Well less than a week before my next post, I’m getting better at this. Since I am not working yet, and I’m more than a few kilos (pounds) overweight, I have been trying to take a walk every day. So today I’ll post some of the photos and I will caption them as well.
As some of you know, 60% of the country is actually below sea level and the NL is full of canals, ponds & streams. Our part of the country is no exception so within a kilometer (1/2 mile) are several ponds, streams and canals. On my walks, I have seen as above swans, ducks, & blue herons everyday plus a lot of seagulls as we are within a few kilometers (miles) of the Port of Rotterdam and the ocean as the seagull flies. I have also seen a few crows but have not taken any photos.
An unusual site in the middle of a park is a section of railroad track. I couldn’t measure it accurately it can’t be longer than 20 meters (65 feet) with a train stop at the end. I still don’t know the history or why it is here, since the closest rail lines are about a kilometer (1/2 mile) away from the end of this track and runs in a totally different direction.
Two other neat sites in the same park are a windmill Americans might be familiar with on US farms and a well. The windmill is on a spillway between 2 ponds, so it is possible it is still in use to even the water levels. The 3 photos are of a well, yes there is water about 1.5 meters (5 feet down) the nearby sign (in Dutch) notes that this area is “ruins” perhaps from a farm originally on the property before it was turned into a park. I may ask Ilka to walk to it one day and translate or I might spend a half hour translating it myself.
I couldn’t help myself, I took nearly 20 photos of this dragon because it literally stopped me in my tracks. I appears it was cut from three trees that grew at strange angles. I was struck by the beauty of taking tree stumps; photos of the tail & body show this, I could not tell of the head was a stump too but it would make sense; and turning them into art. I was also amazed at the detail and care taken to create this, I doubt this was a bored park worker with time on their hands, this was crafted by an artist.
Speaking of artwork, another thing that I really enjoy is that all the roundabouts, there are thousands here, is that almost all have some sort of artwork in the middle. The first photo is a cow’s head that was commissioned for a former stockyard, there are two side by side that are identical. The other three photos are from the roundabout at the end of our condo complex, I can see it from our front door. There are the three monkeys I took a photo of See No Evil close, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil are spaced around. I also took a photo of the sculpture in the middle as well, although I have no idea what it represents. During December the monkeys had Santa hats on, I didn’t think to get a picture before they were removed. They disappeared the same day the Christmas tree disappeared in the lobby so I guess the condo association put them on there. I will try to get more photos of other roundabouts.
To quote Five Man Electrical Band or Tesla “Signs, signs everywhere there’s signs….” I wanted to post a few signs I took photos of while walking. The first is a bus stop, the bus numbers, the stops they make & the bus schedule are all posted there, it sure beats Louisville just having a generic bus sign that may or may not be a bus stop. I’m not certain what gas prices are in Louisville today but when I left in December it was just under $2.00 gallon, so the 1.50 Euro looks good. Here’s the secret, that price is per liter (1 quart) so either the US pays .50 Euro a liter or we pay $6.00 a gallon, I won’t try to work out the exchange rate as it is very close to 1:1 within cents. Thankfully Ilka’s employer also gave her a gas card with her company car. The next two signs are on the bike paths, the first time I saw one it immediately brought to mind Snoopy as the WWI flying ace creeping behind enemy lines looking at the road signs to make his way home. The first is a sign within the park pointing to various parts of the park, yes the bottom on the right is WC (Water Closet) is the restrooms. The other sign points to the distance in kilometers to various places in this case on the right Schiedam Central (downtown business district) Rotterdam and Vlaardingen and on the left to Delft. In future posts I will discuss more about cycling and my walking. The last two were a pleasant surprise every city in NL at the city limits has two signs, a sign with the city name and a sign with the city name slashed in red. The red slash means it is the end of the city limits. As you can see they are mounted on the same poles. The last photos is hard to decode as it is a stylized “ah” for the supermarket chain Albert Heijn, for my Louisville friends, think Kroger they are various sizes and seem to be everywhere. So far they haven’t expanded into fuel or banks or clinics yet, although most have an ATM. I also found it a bit amusing that they are in shopping malls and even a tiny convenience store in the airport at Schiphol (Amsterdam). I suppose I may need to do a post on groceries and stores here in NL. For my readers not in Louisville think of the biggest chain in your town that seems to be on nearly every corner.
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