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Author: Hanneke

I started my first blog when I left the Netherlands (my home country) for an internship in Alaska in 2004, to keep my friends and family updated on my adventures over there. Little did I know it would be more than 13 years before I'd move back to the Netherlands!

I spent a year in Toulouse (France) before starting a PhD in meteorology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (UK) in 2005. That's when I started this current blog, first in Dutch but I soon switched to English. I really enjoyed life in the UK, and was actually planning to stay there after my PhD, but "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" and I ended up moving to TromsΓΈ in Northern Norway in 2009. TromsΓΈ is a photographer's dream, surrounded by spectacular mountains, with the light ever changing from the midnight sun in summer to the dark days compensated by aurora-filled nights in winter.

I learnt Norwegian and got a job as a weather forecaster - I got thrown in at the deep end, doing radio interviews and speaking with fishermen with way-too-strong dialects straight from the beginning, before I was anywhere near fluent in Norwegian :D I survived though, and slowly started to do some research on the side. I got more and more involved in research projects and in August 2015 I moved 2000 km south, to Oslo where I started working 100% as a researcher.

A year after moving to Oslo, I met Michiel at a music festival in Brussels :) and we started to travel very frequently between Oslo and Rotterdam, where he lives. You can't do that forever though, and I soon realized I found the perfect "excuse" to finally move back home, something I had been considering many times before. So since July 2017, I'm living in Rotterdam! I'm actually taking some time off before finding a new job, and I'm looking forward to lots of adventures in the near future - so stay tuned!
Looking back: June 2018

Looking back: June 2018

Since August starts tomorrow, I figured it’s high time I write a blog about JUNE. Ahh I am so behind πŸ˜‰

We spent the first weekend in June in Groningen, celebrating Michiel’s birthday πŸ™‚ It’s a beautiful city that I used to visit a lot, but it had been a long time… nice to be back!

We first explored the city by following an architecture walk, which ended at the Groninger Museum. This is the most famous museum in Groningen, and well worth a visit. Inside and outside, it’s a really cool modern building with lots of surprises inside. A very nice afternoon!

A selfie in our hotel room before going out for Michiel’s birthday dinner.

I found a really nice sounding Italian restaurant through TripAdvisor: Gustatio. You have to book in advance as the restaurant is tiny and quite popular. It was AMAZING! An Italian restaurant in the best possible way: run by Italians, serving classical, simple Italian pasta dishes that are SO tasty, served in a really relaxed way and not expensive at all. Somehow I only have a good photo of our desserts, which were heaven πŸ™‚

After dinner, the clouds finally broke and the light was beautiful. We walked around the city, finding some beautiful places.

The Martini tower, a famous landmark in the city…

Beautiful houses near the Martini tower…

The next day we decided to drive over the Afsluitdijk (a 30 km long dike!), because Michiel had never driven over it. That’s unacceptable for a Dutch person, so we had to fix this πŸ˜‰ On the way to my brother’s birthday party, we stopped for lunch in my favourite little village: De Rijp. Always beautiful…

The next day I was working, and after work we were going to a Beck concert in Tilburg with Maarten and Suus. I finish work at 14:00 and had to wait for Michiel to finish, so I went for a walk in a neighbourhood of Houten (where we both work) I had seen on Instagram and was keen to see for myself. Quite an amazing colourful place with houses built right on the water, very cool!

Basically a modern version of those old wooden houses in De Rijp!

I spent the second weekend of June working, but after work on Saturday we went to Reeuwijk to have dinner with Jessica, Sander and the boys. We had something to celebrate: they sold their house! They had already bought an amazing house in Gouda, so plenty of reason for a toast!

After that weekend, I had some days off. We went to visit Michiel’s mum in Wageningen. The weather was beautiful and we went for a walk just outside the city – I love this area!

Back in Rotterdam, I finally managed to visit the Hyperrealism exhibition in de Kunsthal (modern art museum). It was fantastic, some sculptures were so realistic it made you confused. Others were quite bizarre, but so fascinating. You can read more about it hereΒ (although the exhibition has now finished).

During the next weekend, the Architecture Days took place in Rotterdam, with lots of excursions. I booked us on an excursion to visit the inside of the Erasmus bridge. It was really cool! We got to see the gigantic hall inside the bridge, with the mechanism for opening the bridge. We were even allowed to stay there when the bridge opened, an impressive experience!

Impressive to see the cables…

A few days later my parents came to visit us in Rotterdam. We had a nice dinner together, and the day after I took them for a bike ride to the Kralingse Plas and the Heemtuin. This summer has been crazy hot and sunny, but that day was an exception: it was cold, cloudy, windy and rainy. Oh well πŸ˜‰

We got caught in a rain shower, which was a good excuse for a coffee break! Here my mum looks very sceptical of me taking a photo, as usual πŸ˜› And yes, I was having a hot chocolate, it was that cold!

That afternoon I went home with them, because we had tickets for a Passenger concert on the beach in Bloemendaal. It all sounded so nice when I booked it, but it was COLD for an outdoor concert, and (in my opinion) they let too many people into the venue. We stood in the back and hardly saw anything. Oh well, Passenger always manages to include everyone but still, it wasn’t my favourite concert experience. I think my favourite part of the night was actually when the concert finished and we saw this amazing sunset from the beach!

A really beautiful end of an otherwise very gray day! πŸ™‚ Not a silver lining, but a golden lining!

And with that, June came to an end. Can you believe I took no photos at all with my SLR? Even worse, not during July either… Oh well! More on July soon(ish) πŸ˜‰

Looking back: May 2018

Looking back: May 2018

I can’t believe June is nearly over before I managed to write this post about May – oops!

May was a great month, with lots of nice weather. During the first weekend I made the most of the weather which you can read all about in a blog about that weekend. It involved mills along the river Rotte…

And a nice walk through the dunes to the beach πŸ™‚

I briefly went back to work, and then Jessica and I took the train to Brussels to visit CΓ©lia (and Ben) for two days. It was a really nice girls weekend in sunny Ukkel…

We went for a nice walk, and discovered that Ukkel, although part of Brussels, feels more like the countryside!

One of the reasons for our visit was to finally see the amazing flat that CΓ©lia and Ben have bought. It is just amazing, I couldn’t get enough of the views and the HUGE terrace. Here we are enjoying a wonderful dinner with Jerome, watching the sunset… Can’t wait to visit again!

When I came back, we went almost straight to my favourite food festival TREK, which is held in a park very close to our house. My favourite tractor-DJ was there again πŸ™‚

It was a lot of fun, I even took a ride in the swing carousel with the daughter of friends πŸ˜€ Unfortunately it was really busy as it was Ascension Day and the lines were really long, so we didn’t stay long in the end.

I finally spent an evening taking photos of Rotterdam by night, or more specifically the Erasmus bridge which was lit in white and green to commemorate the bombing of Rotterdam 78 years ago. More photos here πŸ™‚

Later that month, I finally submitted my paper again, which was a huge relief and called for celebrating with sushi πŸ˜€ We discovered a new place, which is now by far our favourite and so much better than all the other take-away places. For those in Rotterdam, it’s called Sushi CompanyΒ and we can really recommend the chef’s special πŸ™‚ Spoiler alert: the paper has now FINALLY been accepted and it’s even already published.

The next weekend, we went to another food truck festival with friends, this time next to de Kralingse Plas (Rrrollend Rotterdam). I have to say, I liked this festival even better than TREK, it was relaxed and the food was great.

It was the Pentecost weekend, and we spent almost the entire weekend putting laminate in our bedroom and hallway. We replaced a carpet that had been there for 15 years and it really improved the rooms. It was hard work though, especially the hallway which had NINE doors to go around, and was not straight (or level) in any way. On Monday we were finally done, and we went to Wageningen to visit Michiel’s mum, where we had lunch on the square in beautiful sunshine πŸ™‚

Later that week, I had my first media shift at work where I didn’t “ghost write”. We write forecasts for nearly all the papers in the Netherlands, and lots of them publish the forecast with a name and photo. I didn’t have a photo yet, so I always wrote under somebody else’s name. My parents sent me a picture of my story and photo in their local paper πŸ™‚ quite strange, but nice!

During the last week of May I had visitors from Norway not once but twice! First Matilda (a friend / former colleague from TromsΓΈ) came for a weekend. We spent one day in Wageningen and one day in Rotterdam, where we of course visited the cube houses, also from the inside this time (one is a museum).

I thought the museum could have been a lot better, but it was still fun to see a cube house from the inside!

Matilda left on Sunday afternoon, and not even 24 hours later Marie and PΓ₯l arrived. On the first day we explored Rotterdam, for me it was the second tour of Rotterdam in two days πŸ˜›

One of the things I love in Rotterdam: old meets new in so many ways…

The floating forest and the floating pavilion, I’m still trying to find a way to get a tour of this cool building!

The weather was amazing, even a little bit too warm – but then we would just stop for a refreshing drink somewhere πŸ˜‰

Back to the cube houses again…

The sign is a quote from the architect and it reads: “Living = Love… Love = the roof of the city”. Yeah I am not quite sure what it means either, but it sounds nice πŸ˜‰

PΓ₯l was interested in Erasmus, so we went to see his sculpture…

As well as this strange monument on the side of where he used to live (I believe…).

On our way back home (after a nice meal outside!) we picked up rental bikes from the train station for our bike trip the next day.

The next day we got up very early to catch the waterbus to Kinderdijk (the windmills). Unfortunately, one of the bikes we rented got a flat tire and we had to walk back to the train station to replace it, which meant we just missed our boat. Never mind, we took the next one and changed our route a little (not all of them stop at Kinderdijk). It was a beautiful sunny day and we had such a great time exploring the mills and the countryside.

Of course we had to be real tourists πŸ˜›

We bought tickets to visit the information centre and this included a visit to two mills. That was so much fun! Here Marie is testing the “bedstee” (box-bed inside the wall).

This was the mill we visited from the inside. Although it was a sunny day in May, there were hardly any other tourists. Not sure why, I have seen more people there on a cloudy day in November! Never mind, it was beautiful to have the place nearly to ourselves πŸ™‚

Marie on one of the small bridges…

And the small ferry with a lot of windmills.

Marie and PΓ₯l cycling at Kinderdijk πŸ™‚

We cycled all the way to Dordrecht, where we had a drink on the square and explored the beautiful old town a bit. Only a bit, because we knew that thunderstorms were on the way, and we wanted to get on the waterbus before they reached us. We just about managed that, while on the hour long trip to Rotterdam we were hit by a crazy storm with lightning, hail and very strong rain. Impressive!

The next day they were taking a plane back to Oslo but we still had some hours in the morning for a nice bike ride. I took them on my favourite bike ride along the river Rotte, which was as beautiful as it always is πŸ™‚

Especially seeing my favourite mill nicely decorated with flags! There were lots of rowing boats on the river that day. We actually visited the mill, which was open. We bought some really delicious jam πŸ™‚

And with that, May came to an end. I loved all the good weather and fun trips that month!

Rotterdam by Night: the Erasmusbrug

Rotterdam by Night: the Erasmusbrug

I’ve lived in Rotterdam for nearly a year now, and I kept thinking I should get some night shots of this beautiful city (even more beautiful at night!) some day soon. Well, it took me a while, but I finally spend a night taking photo of the beautiful Erasmus Bridge, nicknamed the Swan.

Funnily enough, the first photo I want to share does not have the Erasmus bridge in it πŸ˜‰ It shows the beautiful houses of Noordereiland (an island in the middle of the city, in the river Meuse), with another famous bridge behind it: de Hefbrug or de Hef, a vertical-lift bridge. It’s not in use anymore, but they kept it as it’s such an iconic part of the city.

But from now on I’ll focus on the Erasmus Bridge. It was built in 1996, which always surprises me as it looks so modern πŸ™‚ Behind it De Rotterdam, another Rotterdam icon by Rem Koolhaas. I love how old and new is often seen together in Rotterdam πŸ™‚

I waited until dusk, to take some photo of the Erasmus bridge lit up. This was on May 14, which is the (78th) anniversary of the bombing of Rotterdam during the second world war. Have a look at this articleΒ and the sobering photos of a completely flattened Rotterdam πŸ™ To commemorate this historical event, the bridge was lit in green and white, the colors of Rotterdam. I also love the colors of Boompjes, a building that holds events – they kept changing color!

On the shore there are many old wooden poles with numbers, which makes a nice background to contrast the modern architecture in the background.

Rotterdam, you’re so pretty!

Here you can see the green color of the bridge quite well. Every now and then, the bridge is lit for special occasions: in rainbow colors for the international day against homophobia, orange for King’s Day or red-white-blue for Liberation Day. So nice!

A last picture of the bridge and Rotterdam’s skyline, with a boat making light streaks.

I took photos from the same location all night, so I guess I should come back to explore some other locations around town – they are so many nice places around the river and from the Euromast for example πŸ™‚