Snowy Landscapes

We have had a bit of snow over the last few days and the temperature is always usually below 0 degrees. I was told that out in the countryside about 15 minutes drive from Waalwijk, you get frost in the trees which makes them all white and beautiful to look at. So today, I was just going to cycle to the dunes where there are a lot of trees there, but Auke offered to drive me around.

There was no wind (which was nice), but as you could imagine it was very cold! I was glad I rugged up well for these shots. It was great to be parked under the trees and have small snowflakes gently coming down on you. It was very still and peaceful and pure. I used a circular polariser to darken the blue sky and bring out the white landscapes slightly more. The views were incredibly stunning. Judge them for yourselves!

Snowy landscapes (main image)

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes

 Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes Snowy landscapes

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes 

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes Snowy landscapes

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes 

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes 

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes

Snowy landscapesSnowy landscapes

I also have a smugmug gallery up containing the full size version of these photos. You can get to that page here.

Many thanks to Auke for driving me around to see these sights!

More snow

Yet again we shivered in Waalwijk with below zero temperatures recorded each day in 2009. It snowed a reasonable amount during the morning of the 5th of Jan. However it didn’t melt away like before. It stayed there. I have heard reports that tomorrow it will go down to –9. This will make cycling to swimming (indoor heated pool) rather tricky. You have to watch out for the slippery iced sections.

The backyard I guess the car was there when it was snowing

Fem's backyardClose up of the garden

Today I cycled to a small park close to the centre of town. Not many people had walked or cycled through it so I was able to get some great untouched snow shots.

So while the majority of my readers are in sunny hot humid and sweltering Brisbane, I offer you some photos from the north end of the world. Hopefully looking at these photos might make you feel a little bit cooler. 🙂

Pond at the park Snow on flowers at the park

snow on treesThe Park 

Ducks at the park snow on tree

Signing my name Snow at my feet

Football in Waalwijk

On the 12th of December, Auke took me to see the local football team play the visitors from Den Bosch, It was actually my first live football game I have been to.

After rugging up with what I thought was enough clothes we set off. There were many police around (normal for football matches I am told), so we took our seats up at the back of the stadium and waited for the game to start. It was a small stadium with all seats nice and close to the action. Most of the “Den Bosch’ens were isolated to a small section of the stadium to prevent trouble makers.

The stadium the visitors supported isolated

I got the following photos during the first half. The  lighting was good. but not the best for shooting fast action shots. I really needed a faster lens!

During the second half, it got so cold I had to put the camera away to stop my fingers going numb! When you are sitting still in an exposed stadium, you really feel it. I looked around and thought everyone was smoking, but it was just them all breathing! Once it was over and we went back to the car park, all the cars were covered with frozen frost. That’s how cold it was!

The game was good to watch and I hope to see some more games in the future. The final score? It was a 1 all draw.

the teams march on away we go

a player get scratched. he goes down. a penalty goal

a failed attemptat goal the mascot

Sinterklaas

On the 15th of November, the Netherlands celebrated the arrival of Sinterklaas!

This involved watching the main parade on TV that day. Each year Sinterklaas arrived via ship to one Dutch town that has a harbour. There he on top of his white horse and his dozens of Black Pete assistants then hand out candy and treats to the delighted children and parade through the city. They end up at the town hall where there is a speech by that town’s mayor and there is plenty of celebration all around. The theme this year was red balloons. So there are red balloons attached to all the major landmarks around the Netherlands.

Obviously from Australia’s perspective Sinterklaas is like our Santa Claus, and the Black Pete’s are the elves.

One attraction of the whole parade is that there are always things that “go wrong”, and it’s interesting to watch and see how the Black Petes get Sinterklaas out of the trouble. This year his boat got “stuck” in the harbour. They solved that issue by attaching all these red balloons to the ship and that lifted it high over the obstacle.

Also Sinterklaas’s main chair at the town hall was destroyed by a parachuting Black Pete who landed on it. The TV kept cutting back to this poor Pete who was desperately trying to get a replacement chair before the parade snaked it’s way to Town Hall. Of course he comes up with comical alternatives such as a toilet, a wheelchair and a really tiny chair, but just before Sinterklaas arrived he was able to get the correct chair replaced in time! It’s all good fun and quite entertaining to watch.

On the 16th, each Dutch town gets their own Sinterklaas parade. Obviously it’s smaller than they main one on TV the previous day, but it’s still good to see everyone out and about. There were lots of Black Petes doing acrobatic dances and jumps and plenty handing out candy to all the children. Most of the children had bags to catch all the candy in 🙂

Below are the shots from the parade in Waalwijk.

Start of the Parade A Black Pete giving candy to a child

The marching band One of the caridges in the parade

Sinterklaas himself The black pete orchestra

marching band another shot of sinterklaas himself Wallkwijk townhall covered in red balloons

Up until the 5th of December, each morning when you wake up, there might be some chocolate waiting for you. This is what Fem and I received this morning from Fem’s parent. We also give them sweet treats every few mornings as well!

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Then on the 5th of December, we would then exchange small gifts. (no this does not occur on the 25th ) 🙂