Archive for June, 2012

Fellestur til Nordtinden

Last week I joined a “fellestur” (joint trip) to Nordtinden (640 m), one of the Ti på Topp mountains. Four years ago we climbed Nordtinden on a beautiful summer day in August, but then we started from Kvaløyvågen, and this time we started from Skulsfjord. I had never joint a fellestur before, as I know the Norwegians are mountain goats and hard to keep up with, but I decided I could handle the challenge now 😉

We had to cross a few areas with snow Nearly at the top

It was grey weather when we started but it cleared up once we got to the top. We made it to the top in just under 2 hours. I was proud to have survived the Norwegian walking speed 😉 it did mean less time for taking photos though!

Kvaløyvågen seen from Nordtinden The top!

At the top we did take a long break for taking photos and for having something to eat and drink.

Click click click Beautiful view

Of course everybody had to sign the turbok and then it was time to make our way down…

Looking into Kaldfjorden Making our way back down

The views were beautiful in the evening light!

View of lakes in the evening sun Walking back over the tractor road to Skulsjord - beautiful view of Store Blåmann!

It was a great trip, and really nice to meet new people 🙂 On the way home, I stopped at Telegrafbukta to take some photos – the light was beautiful at 23:00 and it’s finally starting to look green 🙂

It was such a lovely evening, I had to stop at Telegrafbukta to take some photos. It's FINALLY turning green here. This photo was taken at 23:00

Texel

After my brother’s birthday and the weekend full of family visits, I went to Texel for 5 days with my parents. Texel is one of the Dutch islands (like Vlieland and Terschelling). Texel is the largest of the islands, and the easiest one to reach from my parents. My dad had to wait for their new kitchen to be delivered on Tuesday morning, so my mum and I travelled there by train, ferry and bus. We rented a small bungalow in Landal Park de Sluftervallei.

It was a very rainy day, but by the time we reached our bungalow, it started to clear up. We had only just arrived when these two pheasants decided to pay us a visit. I had a new lens with me (a Canon 75-300 mm telezoom), they were perfect “victims” to try it on 😀

We had visitors: a pair of pheasants The males are so colourful

And here is his wife Very pretty as well :)

We rented bicycles, and I decided to go for a bike ride after dinner. I cycled to the north tip of the island, where the lighthouse is situated. I also cycled past the ferry “terminal” for the ferry between Texel and the next island (Vlieland). This ferry is only for pedestrians and bikes, and is used a lot by people who are “island hopping” by bike. This is something I would very much like to do one day 🙂 In summer, all the islands are connected by small ferries, so you can cycle from island to island without returning to the mainland.

The lighthouse on the north tip of Texel The ferry from Texel to the next island (Vlieland), only for pedestrians and bikes

The sun came out eventually 🙂 I cycled back through this tunnel of trees, with wildflowers on the sides – so pretty.

Beautiful clouds, especially when the sun came out Cycling back through a tunnel of trees

The next day I went cycling with my mum. We followed the cycle path along the edge of the dunes, until we came to some stair leading to the other side. Here we went for a walk along the Slufter, a dune valley where the water is connected to the sea and experiences tides. It started to get quite warm, and we really enjoyed watching all the birds and flowers along the path. We even saw a spoonbill (lepelaar), a very pretty bird that unfortunately I didn’t get a good photo of.

The Slufter, the water here is connected to the sea Sea pink/thrift (Engels Gras in Dutch) growing in the dunes The path we followed

After our walk, we cycled to the small airport where there is a nice cafe with outside terrace so we can see all the small planes land and take off, and people parachuting. Pity my youngest brother couldn’t come to visit us, he just got his small plane licence! Our visit turned quite strange when we witnessed a parachuting accident – the parachute got tangled in its lines and the guy came down upside down. He came down so slowly and (seemingly) controlled, that I thought he was an acrobate who did it on purpose. We didn’t see his landing as it was behind a building, but he was taken away by helicopter ambulance a while later. From what we’ve heard and read, he was lucky – he was conscious and had feelings in arms and legs after the crash, but complained of pain in his back. In the local newspaper it was mentioned briefly as a “unhappy landing” so I think everything ended relatively well, but it was strange to witness something like that.

Anyway… in the mean time my dad had driven to Texel and we cycled back to our bungalow to meet up with him. After some sunbathing in the garden, I took my parents on the same bike ride I took the previous evening. This time the ferry to Vlieland was about to leave, it was fun watching all the cyclists getting on board!

Impressive clouds at low tide Cyclists ready to board the ferry to Vlieland

Another bike getting on board Queueing for the ferry to Vlieland

It was a really nice evening, and I decided to cycle to the beach to watch the sunset. It was so beautiful and calm there… only a few people left, some fishing boats close the beach, and no wind at all. A couple of people were fishing from the beach, it was fun to watch them – and with the new lens I can be paparazzi without them noticing 😉

The fishing boats were fishing quite close to the beach LOTS of small beach huts :)

Such a beautiful evening There were some people fishing from the beach

A family spending the evening on the beach Getting out into the waves

Waiting... Huge grin after a catch :)

The next morning it was rainy, a perfect time to visit Ecomare. This museum is most famous as a seal sanctuary, it takes cary of several baby seals that are orphaned, as well as older ones that can’t be released (due to illnesses/handicaps that they wouldn’t survive with in the wild), but it’s also a really great museum about the nature on Texel and the Wadden Sea. We spent several hours here, it was really interesting 🙂

One of the seals in Ecomare, this one is a young orphan They usually put the seals back after they've recovered but some seals get to stay as they wouldn't survive in the wild for various reasons

In the afternoon it suddenly cleared up completely, and after an early dinner we decided to go for a bike trip. We cycled along the dyke, full of wildflowers (and sheep), with the sea and lots of birds on the other side – so pretty!

Cycling on the wrong side of the dyke - it was very windy on the inside, while the outside was sheltered Texel is famous for its sheep

View from the top of the dyke This construction was used as a beacon for ships, even if it had no light

A house just behind the dyke

We visited Oosterend, a small village built around a church. Really nice 🙂

The village of Oosterend Oosterend - we had dinner in the restaurant on the left the next day

It was a beautiful evening and to our surprise we found a cafe that was still open – time for ice cream and cold drinks before the last kilometres to our bungalow. Well-deserved after nearly 30 km of cycling after dinner!

Such a lovely evening!

The disadvantage of staying on the north side of the island, is that it’s quite a long way to get to the southern part (about 25 km). But my dad had a solution: he managed to put all three bikes in the back of the car, and we drove south to a nice place to start a bike trip from. Our first stop was Oudeschild, the only real harbour on Texel. It was nice to watch people work on the ships, maintaining the nets, etc. The boats here mainly fish for sole and plaice on the North Sea, and there are several shrimp boats that let you join on their trip. You can read more about fishery on Texel here.

Fishing boat in the harbour of Oudeschild Maintenance of the nets

Colourful characters working in the harbour! More maintenance of the nets

The day started grey, but it soon cleared up to a warm and sunny day. We watched a navy boat come in (the Dutch navy has its headquarters in nearby Den Helder), and a fishing boat coming back. Most of the fishing boat are beam-trawlers (80% of fish caught by the Dutch is caught with this technique), some are now replaced by pulse-trawlers which use (weak) electrical shocks instead of heavy weights to get the flatfish from the bottom – and is therefore friendlier to other marine life living at the bottom of the sea.

My dad watching a Navy boat arrive A shrimp boat coming back from the sea

We cycled to the beach on the other side of the island, and passed this lake full of birdlife on the way.

A lake full of birds near the sea More beach huts :)

It was warm enough for some paddling in the sea, but we could see some threatening clouds on the horizon. We decided to make our way back towards the car just in case. We found these heath spotted orchids (gevlekte orchis in Dutch) in a field along the way. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to escape from the rain shower, although by the time by had all our rain gear on, the rain had stopped already 😀

Orchids

We spent some time in Den Burg, the capital of Texel. Quite a nice place! After some shopping, and a coffee/tea break at a bakery, it was time to cycle back to the car.

A shop in the Den Burg, the capital of Texel - this one belongs to the daughter of our neighbours A typical Texel sheep shed, with its door facing away from the dominant wind direction

The next day it was time to leave Texel… it was a beautiful sunny day but VERY windy so it wouldn’t have been good for cycling anyway 😉 It was sad to leave, Texel is such a nice place, and I could have easily spent another week there.

A seagull seen from the ferry - they were struggling against the wind Lunch break at the coast - but it was so windy we ate our sandwiches inside the car!

It was a perfect little holiday, but that evening it was time to fly back to Tromsø – with a suntan and many good memories 🙂

Cycling Home

When I’m in the Netherlands, I usually spent some time with my brother and his family. They live in Haarlem, about half an hour by bike from my parents. When the weather is nice, I take the long and scenic route, which takes you along the edge of the dunes all the way. Last week, I brought my camera and took photos along the route 🙂 so come and cycle with me!

In the Netherlands you’ll find cycle paths everywhere. On this route I was usually on a separate cycle path, sometimes even far away from the road. This is something I really miss in Tromsø – in the Netherlands I cycle for fun, while in Tromsø I only cycle to get from A to B. Anyway, after crossing the busy main road around Haarlem, the scenic ride starts here…

Starting the cycle trip on a nice bike path - no cars allowed here Entering the forest

Here I’ve arrived on the grounds of a stately home called Elswout

A field near Elswout The entrance to the grounds of the stately home Elswout

Of course on a Saturday in June, there was a wedding going on…

Everything was so green! Elswout, with a wedding party taking photos in the background

In the other direction you can just about make out the St Bavo church.

St Bavo church in the distance

Further on, there are some pretty little houses along the road. One of them sells eggs and home-made jam with an honesty box. You can also see how many people are cycling – I wasn’t used to it anymore and found it almost frightening 😀 If I stopped anywhere to take a photo, people on bikes would pass me in all directions, some of them irritated that I dare to slow them down – these are mainly the lycra-clad/Tour-de-France-wannabee variety 😉

Cycling on, this house sells eggs and jam Busy cycle path, it was nearly impossible to get a photo without anybody in it!

A small canal, with two boys playing in a rowing boat 🙂

A small canal Two boys playing in a rowing boat

This is the (tiny) main street of Overveen, I continued cycling to Bloemendaal.

Overveen Entering Bloemendaal

The city hall of Bloemendaal and some typical houses further on the same street. Most of the area I cycled through is very affluent, and Bloemendaal is the wealthiest place in the Netherlands. It’s a very pretty area, but the houses costs fortunes 😉

The city hall of Bloemendaal - a very popular place to get married, but personally I think the building style is a bit out of place A typical street in Bloemendaal

Later on, I passed this little tea house near Thijsse’s Hof, a kind of botanical garden named after a famous Dutch botanist – we used to visit here while I was at primary school. The other photo shows a park with deer.

A little tea house A park with deer

Almost home, behind this field the dunes national park starts – a huge area with only cycle/bike/horse paths, taking you all the way to the sea. I used to dream of owning one of these cute little houses in the forest. But small as they are, I am sure they still are above my budget 😉

One of the fields along the road, behind it the dunes national park starts A cute little house in the woods

Hope you enjoyed this guided cycle tour 🙂

Family Visits

I just got back from more than a week in the Netherlands 🙂 it was an unexpected, last-minute visit. My brother Bart turned 30 and I decided to surprise him and show up at the party that my parents and sister organised. I was only going for the weekend, but then I could swap some shifts around and suddenly I had a whole week off – such a luxury!

Anyway, here are some photos from my brothers birthday. We played a game in the centre of Haarlem with 2 teams. We saw some nice places on the way, and ended up in a cafe. My team won 😀

Birthday-Bart and Kaya A hofje (courtyard surrounded by houses) in Haarlem

Our team in front of the former football stadium (from left to right: me, my dad, Laura (my sister), Kaya (my sister-in-law) and Joop (my uncle) My dad with his medal

The next day I spent the afternoon at Bart and Kaya’s, catching up and spending time with my nieces. They are so cute together! Mare is a proud big sister and Lena is a very smiley baby.

Mare and Lena - so cute together! Another photo of Mare and Lena - Lena is a very smiley baby

We went to a playground in the sunshine – a lovely afternoon!

Lena at the playground Mare Mare upside down

The next day I went on a trip with Laura (my sister) and my mum. It was our gift for Mother’s Day 🙂 Our first stop was Purmerend, where there was supposed to be an open-gallery art day. It was very rainy and cold, and there was hardly anybody around, and it took ages before we worked out where to find the art 😀 but it was nice to see the centre of Purmerend and visit inside some of the artists houses.

Laura in rainy Purmerend A bronze cow on the Koemarkt (cow market), the central square in Purmerend

Purmerend is quite pretty, even in the rain…

Purmerend Purmerend

Our next stop was tea house ‘t Einde (the End – because it’s located at the very end of a village). We were having a really tasty high tea there 🙂 It was such a nice little place, on the water, with a nice garden. And lots of chickens walking around, they were really pretty.

High tea with my mum and sister We had a lovely table by the window, we could watch the birds and boats on the water

The garden would have been really nice on a sunnier day. Shortly after we arrived, lots and lots of boats started coming in – it was a family party (of 40 people!) who came to have tea and cakes. Nice idea!

The teahouse before it was filled with a huge family party - 40 people! The garden of the teahouse, must be really nice on a sunny day

The tea house is located in Zuiderwoude, a village north of Amsterdam. This area is really pretty, with lots of water and typical grey-green houses.

The village Zuiderwoude Zuiderwoude

That’s all for now, more photos of my time in the Netherlands coming soon!