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When I spied this beautiful fern unfurling in the garden at my parents house, it made me glad to be back in New Zealand, with such beautiful nature so close to home. Don’t get me wrong, the Netherlands has its own beauty in nature, but the simple beauty of this koru really took my breath away. It’s also appropriate; in New Zealand, among other things, the koru symbolises new beginnings. – CIA Photo by CIA, Auckland, October 2012.

Glacier lake

It was very cold. The wind whipped around our faces and hands, eventually making our hands numb. The sun, what sun there was, was fleeing. The clouds loomed up ominously. None of that mattered, as my newest obsession established itself.

Jökulsárlón has seeped into my core.


Photos by PJD, Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 2012. As previously noted, these photos were made possible by the consummate driving skills of my good friend, who patiently showed me around his homeland. I am not sure he’ll ever really know how much I appreciated that.

You know you live in Wellington when…

… a giant Gollum appears in your local airport. I really, really mean giant. It kind of gave me a fright as I got off the plane tonight. The bubbles (a little hard to see in my photo, apologies!) are a master stroke.

Gollum has certainly landed (or dived through the wall of the airport), which means that the countdown to An Unexpected Journey has begun…


Photo by CIA, Wellington Airport, New Zealand, 29 October 2012. This amazing sculpture was masterminded by fine art sculptor Masayki Ohashi of WETA Workshop, and weighs in at 1.2 tonnes, and is 13 metres long, 3 metres high. Check out an awesome time lapse video of the installation process here.

Vanity post; or, random shots of Luxembourg

These pictures have in little common, besides the facts that I am:

  1. in them
  2. like them

They cover various points of interest (or points of random) throughout Luxembourg City, and this marks the end of our Luxembourg Week special.

But here’s a small question – and it doesn’t have to be rhetorical – has some place left a mark on you from a fleeting visit?


All photos by CIA, because, of course, PJD can’t very well take pictures of himself. Because he left his tripod in New Zealand in what was, retrospectively, a huge mistake.

Post Script:
Incidentally, some readers of this blog may have seen some of these images. Apologies, to those readers, in the event that they never wanted to see any of those pictures ever again.

Weekly photo challenge: Foreign

Before we moved to live in the Netherlands, people warned us that as vegetarians, we wouldn’t have much luck with (or get much joy out of) Dutch food. Whilst it is certainly no vegetarian paradise, we didn’t find it all that bad. Certainly, there were even some Dutch foods (mainly of the sweet variety, such as appeltaart and stroopwafels) of which we became huge fans during our time living in Holland.

Moving to the Netherlands equipped with only limited Dutch language skills meant our trips to the supermarket in the first few months were quite challenging and made for some interesting exchanges as we navigated the payment system at the checkout, as well as navigating the aisles (such as when I eagerly utilised my fledgling Dutch language skills and asked a supermarket staff member “How are the eggs?” rather than “Where are the eggs?”). Being foreign in a country suddenly adds a level of challenge to daily tasks and interactions such as going to the supermarket which you’d otherwise take the ease of doing for granted. As a tourist, it can be fun, but when you are trying to integrate into a different society for an extended period of time, it can be tiring and frustrating. Read more

Luxembourg by night

A stroll around Luxembourg City by night is not to be missed – we learnt this on the way home from dinner one night as the photos below attest to. Not only are the buildings stunning in the way they are lit up, but the Petrusse Valley which cuts through the centre of the city makes for an incredibly dramatic night-time scene.


Photos by PJD and CIA, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, Easter 2012.

It’s not Hobbiton…

I guess steep river valleys force you to be creative with space. Either that, or there are some hobbits in Luxembourg.

You decide.


Photo by one of CIA or PJD, ownership is in dispute. Does it matter? This is about hobbits. (The Luxembourg: An unexpected journey in more parts than expected. Movies can be like that too*)

*Oh, and Wellington is so the place to be for that kind of thing.

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