April 20th - 23rd 2007, Hapert, near Eindhoven..

To cheer up Janny, who lost her husband in January, we organised a few days
together in a holiday park. We rented a six person bungalow in the forests of
the province of Brabant, near the Belgian border. We are Janny van Wingerden
from H. I. Ambacht, Monique Hoogzaad from Haarlem, Thea Buijs from
Rozenburg, Ineke Cornelissen from Den Haag (The Hague) and Gemma
Korthoudt from Westerlo, Belgium, "the Rieu girlzzzz"  We got to know each other
through Andre's music, and have become good friends.  

André’s music all around, beer from a Maastricht brewery, we brought our
Andre Rieu sweatshirts for chilly nights, we even cooked André’s favourite recipe
“andijvie met krèpkes” (raw endives hotchpotch with bacon). André cooked this meal on the DVD “Welcome to my
World”(limited edition for PBS members),
(there also is an old TV program where he cooks the meal).
Very “lekker”! That is what he said!

Oh my goodness, Rieu women can talk forever! What is true of the German rumors that Suzan could be pregnant? Is
André really performing at the Michaeler Platz in Vienna one week after the Maastricht concerts?? Is that Michaeler
Platz the square in front of the “Hofburg”??  Where the fiakers (horse drawn carriages) wait for their customers.
Where we saw the Roman excavations last year in the center of the square? So, after the decorum of the impressive
summer palace Schönbrunn, now the impressive winter palace Hofburg of the imperial Habsburg family?  Wow!! And
when will the Rieu circus leave for Australia? 2008 or 2009? And what about the idea of an open air concert in
Central Park, New York? Well, André keeps us busy!!  

We never stopped chatting! Wild ideas flew around in our brains. What could be the destination of our next holiday?
Vienna again?? New York or maybe Australia? How many persons will attend the fan dinner in “Charlemagne Café”
in Maastricht (till now I made reservations for 40!). What texts could appear on banners?  Same place for the fans
picnic in the city park? Shall we prepare a few Andre Rieu walks in Maastricht?
And translate them into English? And so on….. André keeps us busy. busy, busy!

One day we went swimming in the tropical swimming paradise (waves pool, whirl
pools, tube slides, solarium, etc). One day we rode our rented bikes along the
meadows with cows, into the forest, to visit the “Witches Tree”. In former days
this area (close to the Belgian border) was notorious for smugglers, gangs of
robbers, witches, murderers. We crossed the border to Belgium to visit the Postel
Abbey and a romantic former hunting lodge (a restaurant at present) called the
“Postelsche Hofstee”. In a chapel along the road I met my name-saint Franciscus
van Assisi and I liked to pose with him for the photo. (My official name is Fransina
which refers to Franciscus). I like that saint, for he loves animals and so do I.

My cellphone contains the ringtone of the Second Waltz, originally played by André and the Johann Strauss
Orchestra! Don’t ask me how that is possible, but Ruud achieved to get it into my cellphone. Every now and than, in
the forest or elsewhere we heard the muted music ascending from the deepest depth of my bag and we imagined
André’s spirit was with us, floating around through the forest, together with the medieval witches! According to the
legend the chief witch lay buried under the Witches Tree.

Back home we drank a brand new beer from the brewery Wieck (that is a quarter of
Maastricht). We knew the Wieck’s White Beer for a long time, but new is their Rosé
Beer. Ruud and I tasted it for the first time in Maastricht, while it was still unknown
in The Hague. At present we can order it in The Hague as well.  Connoisseurs
predict that the Rosé Beer will become a tophit the coming summer season. Did
you recognize the Maastricht arm on the bottle? That angel above the red shield
with white star? So… if you are in Maastricht in July, ask for Wieckse Rosé, and
try the taste. It is fresh and fruity like blackcurrant drink, with 4% alcohol. Of course
you should also try a slice of “vlaai” (cake) with your coffee. It seems: all the good things come from Maastricht!

We promoted André by wearing the sweatshirts at evening in a restaurant. People nudged each other, whispering:
“Look, André Rieu on their sweaters!”

Time went by too fast. Gemma returned home by bike! She had to bike for four hours but she likes to ride her bike
very much. Thea, Monique, Janny and I returned home in Thea’s car. The weather had been very nice, all four days.
We think we do it more often!

Ineke, Thea, Janny, Monique
Gemma is taking the picture
Monique and Gemma peeling potatoes
Thea washing the escarole or endive.
Ineke cutting onions.
Bungalo Park Het Vennenbos.