Shutterspeed: Autumn walk

We took a beautiful walk in the Wilbrink forest today. It’s that wonderful time when you can feel the transition from summer to autumn in nature: the air is still warm and carries the earthy smell of the sunlight on the ground, but there is also the occasional whiff of a stink-horn and the strong scent of humus, moist with evaporating morning dew. Toadstools and fungi are sprouting everywhere, spiders spin silver between the trees, and the snaps and pops of falling acorns and chestnuts mingle with bird songs. Leaves are turning red, brown, orange, yellow; they stand out almost shyly among their brilliant green family members. We pick ripe blackberries and fresh porcini. Soon it will get colder, soon the trees will shed their colourful canopies and the drab, grey weather will set in. But not just yet. Autumn is only just peeping out of its cocoon.

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Shutterspeed: Purple haze

Whoever thinks the Netherlands has nothing to offer in the way of beauty compared to other countries – think again. It’s early September, my favourite time of the year, when the heather blooms bright purple in my part of the country. To take full advantage of this gorgeous sight, I went for a hike with my mother and her boyfriend in the Loenermark, which is part of the Hoge Veluwe. We had some rain, but some sunshine as well, which made for beautiful dramatic skies and misty views.
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Shutterspeed: Bivouac in Twente

This weekend I went on a bivouac with my family, our second family bivouac in two years. My mum’s boyfriend Paul used to be in the National Reserve Corps and he’s into bush craft, and we’re all keen hikers. Last year we went to the Sallandse Heuvelrug, in the east of the country, and slept in the woods at a pole camping. This is a small area, which sometimes has a water pump, where you’re allowed to spend the night as long as you don’t leave any rubbish. They’re scattered throughout the country. This year we went to Twente and hiked around the river Dinkel, and spent the night near a farmhouse where nobody lived except for some chickens. There was a bathroom inside, which made this outing less primitive than the last.
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Histourism: The pyramid of Austerlitz and the Utrechtse Heuvelrug

Today I cycled from Utrecht towards my hometown, Amersfoort, which is a distance of about 20 km. I wanted to do some historical sightseeing and relax in the sun in the dunes (dunes? Dunes!) where my parents used to take me when I was young.
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Shutterspeed: Holland’s oldest botanical gardens in Leiden

I went to Leiden a couple of days ago to visit the Museum of Ethnology and the botanic gardens. Leiden’s was the first university in the Netherlands, established in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange, leader of the Dutch Revolt during the Eighty Years’ War. The botanic gardens were also the first in the Netherlands, established in 1590. They say that its founder, Clusius, brought the first tulip to Holland over from Turkey and planted it in this botanic garden. Pretty cool!

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