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Posts tagged ‘Netherlands’

Rainbow Warrior III

There’s a new addition to the Wellington skyline at the moment, in the form of the tall masts of the Rainbow Warrior III (they’re 50 metres high!). The purpose-built flagship of Greenpeace is currently moored in the Wellington harbour, and yesterday at lunchtime I took the opportunity to take a nosey on board to check out what this impressive ship had to offer and hear the environmental message it carries.

Rainbow Warrior 1

The tall masts of the Rainbow Warrior III stretch high above the Wellington harbour.

The tall masts of the Rainbow Warrior III stretch high above the Wellington harbour.

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Gingerbread house in Our Place

We have been hearing about a (large!) gingerbread house which word on the street said had been constructed inside Te Papa Tongarewa (meaning Our Place – New Zealand’s National Museum, situated on Wellington’s waterfront). We always love hanging out at Te Papa – regardless of what special exhibitions are on, the long-term exhibitions and art are consistently engaging and interesting – but put baking, Christmas and museum altogether in one, and we knew we had to get down there and check it out for ourselves. So that’s what we did tonight (long may Te Papa’s late nights on Thursdays last!). The house has been constructed to encourage donations to the Wellington Children’s Hospital – gingerbread house making kits are available to buy at the museum. Click on the photos below to check out what we found… (look for the photos with the details of the building and baking, quite astounding!)…

The gorgeous Te Papa gingerbread house was baked by Te Papa’s Executive Chef, Bernd Lippmann and constructed, installed and decorated by the chef along with a dedicated team – see how they did it in the video below! The house fills the museum with a delicious “it’s Christmas!” smell of warm spices, and it is clear that the team who decorated the house has an eye for detail.

The house bought a huge smile to my face when I saw it, and was a nice reminder of the European Christmases we have the pleasure of enjoying for the past two years in the Netherlands. Seeing this gingerbread house also took me back to very happy memories of the gingerbread house competition which takes place annually in Sweden with a different theme each year and is exhibited at the Arkitekturmuseet in Stockholm. Read more

Old and new

Something we miss about Europe is the feeling of turning a corner, and seeing something medieval.

Dom Toren, Utrecht, at night

Dom Toren, Utrecht, at night

PJD

Photo by CIA, Utrecht, the night before we left the Netherlands. What is it about where you are (or where you were, or where you want to be) that makes it special?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

Colour challenges are easy, in the sense that finding photographs with a certain colour in them is usually straightforward. But, that being said, the harder task is finding a theme that can bind otherwise disparate images together. And so today I am looking at the alliterative joy of green and gothic.

Incidentally and tangentially, I always grew up with green associated with envy; a German colleague of mine in the Netherlands told me the colour is associated more with hope. What else does green make you think of?

PJD

Photos by PJD or CIA or others, in diverse European locations. Today’s post was brought to you by the letters G and P, the number 11 and the colour green.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

As the Northern Hemisphere descends towards Winter, through the Fall, this image speaks to the renewal of Spring. CIA took this photo of the bulbs which spring up everywhere in the Netherlands as the snow melts, and the sun starts to make itself felt.

Mostly Daffodils, Leiden, NL

PJD

Photo by CIA, near Da Kooi; we were completely surprised when this otherwise ordinary stretch of public space was suddenly transformed into this verdant field of flowers.

Weekly Photo Challenged?

Wellington is not flat

CIA recently wrote of the flatness of the Netherlands, and how we never quite got comfortable with it. Wellington is not flat, indeed, it is famous for the way that the houses crowd the ridges, clustered along steep hillsides. Yesterday was a Wellington special; what I like to call a nice day, spoiled by wind. Still, you can’t see the wind in these pictures, so…

You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.

But you can lose your breath.

PJD

Photos by PJD, around Oriental Bay, near where he and CIA used to live.

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

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