Tag Archives: trip

Unexpected history nearby

Helmets

Helmets (Photo credit: GregPC)

Are you a home historian? An amateur archeologist?

Well, –I must admit– I am. 🙂 I truly love to talk about history, interpretend facts and figures and make up stories when I’m at historical locations. I like to watch docs on ancient battles like on BBC or History Channel. And I’m totally addicted to visit monasteries. I even tried to start a blog on the subject. It’s probably the boy in me.

Yet, sometimes I make a real discovery.

This time I’ve found the remains of a giant castle Continue reading

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‘Zimmer Frei’

“Zimmer Frei?”…not anymore! We’ve just reached our first milestone with the Water Mill of Tourteron: Both summer months, July and August, are almost fully booked! There’s only one week left available in July. We’re super happy to see the first reservations coming in so quickly. All people who’ll fill the mill with joy and happiness. We so much looking forward to hear their stories and that they’ll really feel at home.

If you’re still doubting .. make a choice @supergites: it’s now or 2011 🙂

Time to Relax at a Supergite

Time to Relax at a Supergite

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Filed under All, Renting

Crazy weekends

IMG_8745
Image by Michiel Wijgmans via Flickr

The past weeks have had some crazy weekends. With the ongoing renovation the constructor needs more and more materials. Most of it we have him ordering from French suppliers. There’s absolutely no reason to get concrete or drains from the Netherlands. But as soon as it comes to shopping for style … this northern part of France is not the place to be. We’ve tried several Monsieur Bricolages and Castoramas. But with little result. There was always something wrong with the model; too thick, too small, too wide, not in brushed metal .. whatever. It’s really hard to find good design in the French country side.

So we bought the lights and the bathroom stuff simply here in the Netherlands where we know our way to design for good prices. One problem though: We have to deliver everything only some 400 km south wards. And we totally underestimated this ‘tour de force‘.

We need over 4 hours to pick up the goods from Nijhof, the Dutch supplier, including picking up the ‘Boedelbak‘. And more serious; we need over 5 hours to get to Tourteron due to the overweight trailer and the lower speed limit for cars with trailers. Apart from the drive itself it also feels quite uncomfortable knowing people actually see you drive one of these yellow trailers from hell.

And we still need to deliver the other half of the kitchen tiles and ALL the bathroom tiles – three trips to go – Jolly Fun! 🙂

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Filed under All, Renovation

The Start of a Dream

Entrance

How  do dreams start, you wonder? Well, this one started at the ancient monastery of Belval Bois des Dames in the heart of the Lorraine. As we walked through the half-demolished house, all kind of visions passed through our minds. We were completely fascinated by the atmosphere of the ancient building and the peaceful green valley. Hidden in a dark forest surrounded by fields of cows owned by the only farmer of the valley–who also happened to be the mayor of Belval (population: 80).

Priory and Chapel The monastery used to be much bigger than the current barn (left), priory (center) and chapel (right). The priory is 16th century, the chapel dating a few centuries older. The whole complex was protected by large wall of which you can still see the foundations in the field around the buildings.

From the outside the house looks more or less undamaged. It still has its proud, religious stature. The symmetric facade of the priory carved in the yellow sand stone is magnificent. The chapel to the right had been in use until the late ’50s. The mayor even went there for ceremonies.

First floorThe inside is a different story. Everything was torn down, with rubbish and debris everywhere. Yet this is where the dream started! We were drawing a picture of these rooms in minimal design with just a few local wooden artifacts that matched the exterior. You don’t need much if the building has this feel: a simple Hästens bed, good light design, a rain-style shower, stone walls with limestone floors, a wooden cross or a statue of some saint. Perfect. The old abbey would live again for people who are looking for tranquility with quality.

And so it happened. The Super Gite concept was born.

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I might as well …

… start writing.

Let me explain where I’m coming from. About three years ago my partner and I started to look for a place out in the country. Amsterdam is cute, lively, liberal and fun yet very crowded, noisy and hectic. Not even close to places like Madrid, New York or London, but still.

A place outside of Amsterdam was not going to be enough. We needed S-P-A-C-E. And the Netherlands do not have space at all. You could try the corners of this tiny country like east of Deventer or north of Groningen, but there’s nowhere you’ll find a place with just the sound of birds.

Besides that we’ve always wanted to live abroad. Spain, Italy or France: you name it, and we’ve been there to check it out. Our #1 choice has always been Spain; the country is great, the people are special, the food is fun (and muy delicioso!). But all that is a flight away. Spain–or at least the Sierra Morena which we aimed at–is simply too far away for a weekend out of the country. You need to book a flight, pack stuff, check in, wait, fly, pick up your car, drive to the house, and then… you’re even more tired then before you left!

Chateau de la Forge

Chateau de la Forge

So we started seriously looking for homes two years ago in an area between 4 to 6 hours’ drive from our home. We looked seriously at several places.

The first contender was this beautiful Chateau de la Forge in Commercy. A bit too far… around 8 hours from Amsterdam…but –OMG– it wa s a dream house. Eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, two living rooms, a drawing room, two dining rooms. This house was great! The garden was the size of a small park; yes, it was huge and so was the price. We made an offer just a bit on the low side and they never wanted to talk with us again. That was a pity, since it truly was a remarkable mansion. (BTW, if anyone is interested, it’s still on the market.)

Monastery at Bois des Dames

Monastery at Bois des Dames

A few months later we got a second call from our contact in France. This time he wanted to show us an ancient monastery chapel. Really our thing, he said–and he was right.

The chapel and priory were situated in a valley surrounded by forest. The Dutch owners had started some renovation we’d call demolition. Demolished ceilings, half-broken fireplaces… it was a mess to say the least. Taking all this into account, we again offered miles less than the owners wanted. We saw a crisis coming and we sure didn’t want it to be our crisis.

The Dutch owners took it off the market again, and they are continuing their dramatic work.

We sure hope the ghosts of the 48 Germans buried in their garden do not obstruct the renovation.

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Filed under All, History