Sometimes you don’t realize how lucky you are – time to be thankful

Dear wonderful friends and family,

2020 was a major milestone for Jolanda and myself turning 50. We felt this would be a good time to look back what we experienced the last …. let’s say 30 years.

It started off that we were lucky to grow up in loving families who had the financial luxury and determination to provide us a better than average education. For me even in multiple countries.

This education enabled us to get good paid jobs and even gave us the opportunity to move to different countries permanently. After Jolanda spent some time in California and I did in London we both met in Singapore. After 6 years we moved to London and then to New York.

I cannot believe how many good friends we meet on the way. Especially on my surprise 50th birthday party in Switzerland – I could not believe how my family and so many friends spent their money and time to celebrate with us. We would like to thank all our friends who kept in contact with us all these years, sometimes it can be difficult as life gets in the way.

Our life took us in 2007 across Asia and Australia, taking 3 months off traveling across Australia with a Camper. We love the adventurous lifestyle and we threw ourselves out of “perfectly good airplanes” a couple of thousand times in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, Middle East and Australia. I did my pilot’s license and we flew ourself to spots we never otherwise would have seen. We both did our scuba diving certification and logged quiet some hundreds of hours exploring the ocean. In the winter we went skiing and snowboarding with our family and friends. What else can you wish for?

Two years ago we changed our lifestyle from luxury city apartments to a “boat life”. Our European heritage taught us that you should not spend more money than we have :-), so no million dollar yacht. Jolanda and I started sailing, from little sunfish to racing on J-24th to delivery trip of a 157ft Schooner. Keeping our own boat in operation can be very demanding and frustrating. There were some setbacks with repairing our boat but thanks to good friends and neighbors it gave us a good opportunity to learn a lot about fixing things. I started to see the maintenance and service on the boat as an ongoing project. Whoever asks us “when will the boat be fixed”, the answer will be “never”.

I always wanted to work in a job I enjoy, where I’m able to learn and I feel appreciated. Beginning of this year I made the hard decision to resign from my job as it was not a good fit anymore. Taking some time off, and thinking about what I wanted to do next was a great decisions which I do not regret. Of course we had to cut back a bit our budget (no more fancy lattes every morning). This more “simple life” is so fulfilling and gives us a different perspective and a sense of accomplishment. Also we realize that other people are not as lucky as we are. If something goes wrong we can jump on an airplane fly back to friends or family and always have a place to stay.

If you think we are courages, there are more inspiring couples which are cruising the Bahamas in a smaller boat with more problems and three kids or the other couple we know trying to fix their sailing boat for an ocean crossing working more than two jobs and in addition volunteering as Emergency Medical Responders in the remaining spare time.

We have so many friends who inspire us, made us running a few marathons, practicing yoga and fitness workouts. We are thankful for all of that and more. We truly believe that “life is a journey”.

The list would be too long to name everyone being a good friend and part of our life, so if you reading this now consider yourself part of that friendship. Especially during these difficult times try to see the good things in life.

We had a big goal this year to travel South with our boat and spend the winter there. I was working on the boat to be able to make the trip and Jolanda worked on our budget. Finally on November 6th we left our marina in Jersey City and arrived on December 30th in Charleston at our winter residence. For us another lifetime achievement and strengthening of our relationship. Our goal is to inspire others and learn from you inspiring us.

Most important is that we are all healthy and we are trying our best to stay that way. We will continue our adventures lifestyle and try to make the best out of every situation. That thing with “Lemons and Lemonade”…

Wishing you health, happiness and good start into 2021

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Journey South – Are we there yet….can too many adventures be too many?

Where to start? Since my spectacular fall onto our Monitor, I haven’t felt my top self. So driving the boat or assisting Marcus has been hard on me. Normally I love to run, work out or do a yoga session before leaving for the day, but since my fall even talking to my family and friends has been hard…I think I’m supposed to rest…. hopefully soon…

We left on December 26th our new favored town Wilmington NC and travelled South – travelled by some beautiful mansions and docked at the lovely City of Holdan Dock. Luna was in heaven exploring the world…

On Dec. 27th we continued our drive South on the ICW driving by more mansions – we love how they build the houses in North Carolina with all their private boat docks.

As I didn’t feel so well we tried to make shorter legs and on Sunday Dec. 28th we stopped at Myrtle Beach. While we were fueling a nice Canadian couple started to talk to us. They also own a Jefferson 52″ boat like ours – how exciting to meet somebody with the same boat.

We met later for a chat and the next morning before we left we enjoyed breakfast together and admired each others boat. We were in boat haven and feel we met friends for life! We can’t wait to meet again!

We travelled along more mansions and boat docks and arrived finally in South Carolina – yeahhhh!!!!!!

During our drive we felt there was a funny diesel smell…. it got stronger…. After we arrived on the most romantic and secluded anchoring stop,

Marcus realized there was something wrong with our fuel tank. He started to study the manual and surveys about our boat. It seems that the tanks were not equalizing anymore and one engine was topping off one tank and receiving from the other. SO that resulted to Diesel spilling into the Bilge. Despite trying everything – Marcus couldn’t figure out what to do and on top we found out a couple of days ago that our insurance coverage only went until North Carolina…we were in process to get it extended…..

Needless to say that Marcus and I had a sleepless night

There are always back ups – also when it comes to the Diesel engine:
* Equalization line between tanks
* two Diesel supply lines
* a transfer pump to move Diesel from one to the other tank.
Unfortunately all three options seemed to be faulty, maybe we were only relying on one option the entire time.

After consulting our good friend and neighbor Don who was driving back from Wisconsin to Jersey and some tips from our new friend Jamie, Marcus got confident to shut off one tank and use only one.

That seemed to work, Marcus was afraid to starve the engines and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, but luckily both engines started up and kept on going without any issues!

Every hour Marcus was switching tanks manually to keep them equal and it worked out!

Despite being nervous, it didn’t stop us to admire the beauty we came across today

and we arrived to our last anchorage before our destination for a while = Charleston!

We were greeted with the most amazing sunset and raising moon and on top we just go the confirmation of our insurance coverage being extended – and another dolphin said hallo ( we saw those beautiful creatures every day so far and we learned from our new Jefferson boat friends that they mean good luck)…..

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Our Journey South – Merry Christmas – Wilmington NC – Dec. 25th – Stuck on a Sandbank

On Tuesday Dec. 22nd we continued our journey on the ICW. Marcus drove most of the time and I worked – we enjoyed beautiful scenery including dolphins.

We anchored at Mile Hammock and Marcus surprised me for my Advent surprise with a German classic “Feuerzangenbowle” under the Stars.

December 23rd we started our day early. There was a storm arriving on December 24th and we wanted to make it to our Christmas location Port City Marina in Wilmington NC before the storm started.

I was making tea and suddenly some bangs….

We hit the ground and were stuck on a Sandbank…. opsi…. at mile marker 99A the only mile marker our friends and neighbors highlighted on their ICW map to be careful.

So let’s see how Boat US service is. We called and they said they will have somebody at our location in 45 minutes. Not bad if that is really true. Actually the Boat US boat arrived in about 30 minutes!!!! Wow!
He was super professional and had us pulled out in 5 minutes. Amazing service!

Unfortunately we had some vibration, but lucky not too bad so we still could continue our trip.

We arrived at Wilmington without further issues. Organized a diver and he confirmed that we only had minor prop damages which we decided to get fixed when we arrive in Charleston and we have more time.

We then explored Wilmington and fell in love!!!!!!

On the 24th in the morning we felt the boat smelled funny and the bilge pump worked too hard or was it it was not operated at all….
Anyway Marcus and I worked as a team to clean the smell (meaning clean up the bilge pump) and Marcus then tried to fix the toilette, but as of today we know that somehow there is a blockage somewhere. After testing the other toilettes – lucky we have 3 we think 2 work and our most important one doesn’t….

This didn’t hold us up to explore our new favored city further.
We did a “reindeer” tour and saw the old victorian beautifully restored houses…enjoyed fresh pressed juices – they had not just one but 2 juices shops (heaven for Jolanda), cute little coffee shops and many amazing stores and restaurants! Everybody was running or walking. The city had a very diversified young, old and active vibe and we did great Christmas shopping in small wonderful stores!

In the evening I cooked the best Cheese Fondue in my life and we enjoyed a beautiful evening together being grateful for each other and everything we have in life.

Merry Christmas to our beautiful friends and family

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Journey Going South – Dec. 20th – A long and rainy day

After a quiet evening anchoring at Belhaven, we started very early since the forecast of the day was rain. We thought let’s see how far we get and then just drop the anchor and go tomorrow all the way to Morehead NC.

Surprisingly the weather held up and besides some small showers we made some distance and drove from Upstairs. As soon as we thought “Hey we can do the entire trip today”, it started raining very hard. We were not giving up that easily so we started driving from downstairs in the dry. The view is not as good and the windscreen wipers are useless, but we still were able to continue.

Towards the end of our todays trip, Jolanda dripped over a cable and fell with head on over on an edge of a monitor on the floor…Lucky it was plastic and not our glass table edge…. It still turned out to be a light concussion and the area around her eyes started to change colors on Monday.

We couldn’t find an anchorage we liked and being cold, wet and not feeling the greatest, we decided to stay at a Marina. We made it to Morehead City Transient Marina. After the rain stopped, we were able to explore the town. We only found one restaurant which was serving food outside and 95% of the menu was meat. They were not busy so the chef did a special Buffalo Shrimp pizza on cauliflower crust. It was super delicious and they had good wine as well.

You can imagine that Luna was very happy to jump off board and explore the surroundings. On Monday we still had to work a bit and Jolanda did not feel that well so we did not explore too much. We will definitely coming back.

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Journey South Dec. 19th Chesapeake Virginia to Belheaven North Carolina – Best week yet!

We had a peaceful week working in Chesapeake City Virginia.

We had two days of beautiful weather and even managed on one day to do a lunch bicycle ride

and on another day a lunch time run through the swamps… Marcus wasn’t to amused that his feet got wet with his brand new running shoes, but neverless it was really gorgeous scenery and a good work out!

In between we admired our lovely free Dock – almost to good to be true…

On Thursday night it was my turn to organize an advent calendar surprise. Marcus loves Italian food and I found the raving review of an Italian Restaurant called Vino in walking distance from us. When I called the Restaurant they confirmed that we can sit outside. So I told Marcus to dress up in his ski cloth gear and off we went to eat the best mussel and clam soup ever in our lives! The rest of the food and wine was to die for too! I would dare say our best meal this year and the service was so beautiful despite we were the only one sitting outside.

People have been looking strangely at us sitting everywhere outside, but when we said we are from New York it seems to explain everything 🤣….

Friday afternoon Marcus finished work early and off we went to Lutz Creek. It was really cold and overcast – one of our hardest leg so far! Shortly before our anchorage we crossed into North Carolina – yeahhh!!!

On Saturday we watched a beautiful sunrise the forecast was as cold as yesterday, but the sun made a huge difference and did we tell you that Luna loves to travel on the boat…

When we entered the alligator river we saw a sail boat tied to a piling and he was calling Marcus on the radio and asked if he could give him a tow for the next 25 miles along the river…. We never have towed anybody so we were a bit hesitant in the beginning – even though he had no experience either – he made us feel comfortable to tackle the task.
First I tied his kind of short line to our boat, but then Marcus remembered we had a very long yellow floating line so we exchanged it and I felt much more comfortable to have the boat a bit further away from us. Then suddenly I see a big fishing boat roaring down the canal. Marcus tried to catch his attention on the radio and after a few attempts we were successful and learned how to be over taken towing a boat successfully.

Some impression of the rest of our day – Life is beautiful

On a side note…
this week has been like a little miracle

Inverter – after some more thoughts from our amazing ABYC Engineer it seems there is hope to have it running again

Generator seems to work like new – knock on wood!
– since Marcus cleaned the contacts and
– we donated to an amazing courages couple (who we follow and had much worse generator challenges):
and if you think we are courages, think again – they sold everything have 3 kids and 2 cats and are sailing full time in the Caribbean!) and
– Marcus started to audio record the start of the generator noise, to troubleshoot

– Marcus taped off our bedroom windows with plastic cover – works perfect and cost like nothing
– upper back side – after Colton Point Marina did the re-work….true magical not even a drop of rain…..

Conclusion there is hope or another way to put it like my friend Brigitte from Switzerland said:

And I see that you put a lot of energy into your projects…
Taking the train up a mountain doesn’t give you the same feeling of happiness than sweating and hiking up yourself😅.

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The journey South continues – ICW here we come

Ok first of all technical problems:

  • The Inverter/Charger is not fixed yet, we still trying to keep the fridge cold with a $80 converter, generator and starting batteries.
  • To make things more difficult our generator is starting to be a bit moody during startup and it takes a few attempts to get the motor running.
  • Also we realized that our 2 year old water heater is starting to leak. The marina checked with the manufacturer that the heater is “prematurely” leaking. Apparently they are not build for every day use and the lifetime is about 5 years.
  • So if you think that a new’ish boat is better than an old one, think again. Even after 2 years things will starting to break.

Ok enough of all to the whining…,

After we left Maryland things were finally moving (actually we were). We took Luna on a beach walk just for ourselves. This was her first dingy ride and she got very curious. I think she is getting more adventures day by day and is really embracing the boat adventure life.

Next day we left the beautiful bay and went to Hampton VI a small University Town.

Anchoring in the middle of the town was a bit of a challenge. First we found the prime spot just opposite the city marina, but our anchor did not hold and was plowing the entire anchoring area. We had to take down the antennas to fit under a bride and found a nice still close area to stay.

So first thing first going shopping. Jolanda’s new favorite: ALDI’s – they have even German Lebkuchen (Gingerbread).

Jolanda was very successful on her shopping trip….

In the night we went out for drinks and dinner outside, we had the town almost for ourselves as the students already left the town and we saw one of the cutest Christmas boat decorations….

The next day we went for a run. We even managed to run over a bridge where we could take pictures of us and our boat.

Then we started our journey to Norfolk the biggest naval base in the world and we got to see the USNS Comfort Hospital Ship which came to assist New York during the earlier Covid Pandemic this year.

Suddenly we saw dolphins – we love dolphins – so happy campers dancing around our boat

Then our journey continued to the ICW…..bridges and locks here we come….Jolanda was super nervous…we both had no idea what to expect and what to do….

Train bridges…just drive through? There was a big barge and we thought the best just to follow. We learned later that the train bridges sometimes decide to lower the bridges to let trains through without clear warning… Lucky we missed any of those surprises….

We approached the first lock…. what do we need to do? No idea…. Lucky there was another boat ahead of us and we just tried to watch what they were doing and copied their moves while Lune tried to jump off. Lesson learned we will need to secure Luna when we will go through Locks in the future.

After another bridge we arrived to another free dock and locking forward to our last week of work before the holidays.

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Free again – arrived in Virginia – Journey South

We still had a few set backs and intense discussions – Marcus can cover that part in a later post….

However on a more positive side we have started our yearly tradition of our special advent calendar which means Marcus surprises me on the even days and I surprise Marcus on the odd days during December.

My first surprise was last Wednesday December 2nd, Marcus convinced our kind owner from Coltons Point Marina to loan us his car and Marcus took me back to Solomon Islands to meet up with our friends Rebecca and Joseph and we had a beautiful dinner together and then we went to see the Christmas light show, the upside of a pandemic is that we were the only ones there besides 1 other family!

Did we just talk about the upside when something bad happened…. On Saturday Dec. 5th we got up early and wanted to leave… but the weather gods were not with us so we went on a massive bike ride 27 miles round trip to the nearest town called Leonard Town there we met again our friends Rebecca and Joseph and we rounded the weekend up with a St. Nicolaus celebration & game night on Sunday on our boat.

On the way back we were so late that we were riding in the dark and got to see the most magical Christmas decoration ever

Today the weather looked amazing and so nothing could hold Marcus back to continue our journey and off we went despite it being during the week.

Mark the coolest Marina owner we ever met – Thank you again for your patience with us

Bye, bye Colton Point Marina

What a nice feeling to be on the route again

I had a little scare while being on the helm with my first fish net…. I saw the buoy with the flags and then I saw other buoys with flags and I’m this is a bit strange and what is all this little thingy in the middle…. anyway frozen I yelled Marcus stop the boat and my hero husband did….. top priority practicing emergency stops for me! When the sun was settling we had a few more close calls with crab pots which were incredible not visible…. We did arrive though safely in Virginia and are at anchor Kilmarnock and have the best internet connection since 2 weeks…..and just experienced another breath taking sunset

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We have seen better weeks

If you think living on a boat is all glamorous, think again.

Don’t get me wrong we still enjoying our journey but there are setbacks on the way.

Last Sunday – before leaving the Solomon Islands – I realized that my wallet was gone. Sometimes I loose it at the restroom (falling out of the pocket), so I checked the marine restroom and nothing was there. I checked EVERYWHERE that day, even in the dumpster. The next day our neighbor told me that a yard worker is looking for someone who lost the wallet. Steve from the yard actually found it in front of his car (no idea were the car was) and I was extremely grateful. Unfortunately I could not give him finders reward as all the cash was gone. So I think someone found it in the restroom took the money out and threw it away in front of Steves car in the rain. Hey nevertheless I had my ID and CC back and my wet wallet Jolanda gave me for Christmas.

Task List

Beginning of this week we made our way to our wonderful Coltons Point Marina to get some work done on our boat. The list was not too long and discussed with the marine management:
1. engine maintenance – so I can observe and learn how to do it myself next time
2. The heater was leaking fluid, so the connections needed to be refitted
3. Windows in the bedroom needed to be fixed. One was broken and needed to be replaced and the other was leaking water during rain
4. Upper Saloon corner was leaking during rain – must be the bottom sealing from the rear
5. Replace Autopilot it broke on the way here
6. Inverter / Charger – I installed the inverter some month ago and it started overcharging my batteries and eventually fried the batteries. I send the inverter back, the service center confirmed that it is working 100% correctly and sent it back to me. Now I wanted an Electrical Engineer to install it with new batteries, done by the book
7. list of small things which is a lot but never got to

How it went

So the first day morning we were told that we can’t stay on the boat as some workers did’t feel comfortable with the COVID situation. We totally understand and moved our office to the canvas shop in the shag next door.

Unfortunately that meant that I could not look over the shoulder to learn how to service the engine (item 1).

The fittings of the heater (item 2) were sealed after two days, no problems with that.

Windows in the bedroom (item 3) where removed and cleaned up and installed. Some previous owner was trying to fix it and used glue which could not be removed, so we had to cut out some fiberglass out to get the windows out.

The leak on the rear corner (item 4) was a design flaw and someone was trying to fix it before with limited success. We had to take the floorboard out and re-cork the junction.

I wanted to get a replacement for the autopilot (item 5), but it turned out that I had to replace the entire systems which was far beyond our budget.

Our friend ABYC guru Phil and incredible engineer installed the returned charger / inverter (item 6) BY THE BOOK with all bells and whistles. Of course everything was inspected by our curious cat Luna:


So after spending a small fortune (other people by a medium size car for that money) this was the results:

(1) engine maintenance done, unfortunately only limited opportunity to learn how to do it next time myself
(2) heater all fixed and dry until now
(3) The morning after the installation showed that there was still a big puddle of water inside (it really rained that night). So back trying to find where the water is coming from. Jolanda and I have a long conversation with condensation water. I’m trying to fix the water leak for the last 2 years and no end is in sight.

(4) So after the rain we had a little swimming pool in our saloon, the corking solution did not work.

I actually found a spare part for the old autopilot (item 5) and replaced it myself, so I can wait until the next item breaks. If you think until now it was bad wait for item 6!!!!!

Remember I installed the Inverter/Charger myself and it killed my batteries. The service center came back and told me that everything with the unit is 100% fine and it is my setup which is faulty. So I got Phil to install it with new wires/batteries switches and everything else (one could buy a small car for that money) and the outcome was ……

STILL THE SAME AS BEFORE, the Inverter/Charger is overcharging the batteries!!!! NO DIFFERENCE AS BEFORE which means the assessment of the manufacturer of the inverter must be wrong… And it is still not working.

At this point we forgot Item 7 already, never mind. BUT the workers actually found another leak in the ceiling and fixed it. (I hope they were not going around with a screwdriver to find some leaks 🙂 – just joking, they were really amazing and went out of their way to get everything done in time.

The final straw this week was that Jolanda made me go to the ATM last weekend and I withdraw some couple of 100 dollars to have enough cash for expenses for our journey. The wallet was in her bag, but when she wanted to buy a lottery ticket today, all the cash was gone. We anyway bought a ticket with new money and maybe we getting lucky again. She put 40 $ back in her wallet with a note: If you steal this money, please use it to buy something nice….

FINALLY our lovely boatcat LUNA went for an unintentional swim when she was trying to jump onto the boat:

End of the day all three of us are healthy and there is still money in the bank account. Next post will be from Jolanda and more up lifting. Promise

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Happy Thanksgiving – Journey South – Being spoiled

Did we tell you we LOVEEEEEE Annapolis? The view, the races right in front of our boat, the location….

Sunday Nov. 22 we continued to explore Annapolis and met with our friends for dinner. We met Rebecca and Joseph at a YouTube gathering at UK Sailmakers in Port Chester, NY in early 2020. They ended up buying our neighbor and friend’s Hans sailboat. We connected with them like love at first sight and have stayed in touch ever since!

Monday we ran to Trader Joe’s and Home Depot…. Annapolis has everything!

In the evening we did a sunset Dingy cruise so picturesque!

As we work we wanted to move to our next destination on Wednesday or Thursday (Thanksgiving) but the winds were not in our favor so we got up really early on Tuesday before work and made our way to the Solomon Islands where we wanted to visit Rebecca and Joseph at their home marina.

Another uneventful journey (the best) we arrived in the pretty Solomon Islands safely. Docked…. The wrong way we found out… we will get the Dingy off the boat….

We also had the honor to join more of the company of our friends Rebecca & Joseph including celebrating Thanksgiving breakfast with Rebecca’s family and the best despite the rainy forecast we had the most beautiful warm Thanksgiving ever! Also this two are spoiling us…. ..brought us steps so we don’t have to do high athletic workout to get off and on our boat….loaned us their car…cooked the most delicious curry….and are just most beautiful two human beings!

So grateful for each other and each of you in our lives!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Saturday Nov. 21st – Journey South – Too good to be true

We love the little town Chesapeake City which is half way into the C&D canal, going from Delaware to Maryland. We were able to stay an entire week at the free City Dock…what a luxury.

We tried to give back to the town by eating outside and shopping. All people were so friendly and welcoming.

We also enjoyed our first bike ride on the other side of the canal which brought us over the Delaware / Maryland state boarder. It was though scary to cross on the “highway” bridge over to get to the bike trail.

We got a lot of work done as well with perfect internet access.

On Friday after business calls, we left for an overnight stay at Worton Creek. The anchorage was very pretty with no other boats.

It was a clear sky and we put some warm clothes on to watch the stars, lying on top of our boat.

In the morning we woke up with the birds chirping, apparently you can see eagles and osprey when you are lucky, unfortunately we were not that lucky.

After enjoying the sunrise with a coffee we made our way to Annapolis.

The water was so flat and we were skimming over the water. After a short time we could see already the Chesapeake Bay bridge.

Our way (yellow line) from Worton to Annapolis

We have been in Annapolis before but staying just in front of the city in the mooring area is definitely our favorite spot.

Second picture below on the right – my finger pointing to our boat.

There is a free dinghy dock so we can go quickly into town.

Before picking up a mooring ball we took on some Diesel, can you believe that we paid less than $2 per gallon? Especially with our Diesel consumption of 18 GAL an hour, this was a big saving. We using a lot the generator to charge the batteries and the heater, both running with Diesel as well.

We hoped to meet up with our courages couple from Cape May, but Hunter was sailing two days almost non stop so they wanted to rest, but we were able to wave to them when he picked up Tiawni from the dock.

We also met a nice Dutch couple in Chesapeake City who are moored right next to us. They are the coolest – love Trader Joe’s as much as me and brought even a few things back from their excursion there. We met them for dinner and enjoyed inspiring talks. We shall meet again.

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