Crazy Croquet Anyone?

 

Traveling aged can pose restrictions on active sports and Sunday lurked with nothing to do. Seriously, nothing! Well, fudge,       nothing interesting until I remembered a friend mentioned this sport that happens in Portland. Mondo Croquet and Mad Hatter Picnic. Thinking this would be a great spectator sport for an aged person I hopped on a max train humming the tune the white rabbit sang in Alice in Wonderland.  “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. I run and then I hop, hop, hop, I wish that I could fly, I’m over due, I’m in a rabbit stew…”

Croquet is considered a quiet dignified game, until you add bowling balls and sledge hammers. Then, add hats, mad hats, costumes and laughter. Even the dogs come to the game, English bull dogs of course.

          

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I stayed the course as long as I could before I had to seek my usual haunt, a can. Legs crossed I took one more picture, then humming to myself, “Adieu, a loo…”


Bonkers in Brugge…

Boarding a tour bus at 6:45 a.m, the tour guide greeted us in three languages. “Welcome, my name is Pierre, blah, blah, blah there are no bathrooms on the bus, a rest stop for 15 minutes in two hours, please enjoy. Silently thanking allah for not allowing me time for that second cuppa, I selected a seat. Getting all settled in, came the second announcement in three languages, “No eating on the bus.” Hearing that, I took a quick look about and made a dignified dash to the way back of the bus, you know the seat that stretches across the entire back of the bus. I settled in only to stifle  giggles as I rode along taking sneaky bites of my sandwich. Four hours and one rest stop later we arrived in Brugge. An absolutely charming little town. I was enchanted as Pierre lead us up across the quaint hump backed bridge, through the park and along the canal where tourists, geese and geese poop mingled to present a European scene. Pierre’s pace increased as he gave directions in three languages. Stopping at the museum, he told us to take a picture of the sign in front of the museum so we could find our way back there in 2.5 hours.“Where’s the bathroom?” several asked in several languages. We quickly figured out he only knew words in the tour guide book in three languages, understanding none of them. He gave us a vague jesture, pointed to the boat ride, gave us a ticket and said to be back at the appointed time and place then he disappeared.

Needing a potty worse than a boat ride, I broke free of the crowd and went in search. I walked up to a lovely looking woman standing in the doorway of a cafe and politely asked where the bathroom was. “You can’t use it unless you buy something.”  “I need to go.” “No, you can’t!” she said stepping in front of me to bar my way. “Let me in or I’ll pee on your floor,” I said through clenched teeth. “She said she’s gonna pee on my floor.” she called to the gather crowd. “Yes, I will.” “You’re going to pee on my floor, are you?” At this point I wasn’t sure I could produce any pee, she sort of scared it back up in me. I felt a gentle hand on my arm and a voice with lovely southern drawl say, “my wife needs a bathroom too. Let’s all of us go on down the street, I’ll buy a cup of coffee while you two go.” Giving the waitress a what I hoped was a triumphant shrug, I went off with the nice young man and his wife. On a side note, they boast of having 880 different beers. They must all have bladders the size of a gondola.

Feeling nearly euphoric with an empty bladder I wanted to dance back to the boat ride along the canal.

Look closely at the brick work, you'll see where large windows once were. The windows of this convent were bricked up and made very tiny. What kind of lives could have been lived behind those tiny windows? I felt as if I could hear silent screams of agony pleading to be released. With a shiver I felt relieved to be brought back to this century by the boat driver from Billings, Montana telling us he liked his job as much as he liked tips. He mentioned his tip desire as often as possible and still remain charming.

This building is the only wooden building in the old part of town. After a fire destroyed all but this building, a law was passed prohibiting wood buildings.

       
The lovely town square with strolling people, stores with fascinating goods including lace and chocolate. For the tourists with simply no taste there was an Old Navy store doing a bang up business.

 Looking up the spelling of the name of the town is conflicting. When referring to the town, it seems to be spelled one way, yet it’s spelled two ways on the official Website. Brugge – Bruges There must be a grammatical  reason. I tend to believe the place-mat!

Finally, finally in my life I had a real Belgium waffle. No wonder people get excited about them.

. Crisp, delicious and perfectly perfect with beer.

One more letting go of the beer into the porcelain recycling unit, I was back on the bus and homeward bound.

A childhood poem kept running through my head, Little Boy Blue come blow your horn (at all the damn traffic) The cows in the meadow... or is it sheep in the meadow... Coming soon. Debters Prison For The Dead - Cemetery Tour

Hats Off to Paris

More pictures…Off to a day of shopping at the best of the best! Nothing like a jaunt to the famed Bon Marche’ in Paris. Never heard of it? Me neither until I was taken there by my friend, Karen. The object of the day was to browse this lovely store then have lunch in their food area.

Usually nothing slows a woman down when there is shopping to be done. But, I have to tell you, melting under the hot humid sun of Paris is a dead stop killer. Trying to look elegant with the sweat dripping is not an easy task. I know the word for lovely ladies sweating is perspiration. Nope this was a day to sweat. Nothing is air conditioned, Nothing!

Walking into the Bon Marche’ mopping our brow, we started in the hat section.

The saleslady was beside herself as she was inundated with ‘perspiring’ ladies. She was trying to be gracious with a grim smile while women pawed hats that cost upwards of 350 Euros ($525). We were pretending to be on the guest list of the Royal Wedding, the hats went on, the hats went off. Drip, drip, drip with perspiration oozing from our brow. Hats and other pics…

Deciding not to buy a hat that required a second mortgage, lunch would be a good substitute. Karen kept describing the food area to one clerk after another in her rendition of French. We wandered from floor to floor in search of the elusive food section. Nothing appeared that matched her description. Finally, parched and hungry we settled for a cafe across the street from the Bon.

Oh Gee, A Salad, Delish

Ham/Cream Sauce/Pasta-Swoon

Refreshed from lunch we were startled to find the food ‘area’ nearly in front of us. It was in a separate building all its own. If we had turned right instead of left we would have had a different lunch. The food building of the Bon is much too fancy to call it a food court or a grocery store but that’s sort of what it is – a combination. Beautiful food in every variety each in its own perfection.

     

We never should have left the food court, but soldier on we did. Not far, Karen said, is a wonderful little street with the best little shops.

With map in her hand, Karen showed me the way to the subway. Not one of my favorite modes of transportation, but quick it is – if you know which stop is which. Getting off the stop with confidence we, I’d like to say galloped, but it was more like climbed slowly up the transit steps and into a whole new neighborhood. Not far, Karen said. Walking a few blocks… Not far, Karen said. Finally asking directions with my pigeon French and hand signals we pattered on past the Eiffel Tower seeing it from an angle I’ve never seen before.

Had my brained not been boiled, I would have written down what is etched on the glass. I think it says ‘Peace’ in multiple languages. With the heat reaching unbearable, dizziness setting in, we dragged on toward the goal. Yes, a small street with cafes and lovely shops. The drip, drip, drip,,,  you may hear is not a fountain…   —  Soon to come, Burges, Belgium and another squatty potty story…

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