Monday, 27 June 2016

Countryside Dreams

My sunday was active in a very relaxing way. We were at the countryside of the East Holland and spent as much time outdoors as it was possible in the constantly changing weather conditions. For example our barbecue had to be cancelled, because of a thunderstorm and hill stones. After the loudly echoing sky Theatre the Sun was shining again and the Nature looked so fresh.

I borrowed the old, nostalgic "Gazelle" (what a lovely name) bike from the Carage and went for a nice cycling Tour. I was inspired of the green and surreal, peaceful living panorama that I had seen in my morning jog already. So this was a very sporty day for me. My intention was to take a lot of Photos, but after a one round in the peace of the silent country roads, the rain surprised me again and I cycled back, chased by the raindrops.

The Dutch people are cycling a lot. It is wonderful to make bike trips at the Countryside. There are many Bed and Breakfasts, Camping places or small Hotels in small Towns. The big Trees are growing beside the roads and you find nice shadowy spots even in the hot Summer days. I saw some big groups of people making a Tour with their sport bikes and outfits. Passing me and my old lady Gazelle with high speed ! It is really a National sport here and the flat landscape makes it easier to make bike tours also with the kids. 

Driving the old bike, which was still in an excellent condition, I suddenly felt a moment of timeless beauty. I felt like this could be any time, any decade...and the stories of these country views started to pop in my mind. Like I was being a part of the story in some book and seeing the scenes and doing my cycling round in the past. It was a wonderful moment! I had a vision of me having a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine, a book and something to eat with me. Finding a spot from the fields and enjoying the summer and watching at the sky. Next time I will definitely do this, now I would have got wet anyway! 

The contrast of the Countryside compared to Amsterdam was something I really needed. I did not realise that before going there, but after two days I noticed being away was like being in a paradise, giving me some inner peace and inspiration. 

Surrounded by the grass, the fields, the old trees and smelling the farms or the sweet perfume of the flowers. I did not need anything, I was part of everything and there was no pressure of the time passing, the symbols of time lost their meaning. The right time and the right moment was just there, like I had been there forever and still was...I still am.  

Friday, 24 June 2016

Canal views

Summertime goes fast and living away from your Home Country makes it sometimes more difficult to notice the different periods of time. If I would be in Finland now, we would be already celebrating the midsummer party somewhere in the countryside, probably by the lake at someone's Summer Cottage. Now we don't have any big plans, but for me the boat trip by the Canals of Amsterdam this week was like a little Holiday! A spontaneous invite from our friends to join them and enjoy the perfect weather with the water element and the City views. This was quite a big,old rescue boat, where three families could easily sit and walk without any problem when the boat was moving. The children in Holland have to do their swimming Diplomas and only the smallest ones without this certificate had their Safety Vests on. The perspective from the boat is amazingly beautiful, you see all the houses in a different light and there is a feeling of space around you. No cyclists and no busy streets with tourists, just sight seeing boats every now and then. The boat traffic would be totally different during the big Festivals and Parades when the Canals are filled with boats, music and party people. We instead had a nice, peaceful trip - Oh,I would like to do this more often!

One of the many highlights of our evening was to park the boat and get some Ice Cream for everyone! "Heel lekker", as the Dutch people say "Very Tasty".

Westerkerk, Prinsengracht(West Church)

At the Sloterkade, in the South part of the City,you can often see some big and long transporting boats. It is a bit scary feeling in a narrow canal to pass these Monsters.

By boat you are going under many Bridges and some of them are low. You have to be careful not to hit your head when standing. 

Many boats have the Amsterdam Flag set in the back of the boat when cruising around the water routes. The three crosses in the middle of the Flag are Saint Andrew Crosses. Some people say the three saltires represent the three dangers of the ancient Amsterdam: Fire, Floods and the Black Death. But this theory has no historical basis. The more official accepted meaning for the crosses, represented by Queen Wilhelmina in 1947 is: Compassion, Resolution and Heroism. 

The flag of Amsterdam. 

Have a good weekend and thank you for reading!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A Green Window

I have always wanted to see something green from my window. When I was a student I lived in an apartment on a very busy street and only thing I could see outside was asphalt and a long line of high houses. I have been more lucky with other places that I have lived in. I just love to see some trees every morning when I wake up. The natural view is so much more inspiring and calming to see. I can follow the birds, I can see the leaves moving and enjoy the changing Seasons. When I go for my walks, I love to take some pictures and many of them stay just in my private collection. The photo is a sort of window to me. I think the need to be surrounded with a living environment is so deep in us, that we need to go to the woods or have a walk at the park or just see the beautiful pictures. In the scale of the history of Human being, the time that we live now, this sort of "modern life", is so short. I think we can't ignore our biological and genetic history. We used to live totally in the woods and were not the first ones on the food chain. Just the invention how to use the fire gave us the more dominating position among other living species. With this I just want to say we have to stay in contact with the nature, it is crucial to our well being.

Even if you would forget it or even if you are too busy or the nature seems to be too far from where you live...just try to find that time and go out! Actually I am going to do that now and have this time no special plan where to go. I will just go and let my feet guide me this time! 

With this green attack:-)) I wish you a wonderful day!!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Walking in the East Side

I was lucky to have a wonderful day off just for myself on this Tuesday. I have been living soon 2 years in Amsterdam and there is so many places that I have not had time to visit. Luckily I will be staying here a long time, no end to be seen yet:-), and can take my time and do spontaneous walks whenever it is possible. I just love to go to this adventure modus and be surprised of what I will see outside in the Streets, Parks, Museums, Art exhibitions, Cafes or in normal daily situations. The vision of the moment I witness in my own eyes gives me the strength and focus to the day and I feel connected to the presence!I want to stay open to the life and for the opportunities which are there for us every day. I prefer opening the door, taking the steps and see what is out there!

I took the tram number 7 from the Centre and went for a walk in just renovated Oosterpark in the east side of town. I had also in my mind the Nature photo exhibition in the botanical Gardens (Hortus Botanics), which I wanted to see. These both attractions are about the same area in town, near The Zoo called Artis. You can easily spent your whole day in this area, because there are many museums, restaurants and other attractions nearby. A good part of town to visit also with the kids. 

Stop 1: Oosterpark

Oosterpark has been lately renovated for the new glory. It is an old, english styling park designed in the end of 18th century. The neighbourhoods around the park has traditionally been diverse, populated with many immigrants. Everything is changing in Amsterdam at the moment, there is so much building projects and lifting up the forgotten corners of the town. It is expensive to live inside the motorway ring and many people have to find cheaper options for housing. It is nice that the image and reputation of many areas is getting better, but soon the normal working people can't afford to live in the City. 

The sunny Oosterpark charmed me very well on my walk! The landscape is curvy and full of interesting corners and works of art to admire. I also found the small, modern playground very appealing. I went there with my camera and captured the shadows and the lines, walking up to the slide and enjoying the views from the perspective of a small child. 

Stop 2: passing Artis Magistra

I passed the old building of the famous Zoo "Artis" when walking towards the Botanic garden. The Zoo itself is like a huge, green park area where you can have a nice walk or have a picnic. Many families go there to spent their time and it is not just watching the animals. I personally like a lot this old building in picture under. It is a home for many fishes and sea animals. I will go there one day soon and show you the beauty of this old architecture and also show you the rest of the Zoo!

Stop 3: Hortus Botanicus

I started to get hungry on my walk and had a picture of me having a lunch in the shadows of Botanic garden. There is a nice terrace and restaurant surrounded by green. I first bought me a year ticket, so I am free always to go to Hortus Botanics and have a peaceful walk. Inside the fences of this garden I totally forget I am living in the City. It is a peaceful place to sit, read a book, take photos and collect some energy. 

The photo Exhibition " International Garden photographer of the year" is to be seen until the 19th of September. I will tell you more about it in other blog text. This picture below taken in Florida by Paul Marcellini got the 2nd price in the category of "Trees, woods and forests". The result includes 3 different photos processed together, so it is not totally realistic type of nature photography. Mystical result anyway!

I had fun on tuesday and I wish you a nice weekend, exploring the outside world!!