Weekly Photo Challenge – Variations


Variations.

The endless variety that one thing can contain – is one of Ben’s suggestions for a take on this week’s Variation theme. Ben chose a shot from the Gouda Cheese store in Amsterdam.

MB has also decided to use Amsterdam for his theme shot, selecting another product synonymous with Amsterdam, and Holland generally – Tulips.

Just across the street (and canal) from the Anne Frank house lies Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum. MB and daughter MB2 happened to spot the Museum only on account of the fact that they could not get into the AF House due to the huge numbers of people already in the never-ending queue. But the Tulip Museum turned out to be the silver lining on the AF dark cloud. It’s a real pleasure to visit and to learn the history of the tulip, brought by invading Ottoman Sultans back to Turkey from Kazakhstan and elsewhere, then brought to Europe by diplomats based in the Ottoman region. The Dutch then made it their own, so to speak.

The fact that Amsterdam had a large wealthy middle class at that time (for reasons MB will not get into here) permitted much trading and investing in tulip bulbs, the iPhone of their day. The years 1634 to 1637 saw a frenzy of such investment which was referred to at that time, and since, as ‘tulip mania’. People were investing approximately 50% of the price of a premium townhouse in Amsterdam on a single tulip bulb, whose particular colour might have been considered rare at that time. Three years passed before everybody work up and smelt the coffee tulips.  By then, large personal fortunes had been lost in the world’s first recorded financial bubble, as bulb prices collapsed to a fraction of their previous worth.

For the information of HX followers – anyone considering a trip to Holland to view (or photograph) Holland’s famous tulip fields, April or May are the recommended months to do so.

Shot from the museum:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitude


Solitude.

In yet another quite brilliant piece of lateral thinking, MB takes followers away from the predictable lonely landscapes and dramatic desolation that many will offer for this weeks photo challenge.  Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Anticipation


Anticipation.

MB has mentioned his recent trip to Amsterdam with daughter MB2 in recent posts. And he now does so again.

On afternoon Nr 1 of the trip, MB & MB2 went on an organised food walking tour of the central canal district. One of the food venues visited was a shop called Van Stepele Koekmakerij – which makes and sells only a single type of (totally delicious) cookie. It is a dark chocolate biscuit cookie, served warm, with melted white chocolate on the inside. According to our lady food guide, the shop is owned by a Dutch lady who previously lived abroad. On her return to Holland/Amsterdam, she spent nine months perfecting the best cookie in the universe, before she opened the cookie shop. Despite pleas from some to expand the range, she has refused to do so. And no matter what time of day one visits the shop, there is a queue of punters out the door to buy the delicious cookie.

As both MB and MB2 are total chocoholics, it became a ritual in the following days to revisit the cookie shop for the daily fix. The ‘anticipation’ each day was palpable, as visits to museums and other sights were indulged in, for the only reason that it’s what’s expected when on a short visit to an historic city. But the real purpose of the day was only fulfilled when the two travelers felt the taste of the melting dark biscuit and warm white chocolate in the mouth, to loud sounds of “mmmmmmmm………….”.

MB just checked online and found a blog post dedicated to said shop – http://www.jadescapades.com/van-stepele-koekmakerij-amsterdam/ 

(Thanks and acknowledgment to Jadescapes blog for the above link).

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Relax


Relax.

MB & daughter MB2 came across this guy on their recent trip to Amsterdam.

A city cycle tour, with MB & MB2 on board, wound its way after some time out to the reclaimed polder farmland, some distance outside the city. Cycle guide Sam stopped the entire entourage in their cycle tracks when he spotted this heron resting, relaxed as you like, on a wooden bridge over a small stream. Faster than anyone could shout ‘grab your SLR’, MB had his 7D ‘click clicking’ and captured a number of shots before Mr Heron flew off to find a more relaxing spot, where annoying camera-guys like MB would not bother him.

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