Tag Archives: icy

Below Zero in Brehal, France

This may be the Normandy coast of France and yes, I know that our temperatures here are a few degrees warmer than they are at our friend Polly’s house 35 minutes inland from here. But the below zero temps we’re having are a shock to the body!!!

Oh my! It is below zero in Brehal, France!


Brrr!!! It is below zero and windy in Brehal, France!


Deborah is smiling in the sunshine in spite of the below zero temperatures in Brehal, France.


Each and every puddle in the road that is left over from last week’s rains is frozen solid and the pond at the end of the lane looks like a small skating rink.

Iced-over puddles in Brehal, France

We kept the walk with the dogs briefer than usual because every intake of breath was a bit painful. As you can see in the photos above, I was bundled to the eyeballs and underneath that heavy wool coat, long wool scarf, wool hat, and lined leather gloves that are visible, I had on lots of layers — leggings, a thick pair of baggy track pants, a long-sleeve thermal shirt, a turtleneck, a long-sleeve cashmere sweater. I was still freezing and my face ached!

Mark seemed fine as he wrangled with the spaniels, but he did admit that his face was feeling icy.

Mark walking the spaniels on the beach in winter in France.

I can’t even imagine sailing on a day that was so cold, but the sun was bright, the skies were clear, and this man with the red sailboat was dressed in waterproof sports clothing and he decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, the boat seems to have been hit by a wave and shoved onto the beach a bit too far up the beach from the preferred destination. So, after making certain that the small boat was firmly wedged against the sand and it wouldn’t float way, the sailor gave up and walked down the beach to get his truck and boat-trailer.

Walking away from a red sailboat to get the boat-trailer

Ah well — back to the sofa with a blanket around my legs while I edit photos!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Scooting Through The Stedelijk

Icy, icy cold and gray. With skies as flat and colourless as a dull nickel coin, we headed down the street to catch the tram and the wind set our eyes streaming as soon as we walked out the front door.

Our destination was the Uitburo (ticket office) at Leidseplein where we planned to purchase a Museumkaart, a museum card for both Amsterdam and the rest of Holland that covers more than 400 museums or sites. Two trams later we arrived and noticed that the lights were on in the area around the ice skating rink and on the front of the Uitburo. They didn’t seem out of place because, even at 10:30 in the morning, it was rather dim outside.

Uitburo (ticket office) at Leidseplein

Lights on in Leidseplein at 10:30 AM on a dim winter morning

The charming young woman inside the ticket office apologized to us and explained that she had sold the last of the Museumkaarts the previous day and another shipment was not expected until later in the afternoon. Our plans were rescued when she phoned the Stedelijk, the modern art museum and they did have some in stock. So we thanked her and backtracked via tram to the museum district.

Central stairwell at the Stedelijk Museum

Upper central stairwell at Stedelijk Museum

What we expected to see versus what we did see was altogether different than those expectations that we had as we left the apartment in the morning. The museum is currently undergoing a massive renovation and a new wing will be constructed that will transform both the amount of space needed to house the collections and the climate control for preserving what is on display. As a result, well over half of the building is a series of empty rooms and that was quite disappointing since we hadn’t known that prior to entry.

When a young woman with a clipboard approached me as we prepared to leave an hour later and asked me to rate my experience on a 1 to 10 basis, I told her quite honestly that it was a 5 at best since there was almost nothing to look at.

None of the permanent pieces such as the Bauhaus or Post-Impressionist works that I had been expecting were there. What is within is sparsely sprinkled over two floors with long walks through empty rooms in between.

We had a nice coffee and pastry in the cafe which is still open and fully functional and oddly, that ended up being one of the highlights of our visit to that particular museum.

Here are a few examples of the artwork that is still ‘in residence.’

Exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum

Modern art exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum

Thank you to the staff at the Van Gogh Museum. Someone sent them a copy of my article from two days ago, A Visit With Vincent and they sent a note on Twitter around the world that increased the number of visitors to this site dramatically over the next 2 days. The museum staff also took the time to write me a personal thank you note for the article, so I am reciprocating by letting you know about that charming courtesy.

Copyright © Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the copyright of all text and photos on this website. All rights reserved.