Monthly Archives: June 2014

HEADING FOR THE HILLS – back soon

The French Alps, mostly wi-fi free.

The French Alps, mostly a wifi free zone.

We apologise for this break in transmission. Do not adjust your set.

I’ll be somewhere in France for the next week, walking roughly southwards along the mighty GR5 route from St Paul-sur-Ubaye, hoping to emerge at St Martin-sur-Vesubie. There’ll be refuges with food, beer, wine and beds along the way, but I don’t expect to find internet access very often.

The Dutch footballers in Brazil will have to struggle on without my help. I’ll be back in time for the final.

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Filed under Hiking

THE SHAPE OF OTHER THINGS – day of Amsterdam architecture

IJDOk - Hotel Room Mate Aitana.

IJDOk – Hotel Room Mate Aitana.

Continuing our weekend of exploring Amsterdam on the second Dag van de architectuur, Mevrouw T and I rode the bikes along the Ij harbour from Centraal Station to the new development at IJ Dok.

Like it or loathe it, it’s certainly at the pointy end of Dutch design. Continue reading

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THE SHAPE OF THINGS – Amsterdam’s weekend of architecture

Intel Hotel, Zaandam

Intel Hotel, Zaandam. Brilliantly witty or gimmicky kitsch?



Mevrouw T is a regular at Amsterdam’s excellent annual Dag van de architectuur (Day of Architecture). This year I joined her, and many others joined us.

The event’s popularity led the organisers to extend the 2014 edition to a whole weekend of walks, talks and open building inspections.

Highlight of our Day 1 was a boat ride along the Ij from Amsterdam to Zaandam with Mr Remy Vlek as our expert guide. Naturally I was pointing the camera at the sights along the route. Continue reading

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THREE ARTY REASONS TO LOVE AMSTERDAM

One of Peter Erftemeijer's   "Three figures in the the street".

One of Peter Erftemeijer’s “Three figures in the street”.

A gentleman plucks at my sleeve as we’re leaving the excellent NeighbourFood market by the Westergasfabriek. ‘Excuse me, sir, I’m a poet.’

My companions move on quickly, but he has me trapped. He’s polite, well-dressed and well-spoken. Seems ok.

‘I’ve written a poem about that statue over there, and I’d like to recite it to you.’

I know the statue, pictured above. The poet continues, reciting his short poem to an audience of one. He’s not a beggar, he’s a real poet, one of forty taking part in Juni Gedicht (June Poetry), an event sponsored by the local council. Continue reading

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FIVE DUTCH VILLAGES – a day’s cycling from Amsterdam

Markermeer - they don't call it 'Waterland' for nothing.

Markermeer – they don’t call it ‘Waterland’ for nothing.

A sunny day, a gentle breeze, a work deadline met, bike chain oiled and legs in need of a stretch. Time to do one of my favourite loop rides from Amsterdam, out into Waterland, aiming to visit five of Holland’s most picturesque villages.

Two of the most visited posts on this blog are about Waterland and Dutch villages, so there’s another excuse to put the two together in one pretty, watery ride and have a story to tell at the end of it.
Continue reading

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Filed under Cycling, Holland

ONE WORLD CUP AUSTRALIA CAN WIN – and so can Holland

The flag flies after an Aussie win.

The flag flies after an Aussie win.

No, not THAT World Cup. We Aussies know our place in the football world. A blow or two punching above our weight would be a satisfactory result.

But in the Hockey World Cup, Australia and Nederland have made it to the finals in both Mens’ and Womens’ tournaments, so it’s worth a trip down to Den Haag to share the fun. Continue reading

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Filed under Holland, Sport

ITALY BY BIKE – quietly adventurous

Cycling in Italy doesn't have to be tough.

Cycling in Italy doesn’t have to be tough. On Lido it’s quite relaxing.

We hadn’t planned to ride bikes on this trip to Italy, but once we started we wished we hadn’t waited so long before taking to the saddle.

We’re not talking major excursions here, no lycra-clad slogging up the big climbs of the Giro d’Italia; just a convenient way to get around in Verona and a pleasant day’s escape from the madding crowd in Venice. If we can do it, anyone can. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Italy