostess’ socks off, or you can pick up a gift for just about any of your friends and they will think you are the worlds best gift-giver.

I beg you not to miss this shop. My friend even bought a “magic” plant that blooms green, but as you keep it healthy, the flowers change to blue, then pink, and then white. If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.

Danny’s Website

Hoogstraat 189  –  6373HS Landgraaf, NL

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking them

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Kadoshop Bakker

This is one of the cutest gift stores I’ve been in lately. It is a bit pricier than a similar gift shop that is across the street (see Danny’s Bloemen en kadoshop), but it carries different and slightly more high end items.

This boutique was quite an exciting find and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. I bought two of the English signs from below and I can’t wait to buy more things. If you ask, she will give you a discount card and after 5 purchases, you get 10% of the money you’ve spent on those 5 trips back to use in the store on an item. If that confuses you, just ask, because her English is better then mine!

Hoogstraat 102 – 6373HZ Landgraaf, NL    (+0031) 45-5319293

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Lidl

This grocery store is very similar to Aldi. It is a smaller store than Kaufland or some of the other grocery chains, but a nice place to shop if you need to pick something up.

Lidl Website

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