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Everything about Elisabeth (what she wants to share)

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Everything about Elisabeth (what she wants to share)

Note: this page was last updated in 2005, so quite old. When we have more time I will update it!
Our regular table at Charly CabanaHi everybody,

as you already have guessed I am Elisabeth. I don't have the idea there is much to tell about me, but sometimes people mail us with questions about us when they look at the site. So here the story: I live in Groningen in the Highlands of the Netherlands (up in the north), together with my friend Teije.
Until 1998 my life was pretty boring: just working and having a very unhappy marriage. The two highlights of that period of my life were (and are) my two daughters, Therese and Jennifer. I wanted to travel since I was very young, but circumstances kept me from doing it. Teije and I are together now since 1998 and then the travelling finally started.
In fact, my real life started only then, and, luckily, Teije not only loves to travel, but he also has this characteristic (a leftover from his time as a tour guide) that he likes to organise things. So when we travel I don't have to worry about a lot of the annoying things, the practical arrangement stuff, so I can relax and enjoy wherever we go. But I also like to be at home when I don't have to work.
RoundstoneI work in an old people's home at the reception, in my home town Groningen. The job is ok, but I like my spare time better. I have irregular working hours and thanks to that we can go away for a few days or a week now and then, and a couple of weeks in the summer.
Elisabeth and Jerry SpringerTitle of the Jerry Springer show: how can they afford it, all those holidays??? Well, some people buy new furniture and electrical equipment, new clothes etcetera, but we save our money for the holidays. Material things are of less importance to us: most furniture and clothes we have come from a second-hand shop. This picture was made at Madame Tussaud in London.

And travelling doesn't have to be expensive, necessarily, but then it is important one has enough time, for example to make use of last-minutes. And sleeping at campsites is also quite cheap.
Elisabeth on our balconyPersonally, I think Holland is a very boring country. Alright, there are a few nice spots and some towns can be quite nice, but wherever you cross the Dutch border into another country (Germany or Belgium) the landscape starts to change. Mostly into a somewhat more natural condition. That reminds one of all the rules and regulations we have in Holland. What I miss most in Holland are mountains. And desolate sceneries. And all those cute houses, which can never be build in Holland because of all the strange building regulations we have. And.... well, I can continue mentioning things I miss. But it's a great place to earn our money so we can go away!
Cold but sunny in VierlingsbeekOf course we got a lot of critiscism about what we said (and say) about Holland, especially from foreigners, so we decided to make more trips inside our own country. And I must admit, there are some remarkable places, enough things to do and see, but still we miss nature. In Holland even nature seems to be civilised...
Delicious Portuguese icecream The PalmeraieAnother thing: the weather here... I don't become depressed of it, but I love a warm, dry climate, like Portugal in 2001 and Marrakech in 2003 (up to 40°C). By the way, the Portuguese icecream you see me eating on the left picture is the best in the whole world (that I know of)!
On second thought, the icecream in Italy a few years later was even better.

Another thought just occurs to me: when we are on holiday I like nice and warm weather, but to be abroad is even more important, I always enjoy a trip, wahtever the weather!
Elisabeth at SchipholNowadays I quietly drink my cup of coffee at airports, but that was different the first time. I still don't like flying, especially the ascending and descending part, but it is a nice way to go somewhere far in a relatively short time. Going to Cyprus was the first time in an aeroplane and I was quite nervous. But now I can say sturdily I have flown more than 20 times already plus once in a helicopter. But it still feels very exciting, and not in a nice way, when the plane is going for take off.
Falls at Glen Lui Lealt gorgeMy fear of heights is also less than it used to be, but I am still glad when there is a fence along a steep gorge. To the right I stand next to the Lealt Gorge on Skye and left above a waterfall in Glen Lui, both in Scotland. But I still rememember being on top of the Columbus moniment in Barcelona which was swaying in the wind, that wasn't funny.
Loch ArkaigI like Scotland best of all countries I have seen until now, especially because of the mixture of mountains, changing sceneries, the culture and the people. In Scotland I feel totally at home. We have seen places with a much more impressive scenic (Norway for example) or cultural beauty (barcelona, to mention just one city), but Scotland has exactly the right combination of all of that.
Ok, they have a lot of rain, but we never mind the weather when we go there. Maybe that is the reason why we have been so lucky with the weather: we expect it to be wet. Over the first five years we only had real rain on a few days.
Skye on the background Warm in the sun, Glen AffricOn our first visit (2000) we both totally fell in love with Scotland and made some friends and now we go back every year, at least for a week. And every time we try to explore new and beautiful places. Only the last few years we haven't been very lucky with the wetaher. In June 2008 it was about 12 degrees Centigrade and raining a lot. Probably to scare the other tourists away...
Glen DollAlthough I love Scotland, I also want to see the rest of the world. We have traveled already a lot the past few years and we can always enjoy leafing through our photo albums, but I always look forward with expectation to the next trip. In 2002 Teije had planned a trip with Christmas to London, the day before we left for Barcelona. He didn't tell me anything, so I saw it on our own website when we returned home. That was quite a surprise, I first thought it to be a mistake.
Teije has traveled a lot when he was younger and he always made me jealous when there was some documentary on the television about a country he had been to. 'Well, have I been there already?', he then usually asked. But now I can say that too, about a lot of places. It not only gives a good feeling, but travelling is also a very educational experience. Not only does one learn a lot about other countires and people, but one also learns to look with another point of view at oneself and one's own culture. Travelling has given me more understanding and respect for other cultures and their way of life. And that is something our so-called cultivated world is lacking more and more. We don't understand the growing hatred and violence between people: doesn't everybody wants to be happy? And since we all live on one world we have to do it together!
Temple of Horus, Edfu Elisabeth with snakeOld and new cultures, different than ours: in Egypt, Morocco and The Gambia, but also in eatern Europe I have now seen how lifestyles can differ from the way we live in Holland. Obviously, one has to adapt to other cultures, but being yourselves and being friendly is the best way to communicate with people from other cultures. They will respect you for it. Although, we didn't ask for those snakes around our necks and against hustlers one has to be strong!
Elisabeth between the palmtreesCyprus was already a bit 'un-European' and we had seen a few places with Arabic influences (Spain, Portugal, Hungary) but the trip to Marrakech in 2003 was my first real step outside Europe and I loved it (sweating heavily with 40 degrees C). Teije knew the city, so that made it also easier for me to adapt.
A puzzle Drinking teaAnd only a few months later we went to Egypt, another dream of mine fulfilled. Two weeks visiting a very old and also a very modern, but totally different, civilisation. A real eye-opener!
In January 2009 someone told us: Egypt, no I don't go there, because there is nothing to see in that country... I couldn't believe my ears!
And to state it clearly here: Islamic people are great! The growing xenofobia (I know, a difficult word: the fear of foreigners) in the Netherlands (and also other parts of the world) is totally baseless. There are extremists and fundamentalists, also in the western world, but the average Muslim will tell you these people have nothing to do with the real islam. But why do we make it so hard for each other? Probably some people can't be happy with themselves and find it easier to fight with an appointed enemy and take their aggression out on them.
Ok, that's for the wisdoms of today, but I needed to say it!
Hackesche MarktNow about me again, that is what this page is intended for. I try to enjoy life as much as possible, something I never could in my life until a few years ago. I have missed so much, but I don't want to look back and therefore enjoy every minute I can, at home, and especially when we are travelling. Like here in Berlin, resting after a long and tiring walk.
Elisabeth in Parc Güell Westport InnAnd I love these rests, we often need them, especially when we are visiting a city and walk a lot. I am not much of a walker, but on the other hand, I want to see everything. So, sometimes I am very glad when we can sit down for a moment or when we arrive at a hotel.
PicknickI like also to drive for hours through nature in other countries: with our own car we have the liberty to go anywhere we want and are able to visit places where we else wouldn't have come so easily. And we can stop whenever we want. Here you see us along a hidden lake somewhere in Sweden for a picknick.
Log cabin at JyväskyläThe trip to Scandinavia in 2002 was great, anyway: we had our own car and had reserved a log cabin for every night on a different spot along our route.
Polar circle The boat to the VesterålenThrough Sweden and Finland we drove to the north, passing the polar circle, to the North Cape and through Norway back to the south. And Norway is, as far as nature is concerned, the most magnificient country I have ever seen until now. Although, the Alps are impressive also and the rough areas in Bosnia, the Serra d'Estrella in Portugal, the Pyrenees and so on and so on (almost verywhere except Holland...)
Viking shipStanding on a viking ship I can't imagine why the Vikings ever wanted to go away. But, well, we are spoiled tourists who have the luxury to be able to enjoy the scenery while they had to fight nature to stay alive...
Road 258 Dalsnibba mountainWe surely want to go back to Norway one day, but we keep saying that of so many other places, as well. We also want to see the rest of the world, but we lack the time. And when we would have the time, we wouldn't have any income, so we would lack the money... We keep playing in the Dutch national lottery, one never knows...
A visit to Madurodam Giant’s CausewaySo we try to visit new places every year, whether it is in our own country (Madurodam to the left) or a week in Ireland (December 2002). But we have to admit, Ireland was much better...
Krimmler waterfall Waterfall at LillafüredStanding under a waterfall in Austria or in Hungary, it gives a special feeling, much better than when walking through the woods near our hometown in Holland.
Slovakian ParadiseOr sliding from a hill in Slovakia, I always wanted to do these things and now I am doing them, all the time! I can recommend everybody to make a trip abroad now and then, it gives an enormous feeling of freedom (when you are willing to adapt to the country you are visiting) and is really worthwhile! But I have no trouble being at home, fortunately I have much more hobbies and will never get bored.
Next to travelling and working I still have time for my other hobbies: reading and surfing on the internet. Teije makes this website and I do the promotion, present the site to search engines, exchanging links, etcetera. Sometimes we are both in our different rooms and chat to each other by computer. No, our house isn't that big. To be honest: our social life is much better when we are abroad then at home.
And shortly I have a new hobby: making my own website with nice and handy links and a 'post office' from where you can send some of our travel photographs as an e-card to someone else. And I have translated the website also in English: www.liessmit.nl.
On air BNN radioAnother nice result of travelling a lot and having this website is that we make a lot of new contacts with people. We have even been invited for an interview on national radio once. Now we have so many visitors that we get a lot of questions by email from people and now and then a travel guide or a publisher asks for pictures we made of a specific country.
Coffee-Inn, NeuruppinBut our friendships with foreign people (here Annemarie from Zermützel, Germany and I) is the best part. And, next to a few existing friendships, we have also gained a lot of new friends during our travels.
Elisabeth paddles in the Adriatic The three of us in the harbourWe got to know Joshko in Croatia and he has already visited us in Holland once. He is 'one of our tribe'. On the picture to the left I almost fall into the Adriatic Sea when we were walking through his birthplace, Zadar.
Goodbye to Iain and CathyAnd in Scotland we made these two friends: Iain and Cathy, owners of the Caledonian hotel at Beauly. We visit them every year and we are crazy about them, such friendly people. In fact, the reason that we wanted to show them some travel pictures of us through the internet, caused us to make this website.
Airport Hurghada, with our new friendsTwo more new friends we have met in January 2004 in Egypt, Susan and Astrid, also from Holland. Having 6 billion people living on this earth there must be a lot of people one can have good relations with, one just has to encounter them 'by accident', wherever on earth this is.
Dunalastair hotel Gate LodgeAnd we, we keep enjoying ourselves, sometimes even as lady and lord of the castle, like in this four-poster bed, and in 'our' castle to the right, both in Scotland, where we stayed a few days.
On July 21, 2004 our lives changed quite a bit when we became grandparents. We still travel but since then we try to take our granddaughter Esme on holidays now and then for a week. She loves to be at home, but when on holiday she is just like us: the holiday place is her new home. We bought her a passport and we have taken her several times now to Germany. In February 2009 we go again! She has seen her first mountains at the age of 3! Of course she has her own diary on internet, but only in Dutch: www.esmeewijkstra.nl (we have turned it into a puzzle website since 2017). To learn how to enjoy life, whatever you do, wherever you are, that is the most important in life. And change your situation when you are not happy about it. When one isn't able to enjoy, what remains of this life? We keep on travelling, as long as we can, since we enjoy it endlessly, as an alternation to our normal Dutch lives.
I think I have told enough about myself now, more than I intended to. But that is because we selected so many pictures to go with this story.
Well, now you know more than enough about me. Come on, go and look somewhere else on the site. All those other pictures and travel stories are much more interesting! I really hope you enjoy this site as much as I do myself. And we will keep on travelling, not just to other countries but also in life! Life is a journey in itself, wherever you are.

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