Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Bed!

Sort of. Been sleeping on the trampoline for the last few days. Awesome! I have these full sized closed cell foam mattresses, 4 inches thick. I put 3 of them side by side, throw on a few blankets and sleeping bags, pile high with pillows and wOw! What a comfy bed. The view is extraordinary, the Milky Way plastered across the sky, shooting stars, fresh and cool night air. Just incredible. I am going to take advantage of it till the snow flies!

Tate has been sleeping out there also. I asked him if that made us gay. He said "pretty much".


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Trip

Mother called, surprised me with the news that she was going to send me on a trip of a lifetime. That I needed to start planning. That she assumed that I wanted to go back to Africa and climb Kilimanjaro....

I may have mentioned that fact sometime ago.....

Yes, I have wanted to do that. It has been a wish of mine for many a year. It would appear that this wish has been granted. My sister and middle son are also along on this trip.

My wish list goes like this:

The Pyramids
Climb Kilimanjaro
A week in the Seychelles
Victoria Falls & Bungee Jump
Safari in Zambia
Diving with the Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa.

Yep, sounds like a trip of a lifetime!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Eerde Castle's beginnings date back to the 12th century. To give you an idea of the time frame we are talking about here, Genghis Khan was born in 1162 and then went on to unite many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. The Second (1147-1149) and the Third (1189-1192) Crusades took place.

Photo by one96five @Flickr

In 1380 with the marriage between Van Eerde and Van Essen that Eerde was given its infamous beginning. Van Essen earned a reputation as a robber knight, a surprisingly reputable profession in those days if one had permission. The problem was, he didn’t. The original Eerde castle was besieged and leveled to the ground by the Bishop of Utrecht, only to be rebuilt several times later on the same spot.

Eerde - The Netherlands

When the water table lowered one time, I was able to see parts of the old “castle” in the bottom of the moat that surrounds this large building. We also learned to ice skate on the moats, one directly surrounding the castle, and the longer moat that encompassed a larger area around the castle and some of the out buildings.

In 1706, Johan Werner "Baron" van Pallandt, Lieutenant General of the Netherlands, purchased the property and, in the 19th century, the castle became a summer hunting residence.

In 1924, Philip Derk "Baron" van Pallandt gave the castle and estate to Krishnamurti, Star of the East, to be the European home of the movement of the Star.

Thousands of people flocked from all over the world to hear Krishnamurti, the famous Indian religious philosopher, who later disbanded the movement and returned Eerde to the Baron.

Believe it or not, I met Baron Philip Derk van Pallandt. I remember he was old, very old to me at the time. I was 15 and did not really understand who it was that was telling us about the history of this area. I wish I had paid more attention.

In 1933, Baron van Pallandt enabled Eerde to become a refuge for Jewish children under Hitler's threat. The school became known as The Quaker School for a short time, an educational direction which would continue until the Nazi invaders confiscated the castle to use as a German boarding school to replace one that had been bombed in Germany. For a brief period of time, the castle also served as a camp for Russian prisoners.

After the liberation in 1945, the original school returned to “Kasteel Eerde”, this time as an international boarding school that drew students from around the world. Its curriculum was based initially on the Oxford University exams and presently on Cambridge's.

Alex- Iceskating on the castle moat. Jodrika de Koning Robert Giles

I attended school here from 1969 to 1973, some of the best years of my life. I still remain in contact with a few of my former classmates. Robert Millstein from NYC who schooled us in basketball. Giles Daman, a super smart guy who was the son of a Dutch Diplomat to Germany. We travelled with immunity, which meant toilet paper and rotten tomatoes – long story. There are others….. my first love, Jodrika de Konig. She lived with her family during the summer months (and long vacations) in Lusaka, Zambia. Pieter de Visser van Bloemen called Manila, the Philippines home. Nancy Toon. Her father was Malcolm Toon, US ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1969-1971, Yugoslavia from 1971-1975, Israel from 1975-1976, and the Soviet Union from 1976-1979. There were others, though the school only enrolled about 100 students per year.
Satellite view of Eerde
There are huge tapestries hanging on the walls inside, along with many old paintings. The one I remember most vividly showed one of the “Barons” on horseback hunting wild boars. There still remains a fair amount of wooded area around this estate, something that is in short supply in this small country.