maandag 6 augustus 2012

Varend Corso Westland
Varend Corso Westland means Floating flower parade in English. It is a yearly event during the first week of August in Westland, a region in Western Netherlands. It is a three-day boat parade sailing the routes in Westland, Rijmond and Delfland. If it coincides with your visit in the city of Delft  then it is a nice opportunity to see this boat parade. The Delft route is usually on the third day (Sunday) at around 1:45 pm. You can sit beside the canals and wait for the boats to sail. Just go to Oostpoort (Eastern gate), the only remaining brick gothic style gate in the city which was built in 1400.
I notice that most people combine the affair with picnicking. They bring foods, drinks, mats and folded chairs to the location. More than 30 boats join the parade. The boats are decorated with beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables which make them very colorful. People in the boats show various themes with different kinds of music, dances and theatrical acts which make it very pleasant and exciting to watch. 
Video impressions

zondag 5 augustus 2012

Castlefest is a fantasy festival in The Netherlands which is held every first weekend of August at Castle Keukenhof in Lisse. It is a three-day festival  of concerts, different workshops, food and market stands, campings, story-telling, various tents of different fantasy groups, sword fighting, etc. The visitors are dressed to the best of their ability and creativity. It starts on Friday and ends on Sunday.
You can ride a train in going to Castle Keukenhof. If your departure is either Amsterdam or The Hague, you have to find a train which bring you to station Hillegom. There is a shuttle bus going straight to the festival terrain. Price is € 4 for a two-way ticket. The entrance ticket for a day is € 22.
Video 1  visitors in medieval/fantasy costumes and medieval tents of participating organizations
Video 2  feat. Steampunk garden
Video 3  visitors in their creative costumes and Bird live
Video 4 firing a cannon, archery, story telling and battle
Fllickr photos taken by Dedsharp photography  (Dedsharp has already placed a few photos, more coming up so if you are interested, come back to this link from time to time).

zondag 10 juni 2012

Sony Foto & Video experience 2012 in The Netherlands

 Click Foto impressie met gebruik van Sony fototoestel a580
(Photo impression using Sony camera a580)

Video impressies van de voorstellingen met gebruik van Sony CX115E
beelden HD FH (Video impressions of the shows using Sony CX115E, images HD HF)
deel1 vrouw op stelten1 (woman in pogo stick1)
deel2 vrouw op stelten2  (woman in pogo stick2)
deel3 moderne dans (modern dance)
deel4: creatieve dans (creative dance)
deel5 acrobatiek (acrobats)

(see English translation below):
Op 3 juni 2012 heeft Sony een evenement georganiseerd dat heet foto & video experience. De locatie is De Fabrique in Maarssen, Utrecht. Het was voor het eerst dat ik dit heb bijgewoond. Wij maakten gebruik van het openbaarvervoer. Eenmaal gearriveerd op station Maarssen stond er een pendelbus te wachten. Na ontvangst kregen wij een zwarte stevige camerariem als cadeautje en een flyer met programma’s. Er waren workshops o.a. tips en trucs filmen, macrofotografie, lichtbalans, modelfotografie, enz. Op de begane grond waren er voorstellingen van kleurrijke vrouwen op stelten, acrobatiek, creatieve en moderne dans die de hele dag doorging. De sfeer was heel erg spannend, echte Cirque du Soleil-achtig. Sony maakte gebruik van verschillende belichtingen zodat het een uitdaging is geweest voor camera en videobezitters. Wat ik heel erg mooi vond is dat iedereen de hebbedingen mocht uitproberen. Aan de zijkant van het podium waren er lange tafel/losse tafeltjes waar diverse fototoestellen en videocamcorders uitgeprobeerd konden worden. Wij mochten ook verschillende lenzen lenen. Er was ook een ruimte waar je gratis jouw camera kon laten reinigen. Er waren ruimten waar functies zoals ingebouwde projector, 3-D en onderwater camera werden getoond. Er was een demonstratie van de stabiliteit van de nieuwe Sony camcorder in vergelijking met een gewone cam. Wat een groot verschil. De lunch was gratis, drank en koekjes waren in overvloed. Het was een geweldige ervaring. Wat een verwennerij! Sony, hartelijk dank! Je hebt van mij een trouwe klant van gemaakt.

On June 3, 2012 Sony organized an event called Sony Photo & Video experience. The location is De Fabrique in Maarssen, Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands. It was the first time that I attended this. We made use of public transportation. When we arrived, there was already a shuttle bus waiting for commuters. At the reception, we got a black durable camera strap as gift and a flyer with programs. There were worskhops like tips and tricks in filming, macrophotography, balanced lighting, model photography, etc.  At the ground floor, there were performances of colorful women in pogo sticks, acrobatic, creative and modern dance which went on the whole day. The ambiance was very exciting like in Cirque du Soleil. Sony made use of various lighting effects which made it a challenge for camera and video owners.  What I loved the most was that everybody had the chance to try the gadgets. There were table/loose tables where  different cameras and videocamcorders could be tried. We could even borrow different lenses. There was even an area where  your camera could be cleaned for free.  There were areas where features like built-in projector, 3-D and underwater camera were shown. There was a demonstration showing the stability function of the new Sony camcorder in comparison with a noirmal videocam. What a big difference. The lunch was free, drinks and cookies were in adundance. It was a great experience. What a treat! Sony, thank you! You have made me your loyal customer. 

woensdag 18 april 2012

Keukenhof  literally means kitchen courtyard. Actually it is an annual garden show located at Lisse, The Netherlands. It begins sometime in March and ends on the third week of May.
Video 1 of 5 Tulip gardens
Video 2 of 5 Tulip gardens
Video 3 of 5 Oranje Nassau Pavilion
Video 4 of 5 Willem Alexander Pavilion
Video 5 of 5 Inspirational gardens 

Tip: buy a combi ticket for € 21,--. It means you have a return ticket and entrance ticket. You can buy on-line paying with a credit card or buy from a tourist office.

Public transportation is most accessible in going to Keukenhof.
From Schiphol airport
 If you are a tourist waiting for your flight in the evening at Schiphol airport then it might interest you to know that there is a bus going straight to Keukenhof. Duration of travel: 35 minutes. The last bus leaves at past 7 pm.
From The Hague
 If you’re coming from The Hague Central station, there is  bus 89 going straight to Keukenhof but only during weekdays. Travel time: 50 minutes.  The last bus leaves at around 5 pm.
If you’ll be there in a weekend then you ride a train going to Amsterdam which stops at Leiden centraal train station. Train fare: € 6,40 return ticket.  Then ride shuttle bus 54 at platform 1 at the side of the station. Duration of travel with the train: 12 minutes. From Leiden to Keukenhof: 25 minutes. The last bus leaves at past 7 pm.
From Amsterdam
Ride bus 197 from Leidseplein/Museumplein to reach Schiphol. Then transfer to bus 58 in going to Keukenhof.
At Keukenhof, there are 5 pavilions: Beatrix, Oranje Nassau, Wilhelmina, Juliana and Willem Alexander. Pavilion Beatrix houses varieties of orchids. Wilhelmina pavilion is a restaurant. Juliana pavilion has exhibits/films but no flowers. Oranje Nassau has a garden show.
Practical tips
There are restaurants and stalls to buy food and drinks. Tip: If you are a practical traveller like me, I just buy sandwiches from the supermarket as pack lunch because I don’t want to pay € 4,50 for a sandwich.  Tip for travellers from Schiphol airport, buy sandwiches at Hema supermarket or AH (Albert Heijn) to go because you pay the local prices. Tip for travellers stopping at Leiden centraal, opposite the station is Jumbo supermarket.

zondag 11 september 2011

De wereld van Witte de With in Rotterdam

This is an international arts festival which is held every second weekend of September in Rotterdam. There are a lot of creative arts designed by European artists, music, etc. so there is no time to experience boredom. Since I am thinking of writing about not having a bicycle in a bicycle infested country like The Netherlands, I found a connection in one of the features of the arts festival.

Click photo album and short video
Short video  (at the 41st second of the video, you can view recycling of bikes)

Living in a land of bicycles without having a bicycle
The Netherlands is a country where bicycle is a common mode of transportation. I’ve been living here for some years but I don’t bike anymore. I know how to bike but I prefer walking far distances or taking a public transportation which is efficient, anyway. The first time I started living here, my friend gave me a second hand bike. It is a type of bike called by the Dutch as an “oma fiets “, a big, heavy one with a higher saddle and with foot brakes. However, I was more comfortable with hand brakes. We tried to make the saddle lower but it  was at its  lowest. I remember I used to tiptoe to touch the ground when I hit the brakes. It was not that convenient but I managed using the bike until one day in autumn, there was a very strong wind. Together with the heavy bike, I got  carried by the wind and almost fell in a Dutch canal. I tried to hit the foot brake but could not manage it at all. Luckily there was  a big tree which stood in my way so while I was being pushed into the canal, I turned the handle bars swiftly straight to the tree so the wheels hit the big tree instead. It was better than falling in a canal knowing I could only swim a bit. It worked, I stopped with a thud and arrived safely at home although a bit shaken by the incident. After a while, André bought me a brand new modern Batavus bike. I used it in going to a Dutch training centre where I studied the Dutch language. One afternoon as I was biking home, there was a young man who overtook another biker. He did not see me coming the other way and we had a frontal collision. I found myself lying on the ground with bruises on my knees and a damaged bike where the front wheel was bent from the impact. It was repaired and I biked again like any other foreigner trying to live the Dutch way. Within a certain period of time, André bought a scooter. I suddenly had an excuse not to bike often and only used my bike in going to school and for some errands. Later on, our scooter became my saving grace because we started using it in buying groceries, going to villlages/cities, etc. When I started working, I got a subsidy for public transportation. From then on, I used my bike  lesser until recently, my old bike ended up in a garbage pile. Nowadays, I only use a stationary bike in the gym during a group lesson. Aside from the usual bicycle, Dutch  people are very creative and innovative in finding ways to create an efficient bike. I’ve seen bikes which are more like an art in itself. Bikes with wheelbarrow-like extension to place children on it, bikes where a biker lies down while biking, etc.  During the international arts festival, I saw a public workshop on creative recycling of bicycles where accessories are from found or thrown-away objects. 

maandag 15 augustus 2011

Summer Carnival in Rotterdam

During the last week of July, there is a street carnival parade in Rotterdam. It begins at 2 pm until around 5 pm. It goes on until late at night because it is also a contest. The participants are various groups from different parts of The Netherlands. They originate mostly from Surinam, Antillian and there are also Latin American groups from Bolivia and Peru.
From Amsterdam, it is 1 hour and 10 mins. travel with a normal train. An alternative is hispeed train called Fyra which takes you to Rotterdam in 40 minutes. However, there is a difference in train prices.
Upon arrival at the station, there are signboards pointing to the direction of the street parade. Tip: go to the direction of Witte de Withstraat. It is a nice location to watch the parade. Just like any carnival parade, it is such a delight to see this colorful and lively street parade. There are around 30+ trucks with different music, dj's, singers and bands. After every truck, there are big groups of participants dancing in the street with beautiful costumes. Participants and the crowd dance the afternoon away to the drumbeats and catchy music. They have the energy to keep on dancing from starting point to final destination in the city square of Rotterdam.

Here are video and photo impressions:
photo album 2011
photo album 2010

zondag 14 augustus 2011

Summer darkness in Utrecht

Summer Darkness is a dark underground interdisciplinary festival located in the gothic city square of Utrecht. It is a festival mixing music, fashion, arts, market, and dark underground dancenights. It happens during the last week of July.
With the gothic church and garden in the city, it is a perfect location for this kind of event. People show up in different outfits. There are stalls where one can buy gothic and funky clothes, shoes, accessories and audio cd's. At Tivoli concert hall, one can watch concerts with entrance fees. It goes on for a few days.
Train transportation is the most practical way. From the train station, it takes only a few meters and we are already in our destination.
Tip: If you want to taste the best french fries in Holland (best-tested in year 2011), do buy at the side of the back station. You pass it in going to the gothic church.
It was my first time to attend this event. We did not go to any concert and just strolled in the premises. It was a nice experience to watch the mode show of gothic lolita dolls and funky, cool male and female models.
Here are two videos I edited:
People & surroundings
Fashion show
Photo album 2011
Photo album 2010