Local Heart, Global Soul

June 20, 2018

Bridging The Christmas Lights…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,WELLINGTON & REGION — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

One thing I like to see is technology being used for decorative uses. Spotted during our Christmas 2017 trip to New Zealand when we went north to visit friends in Wainuiomata, travelling back from the center of Wellington. This area in Petone where you branch off the motorway leading to the Hutt valley, these bridge lights have a central panel in them that can be turned into red, blue and green Christmas lights. It certainly brightened up the night.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 20, 2012

A City of Sails, Maze of Roads, a Bridge and a Big Sigh of Relief for the Tom Tom…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In part of my retroactive diary tour of New Zealand, we are heading into Auckland…. New Zealand’s biggest city.

We come in close to Pukekohe  near the bottom of  the map (pronounced as “pook-ah-coe-ee“) and are later exit north on the road by the top of the map by Albany. This will necessitate crossing the Auckland Harbour via the Auckland Harbour Bridge, since it’s the short-cut route across the harbour.

The city is actually a merger of Manukau city and Manukau harbour on side, and Auckland city and Auckland harbour on the other.

Only a narrow  band of  land joins the landmass of Northland to the rest of the North Island … and the countries biggest city straddles this strip of land, so needless to say we aren’t looking forward to the traffic jams we think we might be in for.

Luckily after a stop in the city to see a family member, we manage to hit the road  at a less busy time and somehow, miracle of miracles, without any great hassle or stops.

Of course upon reflection that fact that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, that it’s the summer school holiday period and that many New Zealand businesses close between Christmas and New Year, probably had more to do with the lack of congestion than good timing on our part.

I remember trips to Auckland in my childhood,  a South Island girl overawed by the existence of a motorway system that carried more traffic than I’d ever seen in my life before,  I live of course with motorways now, in The Netherlands but I’m in Europe, so that seems kind of  normal and expected with such a large population to move around, whereas I never got used to motorways in New Zealand and the sum total of one  five kilometres long to the north of Christchurch really doesn’t count.

Auckland’s motorways were today more or less as  I remembered them… but they’ve grown from the toddler sized network of my childhood into a full grown version today, so much so that I thought  several times that we must surely be in Auckland city, long before we actually reached it.

This is one time we are very thankful for the TomTom we picked up from Teddy our favourite rental car owner before setting out for the North Island, during our travels throughout  Auckland the thing is definitely paying it’s way.

The rain is still coming down in fits and starts and the cloud layer is very low, so we can’t even see the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower, … but we still get glimpses of the Auckland, and bridge and the marina’s around it that give it the nickname “the  City of Sails”.

I didn’t notice it at the time, but after putting the photos onto the computer I saw that I’d captured an image of tourists walking over the top span of the Auckland Harbour Bridge… I’d love to be brave enough to do that one day but think that my head for heights (actually great lack of it) is rooted deep in my Dutch genes and since you know I’m accident prone, it’s another activity that I think might be safer to dream about than actually do.

Now that our Auckland appointment is out of the way, we head even further northward, Northland awaits…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Juxtaposition of the roof of a typical  traditional New Zealand villa against a modern skyline… I might get nostalgic for the sight of a brick chimney too, since there are precious few left in Christchurch after the earthquakes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 28, 2011

The Mixed Feelings that I want to Have as Often as Possible…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The way home into The Hague is a familiar route  to us, but like most cities around the world the sky-line has been evolving and changing over recent years.

The Centre of  The Hague has undergone some especially radical changes,  even in the eighteen or so years that I have lived here because buildings in the Centre are now suddenly so much taller:  especially noticable  in a city where the city centre was predominantly low-rise for centuries.

The Dutch have one of the most densely populated countries in the  world so space is of course at a premium so one of the engineering solutions has been to utilise otherise “wasted” spaces.

This has meant to building over the motorway into the city and there are now a whole variety of buildings where you literally drive through their basement as you go past.

I’m not certain if the “Nationale Nederland  Insurance” building was the first building to use this principle, but with it’s massive graceful arch and the incorporated  part glass floor of the offices above it is certainly the most iconic one that everyone knows and remembers instantly.

Maybe it’s because I come from the South Island of  New Zealand (with probably less than ten kilometres of motorway in it’s entire road network) that I find the multi-levelled  motorway flyovers of the  “knooppunt Prins Clausplein”  artistically pleasing too. (Either that, or my wacky sense of humour is showing again)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yes, there is also photography of us at a level crossing waiting for a train to zoom past,  Little Mr. would not forgive me if I left that out because for him, who could care less about buildings?  Trains feature speed and wheels, both of which he finds  much more interesting. (and if they toot the horn too as they go past,  it makes his day).

If I’m totally honest the train photo also gets in because even though I would not care to admit it publicly, I suspect that there is a secret train-spotter  hidden somewhere deep inside this photographer. (You can  keep a secret can’t you?)

Finally, another iconic building: you drive from the knooppunt Prins Clausplein all along the Utrechtsebaan until you reach the large open green space that is the Marlieveld and the traffic lights at the  Zuidholland/ Benoordensehoutseweg and to your left you can’t miss the statuesque  1871 brick beauty of the “De Brouwe Blackstone Westerbroek”   International Law firm building.

Any  resident of the Hague who’s been away,  always knows they are “almost home” when this building comes into view. I’m sure that where-ever you live that there is also some building, old, new, large or small, that gives you the same feeling that “home is just around the corner” whenever you pass it’s door.

Family Kiwidutch have enjoyed our short break away from home but “normal routine” awaits almost sooner than we would like and we have appointments to keep this afternoon. In some ways I always have mixed feelings whenever I see this motorway pictorial series pass us by in real life, sadness that the holiday is over on one hand, but the happy, comfortable  knowledge that I’m almost home on the other.

It’s a mixed feeling I hope to experience as often as possible in the decades to come.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 19, 2011

Heading Northwards towards Paris…

Filed under: FRANCE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The van is packed, the kids have run around the gîte garden one last time and bid the two children who live in the farmhouse a fond farewell with hugs and lots of waving, and that’s how we head out under the archway and onto the roads amongst the vines for the last time this holiday.

Several of our friends have been to see us at the gîte, and we have been to visit several more, including one we fondly know as “Tante” (Auntie) who Himself has kept in contact with over many many years. Tante is currently 94 years of age, still sprightly and active but sadly now with only a smattering of relatives left.

She is the real aunt of the wife of the farmer for whom Himself picked grapes and she still lives in her own house. Sadly she’s had to become more reclusive and cautious these days after a con-man would-be burgler tried to trick her into letting him into the house, asked many personal questions about her and her possessions and got aggressive when she wouldn’t unlock the gate to let him in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Luckily the neighbours do a lot for her and it was a delight to see her again. She doesn’t get many visitors these days and fondly remembers Himself from former times.

She didn’t make it to our wedding 16 years ago but, her niece and nephew did (the farmer’s wife’s daughter and her husband) and they delivered a set of saucepans from Auntie as a wedding present , all of which are still in service in my kitchen today.

We have always visited Auntie when we have been in the region and at her age now every time is “bonus”, she’s lovely and I admire that she still does so much herself.

The rest of our time has been quiet at the gîte, enjoying the garden, the stillness and the restfulness of the countryside here. The weather has been fabulous, wonderfully warm and we’ve loved it here.

Now we are making our way home wards, passing fields of  bright purple lavender,  fluorescent yellow koolzaad,  toll roads and more water towers… even even manage to spot a TGV racing past us at  over 200 kms per hour. Seeing one and managing to point it out to the kids before it’s long gone are two different things, but by attempt number four or so we managed. Getting a photo of a passing TGV is darned near impossible and although I tried, I only had photos of blurred trees to show for my efforts.

We get buzzed by a helicopter again but it seems to be quickly following the motorway and not the power lines this time so it could be a heli for traffic control or an air ambulance this time.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The hours tick away with the kilometers  under our wheels and the afternoon is growing old as we approach Paris…

We have a Game to play…

October 11, 2010

Portugal, far far from the motorway…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

We realise fully that motorways have their place. and that as fast and efficient means of getting from “A” to “B”  they are brilliant.

Sadly we also feel that we (and people in general) are so often in a rush to get where we are going, that art  and practice of taking the leisurely routes what can be traversed at a pace that allows you to soak up a local atmosphere and really get to know the country is being more and more forgotten.

At home in the Netherlands, at least we have the excuse that the country is so small and densely populated that often motorways have often cut off small routes, making them into dead ends and making getting on and off them needlessly difficult at times.

That said, Family Kiwidutch is on a mission to see more of the Netherlands smaller places, the gems of places off the beaten track.

Here whilst in Portugal and on holiday, our only excuse for the motorway is the car-sickness factor, the need-to-catch-a-flight factor and the opportunity to reach somewhere further away quickly so that we can utalise as much of the day at that location as possible.

When these factor are not in play, we try and see as much of the local area as possible, taking the small roads and seeing where they lead.

So far Portugal has never disappointed.

The weather is great, the scenery gorgeous and the architecture  is beautiful.

Here is a small snippet of our photographic journey…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

Tiles on older traditional buildings…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

..and on new ones too…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

certainly no motorway has this kind of charm…

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