Netherlands II

During my recent trip to The Netherlands I also visited De Hoge Veluwe National Park (The Hoge Veluwe National Park), a national park in the province of Gelderland. It is approximately 55 square kilometers in area, consisting of heathlands, sand dunes, and woodlands. It is situated in the Veluwe, the area of the largest terminal moraine in the Netherlands. Most of the landscape of the park and the Veluwe was created during the last Ice Age. The park forms one of the largest continuous nature reserves in the Netherlands. I have previously visited the park many years ago to look around the Kröller-Müller Museum, founded by art collector Helene Kröller-Müller and opened in 1938. It has the second-largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh, after the Van Gogh Museum.

I didn’t take many photographs while I was there, but I can recommend visiting the area for both the museum and the walks around the park.

I also found some other photographs from The Hague that I thought were worth posting here as well, these four are from Zevenhuizen. The village actually has its own flag and coat of arms due to it being its own municipality until 1991. The area is slightly spoiled by the power pylons running in the background. I tried to take photographs that hid them, but you can see the clearly in the third photo.

And one last shot from the beach, it’s starting to become my favourite place in The Hague.

Slow shutter speed at the beach.

Netherlands

it has been almost a week since I have from the Netherlands and I have spent much of that time contemplating my future. At least once every year I have to visit The Hague to take care of various pieces of administration and almost always visit for longer than I really need to, it provides a welcome break from work and the madness of Brexit.

I haven’t posted much on this journal this year primarily because I have very few positive thoughts as most of my thinking has been swallowed up by the constant noise that the current political situation is providing in Britain. It has been unbelievably polarising and I cannot remember any other time that I have been so embarrassed for British politicians when I have travelled. It seems that much of the western world is lurching to the right and it feels like a course correction is required.

Still, a week away from that madness in a place where I can't read the news, or can at least escape it, provided some much needed relaxation. As The Hague is an ever evolving city with new buildings going up and older buildings being renovated. Even Den Haag Centraal Station has been finished (after around ten years of reconstruction). It is always nice to wander around and see what is different or new. One of my favourite discoveries was Kaafi, a new brasserie on Prinsestraat. Apparently it has been open since 2017 but I have somehow missed it on previous trips. Shockingly I have to say that it has the best coffee (and selection) that I have tasted in The Hague.

I was resenting carrying my camera around in the heat so most of my photographs were taken on my iPhone. I am sure that I have taken these photographs many times over the years but these are still some of my favourite places in The Hague. Holland Spoor has changed so much in the past few years it is now completely pedestrianised and has lots of restaurants to eat out in, it has become really pleasant to spend time at when I compare it to when I first moved to The Hague.

Of course no visit to The Netherlands would be complete without a visit to a windmill or two (in this case seven). My companion for the week ( @catwith8lives ) took me out to Sevenuizen which is situated between Zoetermeer and Gouda.

Two of the Windmills at Sevenuizen

I also visited Amsterdam Pride when it was parading through the canals, I was apprehensive about going as I could only imagine the carnage that would be Amsterdaam Centraal Station but to my surprise it wasn’t so bad. The pride march makes a route through some of the canals on boats that have been turned into floats, it was amazingly well organised and was a lot of fun to watch.

So I have returned to Scotland for the moment and am still enjoying the stroopwaffels that I brought back with me and if I close my eyes I could almost be back there, if I block out the rain and the politicians.

December

I'll start by explaining the photograph, it is the entrance to the harbour (haven in Dutch) at Scheveningen, The Hague. It has taken me what can only be described as a ridiculous amount of time to learn Port (left)  and Starboard (right). Even now I laugh at myself about how very simple things can trip me up. As a geographer probably the most embarrassing thing to admit is that I still sometimes use NESW (never eat shredded wheat) when I think about east and west. 

So back to the point of this post, apart from the pretty photo of a storm brewing.


All my living in the moment went straight out the window when I realised that December is here and good lord where the hell did the rest of the year go? No seriously, where the hell did the rest of the year go? I have stuff to finish and do, December is not a productive month. To many mince pies to eat and sweet tea to drink. :-)

I reflect once again on achievements made over the year, the new people I have met, reconnecting with those that I had lost touch with and personal achievements that I feel good about. It's easy to look and find the things that I feel good about, so I have been trying to deconstruct the parts of the year that I don't feel good about or that went wrong.

I was once taught to remove my emotions from criticism and to try to look at criticism objectively and rationally. It's amazing how useful this has been throughout my life. It has allowed me to think about any problems or criticism and not react "all guns blazing". It has provided a useful technique in thinking about what I could have done better and how this could have been achieved and can be avoided in the future.

In every December I look forward to the winter solstice. I have always felt that this is a much more significant day in the calendar than any other, the general thought of our planet spinning through a vast universe in almost perfect balance makes me laugh at how insignificant we are. So spare some time on the 21st December at 16:28 for the point where the day starts getting longer again.

Thanks for reading!

November

Image courtesy of @alycoste

November, for me, marks the start of dark nights and frosty mornings, usually still pleasant frosty mornings. The most exciting thing about the dark nights is the start of Light Trail Season again... I am sure that my Instagram account is going to start filling up with them, and I'll give some more attention to the @lighttraillovers account this month as well. 

I always take a little time at the start of each month to evaluate what I have achieved in the previous month and it would seem that October is past too fast and some of the tasks that I planned have been pushed back a little.

I didn't manage to get a webmap into this site of the locations of my photographs, primarily due to the platform I am using. I did do a lot of research on different webmaps that I could use and at this point I am just trying my hardest to avoid using a google map, I think there are more creative ways to provide a point map from a database.

I was able to visit a few locations that were new to me last month; Incholm Abbey & Island, The Birks o' Aberfeldy a more in depth visit of the Hermitage near Dunkeld and was able to photograph the Tay Rail Bridge for the first time. It was a good month for photography, I learnt a lot and re-discovered some forgotten techniques and developed a taste for apocalyptic processing.

I also have a trip planned back to The Hague for a long weekend in Novemeber, make sure the apartment is still where I left it and catch up with friends and see what opportunities can be taken in The Netherlands. The winter lights will be up by now and the city always looks great at this time of the year, I am very much looking forward to going back. 

I only include one photograph in this post, which is of me, courtesy of the talented @alycoste, taken during our recent trip to the Birks o' Aberfeldy (of which I'll be posting photographs of soon).

September

Lange Voorhout - The Hague

I can almost taste winter in the morning right now, I actually thought for a second that the morning dew on my car windscreen was frozen this morning. I was positively excited by the prospect of having to scrape the windscreen. September has long been my favourite month of the year. In years gone past it has been the month that I returned to University, or at least started to build apprehension of going back. Nowadays it signifies that Winter is Coming, without the White Walkers of course.

I look forward to the nights getting longer and the temperatures dropping. As a photographer it means that light trails become ever present in my photo stream, sunsets are harder to catch but sunrise gets easier (especially in my case) and probably most important, the air gets clearer and the photographs crisper.

Of course Winter has drawbacks that most people like to complain about such as not being able to feel your hands after being outside for ten minutes, but I think that it is a price worth paying.

I have added my favourite winter shot from my favourite place to this post, I may have posted it in here at some other point but it is worth posting again. I hope you are as excited by the prospect of winter as I am.