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
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:
Yesterday we visited Madurodam, the smallest town in the Netherlands. Madurodam is a tourist attraction near the Hague where typical Dutch buildings and landmarks are displayed at a 1:25 scale. Here’s a video of some of the things we saw:
I don’t want to be too negative, but I admit there will be some things I won’t miss when we move from the Netherlands. More »
As we plan to move from the Netherlands to the U.S., I have been thinking about what I will miss the most once we are settled in our new place. Besides our dear family, I am sure I will miss a few other things.
Today we visited Teylers Museum in Haarlem to see one of the rarest and most expensive books in the world: “The Birds of America” by John James Audubon (1785 – 1851). The exhibit “Vogels van Formaat” (that runs from 3 November 2007 to 20 January 2008) has on display an original copy of the huge book. It consists of five volumes depicting all birds of North America (as known at the time) in actual size on beautiful dramatic paintings by Audubon.
Approximately 200 sets were thought to have been created in the early 1800’s, but only about 130 are still known to exist. One of these was sold by Christie’s in New York in 2002 for 8.8 million dollars! Teyler Museum bought the first edition book when it came out for 2243 guilders and has owned it since. Throughout the time the book is on display, the museum opens a different page in each book every day.
Today we visited IJmuiden after seeing on waarneming.nl that for the last three days they have been spotting a Humpback Whale just 20 meters from the South Pier. We weren’t lucky today and didn’t see it, but we did see some great birds, including three new lifers (Black-legged Kittiwake, Red Knot and Pomarine Skua)!