Some observations from travels

Archive for December, 2011

Boxing Day: Nijmegen, Dry and 8°C

It’s been a week since we arrived in Holland, Nijmegen, to be more specific.  After a gruelling two days and about 32+ hours of flying from Brisbane-Perth-Guangzhou to Amsterdam! We arrived at Schiphol airport at 6am and 0°c.  This is not our first time visiting my hubby’s birth country, but our first visit in winter.  The forecast was a mild winter, and it had been in the past week, but we shall see how the next couple of weeks go.  I am looking forward to some snow to complete my winter experience.  The past two Christmases was white for Holland and most of Europe.

So what have we done so far…a quick visit to Hooftstraat in Amsterdam to check out the new G-Star store.  This street is known for its hotels and brand name shops – nice; been to walks around Central in Nijmegen; drove around a few times to Amersfoort and back; and walked around De Geerkamp areas.  We are staying with my sister-in-law in Nijmegen, East of the country, bordering on Germany.  Around where we live there are beautiful walking tracks along the river.  On a mild day you can see people walking their dogs, ducks enjoying the water and have some sun on your face.

Christmas Eve was small and intimate.  After a lovely dinner the family gathered around to exchange gifts and read a special poem written for you by the gift-giver.  An old tradition that the family still proudly practice.  The first day of Christmas was an elaborate brunch sharing fun stories.  The second day of Christmas, Boxing Day for us from Australia, was a day spent exploring the Haterstse Vennen on Gelderland.  This is a protected area with marshes and forests.  The walk was very easy as the area was mostly flat and the view was beautiful – apparently every season of the year.

And then there was the ruins of St Walrick of Koorstkapel from the 9th century.  Beside it is an old tree, a wishing tree or the fever tree, where people have been hanging hankies or pieces of cloth in the hope that they would be cured of their fever.

After our effortless walk we rested at an old Restaurant St Walrick for some coffee and snack.

Overall the day was a wonderful experience of another area of Holland.  There are many more to see from this small country that is very rich in history and culture.

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What we see in our backyards

Since returning back to our all too familiar Gold Coast backyard I couldn’t help but take some snaps of the stuff we might (or mightn’t) see in a typical backyard.  When in Australia, there is the requisite barbie, that comes in many forms and sizes.  Aside from the barbie there are other man-made items found such as the swimming pool, outdoor dining, the popular Balinese huts and comfy lounge chairs.  Australian backyards are known for the local inhabitants sharing your space as well.  Here are some photos taken from our friend’s backyard.

You might see Kangaroos everyday, but a one where a mummy Kangaroo shares a tender moment with her Joey is priceless.

Everyday I watch the Kangaroo families hanging around the golf course areas keeping themselves busy with nibbling on the grasses, lifting their heads only when they felt there was a threat around them and then they’re off jumping in groups.  I have been trying to capture the noisy Cockatoos and Lorikeets that frequent the backyard but never had the opportunity. Until this morning, whilst I was having my breakfast, I noticed there were a few Cockatoos flying towards the house and seemed to hang around the fences.

My first reaction was…grab the camera and shoot!  Despite the drizzle I was too happy to go out and enjoy their company.  Before the dog came out to shoo them off, I wondered why they were suddenly standing on the fences, when normally they never came down this low.  My hubby got a piece of bread to lure them back and noticed there was a dead bird on the ground close to where these Cockatoos were standing.  These birds were mourning their friend or kin…

Animals mourning their kin are well documented – Elephants travel for miles to pay their respects to member of their clan; mother Orcas carry their dead young over their head for hours; Monkeys quietly observe their dead mates and mother monkeys suckling on themselves when an infant dies.  This shows how humans are so closely related to other members of the animal kingdom.  It was a heart warming experience for me to witness those Cockatoos this morning.

It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise. Jesus is not dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle; at times we believe we have seen them all, and could easily tell the names under which they go.  Emerson