Local Heart, Global Soul

March 21, 2018

Little Bird, Little Bird…

Filed under: CHRISTCHURCH,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We are waiting for the people from our rental car company to deliver the car we will be using this trip. Their office is very close to the airport so we don’t have to wait long. A little bird comes by and comes close by, I get some photographs of it as we wait…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 19, 2018

A View To A Landing…

Filed under: CHRISTCHURCH,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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It’s December 2017 and Family Kiwidutch are coming in to land at Christchurch airport in New Zealand. We have passed over the Southern Alps, crossed the Canterbury Plains, and the city and airport come into view. It’s a tiny bit of a pity that the weather is a bit hazy so the views are not as far as we have sometimes had in the past. Still, we are flying into Summer, so none of us mind. Touchdown never feels so good when you are coming back to places you love.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 19, 2014

Getting The Shots Without Getting Shot…

Filed under: GREECE,PELION PENINSULAR,Volos — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s one thing that is rather different about Volos airport in Greece, and it’s a complication that the flying tourist doesn’t usually have to think about.

There is a military base next to the airport and photographs from the plane are strictly prohibited.

My sister in law said that even flight attendants on the planes coming in and out will insist that passengers to delete photographs and in a worst case scenario, you could even get your camera confiscated.

The area around the airport is also therefore sensitive territory, so when I saw my first ever fields of cotton plants and wanted to stop to take a photograph, Himself was understandably nervous.

When I first spotted the cotton on the way in, we were tired after the flight and we had a long drive ahead of us, so there was no chance to stop, but on the way back I convinced Himself that if we stopped the car for a single minute on the road leading to the airport it would be highly unlikely that the Greek air-force would in that time detect our position, evaluate us as enemy combatants and launch a missile to take us out.  Indeed if that were true then woe-betide any unsuspecting tourist who got a flat tire, or any kid desperate for a road-side pee pee in the bushes. …. trousers down… ploof! gone!!!

The silliness of my scenario makes Himself agree to a stop for a photograph on the way back to the airport, but only if I  agree not to get out of the car, so I took the photo out of the rolled down window. I get some photos as we drive past, and when we stop one of the watchtowers from the military base is partly visible in the background. My next photographs were taken of the end of the runway as the plane lifts off the ground, and then the plane banks sharply and Volos comes into view below us.

Very soon after that we can make out the outline of the Pelion peninsular, and once we leave that behind, a series of Greek islands as we head south. The cloud then got the better of us and as we climb we get completely surrounded by it. No one shot at us in the car and none of the flight attendants have confiscated my camera so I can sit back and enjoy the flight home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

July 10, 2014

A Little Airport For A Little Airline That Keeps It Alive…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Charleroi,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(Deepest apologies for the lack of photographs of yesterday’s post, I reloaded them and they are there now, Today hopefully back to normal…)

Welcome to my retrospective posts of our trip to Greece from the autumn of 2012. We have stayed the night at the Van der valk Charleroi hotel and now at the crack of dawn we are refreshed and heading out to the airport for our flight to Greece. It’s the first time I’ve been to an airport that seemingly has one carrier as it’s main user, it’s clear that Ryanair keeps this airport pretty much alive.  Planes and airports fascinate me and I notice that many other passengers, both kids and adults also spend their time at the windows, taking photographs and watching the comings and goings of the aircraft. Soon it’s our turn and we are sitting on the misty runway waiting our turn to (hopefully) take off into sunnier skies…

Interesting building opposite the airport terminal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 25, 2012

It’s Cold and It’s Dark, But It’s Home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this last post of our New Zealand travels, we are coming in to land at Schipol Airport outside Amsterdam.

It’s just before 6.00 a.m. on a January winter’s day and it’s dark outside. I try and take photos of the lights beneath us as we come in to land, and end up with more arty streaks of light that are more abstract art than realistic photos.

At least at this time of the morning it doesn’t take so long to get though the airport.

It’s a long way from gate to the baggage claims and exit but there’s a wheelchair waiting on hand for me and we decline assistance in being wheeled, Himself does that whilst I take our hand baggage on my lap.

We have some excellent neighbours who like many city Dutch people, can drive but don’t own a car so we have a long standing arrangement: they run us to and from the airport in our car and in return they get the use of our car when we are away on holiday.

There is a very good train service to The Hague but if I’m really honest, there’s nothing like stepping off a 14 hour flight and having someone waiting at the airport to help us get home quickly and smoothly.

The only thing is, we loose the wheelchair at the exit and the car is parked miles away in one of the massive car parks  so I wait outside in the arrivals hall which is the shortest walk away, whilst the rest of the family quick march to the car and then come and pick me up.

The announcement from the captain of the aircraft just before we land warned us that it’s -4 Centigrade (28 Fahrenheit)  outside, a short sharp shock compared with the tropical temperatures we left behind last night.

As I wait, I take a photo of the second control tower I’ve seen in a less than a day, the moon is out along side it, cars are covered in thick  frost and my breath makes little clouds in front of me. Luckily the car arrives after just a few minutes and soon we are sitting inside with the heater on full blast joining the early morning traffic on the motorway home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 13, 2012

My Heart is There More Than Ever…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I like airports, watching the planes coming and going, the activity air-side as you watch little baggage trucks and strange shaped vehicles pulling planes into position or pushing them off from the gate.

Leaving Christchurch is  always hard, the airport is the line between one “home” and another and crossing that line and leaving it behind is always hard.

I’m always straining to look out of the window of the plane for the final glimpse of the Province of Canterbury, the city of Christchurch,  Port Hills,  Waimakariri River and the Southern Alps.

It’s an overcast day so there’s no luck with the Alps today, they are clothed in cloud and offer only a peep of the foothills where the Canterbury Plains begin to rise.

The Waimakariri River is visible looking like a long, slightly tangled ribbon from high in the sky and there still sweeping views past it of the east coast looking north towards Kaikoura to give me something to linger over for a few minutes at least.

Then we arc towards the Southern Alps, towards the cloud bank which envelopes the plane and the view until we  punch through the cloud level and find a blue sky with dots of cotton wool clouds beneath us.

Himself  knows it’s always tough for me to leave, it’s not like New Zealand is a weekend trip away from the Netherlands “popping home” isn’t  possible for me like it is for some of  my English or French colleagues.  He also knows I’m always ok again after the five minutes it takes to get myself together.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This time it takes a little longer: last evening whilst we were at the unit at Meadow Park,  there was another hefty quake, 5.1 on the Richter scale.

I was laying on the bed resting and everything rattled around me.

I felt like the bed was a boat on the sea… the waves kept coming.

Himself and the kids were in the swimming pool and knowing that Little Mr. would have meltdown I grabbed the crutches and set out in the direction of the pool.

Scared tourists were pouring out of the units into the open space  between them.

I went over and asked if they were ok,  most were, “shaken not stirred”  but four of the ladies were a group of  very young South Korean students and they asked nervously if the buildings would fall down now.

Without hesitation I laughed and said  “heck no, The New Zealand building code goes way beyond withstanding a little shake like this, we were in the December quakes and they were massive compared to this so the buildings will stay up just fine“. I gave them each a hug and they relaxed visibly.

A guy shot out of the communal kitchen and excitedly asked if there had really been an earthquake. I said “Yep, sure was, This is your Christchurch Welcome” and he was really annoyed, he’d been listening to music whilst he was cooking and was so distracted he didn’t even notice until people rushed in to see if everyone in the kitchen was ok.

He was a Swiss tourist and had been a week in the country and was hoping to experience as decent size aftershock… now a really good one came and he’d missed it!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I told him:  just stay out here, very still in your bare feet and sometime very soon you will feel little ripples of more but smaller shocks under your feet because they usually come after a decent aftershock.

Once I got to the pool I found most the the kids still playing and swimming and a few kids with parents at the side of the pool.

Fortunately  the quake hit as Little Mr. was hurtling down the waterslide and since the water is deep enough that he can’t touch the bottom, he was still busy making his way to the edge of the pool as the tremors subsided. He never noticed a thing.

Kiwi Daughter was standing at the bottom of the waterside steps looking shocked but managed to keep her composure and came over quickly for a cuddle and some reassurance.

I laughed and said “ah only a small one, you’ve been in waaay bigger than this!” and after a minute we felt another ripple pass under our bare feet…  and a few seconds later, another. She looked down, surprised, then  with a hopeful grin said “does this mean we get some extra time in the pool?” Yes it did. At least one more kid was adjusting to the Christchurch quakes by trying to focus on fun rather than fear.

I went back to our unit and passed a now very happy Swiss tourist who had felt the ripples too and was delighted about it. He came over and thanked me for the previous advice and when I told him that it was possible that there could be more shocks because they tend to come in clusters, he said “oh, I hope so“.

As the plane eased it’s way into high altitude I reflected on the fact that I didn’t tell the Swiss tourist that it gets old when you have to live with quakes like Christchurch people have had to in the last two years, that even though earthquakes don’t scare me at all, it’s like lightening  …there’s a limit to how much you want it around, and how close.

I get to jet away to my other “home”: one that doesn’t spring  shaky surprises without warning.  I might be physically leaving Christchurch but my heart is there more than ever.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 30, 2012

A Post Office that Moves with Those On the Move…

Filed under: Funny,Places and Sights,SINGAPORE,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You know I like quirky things…

…and it doesn’t get any better then when Whimsy meets Practical and you wish you’d see something like this in every airport you visited.

This is a small post office van… not the delivery type of van but like a really little post office, where you can get a parcel weighed, buy stamps, post a letter etc.

Since I had written a small stack of postcards in Singapore but forgotten to buy the stamps I needed to post them, this little vehicle was a very welcome sight because it saved me from having to carry the cards around and then post them in New Zealand later.

The van parks up in various parts of the various Changi terminals so that  people who want to  post the cards or letters they wrote whilst waiting for their flight don’t have to go hunting for the terminals post office. Knowing how big these terminals are,  that  could involve some serious walking.

There’s even a post-box on the front…  into which my now stamped postcards were eventually dispatched ….Brilliant!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 29, 2012

Relaxing the Rules to Survive Long-Haul Travel with Kids…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We arranged to check in as early as possible so that we could organise a seat with the necessary leg room for me for the trip to New Zealand.

Consequently we have quite a lot of time to kill before the flight boards and the kids are not wanting to be cooped up in the special waiting lounge for the next amost 3 three hours.

They are also starting to moan about being hungry so we head out in search of somewhere to eat. The signs direct us to a food court and after a small hunt to find a lift so that I can get up there in the wheelchair, we find a convienient spot.

The kids have request chicken nuggets, which are normally not an option I’d be wanting them to have, but I’ve long since learned that when travelling long-haul with kids it’s wise to relax the normal rules and be as flexible as possible so that you can make time-zone transitions and long flights as bearable as possible.

The Kiwidutch kids are well aware that as soon as the holiday is over it I will be doing my best to catch up their missed vegetable intake, and compensate for the sweets and less than healthy food they have been enjoying too much as we travel, or that they stuff themselves with when visiting friends and relatives who have tins full of freshly home-made baking.

It all tastes amazingly wonderful I know, but excess has a due date and in the meantime our children have been quick to learn to milk the travel leniency for all that it is worth, so chicken nuggets are ordered with a grin on their part and with resignation on mine.

Himself goes for fried rice and I get a schnitzel and some spring rolls to share. It’s not healthy but tastes good and fills a gap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 28, 2012

Changi Airport, Ensuring a Smooth Take-Off…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,SINGAPORE,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s time for us to leave Singapore and head onwards to New Zealand.

There is a time delay on my blog because I’m busy on the hop, thngs to do, places to see, long flights to make etc …so these photos were taken just before Christmas in December 2011.
Today I’m taking you though just a tiny section of Singapore’s Changi Airport. The airport consists of three terminals, comected by a skytrain.

Each of the terminals are massive and I could never manage any part of them in my current state of immobility so we have arranged wheelchair assistance which starts at the check-in desk and will deliver us right to the door of the plane.

So far so good. We arrive early at the check-in desk and luckily it’s quiet so our check in baggage is sorted in no time at all.

Not only is the airport massive but Changi’s Christmas decorations are too… a Merlion, a zepplin and Tour Eiffel are amongst the many different things scooted past on our way to a special waiting area that is a little tucked out of sight from the rest of the airport .
From what I can make out this waiting area is only for wheel chair passengers (or people who need assistance for one reason or another) and unaccompanied minors.
For all it’s vastness I actually like Changi Aiport, it’s easy to negotiate and there are lots of spaces where they hold exhibits, displays etc. Some of the displays are interactive and others are not (but clearly the kids would have liked them to have been,judging by the amount of interest in the Angry Birds  exhibit ). Here’s a quick tour…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 26, 2011

Please Make Sure your Seatbelt is Securely Fastened and your Tray Table is Stowed for Take Off…

Filed under: SINGAPORE,THE NETHERLANDS,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

Kiwidutch has a confession to make:  While you have been enjoying a virtual tour of Germany courtesy of  the massive stash of photos stored on my hard drive, I  have in recent months and weeks, been organising medical permission  to travel to New Zealand.

Now, with said permission gained,  in recent days Family Kiwidutch have been commencing their global travels.

Ah ha! Yes indeed, we are still on the move as you read this. You are packed securely into my camera bag ready to join me in the air, on the road or on any other form of transport we may encounter.

You, as a virtual tourist (fortunately) weigh nothing more than the few kilos of my laptop and I promise you that your travels with Kiwidutch will be turbulance free, completely without jetlag  and not cost you any additional cent other than the ones you already pay to connect to the internet.

Do however fasten your seatbelt because I hope as usual to show you many wonderful things as we  transverse the highs and lows of this slightly less usual trip to my other “home”.  Like migrating swallows we are migrating temporarily towards warmer climes, and heading out of the beginnings of a Dutch winter into the beginnings of a New Zealand summer.

We get to spend Christmas and New Year with family and friends, but also need to inspect earthquake damage on our Christchurch house and support family and friends who’s  nerves, homes and businesses have suffered greatly in the last year due to the five big quakes and the nine thousand plus aftershocks.

Our journey starts of course at Schipol Airport just outside Amsterdam…  Ready for take off?  …We are!

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

Mountains far below, somewhere over the Indian subcontinent or south west Asia… (about  10 or 11 hours into our 14 hour flight)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

We arrive at 6:00 a.m.  and head towards our hotel as the Singaporean dawn is breaking… and while everyone here is rising to greet the new day, we are about to head to bed for a sleep.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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