A Travellerspoint blog

June 2009

President Obama

The policies debate

sunny 29 °C

This evening I met with President Obama to discuss cycling policies for the United States of America. Here we are being photographed at the press conference! :-)
Meeting_Obama.jpg
Gimp has some cool image enhancement tools!!!

Posted by classique 12:57 Archived in Netherlands Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

June 29

Cycling (Fietsen)

sunny 29 °C

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I feel absolutely bushed. I got up this morning with the plan of just an easy ride up to the fishing town of Spakenburg and then an easy journey back. Well, how many times can one get lost when signs are hidden behind branches, grass, or just do not exist... well, maybe i missed the odd one too! I rode out of Hoevelaken, through the side of Amersfoort, where i got lost first, then onto Spakenburg. It is a very cool old village with many of the old boats still in use! I ate my prepacked lunch on the inlet where all the boats come in. After lunch I went to the VVV and found out where the museums were and headed over to the first one... which, as it was Monday, was of course closed! I went for a ride around the town and found another museum hidden behind a church. It only coast 3.5 Euro's to get in and then the older gentleman who knew a couple of words showed me around. They had dummies which wore the traditional clothes of upto 200 years ago. They also had the old high chairs, mockups of old class rooms where the kids had a small blackboard on their desks as well as a ink well in the centre top of their desks. They had examples of an old shop where you could buy rice, penuts etc by what ever weight you wished as it was all in bins. They also show miniture fishing boats like the wooden ones you can see in the photo album. In the bootom of the boat, on both sides, at the back, the have holes with steel sive like plates over them. This was so they can keep the fish and eels they caught alive till the got back to port, and also acted as a balast.
Then I headed over to a town called Baarn where I got lost for the second time. But I fell across an old castle which I have also put in the photo album. From Baarn I rode to Soest where I got lost for the third time! I was quite over the whole riding experience by this stage, especially considering it got as high as 29 degrees celcius. Then I finally found the cycle paths I was meant to be on and exhaustedly trudged home to Hoevelaken. It ended up being another 50km day on the pushbike!!! Hope you like the pictures... The pictures never really seem to do the sights justice! And it is also sad that as I have seen so much good stuff, it takes even more impressive stuff to impress me now then it did before.
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Posted by classique 09:55 Archived in Netherlands Tagged bicycle Comments (0)

June 27

A Dutch BBQ

sunny 26 °C

Today was a pretty cruisy day! I spent a while praticing the guitar and went shopping with Ida in the afternoon. In the early evening we headed to Ida's brother and sister in laws place for a dutch bbq. It was Ida's sister in laws birthday BBQ. It turns out that here in the Netherlands, for a bbq, the hosts go to the butcher and order all the food including platters of salads, all the different types of meat you want, sauces etc... and also the tables and chairs! Then you grab a plate and get what salads you want, pick the piece of meat you want and go to the barby where you slap you piece of meat onto bbq and watch it cook. Once cooked... take piece of meat, wait to cool down, chop and place in mouth... I suppose the last part is simular to what we do in NZ and Aussie :-) It was a fun night and i got to meet many more people who could speak english!

Posted by classique 09:39 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

June 26

Utrecht

overcast 25 °C

Today started as a pretty cruisy day!!! I sent off a couple of emails and then Auca invited me to go to Utrecht to have a look at a 4 or 5 level bookshop with him. We rode into Amersfoort and caught the train to Utrecht. We rolled into our station and started the 15 minute departure of what is a truly hugh station and shopping mall. Finally, after several back track manouvers, we arrived at the book store which was very cool but was mainly in dutch. They did have several areas dedicated to other languages such as english... however I could not find anything tha met my taste buds and was at the same time within my budget. Auca purchased some books and we headed out to find somewhere to eat our packed lunch. We sat quite near the Domtoren and ate our lunch which Ida had very kindly made and packed for us. Then I had a brain wave... What turned into a very painful brainwave considering what I had done yesterday. We hired a paddleboat for an hour. After paying the $16 Euro's and a $40 Euro deposit we found out that the canal cruise should take 1.5+ hours. With all my money already sitting in their coffers we decided to ride the canals hard. It was a great idea... well, for the first 15 minutes that is... until our muscles were literally on fire from paddling so hard. To begin with we went from side to side in the canal whilst still going forward... Finally we learnt the steering and went forward a lot quicker. As you can see by the video we were going hard and refilling the canal as the sweat ran off us! Today had a rather high humidity level. After drifting the paddle boat into many more walls... because it turned out to be such fun... we finally arrived back at the hirage point with legs that could hardly hold us. It was a great cruise... maybe a tad quick though! The lady at the ticket office was quite suprised to see us so early and said that there were few who could do the canals in a paddle boat so quick. We enjoyed a quite train ride home before racing one another the whole 9km's from Amersfoort to Hoevelaken and today was a sad day for Auca who was beaten by yours truly by about .5 of a second. Needless to say we were absolutely hammered! We managed to find time to play soccer with a couple of 5 year olds from down the road for a bit later in the evening.
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Posted by classique 12:55 Archived in Netherlands Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

June 25

Bicycle day trip

sunny 25 °C

I spent the last couple of days recovering from many a late night. It has been lovely to relax, practice playing the accoustic guitar and sleep!
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Today, however, I hit the road for what turned into a 53km ride. I left Hoevelaken at about 11am this morning and headed to Nijkerk and then onto the dykes of the Nijkerkernauw. I dropped into Stoomgamaal "Hertog Reijnout". It is what the dutch call a steam powered water wheel. It was designed to remove the excess water from the Polder. It removed 265,000 litres of water per minute. It was decomissioned in the late 1980's due to the expense of importing coal and a new electric screw pump replaced it. It was brought back into action for two days in the late 1990's when the electric one could not keep up and Nijkerk was possibly going to flood. Anyways... thats enough of the facts for a while. I continued along the canals to Putten. On entering Putten, an elderly gentleman asked me what I was looking for and directed me to the church and a monument. The monument was for WWII when 611 dutch men were taken and deported to German work camps. Only 35 or so returned! Heading out of Putten a sight greeted my eyes that I could not believe... It was a wallaby in someones backyard!!! Then I headed back to Nijkerk and had a look at their church which was built in 1776 and continued home to arrive back at about 5:30pm. So here I sit with my jelly legs and tenderised buttocks ready for bed!!!
Stoomgamaal.jpg

Posted by classique 10:11 Archived in Netherlands Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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