Local Heart, Global Soul

July 14, 2019

Stuff It !!!

Following yesterday’s post,  showing the struggle when packing suitcases, this piece from the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition show the next struggle: getting it all in the car. The information board reads: “Packing”, “Do we have everything we need? Clothes, tent, cooking utensils? Enough peanut butter and potatoes? Everyone in a good mood and we’re ready to go.”

The joke here is because Dutch people going abroad often taken their own peanut butter (because it’s the brand they love) and even stranger, they also take potatoes and an entire heap of other groceries because not only are they the brands or sorts they love, they are often far cheaper. In Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and quite a few other European countries groceries are more expensive, only in Spain, and parts of Portugal are they significantly cheaper. I’d be interested to hear if you ever take any of your own foodstuffs from your country or area with you when you go on holiday?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 13, 2019

Time To Pack It In!

I think that everyone at some time or other has experienced the scenario depicted in this next series of photographs. Packing suitcases is an art form sometimes. In my own case I tend to assume that the stuff that I am taking will fit in a suitcase one size smaller than what I really need. Even though I try hard to pack light, I always like to pack a few extra changes of clothes, because after all there is nothing worse than needing laundry facilities when you travel. If we are staying with friends or family then this isn’t an issue, but paying $3 to have a pair of socks washed or $6-8 for a shirt to be washed in a hotel, is ridiculous! and waaay too costly if you are traveling as a family of four.

Some hotels, such as the  Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa  on Sentosa Island in Singapore have laundry rooms for guests that contain washing machines and dryers, a massive boon for traveling families, but they are by far in the minority. The information text translates as: “Packing suitcases”, “Packing suitcases is an art. Will everything fit? And then your little one asks: “Can I take this one too?”. One look at that teddy-bear gives you the answer!

Our family certainly travel light when we compare our bags with other families at the baggage claim carousel at the airport, because at least we can fit everything on one trolley and don’t need two or three!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 11, 2019

Taking Me Back To The Bus Stop…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As a born and bred Kiwi, and New Zealand having a lot of road for few people, I had rather a shock when I first saw the volume of traffic in Europe.

New Zealand is as big as the UK and the Netherlands combined but with a population of only four million people.

Just over one million of those live in the greater Auckland area, another million and a half live in the top half of the North Island.

The remaining million or so live in the lower North Island and all of the South Island. As a South Islander, nicknamed “Mainlanders” we are not used to even the traffic of Auckland.

Since New Zealand has space, things are often quite far apart and a car is pretty much a standard item in order to get around. The bus public transport system doesn’t have a vast pool of customers so is good, but limited.

That’s why it used to be possible to get your driver’s license at age 15 which I did as soon as my birthday arrived.

Then very soon afterwards the law was changed, the age raised to 16 with the additional introduction of a graded license system, first a Learner, Restricted and then Full license.

The Netherlands on the other hand has an amazing public transport system so it’s no surprise that many people don’t have a car.

Driving with trams and cycle-ways in the mix is another thing to get used to if you do have a car however, and the Dutch drivers license is notoriously difficult to get, with a 70% failure rate.

The 2017 Garderen Sand sculpture exhibition featured this aspect of society, with the information board translating as: “The bus”, “Don’t have a car? Take public transport. But don’t forget to check out...”

The checking out refers to the electronic method of payment, you need to scan your ticket/pass when you get into the bus or tram and then scan again when you leave. If you forget to scab out then you will be charged for more stops than you have used. it’s possible write in and complain but that takes time and quite a lot of effort with no guarantees of a refund.

I used buses and trams until I got pregnant with Kiwi Daughter, then we got a car. The main reason was that daycare provided by my employer was in a very inconvenience area from where we lived and I didn’t fancy a 1.5 to two hour journey each way due to terrible bus connections as I zig-zagged all over the city. We bit the bullet and bought a car which cut the journey to half an hour. Our car gets plenty of use, but it’s very expensive. No wonder many Dutch people in cities prefer to use public transport.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 10, 2019

Enquiring About The Local Area…

The sand sculptures in the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition VVV Tourist Office follow the theme of ‘Out and about in the Netherlands’ The text on the information board translates into English as: ‘The VVV (Tourist Office) is the right spot to find out about local highlights and landmarks worth visiting. The VVV Tourist Office of Garderen is located in windmill “De Hoop”.”  Tourist information offices are in all sorts of buildings of all styes and ages in the Netherlands, from new to centuries old. The VVV has information on everything from local tourist spots to cycling or walking routes. After all there is nothing better than asking the locals! In this case the parents are with their baby who is sitting in a boldercar, a kind of small wagon that can be pulled along by the parents. This means that small or tired children (or in some cases old dogs!) and other gear can be taken on walks, be it through the forest or with all the picnic gear to the beach.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 7, 2019

A Wonderful, Unforgettable Experience…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Garderen’s 2017 Sand Sculpture exhibition has the theme of “Out and about in the Netherlands”.

This sculpture is all about eating out in a restaurant and the information board translates as: “Restaurant”, “A sumptuous diner in good company. Lovely food, a big glass of wine and great conversation.

I did a stint as a waitress job when I was younger and believe me, some customers are difficult indeed.

The owner/chef identified and warned me about one couple who were “regulars”, and would be picky beyond reason. Everything they did was planned in order to get them a free meal.

Apparently another staff member who had worked there for years even caught the lady taking hair out of a hairbrush from her handbag to “find” in their food!

Not only were they “regulars’ in the restaurant where I worked but also in other ones in the area, so the owners eventually worked together to get them banned from all of their establishments. I have seen kid meltdowns, an actually loud and physical fight between a soon-to-no-longer-be-married couple where the chef had to come out of the kitchen and threaten them with the police. Fortunately for every difficult customer there were hundreds of wonderful ones, who were polite and a pleasure to serve. These are the ones that made the job a wonderful, unforgettable experience.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 5, 2019

When Cats Run For Cover…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The picture gallery section of the Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition in 2017 was so busy that I didn’t get as many photographs of the paintings as I would have liked.

Some of the Old Master reproductions like the ones I have featured recently were stunning pieces of art in their own right.

Behind the gallery is an indoor section that is really part of the first area that visitors usually see when they arrive.

However, since i now fr past visits that the outdoor area gets extremely crowded later, I decided to take photographs in the outdoor area first.

There are definitely benefits to arriving early in the morning when the doors open for the day, not just at this exhibition but for all public exhibitions and events.

This area was therefore saved for later and since the lunch hour had arrived, I had the area almost to myself whilst other visitors made a bee-line for the cafes and restaurants on site.

The theme of the entire exhibition this year is: Out and about in the Netherlands” so all of these pieces are centered around that idea.

This one is called: “Going out’. “Today we’re going out with the whole family! Grandma…
Would you mind to look after the dogs, please?”

My first thought is that it was sad that the ‘whole family” doesn’t seem to include Grandma, and that sadly she seems to be the expected “babysitter’ whenever the family wants to go to paces where dogs are not permitted.

I’m probably reading too much into this, it’s just a sand sculpture after all and the creators have to do something to make the pieces lively and entertaining.

The big dog in the statue looks very frightening and those cats have a very understandable reaction to their presence. I think you can tell that I’m a cat person at heart, but I’m in the minority at home, everyone else would prefer to have a dog.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 2, 2019

Something Is Off With This Honeymoon Suite…

The next piece in the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition has me a little confused. The information board translates into English as: “Hotelkamer (Hotel room), Many couples spend their wedding nights in hotel rooms. What a wonderfully soft bed! How is the view sweetheart? So, how busy is it here, and everyone has been so nice!” What is confusing is why on earth the man is depicted standing with his arms crossed looking unhappy whilst his new wife has just jumped on the bed. It’s certainly not the depiction of my wedding night, or that of most newly married couples I assume.  Our wedding night actually took place in Portugal in the Duro river valley where we had booked into a tiny hotel on the hill in Casal de Loivos, close to Pinhão. The train station in Pinhão might be tiny but it’s covered in some of the most beautiful tiles in all of Portugal.

When we arrived at the hotel the manager told us that they had an room set a little way apart from the main building that they called the “honeymoon suite”, but when we looked inside we discovered that it had two single beds in it that could not be pushed together! We had to try and keep a straight face whilst we asked to transfer rooms to one that had a double bed! Luckily they had one at the end of the house that offered a little privacy. We enjoyed a fabulous honeymoon in this idyllic location. Hopefully in the almost twenty-five years since I hope that they have rectified the honeymoon suite “problem”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 1, 2019

Walking Routes…

There are several sections of the Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition that are located indoors. In this section during 2017, I found a pieced entitled “wandelen” (walking). The information board translates as: “Walking, delightful walking, enjoying places you have not been before. “Route.nl” has the best cycle and walking routes”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 29, 2019

Reserving A Room At The Inn…

The next piece in the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition is called “Hotel”. The information board translates as: “ Hotel”, “Arriving in our place of destination, we first have to check in to our hotel. “Good Day Sir and Madame, Do you have a reservation?” The couple in this piece have bought their dog with them, something that is probably nice for dog owners but a hell for people like Kiwi Daughter and myself so have animal hair allergies. Luckily most hotels these days have animal-free rooms, but when these are not available then we certainly have a problem.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 28, 2019

Checking My Jig-Saw…

I was rewarded in the competition section of the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition by actually solving the last two entries on my own. Although that sounds like I am smarter than I am, because in truth they left two of the easiest ones until last. I could not have solved many of these puzzles without the amazing and generous help of regular reader Marie-Jacqueline, who has proved herself to be quite the detective! Without her, many of these would have remained a compete mystery and I appreciate her help very much indeed. A shout-out too for   and Elaine, A Massive “Thank You” to you both!!! This is the final post in the competition section and I have very much enjoyed finding out what many of these are, even discovering many games I never knew existed.

(Number 38 ) Checkers

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Number 39 ) Jig-saw Puzzles

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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