Sorry for the lag between posts, folks. I went offline for June and July, and hung out on the bike trails and tennis courts at home. I’m back on a short assignment again now (Sierra Leone until early September), and this means bike trails and tennis courts aren’t as readily available, so I’m using my evening & weekend free time to dig through all the photos I’ve taken since leaving Haiti & Canada (see my last posts)…and I’ll be slowly popping them up here for your enjoyment. This one’s Amsterdam: I’m usually there once or twice a year, before or after an assignment, for meetings and briefings and so on. I got lucky with an unusually sunny weekend in the middle of this particular stay, so I walked and took trams around new parts of town I’d not previously visited. The spring tulips, flowering magnolia trees, and other signs of the season were lovely and everywhere, and I found Amsterdam’s range of architectural styles and details from classic big brick churches to modern apartment complexes, university classroom buildings, and even small historical plaques embedded in walls around town quite enjoyable. It’s really a city that rewards rambling down side streets with your eyes open and curiosity alive. And I finally found a way to try to show you how small some of the restaurant and hotel sinks can be in Amsterdam – I think this was in a new (for me) and excellent restaurant, and I found it unusually small even by Amsterdam standards…
So smw, slt is wrapping up another lovely little vacation at home in northern California, preparing to head back to work in Haiti. Having just retrieved my computer from the repair shop, I’m able to use this rainy Saturday to post some shots I took during a day off I gave myself at The Hague, back in September. You’ll understand that – what with a hurricane response and annual planning to absorb my time – I didn’t get a chance to post any of these closer to the date when I actually took them, about two months ago. I stayed at a hotel near a palace, and when I told a friend to meet me at my hotel “near the palace,” he said “which palace,” hence the name of this post and the shots of the three different palace-like buildings easily walkable from my hotel itself. I’ve not yet done a full inventory; maybe next visit :-).
Fun facts about The Hague:
- Second largest city in the Netherlands.
- Home of the Peace Palace, which was built built after World War I by Andrew Carnegie (and still owned by the Carnegie Foundation).
- The Peace Palace houses the UN’s International Court of Justice, though not the Int’l Criminal Court, which is elsewhere in the Hague, so I’m told…
- The Hague is also home to both the Dutch parliament and the royal family, but it’s NOT the capital of the Netherlands (go figure).
- Quite a lovely little city to visit, similar to Amsterdam what with canals, good tram lines, and lovely old buildings – but closer to a nice beach, just next to Delft, and with much less expensive hotels!
smw, slt had the opportunity to spend 36 hours in transit one way, and 34 hours in transit on the return — to spend five days in meetings in Amsterdam at the end of May and the start of June. This was all worth it a) because the meetings were great and important, b) because being in northern Europe around the summer solstice ROCKS and makes long walks at 22:00 with full daylight possible, c) because I managed to slip away for a short & fast weekend with four generations of my wonderful exchange family + regular-brother Steve, d) because during that lovely weekend I got to enjoy long walks through the beautiful summertime fields of northern Germany, or e) all of the above. After viewing these photos, feel free to comment which of the five multiple choices you believe is correct.
…everyone knows Amsterdam as a city of canals and houseboats; not quite as many know it’s also and VERY importantly a city of BIKES…and roses 🙂
…the magere brug is one of the oldest bridges in Amsterdam (I think?) and my favorite route from MSF office and hotel over to the center of town. The walk on this particular summer evening was interrupted when I walked past a church into which evening-dressed people were streaming…and ended up enjoying a lovely concert as part of the Holland Festival.
…exchange-nephew Fabian and brother Steve on a walk through the fields below…
…exchange mother with one of the new next generation, great-grandson Luca. Wow.
…ok, so I know that these fields may not look all that special to many people. But as I first learned when I returned to Europe after two years in China & Sri Lanka (back in 2007), there is a part of my soul that deeply responds to the pastoral scenes of grass, trees, wheat and corn which are closer the landscapes in which I (and my ancestors, I suppose) were raised. Compare these shots to the photos from bushwalks around Port Moresby (some, below; others, when I get them uploaded in the coming week or so), and you’ll see how different these are from the landscapes surrounding me now. Plus – this photo was shot around 21:30, at which time POM’s sky has been fully dark for three hours.