It’s a fun, folkloric event, but they take it very seriously.
We happened to be visiting Schagen, a small town just over 60km north of Amsterdam, on the day of a parade.
It was a busy market day, but suddenly the crowd was asked to make way as a group in traditional Dutch costume passed, riding on horse-drawn carts, pushing wicker prams, riding bicycles with baskets of poultry and playing accordions.
Unexpected, and spectacular, it made for excellent photo ops…
The construction crane across the canal has been an eyesore, but tonight it adds to the drama.
It’s been a quiet week, settling back into life in Amsterdam, broken by a spectacular evening downpour which caught us out in the open, sans coats or umbrellas.
No sooner had we scuttled inside, dripping wet, than the storm cleared, leaving a sky that had every smartphone in the town pointed heavenwards…
A friend told us he thought he saw one of my photos on the morning TV news (they’d lifted it from Facebook), though no doubt thousands of others captured the same spectacle. Continue reading
A Dutch wind farm. ‘Too noisy,’ says Mr Abbott, who must have extremely sensitive hearing.
Dear Mr Abbott (Prime Minister of Australia) and Mr Hockey (Australian Treasurer),
I’m following your pronouncements online while spending some time in Holland, and I understand that neither of you like windmills. They’re ‘visually appalling’ according to you, Mr Abbott, and ‘utterly offensive’ in your opinion, Mr Hockey.
I read that your government has gone so far as to order the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to cease funding new wind farms.
You may be surprised to hear that many people over this side of the world seem to enjoy them. Continue reading
Australian readers may notice a striking resemblance to John Bell playing Cyrano for Sydney Theatre Company many years ago. And is that Roxane at the window?
‘How long will it take us to find a statue of Cyrano in Bergerac?’ I ask as we drive into that French town.
Though there was once a real Cyrano de Bergerac who inspired Edmond Rostand’s classic play about the poet with panache and protruding proboscis, there’s no reason to think he ever visited the town in his lifetime.
That doesn’t stop Bergeracians cashing in on his reputation. We park in front of Boulangerie Cyrano, drink café in Café Cyrano, walk a block and find the man himself in front of Maison Cyrano. Continue reading
What am I doing here? I don’t like shopping. I already have too much stuff, I’m not going to cook any food tonight and anything I buy I’ll have to lug around for the next few days.
Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.
So why does every visit to a new town start in places where buying and selling is the whole idea? Continue reading
Minnamurra Rainforest, NSW.
It’s only a short drive out of Sydney, a 400-hectare pocket of dense jungle at the foot of the escarpment. And it’s a little treasure. Continue reading
19th century interest in Russell Falls started it all.
Australia’s oldest national park is the Royal National Park south of Sydney. Mt Field wasn’t far behind.
It was declared a nature reserve in 1885 and became a national park in 1916. It also has a dubious distinction as the place the last known Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was captured in 1933; they’ve changed the rules about taking nearly extinct species out of national parks since then.
Now it is one of Tasmania’s most popular parks, partly because it is only 64km from Hobart, and partly because it contains some of the most beautiful and varied terrain in the state, the country or indeed on the planet. We were happy to join the day-trippers on a short walk to the gorgeous Russell Falls – carrying the camera of course. Continue reading