Monday, May 26, 2008


Allison is hosting FUN MONDAY this week and we are suppose to tell about a fun vacation. Our funnest vacations have always been when we go with our children and grandchildren. New York, Vancouver, Hawaii, Washington D.C. My weeks in New York with my girlfriends is insanely fun. But our most unique vacations have been with my special travel companion- DH. We joined HomeLink in 1995 so I could afford to take my Mother to England and have exchanged about 20 times since then. It is the most wonderful way to travel. People have two very distinct reactions-- either they say "Oh, that sounds like so much fun", or they say, "Oh, I could never do that". Let me emphasise that we have NEVER had a bad experience. Neither have we had any problems with people staying in our home. True, we don't use our primary residence (we use our cabin because it is in a more desirable tourist area) but 98% of the people in the exchange program use their primary home. We have only stayed in one exchange that was a secondary home. You shop in neighborhood shops, experience new and different beds, kitchen appliances, neighbors and sometimes feed cats and rabbits (France). It is so fun. For more Fun Monday's visit :

One of our favorite exchanges was in 2005 when we went to Holland

There are 19 windmills along this canal. It is the only place in Holland with that many in one place. As the story goes, there used to be over 11,000 windmills and when they updated to the new windmills they started tearing the old ones down. They are now protected but there are only about 900 left in all of Holland.

The winter before we went I finished my Grandfathers WW I history. One of the first things we did was drive into France and go to the exact field where he was fighting when he was wounded. We left at 5: a.m. and spent the entire day criss-crossing places he would have been. I'm certain at some time that day my path crossed his. It was very memorable to me.

This was the valley he fought in. And yes, we climbed 300 steps to take this photo.

Church in tiny town in the valley. Many of the buildings had bullet holes in them. Lots of bullet holes

Our Exchange Home was the second from the end on this Historic Street. 2 doors further and through a large archway was where the country of Holland was formed. The beautiful town was called Dordrecht. During the 3 weeks we were there, not once did I pronounce the name correctly.

This is the beautiful backyard.

This is the view of Dordrecht from the church tower--Yep, another 270 steps.

We rode bikes on cobblestone streets around the canals. It was a beautiful city.

Anne Frank House

I think Amsterdam might be one of my favorite big cities.

This is the most beautiful shopping bag from a gift shop I have ever seen. It was huge and had so many beautiful masterpieces protrayed on it.


We wanted to visit a cheese factory and this is one of the few left that gives tours. A wonderful family owned and operated effort. A mother and father, son and wife with two small children and they do all the work. Plus raise 100 head of pigs. They work 365 days a year. I ask the son "when do you take a vacation" and he just smiled at me and said "why would I want a vacation, everything I love is here. My family and my work." If you ever get to Holland it would be worth your while to visit them: Jongenhoeve, Fam. deJong, Benedenberg 90, BERGAMBACHT, Nederland.


karisma said...

Looks like lots of fun. I thought they only did home exchange in the movies. I dont think I would want strangers in my house though, I may do it with friends or relatives.

Hootin' Anni said...

Wonderful!!! Simply outstanding vacation photos. [Oh, and ps...I really enjoyed your tribute of your father, below too!!]

This is really a fun Fun Monday this week, seeing all the stories of all the great vacations!!

Jan said...

Wonderful trip description, now I want to go to Holland. So many places so little time. I love the photos you shared, too.

Another hint, when you're composing you post, in the right hand corner is a 'Preview' button, click that to see what your post will look like.

Stephanie Sabbe said...

Thanks for sending a card! Your blog is so cute. I love all the pictures and all the old Mother's Day cards are great.

ellen b. said...

Wow I'm intrigued with this exchange idea. How cool. I'm glad you've had such great experiences...

Sayre said...

Just amazing. I have friends who go to Amsterdam every year to visit family. It looks just beautiful!

That trading houses thing sounds like fun!

Alison said...

Just outstanding...I love your photos. The home exchange has always interested me, I have known a few people who do it.

Thanks for playing this week!!!

ChrisB said...

I've never been to Holland and now I can see what I've been missing. I've read a lot about home exchange holidays and it does seem like a good idea.

Joy T. said...

Oh lordy, I just spent much too long at HomeLink after I looked it up because I was curious. What a fantastic way to travel! Your pictures are stunning. I now want to go to Holland :o)

Mariposa said...

Another set of wonderful photos allowing us to see wonderful places through your eyes...thanks a lot!

Have a nice week!

Molly said...

Thank you for the trip to Holland. When I was young, my parents sent clothes and presents to a Dutch family that our priest had met in WWII. Your pictures remnd me of this family.

Cynthia said...

oh, i so love this vacation. what an interesting way to travel.

maybe someday i would be brave enough to let people in my house like that.

the windmills are great.

Faye said...

What an excellent, informative post. I have heard of this house exchange organization but never knew anyone who had actually used it. I can see you've had only positive experiences.

Thanks for the photos of Amsterdam--I'm going to be there in September.

Rue said...

Hi Judy :)

It never occured to me to visit Holland, but now I want to. It looks absolutely darling there :)

oh and I haven't forgotten about the book thingy. Pat asked me to do it to, so now the pressure is on to hurry up LOL

off to

Raven said...

Your pictures bring back memories of a trip I took to Europe with my sister in 1968. We stayed in a Canal House in Amsterdam in the tiniest room on earth. We had a great time.

Anonymous said...

I want to go to Holland, too! How fun to be able to travel there and even better, have a wonderful traveling companion. ;-)