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London, Lymington – and a job!

London, Lymington – and a job!

Let’s start with the good news: I found a job in Tromsø! I’m going to work for as a weather forecaster. I’m really excited 🙂 I’m not sure when I will start yet, as this also depends on the second person they are hiring (we have to do our training together). I’m so happy that I found a good job, and I am looking forward to “really” live in Tromsø (I’ve been a visitor all this time, unable to do the simplest things like opening a bank account). We’re also almost certainly going to keep renting the wonderful flat we are in now, but it will become unfurnished – we are excited about decorating/buying furniture. Yay!

I’ve had a busy week… on Monday I took the train to London, which takes only 1.5 hours. I met up with Tanja and her friend Mike, and after a pub lunch, we visited the Victoria and Albert museum. Quite a crazy collection of all kinds of things, very interesting. Below is a photo of Mike and I in front of the big entrance, and the beautiful cafe where we had a break.

We also went to say hi to Tanja’s biggest friend: the blue whale in the Natural History museum 🙂 The museum is next door to the V&A; museum, and housed in a beautiful building. The photo below shows the entry hall, I love it!

On Wednesday I took a train to Lymington, on the edge of the New Forest. From there I walked part of the Solent Way, to Keyhaven and Milford on Sea. This walks takes you through an amazing landscape of brackish marshes on one side and the Solent on the other side. I always thought the Solent is a river, but it’s actually a stretch of sea. At this point, it is quite narrow and you can easily see the Isle of Wight on the other side. The day started out very sunny, but soon the clouds were increasing…

Some lucky people live in this beautiful old building in the middle of the marshes! This area used to known for salt works. Now the marshes are a paradise for birds. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right lens with me for taking photos of the birds, but I did catch these geese flying over.

The skies became darker and darker, until it started to rain quite heavily. In these marshes, there is nowhere to take cover so I got soaked. I didn’t mind though – I saw the best rainbow I’ve ever seen! Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and the colours of the landscape became very vibrant against the dark sky – with a beautiful double rainbow as the icing on the cake 🙂

It briefly became quite sunny again after the shower had passed, but not for long. The tide was going down, exposing large muddy areas.

Near Keyhaven, there is a long spit with a castle at the end (Hurst castle). I could see it from far away, as well as “the Needles”, chalk cliffs at the isle of Wight behind it. I decided not to walk to the end of the spit though, as it was really windy and exposed and I didn’t want to get soaked again. I walked from Keyhaven to Milton On Sea to catch the bus back to Lymington. The public footpath was more like a small river, very wet and muddy. It had become very windy too, with some impressive cloud formations. In the photo below (on the right) I managed to get the reeds blurred as they move in the wind 🙂

From Lymington I took the train back to Southampton. I really enjoyed this area, Lymington itself is also a really nice looking town. I told Paul that if we ever move to Southampton, I want to live in Lymington – but unfortunately I don’t think I’m the only one, house prices there are rather high 😉 Anyway, no need to worry about that as we are now certain that we’re staying in Tromsø for at least another year 🙂

Autumn in the New Forest

Autumn in the New Forest

My youngest brother came to see me yesterday! There are direct flights from Amsterdam to Southampton, so it was an easy trip for him. We decided to visit Beaulieu, a village in the New Forest National Park, famous for its National Motor Museum. Beaulieu is of course a very French name, but they pronounce it as “Bjooly”. The museum was quite nice, but the most fun bit was “World of Top Gear”, an exhibition about the popular tv program, showing all the crazy cars they built, like this Fiat Panda stretched limo…

The motor museum is part of a large complex which simply calls itself Beaulieu. There is an old abbey, a palace, a monorail and an old bus driving around, all on a large area with nice gardens. Below are two photos of the palace. The second one is taken from the village of Beaulieu.

The village is really picturesque, I loved walking around there. I was quite envious of the people living there, what a nice place! Just look at the garden below, who wouldn’t love a view like that…

There are lots of ponies freely walking throughout the New Forest. We saw quite a few, also inside the village where they caused small traffic jams 🙂

Some more views of the Beaulieu river at low tide…

There is a really nice long distance walking path going through the village and following the Beaulieu river, I’d love to go back there and see a bit more. Unfortunately it’s difficult to get to Beaulieu, as there is no train station and only one very infrequent bus service. What I really need is a bicycle I guess 🙂

The Seven Bays of Broadstairs

The Seven Bays of Broadstairs

Last Saturday we picked up a rental car and drove to London. It was actually cheaper than going by train, which is pretty ridiculous! Anyway, we spent the weekend with Paul’s parents, and on Sunday we all went on a trip to Broadstairs. This is a small town between Margate and Ramsgate on the east coast of Kent, surrounded by seven bays with white (chalk) cliffs. We started walking from Botany Bay, the most northerly one.

This part of the coast has a smuggling history, and apparently Botany Bay is named after the smugglers who were sent to Botany Bay in Australia… (to prison, not on holiday 😉 ). I was really impressed by the chalk cliffs!

The cliffs are eroding fast, and you can find many caves. I took the photo on the left (below) from inside one of them. In the other, Paul and his dad are standing near the entrance of this cave.

A bit further on there was a (steep) path coming down between the cliffs. Paul called it the stairway to heaven because of the sunlight streaming through it (or because he found a toilet at the top??).

At the far end of Botany Bay, there is a cliff with a arch in it, large enough to walk through. On the other side is Kingsgate Bay.

The photos below are taken from Kingsgate Bay, looking back at the cliff with the gate in it. The cliffs in this bay have many caves, some very high up in the cliff. I found out later that they are connected by tunnels and were used for the smuggling activities. Some of the tunnels are still accessible, perhaps it’s best I didn’t know about this at the time 😉

On the other side of Kingsgate Bay is Kingsgate Castle, built in the 1760s but now converted into apartments… what a place to live! We continued our walk through Joss Bay and Stone Bay. At Stone Bay, we took the steps up and continued on top of the cliffs. The photo on the right shows the view from up there.

Broadstairs is a very pleasant town, with nice buildings on the promenade. It was a sunny day and temperatures even reached up to 18 degrees, warm enough for an ice cream 🙂 The bay in the photo below is Viking Bay. The man-made sand bank apparently protects the coast against winter storm damage, we saw a similar one in Botany Bay.

The photo on the left (below) shows the nice seaside promenade, with a lift (!!) going down to the beach and three stories of beach huts! On the right is the beginning of Louisa Bay, with a big newish apartment building. They have some courage building it right at the cliff’s edge, you can see they need concrete to reinforce the cliff. By now it was high tide and you couldn’t really walk on the beach anymore.

What a wonderful day! I really enjoyed it, such a beautiful place. I’ve always been fascinated by the famous white cliffs. Last year we went to Brighton to see them, but there is no real beach there and you walk on a concrete path underneath the cliffs. This was so much nicer!