Last weekend on Friday 9 May we drove down to the Biesbosch National Park south of Rotterdam and rented a canoe for a few hours of canoeing.
Yesterday we went to Baarle Nassau to see my cousin Agnes at a pottery demonstration (see below). Baarle is a town in the south of the Netherlands with complicated borders that zig-zag through town. The border situation is the result of a number of complex medieval treaties, agreements, land-swaps and land sales.
Amy on one of the borders
Last weekend we drove to the Alsace region in France and visited the area around Strassbourg, especially the Vosges Regional Nature Park in the south and north of this region. We visited the Caves of Han in Belgium, Strassbourg, Kintzheim, Munster, Gérardmer, Épinal and La Petite Pierre.
View from Kintzheim Castle
For the last few days the official website of The X-Files: I Want To Believe movie www.xfiles.com had a countdown for the debut of the trailer. The clock was counting down to midnight (our time in the Netherlands), so we just stayed up to wait for this exciting event. Here’s the page at just 3 minutes to go:
Last week on Wednesday 30 April we drove to France and stopped in Han-sur-Lesse in Belgium to visit the Caves of Han or Grottes de Han.
Five years ago today, on 28 April 2003, we did one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. On this day we made a hot air balloon ride over Luxor and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Seeing the sunrise over the Nile was a wonderful experience. Here are some photos of this exciting journey:
Today we visited the weekly Kaasmarkt in Alkmaar, which is apparently the largest cheese market in the world! This cheese market was started in 1365 and since 1939 Alkmaar has been the only place in the Netherlands to maintain the cheese market in this traditional form. It is mainly done for tourists now and held from mid-April to mid-September on every Friday morning from 10:00 to 12:30 on the center square of town.
The last three days we have seen the Rose-ringed Parakeet in our backyard here in Leiden every day and today it seems to be hanging around the whole time. Our neighbors have also taken note of it. Here are some better photos than the ones I posted on Wednesday.
Just two months after our backyard was for the first time visited by two Goldfinches, today we saw another species: a Rose-ringed Parakeet! These birds are originally from tropical Africa and India but have established feral populations in a number of cities around the world, including London and the Randstad area in the Netherlands. We hear them fly by our house quite often and sometimes we see them sitting high up in trees in our neighborhood. This was the best view we had of one since we saw them in India: