18 Feb 2023


On Monday I started to prepare the things I would take along for the three days in France. It took me quite some time as I was very slow and had to sit down from time to time. Fortunately Tuesday I felt good enough to join my travel group. Always better then staying home. The day started with a catastrophe I got up very early to have enough time to have my breakfast and get dressed. Suddenly I realized that I had taken the departure time for the wake up time and had exactly 10 min to throw my staff in my little bag pack take my keys and took my car and arrived at the bus when he just called me. Fortunately I had done everything the day before so I just had to close the door and take my car. 

In the the coach I was able to collect myself again and say hello to the others. We were 13, but that brought us luck because the weather was sunny. There were two men on board, (+ the chauffeur), one was a widow's brother and the other was the only widower in the whole group. So to speak an unicum. 

I couldn't follow the whole program, because I walked so slow and got easily breathless but I made the best out of it. While all the others visited a museum of old or rather antiques irons (!!) I remained outside and took a little sunbath. The people were very friendly and I chatted with a few, and then the others came  out, one said angrily "why we women had to look at these old irons, we know them, show them to men, that they learn ! " We all laughed.

In Longwy we had our lunch, the restaurant was amazingly full, it was the St. Valentin and also school holidays in this area. The best was the decoration on the toilet seat !

We were all full til the top and were happy that we could sit down in our coach. Then we stopped again to visit the Municipal Museum of Enamels. Again an opportunity for me to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine. Enamels I had seen enough in my life. Don't be surprised that I mostly sat on benches, but my target was on the third day the city of Metz where my grandpa was station master in 1918.

At 6 pm we arrived in AmnĂ©ville, which is a holiday center with an annexed animal park.  

this was our hotel. It looked very nice from outside but the inside was more than simple ! I mean I had a bathroom, but no fridge and no kettle and for more then one bed there was no room only for very skinny people. An English or American would have gotten a nervous breakdown when he saw the the "Breakfast buffet" ! 

Breakfast buffet. Fortunately there were croissants and jelly ! And also hard boiled eggs (like stone !)

I skipped the supper I had still enough from the lunch and went to bed. And I slept ...... for 11 h, non stop. Don't know when this happened to me last time ! After breakfast they all went to the animal park, but I preferred to stay in the hotel, it was very humid and misty and cold. I thought I will go when the sun comes out in the afternoon. Which I did.


The Zoo was just opposite the hotel and seemed rather small to me. I wondered what my travel companions had done in there from 10 am on ? 

I started walking and noticed that most of the animals which had been fed, were laying now in the sun and did their siesta. I had gotten a voucher to pay my entrance, the lunch and a coffee, but I couldn't find a restaurant not even a Snack it was all closed ! So I wandered back, found a little snack bar with delicious Belgian waffels and ate that. Then I returned to the hotel and sat together with a few others, who were half frozen and regretted not to have gone to the zoo in the afternoon. 

The supper was in the "Buffalo Grill" and was very good. We really enjoyed our meal. I left before the others because I wanted to be fresh the next day to finally see the station where my grandpa had worked so many years ago.

 Unfortunately we couldn't stop and I only could take pictures out of the window. I thought it looked more like a church to me then a station. But fortunately there is Google and I found a nice photo for me !

at least now I can say that I have been there !

After having done a tour around the whole city, visited the cathedral of Metz, in which I just went in and out because it was like entering a deep freeze I sat again outside on a huge place where people just gathered for a manifestation and it was full of police cars and police. They want payed retirement from 62 years on, most of the European countries get their retirement between 65 and 67 years ! 

Before the crowd arrived I quickly went into the restaurant where we should have lunch. The others soon came after me and after the cold cathedral they were happy to be in this warm restaurant and we enjoyed our lunch. 

In this building was the restaurant.


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

13 Feb 2023


 It rained outside !




I felt a little bit better, at least I could breathe normally again. So I decided not to go out yet, but to lie on the sofa in front of the TV or work on the computer. I even managed to go to my neighbor to ask if there was any mail. 

Otherwise, a few people called me and I called my ex-neighbor, with whom I actually had little or no contact when we lived in our house. But I had heard that her husband had also died shortly before Christmas.  Shared suffering binds  together. So we decided to meet, when I come back from France (if I can go).  Shared sorrow is better to endure. 

So the day went by and I started to be optimistic to go on my trip, Even if I have to stay in the hotel or in a cafĂ© it's still better then staying here and getting crazy !   

I have to distract myself otherwise I think too much about the good times of the past.

On Sunday the day was identical, I managed to put the laundry in the wardrobes, and left out what I would need for my travel to France, which I put directly in my suitcase. I don't need very much as I am only 4 days away.

Rosie was happy that I sat always on the same place so she could do her 23 sleeping hours marathon without or only two interruptions.


On Sundays a French channel has a show on TV that shows wild animals and then various animal shelters where you can adopt dogs and cats or rabbits and guinea pigs. And this time there was a little pig too ! That would be something for me! It behaved better than some dogs and was very intelligent. 

When the young girl went with the pig, into a restaurant hwearing a beautiful coat, the restaurants couldn't say anything, since it wasn't a dog! But the little pig behaved better than some people.

This was my weekend. Please wish me luck that I can go to France, to the city of Metz, where my mother was born in 1918 when Lorringen was still German, and my grandfather worked there as station master. I will try to find the station !!


The station of Metz in 1918

12 Feb 2023



 Today it is a museum

In June 1946, Italy and Belgium signed "the men for coal" agreement: as Europe struggled to recover from the impact of the second world war, Italy agreed to send its surplus manpower to the mines of southern Belgium, in return for 2-3 million tonnes of coal a year at preferential rates. 

Between 1946 and 1949, 77,000 Italians reached Belgium in convoys, far exceeding the manpower target. On arrival, they were dispatched to various parts of the country, where they were housed in corrugated iron hangars or barrack-blocks—some built by the Nazi occupiers to house Russian prisoners of war. They were indeed more like concentration camps. 

All but 12 of the 274 miners in the Bois du Cazier perished on 8 August, 1956 in the southern town of Marcinelle, after a mining wagon, incorrectly placed in an elevator cage, struck an oil pipe and electrical cables, triggering a deadly fire. The victims had 12 different nationalities. The largest number - 136 - were Italians who had emigrated to Belgium to work in the coal industry. Therefore, a rapid description of the policy framework which affected them can help to better understand the changes produced afterwards by European integration. You can read the whole horrible story HERE