2018 December 8 - December 30
Vacation Thailand: 2018
Six years ago, we booked a vacation to Thailand. But shortly before that vacation, we got other very interesting stuff that kept us busy. We decided to call it off.
The Insight Guide was still on our shelf, including some notes from the preparation. Early this year we decided to go for a rerun and booked tickets.
We are now 6 years older, and 6 years wiser and 6 years slower....so this is going to be a lot of excitment.
You can continue clicking (left/right key or mouse on right/left side of screen) and at every new day a dia is added to indicated the break.
2018 Dec 08-09
Travel and surviving first day in Bangkok
2018 Dec 10 - 10AM: Wat Mahathat
Boat ferry and visit Wat Mahathat
2018 Dec 10 - 1PM: Wat Phra Kaew and the Royal Palace
Visit Wat Phra Kaew and the Royal Palace
2018 Dec 10 - 3PM: Wat Pho
Visit Wat Pho
2018 Dec 10 - 5PM: Wat Arum
Visit Wat Arum
2018 Dec 10 - 6PM: Going back
Boat trip back.
2018 Dec 11 Shopping
Shopping at MBK center, Siam Center and Siam Paragon
2018 Dec 12 Biking in Bangkok
Biking in Bangkok with ABC
On our wishlist was the biking through Bangkok experience from ABC (Amazing Bangkok Cyclist).
We left the hotel at 8.15AM and took the subway to Sirikit and walked 30 minutes through the local suburb.
At ABC we were welcomed in Dutch, got some really good coffee and got introduced to our 2 tour guides. Actually 1 is learning and joins us on our trip.
First part is through the crowded Bangkok streets. Eddy (that is the guides nick name) does a good job in avoiding busy streets, but every now and then we have no choice.
To my surprise he succeeded really well. Soon we are at a local market where everything is sold: fish, meat, vegatables, fruit, and more.
We continue and visit Wat Klong Toey Nok which is directly at the Pier Klong Toey. We cross the river in a barge.
On the other side is a "semi Island". It is still connected to land, but a canal was dug , which made it in theory an island.
The island is special in that it is very low land and is only good for farming (trees: banana, coconut, mango). High buildings are not allowed and the connecting streets are narrow (1 meter wide) and elevated to stay above the water line.
This makes it very nice to bike. And we did.
We stop for a lunch (Thai food :)) and continue. A second boat trip and then soon we are back at ABC. This was a very nice experience.
|2018 Dec 13 Ayutthaya
2018 Dec 14 Muang Boran
Visiting Ancient City
2018 Dec 15 Travelling to Khao Yai
2018 Dec 16 Khao Yai
Day 1 in Khao Yai. Private tour in the jungle
2018 Dec 17 Khao Yai
Day 2 in Khao Yai. Private tour in the jungle
2018 Dec 18-19: Travelling to Chiang Mai
Two days travel to Chiang Mai
This is going to be a long day. Or better 2 days. We will travel first back to Bangkok by either train or bus. And then take the night train to Chiang Mai.
For the night train we have tickets and we will sleep in the train. For the first part we have to figure it all out. Yesterday evening we decided to leave directly after breakfast and take a blue bus back to Pak Chong.
While waiting for the bus, the lady from Baan Saranya came to us and told us that her brother needs to travel to Pak Chong anyhow right now, so we can ride with him. We do and shortly before 9 we are at the train station.
As it now appears, we are again very lucky, as there is a train leaving shortly after 10AM, going via a dozen of stops to Bangkok. Ticket costs 36Baht per person and it takes about 4 hours travel. That is just over 1 Euro!
That means that train is quicker and cheaper than the bus we took on the way to Pak Chong. Okay. It is 3rd class, no airco, but all windows can go wide open, and local people sell food/drinks in the train.
Around 2.30PM we arrive. We decide to drop off our main backpacks at the trainstation and visit Bangkok. Around 7:30PM we are back and wait till we can go on board.
Our bed is directly prepared and soon we go to sleep.
Later that night other tourists come on board, but they appear to be 1 day too early. Quiet some hazzle and some Germen/Swiss words go back and forth in the group. Next stop they have to leave the train as there is no place for them. Then it became quiet.
Around 8AM we are both awake. Our bed is modified into seats and we eat our breakfast we brought with us. We make several more stops and at 12:15 we arrive at Chiang Mai.
A 40 minute walk (we need to get some exercise after sitting still soooo long) we arrive downtown at our hotel. We check in, and freshen up. Another stroll through the city and then we head for early food.
We found this Vegan place 5 minute walking from the hotel. Excellent food. We directly booked a cooking class for Friday.
|2018 Dec 20 Hiking in Doi Suthep
Hiking in Doi Suthup and visiting Wat Doi Suthep
We have a very early breakfast at 6:30AM as we will be picked up at 7. The mini-van is waiting at 6:45, and at 6:50 our guide shows up. We drive to Doi Suthep and the Wat (temple) at that mountain (Doi).
Wat Doi Suthep is worth visiting. The 300 steps (stair) can be challenge, but our guide insisted on an elevator ride. We look around, make quite some pictures and then take the stairs down (finally!).
From there the mini-van brings us to the nearest Hmong village/tribe. We walk through the village, we buy fresh Mango and baked banana and then start slowly hiking. Our local guide (from the Hmong village) joins us.
Having a second guide feels a bit odd, but we have to as we are walking in Hmong area, and it provides income to the Hmong people.
Our Hmong guide does not speak English, but when we have detailed questions, he knows the answers. Our own "Green Trails" guide is also very good. He explains a lot on the opium fields and how you can recognize where those fields were.
Unfortunately the view is limited as there is fog. We have lunch at the rim (fried rice wrapped in a banana leaf, and soup in a plastic bag). The guides from the villages are swapped.
The first Hmong guide goes back to his village, and a new Hmong guide from the village we will be visiting soon takes over.
After 9km hiking we arrive at the 2nd Hmong village. Exactly 1 second later the rain starts pooring down. We were so lucky.
|2018 Dec 21 Old town & cooking class
Chiang Mai - Old town, Cooking class, Shopping
2018 Dec 22 Hiking
Hiking in Cae Son National Park
2018 Dec 23 Mini-Marathon
Running Chiang Mai Mini-Marathon
2018 Dec 24 Hiking Doi Inthanon
Hiking in Doi Inthanon and visiting Wachirathan waterfall
2018 Dec 25 Chiang Mai
Visiting 2 temples in Chiang Mai: Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan and Wat Phra Sing
2018 Dec 26 Travelling
Travelling by express train back to Bangkok
2018 Dec 27 MBK and ChinaTown
MBK shopping mall and getting dinner in ChinaTown.
2018 Dec 28 Museums and dinner cruise
Museum of the Royal Barges, the National Museum and Dinner Cruise at River Phra
2018 Dec 29 Floating market
Taling Chan Floating market and rain
2018 Dec 30 Travel back
2018 September 30
Babyshower for Jessica
2018 September 08
Camping in Laag Soeren
2018 July 31
Alex, Jessica and Ailyn visiting us
2018 June 29 - July 13
Vacation North Italie: Val di Rhemes - Again
Last year we also went to Val di Rhemes. We really liked it and came back to do more and other hikes this time.
Highlights: We saw a Bearded Vulture (NL:lammergier), many many Alpine Ibex (NL:Steenbokken), stayed over in Rifugio degli Angeli at 2920m height, saw an Alpinist getting rescued from his death, hiked in one day up to Gran Paradiso and back.
Here a day to day travel/hiking program. The links to the GARMIN tracks are public. In xx hiking days we walked xx, in xx hours and climbed over xxkm.
||Travel To Italy
||Arrive In Val di Rhemes, easy walk
||3km, 125m, 0h54 Garmin Link
||Day hike: Mont Blanc
||14km, 1000m, 5h30min Garmin Link
||Day hike: Lac de Chantier
||13.3km, 900m , 6h09min Garmin Link
||Short hike: Towards Introd, blocked by trees
||6.0km, 110m , 1h44m Garmin Link
||Day hike: Valgrisenche: l'Epee
||13.8km, 810m , 5h58m Garmin Link
||Shopping in Aosta, rainy day
||Day hike: Rhemes-Notre-Dam, Marmotte, Le Plan de Feyes, Sort
||10.5km, 810m , 4h34m Garmin Link
||Day hike: Valsavarenche: Gran Paradiso
||20.1km, 1135m , 7h23m Garmin Link
||Day hike: Valgrisenche Hiking, Stay at Rifugio degli Angeli
||6.4km, 1004m , 3h37m Garmin Link
||Day hike: Valgrisenche Hiking, Leave from Rifugio degli Angeli
||14.0km, 1240m , 5h53m Garmin Link
||Valgrisenche: Lac du fond, Avise
||9.7km, 755m , 4h54m Garmin Link
||Day hike: Valsavarenche: Col Nivolet
||17.8km, 594m , 6h57m Garmin Link
||Drive back to Wijchen
||Total 9 days of hiking
||120km, 8270m, 52h
Here a day to day summary of the highlights.
2018 July 01
First Hike to Mont Blanc
Our first hike is one that starts from the campsite. It climbs steadily until we reach a nice view at about 2000m altitude. There are white rocks and that is why this point is also called Mount Blanc.
We did this hike last year as well, but now take the short route back to keep our muscles in good shape.
|2018 July 02
Day hike to Lac de Changier
2018 July 03
Short hike to Introd
2018 July 04
Day hike in Valgrisenche to Rifugio de l'Epee
2018 July 06
Le Plan de Feyes
2018 July 07
2018 July 08
Yesterday was a long day with close to 10 hours hiking. Today we take a day off and prepare for tomorrow.
The plan is to take my big backpack, fill it, and stay at a hut. We spoke with the campsite manager (Jean-Paul) and he advised Rifugio degli Angeli.
A phone call and we have a reservation for tomorrow night. A private room...whatever that means.
Now we start packing. Soon we are ready. We have a good evening meal and go to bed early. Tomorrow is a hike to 2920m altitude.
|2018 July 09
Hike to Rifugio degli Angeli
We wake up early. A few coffees and a breakfast further, we pack the last things in the car and leave for Valgrisenche. We park the car a few kilometers past Bonne.
At 8:45 we leave the car behind and start to climb from 1870m altitude. That means we have to climb just over 1km, which should not be a problem.
The new thing is that 2900m is the heighest altitude this vacation. Soon we will experience what that is.
After an hour we have left the last trees behind and a valley with many undeep waters appears. It is beautiful. The description warned us to only follow the path on the right, as the others would lead to a rim with an old ruine (visible), but not to the hut.
At around 2500m the first snow appears. Soon we are trying to find our way accross the snow. We sometimes miss the track for 10 or 20 meters, but then we find it back.
Suprisingly fast we are on the top. After 3 hours and 37 minutes we arrive at Rifugio degli Angeli and get a warm welcome.
Outside there is a lot of sun and a lot of wind. After half an hour we go inside to avoid freezing.
The hut is managed by 2 volunteer families. Only Italian and a little French with the older kids, and even less English with one adult.
Around 4 the alarm goes off. That means. A phone call from another hut that a guest has not arrived, nor is in sight. That guest left this morning this Rifugio.
The 2 man pack heavy gears, flash light, food, warm clothes and start running up the mountain to the gletcher. Soon the walkie-talkie sounds that they found the Spanish old guy stuck in the snow trench.
Good they came to rescue as this man was already uncooled and not reacting properly. The food is served a little later and the Spanish guy joins as well.
Later we found he put his clothes to dry in our room, and he took Marjorie her dirty shirt and started wearing it. Clearly he lost his mind. As he got his own room as well and must have gotten lost.
There was some laughter after all the confusion was gone, and soon we said goodnight and went to bed.
|2018 July 10
Hike down from Rifugio degli Angeli
2018 July 11
Hike Lac du Fond in Valgrisenche
2018 July 12
Hike Col Nivolet
2018 July 13
Driving back to The Netherlands
We left early this morning....that was the intention. But the campsite owners insisted on drinking a cup of coffee with us. We said goodbye and thanked for their hospitality.
Around 9 we finally left. Soon we were in Aosta and there we caught up with a bicyclist. We stopped the car and waived. He did to. 'Picolo Mondo' was what he said. Communication yestereday was very limited.
But it was clear he wanted to drink a coffee with us as a thank you for yesterday. And there was this bar 10 meters away. We drank an Espresso, said again goodbye and finally were on our way home.
2018 June 4
Alex and Henk in Utrecht
On several ocassions Alex has worked in Utrecht for several weeks. Recently we learned that he and his colleagues are having a project at 50 meters distance to where I work. Just under the traintracks is the Smakkelenburg where Qorvo is located on the 3rd and 5th floor.
Monday morning I first went swimming in Den Hommel and already noticed a familiar car. On the way back to work, I saw Alex life, and thus I parked my bike and came back to greet in person and take the opportunity of a picture.
|2018 June 3
Ever since Marjorie visited the Buddist Monestry in Taiwan, we have been looking around for a nice statue. Recently we came accross this one. It is a warm welcome to everyone.
|2018 May 20
Spring arrived and our garden is doing well
2018 April 29
Alex's birthday and another surprise...
We packed up our tent and before driving back to Wijchen stopped at Alex & Jessica. Another nice surprise was awaiting there.
Jessica is pregnant again and Ailyn is spreading the message.
|2018 April 27-29
Camping in Wannerperveen and 30 years together
2018 April 21
Garden Party Groningen, Marriage of Jeroen and Desiree
2018 March 18
Utrecht running with colleagues
2018 March 03
2018 Februari 23- March 2
Last year was a great success. Just to 4 adults. Now the kids want to come as well. So we split up. Marjan and I drive on Friday to Annessey, continue on Saturday to Val Claret (Tignes / Val d'Isere) and pick up the key early Saterday.
Cor, Robert, Bas and Danielle drive on Saturday and can expect a warmed apartment with a meal waiting.
Snow conditions are excellent and although temperatures go down to -27degC at the top, we can enjoy the bright sun a lot, and have great skiing days.
Below a couple of snapshots taken, to get an impression. General impression; Tignes is a quiet area with very long and wide slopes. The map will give the wrong impression on the distance.
From one side to the other is 50km skiing/snowboarding. Lifts are hardly crowded, we only experienced this in Tignes 2100 (where we stay) when several lifts are out of service due to snowfall, things can be crowded.
Marjan did prepare very well and packed all the food. Robert took care of the cooking. Big thanks to both. What was left was being a nice guest, and helping with cleaning, breakfast, coffee.
On Thursday new snow was predicted, and there came new snow. At that morning we stayed home, which must have been anticipated, as at that morning a heating pipe started leaking in the bedroom.
Without us being around, we would have had serious trouble in the afternoon. The floor started flooding, and we were in time getting our stuff away. Later that Thursday the pipes were replaced and everything returned to normal.
That afternoon the sky cleared up, and Bas, Danielle and I went to the snowpark with snowboard and skies.
Friday more snow was predicted, and Cor, Bas, Danielle and I left that morning. Marjan and Robert stayed, and confirmed it kept on snowing. The ride back was long, because of all the snow and cars getting into accidents.
Around midnight we arrived in Wijchen. I look back on a nice snowboard break!
|2018 Februari 10-18
San Francisco / San Jose
Together with a colleague we visit the ISSCC (international solid state circuit conference) in San Francisco. An early flight on Saturday morning allows us to adjust to the California time scheme.
Saturday just around noon, we arrive and public transportation brings us to downtown. We have a littlebit odd lunch/diner in Chinatown but we do well.
Apparently the Chinese new year is coming soon as the streets are decorated. It turns out to be the end of this week. The weather is excellent on Sunday and I ran 24k from Chinatown to the port of entry along the bay, including PIER39 and Atticpark to the GoldenGate bridge. On the bridge I decided to return as the same distance needs to be covered to get back to the hotel.
As lunch I aim for a good piece of cheesecake at Starbucks, but it turns out it is not on their menu anymore. Too bad. After 24k, some refill of carbohydrates is urgently needed.
In the afternoon I follow a tutorial and in the evening my colleague and I have diner at a Japanees restaurant: Sushi!
The conference is always great to attend. I met a very old colleague (Peter) and he joins us later for diner.
After the conference I travel to the airport and pick up a rental car, and drive to Sunnyvale. Thursday and Friday I visit our office in San Jose. (no pictures)
Friday evening I visit an old colleague, how is retired almost for 10 years. Khoi and Tingh do celebrate the 'moon calander' and as their children will come on Saturday, my visit on Friday evening is perfect planned.
We share old stories, a laugh and good food. At 9.30 I got tired and plan to go back to the hotel, but first awaits me a surprise. My rental car is towed away. Several hours (4) later I have it back at the cost of 421$.
This did not happen to me in the 4 years we lived in the bay area, and now within 2 days the car is towed. Okay, My old colleague did help to get the car towed. I advised me were to park. I learned I should not listen to old retired colleagues, and use my own judgement instead.
All in all it was a good ending. Next morning I did not go running in Alum rock park, but stopped shortly at our old house, visited Jamba Juice for lunch, the old Philips site and Fry's electronics.
The flight back to Amsterdam was good and Marjorie and I met at the airport.
|2018 January 30
An evening walking around the Wijchensmeer. Days are getting longer and tonight we are very lucky. A nice sunset is presented.
Diary 2017 can be visited as well: 2017