Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn colours

I am really loving all the Autumn colours in Europe at the moment - it's a totally new experience for me. I wake up each morning to another tree turned a brilliant shade yellow, orange or red - the change seeming to happen overnight. I don't think I'll ever tire of this time of year, it's absolutely gorgeous.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Museum hopping - Openluchtmuseum Arnhem

Over the last Summer, I went to quite a few museums all over the Netherlands (making very good use of my Museumkaart!) - from maritime museums in North Holland, to the well known (but for me, extremely disappointing) Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the fantastic Verzetsmuseum & National Liberation Museum just to name a few - I think I lost count after 10 museums in little over a month...

One 'museum' that stood out among the rest is quite close to home, in neighbouring Arnhem. Literally an open air museum, the Openluchtmuseum was great - well thought out and really interesting. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing the different types of farms, houses and windmills from all over the Netherlands. Dad and I happily spent a morning wandering around the museum grounds checking out all the traditional buildings, talking to the museum staff (who are dressed in traditional outfits and hard at work - eg peeling potatoes in an old kitchen or fixing boats) and enjoying the sunshine. Although I'm in no hurry to go back just yet, I have plans to go back again with Mitch (and the mighty camera!) - it sure beats the typically stuffy, indoor museum and I really enjoyed my last visit.

It wouldn't be a Dutch open air museum without some windmills - and there were plenty!!!

It's quite interesting seeing how a windmill actually works - I think this was a grain mill (?) but they also had timber mills at the museum

Typical houses

I see these hay sheds (with an adjustable roof) all over Holland so it's no surprise they had one here!

Dairy cellar

The fishing village section

A highlight for me - all the animals everywhere! I'm a sucker for cute sheep, bunnies, anything really - I thought this goat was pretty cool!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wandering Wednesday - St Cirq-Lapopie, France

On a driving holiday through France back in 2007, Mitch and I stopped in at the small village of St Cirq-Lapopie after reading that it was meant to be one of the prettiest towns in the country. The guidebook certainly didn't lie - this picturesque town on a hilltop high above the river was really beautiful.

Like so many other places that I've loved, this little village didn't have any noteworthy sights or tourist attractions - it truly was just a pretty town in a perfect location (and not too full of tourists as we were there out of high season) and was really lovely to spend an afternoon wandering around and enjoying the views. I love this part of France and we have plans to go back there and explore these villages (and more!) again - might have to brush up on my French skills first though!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I wouldn't mind some of this right now...

Winter is well and truly setting in here in Holland... Although today is not too bad, it's already been wayyy colder then a Brisbane winter - and we're still only in October. We had to resort to buying ski jackets a couple of weeks ago just to stay warm - what is winter going to be like?!?!?! When the weather is dreary and miserable outside, I sit and dream of the warm beaches we were splashing around on not so long ago in Santorini... Bring on next Summer's holidays I say!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wandering Wednesday - Iririki Island, Vanuatu

When Mitch and I went on a cruise in the South Pacific last year with some friends, Port Vila was our last destination before sailing home to Brisbane. I'd heard that it was a pretty nondescript island city and so we decided to skip the duty free shopping here and head over to neighbouring Iririki Island - so close to the mainland it appeared you could swim to it from the harbour.

Iririki also had special meaning for one of our friends as her Grandfather had designed/built the island resort years ago, so it seemed logical that we take the short boat ride over to the island for the day.

Entry to the island as a day guest was something like 15 AUD - the cost of which we could recover at any of the restaurants on the island, so essentially - it was a 'free' visit. Knowing that this resort boasted the largest pool in the South Pacific, after a walk around the island in the hot sun, we settled in at the poolside, enjoying a few cocktails of course!

The thing that struck me most about Iririki was the snorkelling - I've snorkelled before in some of the best known spots - Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Great Barrier Reef - but the beautiful crystal clear water & the abundance of colourful fish just off the islands edge didn't fail to impress and I even saw my first seahorse in the wild!!!!

I have to say, a day on this island just wasn't enough - I could easily spend a week here relaxing by the poolside, snorkelling in the ocean or just lazing in a hammock reading a book. Island holidays are the best, if only we didn't have to hop back on the sickly cruise ship at the end of the day...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love this time of day

Sunset - I love this time of day. Having lived most of my life on the east coast of Australia, watching the sun disappear over the water is a bit of a novelty - and the beautiful island of Santorini was a perfect location to enjoy it from...


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