Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hidden harbor

In The Netherlands, there are lots of little discoveries to be made while biking. In other words, there are a lot of places that are (purposely) difficult to reach by car, and you are more likely to get to it on a bike. Take this boat harbor, which we never knew existed until we came across it on a bike ride the other day. Now all we need to do is find someone who owns a boat!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Lookout

I seem to be starting an unintentional Egyptian Goose series. This one was standing lookout ... perhaps just relaxing, or maybe there was a nest nearby. We saw him on a bike ride just outside of Wassenaar, on the Valkenburgsmeer. Normally we see a lot of windsurfers on this body of water, but perhaps the impending rain kept them away on this day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Museum Mauritshuis

The Mauritshuis art museum in the center of The Hague is a real gem. Primarily focused on Dutch/Flemish artists (it is owned by the government), it has a number of famous paintings, two of which are previewed here: Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day - Europe

Today is a holiday in The Netherlands, but it is the Tweede Pinksterdag (the 2nd day of the Pentecost holiday).

For today's photo we go nearly 400 kilometers away from Wassenaar to Luxembourg (the town of Hamm just outside of Luxembourg City). During a recent trip there we stopped to see the American War Cemetery. Among the over five thousand soldiers buried there is General George S. Patton. We also stopped at the German war cemetery which is just over 1km away from the American cemetery.

The history in central western europe is amazing, and there are still many reminders of both world wars to see. We've been to a few and always find them to be quite touching that so many people gave their lives for their countries.

Happy memorial day to our friends in the states!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Walk Like an Egyptian

This statue (along the Binnenhof in The Hague) seems to be pointing the way for this family of egyptian geese. If you've never seen this type of goose before, click on the picture for a larger size and check out the coloring around their eyes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Binnenhof

The Binnenhof in The Hague is the home of the Dutch government (even though the capitol is officially Amsterdam). The view from the pond is nice and you can also see some of The Hague's more modern buildings in the background.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Herons and ducklings don't mix

This grey heron was not shy ... he was very compliant while I snapped some photos very close to him. He also decided to give us a nature lesson. Just a few moments after taking yesterday's picture, my wife pointed out a duckling that was swimming in the canal. Not a second later, the heron swooped in, grabbed the duckling by the feet, and took off with it. We looked on in horror as the duckling's mother chased the heron to no avail. We know that it's part of nature's plan, but we had no idea that herons ate anything other than fish. I still admire herons for their grace and their fishing acumen, but now everytime I see one I'm going to think of that poor little duckling! So yesterday's guesses were correct ... it's not an easy task for young wildlife to survive.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Child protection

This mother had good reason to be protective of her well-camouflaged little one. Check back tomorrow & I'll tell you why.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Samen (Together)

These flags along the Binnenhof in The Hague celebrate the Netherland's participation in the Treaty of Rome, a precursor to today's European Union. The flags read "Samen sinds 1957," or "Together since 1957."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wassenaar Dixieland

As we approach summer, Wassenaar's main shopping street, the Langstraat, gets busier and busier. Last weekend there was a garden fair; these guys were part of the entertainment and they were pumping out some mean Dixieland jazz.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More wildlife looking for food...

Driving past the Kralingse Bos in Rotterdam (not meaning to step on Everyday Rotterdam's toes), I couldn't resist stopping to snap the storks on the nesting poles. A woman (on a bike, of course) stopped to look with me while I was taking pictures. In Dutch, she seemed to ask me if the storks had "tweelings" (twins), to which I answered that I didn't know. Just then I realized that she wasn't asking me, she was telling me, because a couple of little stork heads popped up looking for food from their parents. We stood and watched for a while as the baby birds occasionally looked up for food.

The top image is as close as I could get; the 2nd image is highly cropped and zoomed, but you get the idea. Next time I'll be sure to take my telephoto lens!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Got your goat?

You never know what you'll come across biking around the area. These expressive goats (they must have thought we had food) were in the Vlietland, just east of Wassenaar.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (Final in series)

Final photo in our Queen's Day series, a collage of some of the crazy orange headgear (click photo to enlarge). Orange is nothing if not festive!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (7)

Now this is a bit more Dutch! This truck didn't move for about 5 minutes, due to the density of the crowd. And that's just to get across one small canal. I'm not sure if you could pay me enough to try to drive through Amsterdam on Queen's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (6)

More streetside sales, though this one didn't seem quite so Dutch. We had to laugh at the "Real American Hot Dogs" ... although we weren't tempted (or maybe we hadn't had enough to drink yet) to eat one. Perhaps the condiment containers gave it away as being not quite american: two mayonnaise containers vs. one each for ketchup & mustard.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (5)

This was the MTV boat (if you look carefully, you can see the hosts microphone). Definitely was a rockin' boat, they had a big fog machine at the front. We don't know if they were broadcasting live or taping segments for later.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (4)

For us, the highlight of Queen's Day was watching the boat parade. We got a good spot early, then watched as a trickle of boats became a non-stop traffic jam. Most boats had their own sound system, some even with a DJ, so it was non-stop house music all day. One of the boats even threw a bottle of wine to us ... yes, a full bottle that we enjoyed. It was a don't-try-this-at-home moment that fit the spirit of the day!

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (3)

One of the first signs of Queen's Day are the streetside sales. City residents sell everything: yard-sale items, food, hugs, pie-in-the-face ... you name it, you'll probably see it. This couple, selling various orange items, perfectly captured the spirit of the day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Queen's Day in Amsterdam (2)

Another "night before" shot. A different kind of soldier, standing at attention, waiting for the horrible battle to begin. If you've never been to Amsterdam, you might not be familiar with this very public device, very popular with uninhibited and/or wasted and/or desperate males. For a more detailed account of our Queen's Day adventure, check out our personal blog.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Queen's Day One

Sorry for the break, wasn't able to post while traveling last week.
For the next week or so, please enjoy some photos from the Queen's Day holiday. Not in Wassenaar -- we were celebrating about 50kms away in Amsterdam. This pic is actually from the night before ... perhaps a show of force to help make the holiday orderly? Why this would be necessary might become evident as you see more of the photos.