Archive for September, 2010

Paul is back :)

After 4 weeks at sea, Paul came back to Tromsø yesterday, on board the R/V Lance. They first had an “open ship” in the centre of Tromsø, where people could come on board and learn about the ship and the research. After that, the ship moved to Breivika. They went underneath the bridge, and I decided to walk up there to get some pictures of the ship passing underneath, while Paul and his cruise mates were standing on the helicopter deck waving :D

On the helicopter deck of Lance, seen from the bridge Lance on its way to the dock at Breivika

He’s got some really nice photos from his cruise and hopefully will share them at some point. Not sure it will be very soon though, as we’re leaving for a week of holiday on Saturday. We’re going to Crete, hoping for a bit of sunshine before the dark period arrives here. We’ve never been to Crete (or Greece) before and are very excited :)

Happy Birthday Blog!

My blog is 5 years old today! I wrote the first entry on the 26th of September 2005, 2 days after I arrived in Norwich. Can’t believe that’s 5 years ago! It started out as just a simple blog to tell my family and friends back home what I had been up to, but it grew into a lot more. I got more serious about photography, and my blog was the perfect way to share that. I gained a few readers when I moved to Norway, as this is a dream for many people. It’s been really nice meeting people through my blog :) I get questions sometimes from people about to visit Tromsø, which I love to answer – and that sometimes resulted in meeting them in person, which is great fun!

Anyway, I just thought I should post something to mark this milestone… Here’s to another 5 years! Here’s to many more adventures and trips and photo opportunities :) Anyone wants to guess what we’ll be up to and where we will live in 5 years? :D

As I can’t post without photos, here’s a photo I took a couple of weeks ago. It was taken on the evening my brother and his girlfriend arrived in Tromsø in early September. I drove to the airport to pick them up, but as I knew the northern lights were active, I left early and took my camera and tripod. I stopped next to the road to take some photos. The lights weren’t very strong, but I love the mood of this photo – and the “Tromsø skyline” that has become so familiar to me. If you know the area, you can recognise Håkøya (an island, with the red light on top), Store Blåmann (the “Matterhorn” of Tromsø), the sailing boat that never seems to  move and the lysløpe (litt ski/walking trail) on Kvaløya.

Northern lights seen from Tromsø

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everybody reading this blog, for your visits and your comments… It’s what motivates me to continue writing and sharing my photos, and I’ve been really enjoying it. I can only hope that you enjoy visiting my blog as much as I enjoy writing it :D

Uitwaaien in the Netherlands

The main reason I was in the Netherlands last week, was to attend the wedding of my friend Marjon. We’ve been friends since we were 4 years old, best friends all the way through primary school and even in high school we had the same group of friends. After high school, I moved to the other side of the country (and later abroad),  so we didn’t see each other very often anymore. Still, when we do meet, it’s like no time has passed at all and we just pick up where we left off as if we saw each other yesterday. I was very happy I was able to be at her wedding :) The bride and groom looked beautiful, the party was fun and it was great to catch up with old friends!

Marjon & Marcel - just married Marina, Marjon, me and Elke

The next day, my parents asked me to join them on a trip to Katwijk aan Zee (Katwijk on the sea). They had heard about an artwork there that they wanted to see and take photos of. This artwork was dedicated to all the men from Katwijk lost at sea since 1925, and it was made of rusty metal with all the names (and ages) of the men cut out. Quite an impressive monument!

A monument to lives lost at sea Some people left flowers

It was a sunny, but windy day – ideal for a walk along the beach. After convincing my mum that yes, we can afford to pay a euro to park next to the beach ;) we went for a nice walk. It had been windy for days and the sea was quite rough – I love that! I took lots of photos of course, and so did my dad.

My parents on the beach Me on the beach :)

The sky was beautiful, I really enjoyed our walk on the beach. In Dutch we have a word for this, but it doesn’t translate to English. It’s called “uitwaaien”, which literally means outblowing, but I found this beautiful description by the BBC: “Words and phrases can suggest the character of a nation. The Dutch vocabulary, for instance, seems to confirm the nation’s light-hearted reputation. The word uitwaaien is Dutch for walking in windy weather for fun.” Cute :D It’s often used, sometimes more generally meaning you get some fresh air to clear your head from worries.

Clouds & sea Big sky and wide beach

At some point, a lot of foam was blowing around the beach. I got a phone call from Paul (from Svalbard) at that moment, so I couldn’t take any photos. My dad took some great ones though, even catching the movement of the flying foam…

Foam on the beach, taken by my dad My dad even captured the foam flying around!

Later that afternoon, we invited my family around for coffee. Great to see everyone again! Of course I took a lot of photos of the centre of attention… my niece Mare ;) Here she is fascinated by an hourglass.

Bart and Mare, fascinated by an hourglass Mare peeping through Bart's hands

Afterwards she went to pick a flower, then asked my sister to paint her nails. How girly :D especially since she was dressed all in pink that day. But to show that she’s not *that* girly, she also went around the garden to find snails that would walk on her hand :)

Mare with a flower she just picked My sister painting Mare's nails blue :) Mare with a snail

I had a great time in the Netherlands! Time always goes too fast, a week is gone before you realise. But next time is not so far away this time :)


Last Wednesday I visited the botanical garden of the University of Utrecht with my mum. I’ve never really liked the campus of this university, it’s full of very big modern buildings (I prefer the old universities :) ) and right next to the highway, which makes it very noisy. Even in the botanical garden you can constantly hear the noise from the cars. Still, the garden is like an oasis and very calm. There was hardly anyone there. We walked around for a long time, I always enjoy taking photos of flowers…

Colourful flower Sunny orange flower

And my mum takes photos of me :D

That's what I look like taking photos :D

We were very lucky, they had a special butterfly exhibition in one of the glasshouses. It was supposed to have finished the week before, but they extended it for another week – great! I took my macro lens with me, it was a paradise for macro photography :) The glasshouse was quite small and FULL of butterflies, it was easy to get very close to them. They are so pretty!

A male Cairns Birdwing butterfly (from Australia) - so pretty! Butterfly & pretty flower
This one had to flap its wings very fast to be able to hover near the flower

There was a bowl of fruit which attracted a lot of butterflies, and they’d sit very still eating their grape or banana. I love their big “alien” eyes!

Butterfly eating a grape - love the alien eyes! The paper kite (or rice paper) butterfly

There were also several butterflies mating – the girl who worked in the garden kept pointing them out for me :D She was very friendly. Some butterflies have such amazing wings, they really are artworks of nature!

Mating butterflies Some of their wings are like artwork! This one is an owl butterfly

Here you can see their long tongues… good thing they can roll them up :D

Their long tongues are fascinating Big alien eyes :)

It was a windy day, but warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea at the cafe in the garden. We spent several hours in the botanical garden, a nice way to spent the afternoon!