Archive for January, 2011

Here comes the SUN!

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

The sun came back today!!

After two months of mรธrketid, the sun came back today! I took this photo from the roof at work, several people came out to welcome the sun. It was beautiful to see the reactions of people on the street when they noticed the sun – it is true that smiles come back to faces ๐Ÿ™‚ seeing the sun again for the first time is a magical moment!

Tomorrow is the “offical” sun-day (soldagen), as that’s the first day that the sun reaches the stairs of the cathedral in town. But I don’t think we’ll see the sun tomorrow (instead we get rain :() so I’m glad we got to enjoy it a day early. The tradition is to eat solboller on soldagen (filled doughnuts that are called berliner boller the rest of the year :P) – 54000 were baked today! Looking forward to mine tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜€

Winter Wonder-Netherlands

We flew to the Netherlands two days before my (dreaded ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 30th birthday. When we arrived, my whole family was there to greet us! Not just my parents and brothers and sister, but the whole extended family including aunts and uncles ๐Ÿ™‚ What a surprise! They had organised a whole weekend away, and rented two minibuses to drive straight from the airport to Putten, a small town in the middle of the country. We stayed in a nice hotel there, in the middle of the forest. It had snowed a lot the day before we arrived, and the next day we woke up to a winter wonderland. There hadn’t been much wind, so all the snow was still lying on the trees, it was so pretty! After a breakfast some of us went for a walk in the forest. You’d think I’d get enough of snow after living in Tromsรธ for this long, but it was so beautiful I couldn’t stop taking pictures!

A tunnel of snowy trees My parents, Kaya and Mare!

Kaya took Mare on the sled, though some of the way she sat on my dad’s shoulders. She was all wrapped up on her sled, wish I could be transported like that ๐Ÿ˜€

Mare on her sled A robin - a bit of colour in a black-and-white world

Some more photos of the forest… I could have almost taken black and white photos, you wouldn’t see the difference!

Snowy trees Paul in the forest

A group photo of those that went walking (others went sledding or sat by the fire in the hotel), and a portrait of my parents.

My parents, Joop, Mare, Marianne, Paul and Kaya Portrait of my parents :)

That evening we also celebrated Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Christmas which is normally celebrated on the 5th of December. A lot of fun! The next day it was my birthday ๐Ÿ˜€ Everything was decorated and everybody was wearing party hats and singing for me, and I had a pile of presents – they really spoiled me ๐Ÿ™‚

Breakfast on my birthday - a real party!

We left the hotel, but we didn’t go straight home. My sister had organised a “family day”, a new tradition that I’ve always missed as I am never in the Netherlands when she organises it. This time we went to a farm where we did a bow-and-arrow competition and a competition in traditional old-dutch games, which was a lot of fun ๐Ÿ˜€ They even had a version of shuffle puck (air hockey), no idea how “traditional” that really was ๐Ÿ˜› but it was good fun. We also used the opportunity to take some rare family photos… unfortunately everybody is squinting into the bright sun, but I still like the photos – it’s not very often we have this opportunity.

A family portrait :) And one with extended family - with Kaya and Mare, Daphne and Paul. Pity everybody is trying to avoid looking into the sun, but it's quite a rare photo :)

The farm was located in the middle of nowhere, in a typical Dutch landscape. Now that I live surrounded by mountains, I was impressed by how flat it is in the Netherlands ๐Ÿ˜€

Sheep in the snow A tree in winter sunshine - this was actually one of the only times we saw the sun in the Netherlands!

What a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoyed every minute of it. We spent the rest of our week in the Netherlands enjoying the small joys of urban life – going shopping, going to the cinema, spending evenings in cosy cafes without going bankrupt ๐Ÿ˜‰ Paul flew to London on Boxing Day, and I flew back to Tromsรธ a few days later, as I had to work during the New Year period.

Aurora timelapse

Last night we had a beautiful aurora show, which lasted for quite a long time. This enabled me to try something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time – a timelapse of the aurora! The video is only about 40 seconds, but covers 1.5 hour in reality ๐Ÿ™‚

At some point the aurora became really weak, and Paul was keen to go home. I told him, “nope, I would like a grand finale to my video!”. I hadn’t finished my sentence when the aurora was suddenly very bright and dancing all over the sky… so magical! I often try to make the aurora come out, but this was the first time I succeeded ๐Ÿ˜›