Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Monday, July 12, 2021

Sometimes in life, the stars align!

When we fly to Ottawa next month, we will stay at Ruth's father's house until the auction on August 21st. After that, we were going to have to find somewhere to live for five weeks or so. Our daughter's house is okay for a night or two, but it's pretty small and with us there it gets crowded very quickly.

And Airbnb rentals around Canada's capital city are pricey. So we were looking to see if we could find a house sit for at least part of that time. 

A friend of ours who does a lot of house sitting in the Ottawa area asked if we wanted her to keep her ears open if anything came available. Of course we said yes, but didn't think anything would come of it. But you never know.

She got back to us the very next day. A regular house sit that she does in the area was asking her to look after their house and two cats... from August 21 to September 29... but she is already booked somewhere else so she couldn't do it.

She recommended us, and after a few emails and a phone call...we are confirmed. 

Sometimes in life, the stars align! The dates are exactly perfect... we (and the home owners) couldn't have asked for better. The location is also perfect. It's exactly in between the city and our daughter's house. In fact there is even a bicycle path that runs from there to our daughter's that is about 12 kms (7.5 miles).

And to top it all off, they are giving us the use of a car. Wow.  At a time when there is a shortage of car rentals, this is fantastic. We will only have to rent one for the first week or so.

The cats will get lots of loving and attention, and we are looking forward to that part of it too.

So now, with all of that confirmed, I can go ahead and book our flights... which I will do today.

Yesterday, we drove to a castle. 

We took the back roads.

It's a little risky taking the back roads in Europe because you never know what kind of height, width, or weight restrictions you might come across. Small towns have a lot of narrow roads. I try to do as much planning as possible, including checking google streetview, but you can only do so much.

We did manage to maneuver our way through a couple of villages, and fortunately there wasn't much traffic.

Narrow main street through town.

Village scenery along the way.

They want €6 to park at De Haar Castle, so I found a free lot 2 kms away. We needed the exercise anyhow. And I knew that it was expensive to visit the castle interior, and that you had to book in advance. But I had read in the reviews that it was free to visit the castle grounds. It turns out this is NOT true. My fault for not actually going to the website to get the facts.

Castle fortification.

The entranceway.

Yikes. No thanks.

It would have cost €36 ($53 CAD, $43 USD) for us both to see the inside. We love visiting castles, but not that much. Besides, there are lots of castles in the cheaper European countries. Even the best castles in Germany are quite a bit cheaper than that.

Beautiful De Haar Castle... zoomed in from a distance.

It's not that old of a castle. There was a castle here dating back to the 14th century, but it was in ruins and the current structure was built by the Rothschild family between 1892 and 1912.

We did a nice walk around the nearby village though. 

When the castle was built, some of the villagers were displaced and moved into homes in a new village that were designed by the same architect that did the castle.

Ruth at one of the village homes.


Where we were parked was day use only, so we had to drive another 10 kms (6 miles) to a possible overnight spot.

But we came to an old bridge in a fairly busy town where there was a width restriction of 2.6 meters. And it was a one way and a panel van was already coming through the opposite way. I could remember what Max's height is, but I couldn't remember the width! In our last motorhome Sherman, I had a sticky note pinned on the wall above my head with the dimensions, but hadn't got around to doing that yet with Max. 

I had to make a quick decision, and so we continued on and found a more suitable, but 5 kms (3 miles) longer route.

It turns out that Max is 2.3 meters wide. We probably would have had to pull the mirrors in, but we would have made it across that bridge.

Fancy houses by the canal.

Typical narrow road with lots of cyclists.


Not a bad spot.
It's just a roadside pulloff, but it will do for a night.

We went for a walk in the evening and saw this other castle way off in the distance. 
It is a private estate that belongs to a University.

Scenery along the way.

The weather has been mixed. Not a lot of blue sky or sunshine, but overall it is better than what they forecast every day. Temperatures are pleasant though, with highs around 23C (73F).


And in Canada...


  1. As far as the house and car, in my family, we call that a God thing. I just read where rental cars were going for $1200 a week in Hawaii and major US cities, so you guys were lucky as I'm sure most house sits don't include a car.

    1. Yes, we realize how lucky we were to get this house sit, especially with the use of a car. Kevin had been checking prices of rentals cars for months now, and yep they are super expensive and not one single deal to be had.

  2. Wow! That’s great! Things always seem to work out for you two.

    1. We are so happy that it all came together so well, and yes things often do seem to work out for us. We think part of that is due to the fact that we put ourselves out there and make ourselves flexible to adapt to different situations, we also like to think outside the box! :-)

  3. Yikes! Pleasant weather at 23F but probably a typo. Love the village and castle scenery. You scored in house sitting and use of car!

  4. In some countries you can get into tourist places for free on the first Monday of the month - this was a few years ago. I seem to remember we made use of this in Italy and Spain and am sure other countries did the same at that time. Carol

    1. We will try to remember to check that out on the first Monday of the month when we are going into visit any museums/tourist type of place. Also some cities have museums or gardens/grounds of places that are free on certain days or certain times of the day. Warsaw was good for that. Thank you for the suggestion.

  5. Looking at the pictures of the local roads, they look like one lane roads with bicycle paths on both sides. I am guess when you meet oncoming traffic you both pull over onto the bike paths to pass?

    1. It is only the smaller back roads that are so narrow the main roads and highways are wider but yes, that is the way you would drive on these roads and cars always have to give the right of way to bicycles.


There are more comments on our facebook page at

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.