Friday, February 29, 2008

Theme Day: Amsterdam Street Art

Those of you who visit our blog know that we don't always stick to Wassenaar, although on theme day we normally try to post something from the immediate area.

This theme day is a tough one -- Wassenaar is a pretty "clean" area and there isn't much graffiti or street art to speak of. So we're avoiding our neighbors in The Hague and Rotterdam by going to Amsterdam for this photo of a wild building, with extra graffiti for good measure.

And no, we didn't forget about leap year. We hope you don't mind the fact that we are publishing a day early, as we won't be able to post tomorrow but still wanted to participate.

As of 28 Feb, there are over 140(!!!) city daily photo blogs participating in this month's Theme Day:
Adelaide, Australia by Gordon, Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, Aliso Viejo (CA), USA by Rodney, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Bandung, Indonesia by Guntur Purwanto, Baziège, France by PaB, Belgrade, Serbia by BgdPic, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Boston (MA), USA by Fenix, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Bucaramanga, Colombia by Fernando, Budapest, Hungary by Isadora, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chicago (IL), USA by U R us, Chicago (IL), USA by b.c., Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Cologne, Germany by April11, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Detroit (MI), USA by Taittems, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, Evry, France by Olivier, Forks (WA), USA by Corinne, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Guelph, Canada by Pat, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Gerald, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Jsaltao, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Ham, London, UK by Mo, Mainz, Germany by JB, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Mazatlan, Mexico by Kate, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Montréal, Canada by Douber, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by MumbaiIteanu, Naples (FL), USA by Isabella, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK by Cassie & Chris, Niamey, Niger by Dinabee, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Radonvilliers, France by Deslilas, Riga, Latvia by Prokur, Rome, Italy by Giovanni, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation by Lark, San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs, Santa Fe (NM), USA by Randem, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Seguin (TX), USA by Thien, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Silver Spring (MD), USA by John, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Sydney, Australia by Sally, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Terre Haute (IN), USA by Zann, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Wrocław, Poland by Loompi, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bloom Envy

This one is for our friends back in the midwestern US and blog visitors from colder climes. These azaleas were shot just a few days ago in Amsterdam. A bit early--indicative of the mild winter we've had here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Belgian "Sidewalk Sale" -- Where?Wednesday

The Belgian town of Tongeren (Belgium's oldest city, a roman town) is home to one of the area's best-known antique markets. Every Sunday the streets are full of dealers selling everything you can imagine.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Medieval Belgium

In the Belgian city of Tongeren, the area known as the "beguinage" or "begijnhof" is a quiet area containing some of the oldest homes in the town. The area dates from the late 1200s, when it was developed as a walled area with homes for women who devoted their life to serving the church. The spire of St. Catherine's church towers over the old houses.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Antwerp Garden Art

A quick weekend trip to Belgium took us to Antwerp, Diest, and Tongeren. In Antwerp we came across a small garden ("Kruidtuin" or herb garden). Dating from the early 1800s, it is an interesting little oasis and it was nice to see some of the early spring plants blooming. It's not a dainty recreation of an 1800's garden, as this modern sculpture shows.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Relaxing Ride?

After yesterday's rant, I thought something a little more relaxing is in order. How about a nice carriage ride around Amsterdam?

Actually, compared to many other european cities, I rarely see carriages around Amsterdam. It must be difficult to compete with the bikes, trams, pedestrians, and cars!

Friday, February 22, 2008

No Jason Dittle!

If you've seen this on the City Daily Photo Blog portal and clicked through, you might have some questions. I have done my best to anticipate -- and answer -- your questions.

Q. Who is Jason Dittle? A. I have no idea. He left a comment on yesterday's blog, but his Blogger profile provided no additional information about him. So evidently he is a coward.

Q. Why say "no" to Jason Dittle? A. Jason Dittle (pseudonym or not) is a spammer. His comment on yesterday's post, which I chose to delete, was "hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash.....this site......"

Q. What's the big deal? A. I spend time and effort on this blog. And I appreciate the comments that viewers leave, even though I don't always have as much time as I'd like to respond to those comments. So I really don't have the patience to deal with spam comments.

I googled "Jason Dittle" and saw that "he" left the same comment on a large number of blogs, the authors of which might be as annoyed as I am.

Jason Dittle is the focus of my frustration with all spam, including the 20-or-so emails that arrive each day proclaiming that I have won the UK National Microsoft Yahoo BMW Coca-Cola Lottery or that the Honorable Attorney for Abishmu Mulalahalla O'Brien needs me to URGENTLY REPLY so that I can inherit hundreds of thousands of dollars. Strangely, all of these people seem to think that I am stupid enough to send them my bank account information.

Q. So, what can one do about it? A. I am still resisting the urge to disallow anonymous comments, but that will change if the trend continues. But please be aware that most blog services have a policy and a way with dealing with spammers. Blogger has a comment policy that forbids spam, so I reported Jason Dittle's blog address. I urge any other victims to do the same.

One of Jason Dittle's other victims was witty enough to respond to the comment, saying "Thanks Jason Dittle, I usually peruse blog comment pages for ways to make extra money..."

I only wish it were possible to respond to Jason Dittle personally ... with a comment not fit for public viewing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stoned Stork

Almost hidden outside of the American School of The Hague is this stone or cement Stork. The stork is the symbol of The Hague ... perhaps this stone is a remnant of the school prior to its current building in Wassenaar.

Aside from appearing occasionally on this blog, storks have also featured on neighboring blogs in The Hague and Rotterdam. The are magnificent birds, and it's good to see them returning to The Netherlands via conservation efforts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mirror, Mirror in Amsterdam: Where?Wednesday

I shot this because of the different elements -- the "bunny" plaque, the reflection in the window -- but ultimately didn't think it was a very interesting photo.

Then I noticed the element that seems very out of place.

I mean, what is up with that mirror? It looks like someone ripped it off a truck and stuck it next to a window.

What possible function can it serve? To spy on a neighbor, to get a view when sitting at a desk? If anyone can enlighten me please do.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Be Constructive

This would have been a good "what is it" photo, had I thought to take a full-frame picture to reveal it's full structure. So I'll just tell you that it is detail from the Naum Gabo sculpture "Constructie" (Construction) in Rotterdam.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Double Vision

No, I wasn't drinking when I snapped this shot of people enjoying last week's weather in Rotterdam. It's a reflection in the building across from the cafe. Sunny spots were at a premium during last week's "heat wave." It's still sunny but a bit cooler.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Picturesque playing field

We've had sunny weather most of week -- very unusual for this time of the year. Although it's cooled down for the weekend, it's still supposed to be sunny.

The weather drew out quite a crowd last Tuesday in Amsterdam. The field behind the Rijksmuseum was filled with students reading in the sun, playing sports, or just fooling around. Felt more like April than February.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jordaan in the Jordaan

In the Jordaan district of Amsterdam, we came across this tribute to Johnny Jordaan (Johannes Hendricus van Musscher), a popular dutch folk singer. "De Parel van de Jordaan" refers to one of his biggest hits, "The Pearl of the Jordaan."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lotsa Bikes: Where?Wednesday

Today we're in Amsterdam, looking at the bike park just outside of the main train station (Centraal Station). The 3-level "fietsenflat" has space for 2,500 bikes and floats over the canal.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Life on the Water

Houseboats in Amsterdam ... you see them in all shapes, sizes, and styles. An interesting way to live, to say the least.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thinking of ... Bicycling?

Last in our "when people think of my city..." series. Wassenaar is an excellent area for biking. There are bike paths through diverse environments ... from town to beach, forest to dunes. The "Landgoederen" is a 32-km roundtrip around the area ... if you're interested you can find a brochure here (in dutch).

Have a great weekend, thanks for visiting and commenting throughout our "thinking of" series that started with February's Theme Day. Hope to see you back on Monday.

p.s. Although some of the photos I've published this week were from the archives, this was actually taken today. Shows how mild (albeit sometimes miserable) the weather has been here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thinking of ... Windmills

Windmills (molen) are of course a typical image when you think of The Netherlands. The windmill in Wassenaar, the Windlust, sits just off the town center. It still mills flour, and is open on Saturdays for tours. A regular feature on this blog, it probably isn't the first thing people think of about Wassenaar, but to us it's a great landmark and defining feature of the town.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thinking of ... Horses

Continuing on the "when people think of my town" theme, many people might think of horses when they think of Wassenaar. There are stables in the area, a maze of horse riding trails, and it's home to the harness racing course Duindigt.

Some days we'll be home and hear the clop-clop of horses riding right in front of our house.

These horses were grazing last November in a field that is only a 10 minute walk from our home.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thinking of ... School?

Wassenaar is known to many as a city of expats. According to the city's website, of the 26,000 inhabitants, 13% are not dutch nationals. There are several reasons for having a large expat community: it's close to The Hague, with all of the government insitutions, international court, and Royal Dutch Shell headquarters. It's very green and spacious. And the American School of The Hague is located here. (In the area of The Hague, there's also an International school and a British school). The pic above is a statue outside of the ASH entrance; the building itself (below) has one side that reminds me of a waving flag.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thinking of ... a vacation?

Many people might think of the vacation- and attraction-park Duinrell when they think of Wassenaar. We've never actually been in the Duinrell, but it consists of an amusement park, a water park, and a vacation area with bungalows and campsites. Traffic through the town can get pretty busy on (the occasional) warm summer weekends.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

More "Thinking of..."

Thanks to all who commented on yesterday's theme day photo, "When People Think of My City They Think of..."

I'm still viewing the other participating sites ... with the CDPB community constantly growing, it takes longer each month!

If you read any of the comments from yesterday, especially the ones from our dutch neighbors, you might have realized that Wassenaar is considered to be an upscale area. Some people would call it downright "rich." When we tell dutch people we live in Wassenaar, we have to say "in a normal house," else they assume we are moneybags (which we definitely aren't). "Geen kasteel" we often say (no castle). There's a specific reason many expats live here, which we'll reveal in a few days time.

There's no denying the town does have its share of big estates. The prince and princess live here, and other royalty have in the past. The pic above (taken last autumn) shows DePaauw, built around 1840 by Prince Frederick and now serving as town offices. The "estate" surrounding the building is a beautiful park. Many of the large estates in Wassenaar have been repurposed as embassies, given that we are so close to the government in The Hague.

So this is the type of image that many people have when they think of Wassenaar. We'll continue with this "theme" for a few more days.

Friday, February 1, 2008

When People Think of My City ... Monthly Theme Day

The first of the month -- that means Theme Day for the City Daily Photo Blogs. This month's theme is "When People Think of My City They Think of..."

We thought about this a lot, and we agreed that although Wassenaar is known for many things, it's most known for being "green." OK, so Wassenaar isn't well known outside of The Netherlands, but mention it here and everyone knows it!

When we say green, we don't necessarily mean in an "environmental" sense. We mean that there is so much green space here compared to many areas of the country. It truly is considered a luxury here--in the most densely populated country in Europe--to have so much green space.

Nothing typifies this more than the dunes (duinen) that buffer the town from the North Sea. Here is a view in the Meijendel dunes (taken last May) ... a landscape that is not common in The Netherlands except in a few places along the seashore.

Rather than doing a collage, we thought we'd continue throughout the week with other contenders for the theme, so stop back in to see what else comes to mind.

There are over 130(!) City Daily Photo bloggers participating in this theme day:
Portland (OR), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Memphis (Tennessee), USA - Manila, Philippines - San Diego (CA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - New York City (NY), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - San Francisco (CA), USA - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - Mainz, Germany - Weston (FL), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Turin, Italy - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Bicheno, Australia - Durban, South Africa - Joplin (MO), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Brussels, Belgium - Chicago (IL), USA - Montpellier, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mazatlan, Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Toulouse, France - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Susanville (CA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Helsinki, Finland - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Lisbon, Portugal - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Trujillo, Peru - Dunedin (FL), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - London, UK - Baziège, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mumbai, India - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Stayton (OR), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Arradon, France - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Athens, Greece - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Jackson (MS), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Budapest, Hungary - Rotterdam, Netherlands - St Malo, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cleveland (OH), USA - Nottingham, UK - Kansas City (MO), USA - The Hague, Netherlands - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Wrocław, Poland - Chateaubriant, France - Cheltenham, UK - Moscow, Russia - Monrovia (CA), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Toruń, Poland - Grenoble, France - Lisbon, Portugal - New Orleans (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Boston (MA), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Wichita (KS), USA - Radonvilliers, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Christchurch, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Wailea (HI), USA - Aliso Viejo (CA), USA - St Francis, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Seattle (WA), USA - Pasadena (CA), USA - Vienna, Austria - Orlando (FL), USA - Torun, Poland - Delta (CO), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Paris, France - Stavanger, Norway - Niamey, Niger - Le Guilvinec, France - Bogor, Indonesia - Saarbrücken, Germany - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Juneau (AK), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Glasgow, Scotland - Chicago (IL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Sydney, Australia - Riga, Latvia - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Terrell (TX), USA - Terrell (TX), USA - Inverness (IL), USA