After our visit to Space Expo today we also stopped by the European Sand Sculptures Festival on the boulevard in Noordwijk to see the sand sculptures. This year’s theme is In Celebration of Disney and there were eight sand sculptures based on Disney animated feature films. Some were better than others. WALL-E, Sleeping Beauty and Narnia were by far the nicest, and they were also awarded with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Here are some pictures:
Last Wednesday we went to Texel for the second time (last time was in April last year). We took the train from Leiden to Den Helder and then the 9:30 Teso ferry to Het Horntje on Texel. It was a beautiful day for bicycling around Texel: 30oC and sunny.
Yesterday we took the cats out for some fresh air. We bought harnesses and leashes for them. They will have to wear the harness during our upcoming flight so we thought to try and get them used to wearing them.
Alex was off and running!
The Euro 2008 football (soccer) championships begin next week in Austria and Switzerland. Dutch grocery chain Albert Heijn is trying to duplicate the huge success of their Wuppie campaign of two years ago with a new cute character to collect – the Welpie. Welpies are cute little wild-haired lions meant to show support for the Dutch team. Welp is Dutch for baby lion.
We got our first Welpie on Monday and today I picked up another.
Yesterday we saw a Big Boy statue in Kaatsheuvel. Instead of holding a plate with a burger, he’s got a giant Coca-Cola strapped on.
When Ireland banned smoking in all enclosed public spaces in March 2004 it made big news. Critics said that pubs and restaurants would suffer, but the ban has actually been a huge success. Cigarettes sales in pubs dropped by as much as 60%, thousands of smokers quit in the first year and more non-smokers ventured out to the pub. Since Ireland’s success story most other European countries have adopted anti-smoking laws. More »
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.
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.