Dear Family & Friends,

What can I say? Another awesome day!! We spent the day with some old friends, the Ardens… A nicer, warmer family would be hard to find… The father Jochan and I used to do business together and we both have a passion for Jaguars, racing, and our families so we have a lot in common….
Their son Julius spent a summer with us when he was in high school. What a difference today! A strong, handsom young man who just graduated from law school!
We went to their tuning company where they make custom wheels, body kits, brake kits and other go fast parts for late model Jaguars, Range Rovers, and Minis. It is an immaculate facility. Only what you would expect in Germany. He also races a beautifully restored 1970s Porsche 911 RSR and has a nice collection of classic cars both for sale and his own… One car that I am sure is the only one of it’s kind in the world that he has in the shop is a Porsche 962 with a Jaguar V-12 motor in it. Not a common conversion to say the least… ( see it in my blog)
Next we went to The Netherlands for a quick tour. It is amazing how small Europe is. The Netherlands is only about 100 kilometers away. We all got into one of their tuned late model Range Rovers and once we were on the Autobon we cruised along at about 180kph (110mph) so it made quick work of the trip….
Again it is so easy to cross the boarders now. Just drive down the road until you see “Welcome to the Netherlands” and you are there. It is funny how as soon as you cross the boarder it is different. It is hard to say exactly how.. I did notice the houses were smaller and they have house paints, shades of green, blue,and reds that can only be found in the Netherlands..Also lots of flowers.   We stopped in a little village and since it was Saturday there was a small festival going on with a band playing folk music. Other than the language difference the music sounded very much like American folk. We also took in an authentic Dutch windmill. Alternative energy hundreds of years before ours… or is it really alternative when it was here first???
We went by a very old road side cafe and had a nice lunch with beer and wine.
After that we went to the Arden’s family castle! The castle was built in the 15th century but it has only been in Jochan’s family for three generations. He was actually born and raised there!  
Their family has taken on a 12 year restoration of the castle. Of course they had their priority correct and restored the barn into a show piece garage capable of hold his extensive Ferrari, race car, and motorcycle collection… The garage is so clean we had to put plastic booty covers over our shoes not to track dirt in or scratch the tile floors. There was even a reading and sitting room up stairs in the garage!
The main  castle is about a year away from finish but what we could see it will be a show piece! The outside is an accurate restoration of the 15th castle but the inside is an excellent combination of old and new… Traditional sitting rooms, banquet rooms, and hallways but with a modern kitchen, bathrooms, a dungeon that has been converted into a wine seller and of course what every castle needs, an indoor swimming pool and sauna. I can hardly wait to come back and see it finished!  It is by far the most extensive re-model I have ever seen. I can see why it will take 12+ years to do.
The grounds around the castle are beautiful pastoral settings with a real moat around the castle.. These days it is used for fishing!
After the afternoon at the castle we blasted back to Krefeld and rested up for an hour at our hotel.
After that the Ardens took us out for a fabulous Chinese dinner and a pleasant evening of conversation. One of the strangest things at the Chinese restaurant was the Chinese waiter speaking a fluent German.. I have never seen that before!
After a long evening to conversation I am off to bed. Tomorrow is a fun ride to Antwerp, Belgium!

 Here is the Arden Company in Germany. They specialize in tuner parts for Jaguars, Land Rovers, and minis.. The young man is Julius the owners son. We had the please of him coming to spend the summer with us about ten years ago when he was in high school. Today he is a lawyer. My time flies!

 Some of the classic car sales they specialize in..

A new Range Rover with custom Arden body work and wheels.

A nice assortment of classics for sale..

A very hot XKR built by Arden..

The owner Jochon Arden’s racing E Type.. or a model of it.

Now here is something you don’t see every day…. A Porsche 962 powered by a V-12 Jaguar motor!

The Arden family. A warmer more gracious family would be hard to find. It is so rewarding to have such nice friends all over the world..

After a visit to the Arden shop they took us on a nice tour of the Dutch country side, only about an hour away.

Here is a very quaint small Dutch town where we walked around and had a delicious lunch..

A Festival in the Netherlands…

Alternative energy?Not really, it was here first!

The Arden Family castle… doesn’t every family have one? It  was built in about the 15th century and has been in their family for many years. They have spent the last 12 years remodeling it into a show piece. I can hardly wait to see it done! Next year they expect to finish it so Bonnie and I will definitely have to return for a visit!!

That fitting hanging outside the window was the original toilet. Talk about not wanting to go on a cold winter night..

This was the original bakery for the castle and local towns people.

I hope the Arden family enjoy their new home for a long time!

Even an indoor swimming pool!

That fireplace is 500+ years old!

Passages going every where..

Down to the dungoen. Don’t we all need one?

The “Event” room down below…

One of the original wells that feed water to the castle..

This room under the castle is going to be a party room!

You can faintly see an arch in the brick… This was a secret passage that led to a church 3 kilometers away. An escape passage in times of war.

A secret under ground room that is going to be a wine cellar now!

Duane putting on his booties before we were allowed to enter the GARAGE!! Of course that was the first room finished. Smart man…

The sauna…

Every castle needs a Ferrari collection…

A full collection of racing motorcycles too.! The wood ceiling is original from when the barn was built in about 1700s.

A BEAUTIFUL MV Augusta for a quick ride around the estate..

All original wood…

Duane trying to steel a souvenir.

Every garage needs a sitting room.

The castle even has a moat around it!! With fishing too.

I can hardly wait to come back and see it finished!

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