Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Hike 12 - Rhoonse Grienden

In preparation for my hike in The Peak District (soon, soon!!) my friend Jo and I took ourselves to a typical Delta landscape yesterday: the Rhoonse Grienden.

Not only the landscape was typically Wetlands Style, so was the weather... It rained continuously.
But never mind, we always tell ourselves we will not melt. 

The Rhoonse Grienden are a tidal landscape just off the River Oude Maas, in the South-Holland province of The Netherlands. In fact Rhoon is a suburb of Rotterdam these days, but it used to be a sleepy village on the Oude Maas, and when you hike there it is very easy to forget the humongeous city on its doorstep. We passed one dog walker and one cyclist.

The Rhoonse Grienden used to be a working landscape grown for its willow branches which were then made into lobster and eel pots and willow baskets. My great-grandfather was a willow basket weaver and dirt-poor, with 16 children who had no shoes on their feet and 16 underpants between them, according to my Mum. 
Nowadays it is put aside and conserved for "nature" and is very proud of the fact that it has 4 legitimate brown beavers living there. It were those beavers that Jo and I hoped to spot yesterday.

I have been on the lookout for beavers for thirty years in the few areas that claim them, but so far I have never seen one in the wild (mind you, I didn't see one in Algonquin Park Canada either). Yesterday was no exception...alas. But I did find a beaver castle! Can you make it out?

It was low tide, so lots of mud, which made it easy to spot all kinds of tracks.

As you can see us Dutch hikers are not daunted by a spot of rain. Which is a good thing, since my favorite weather woman Helga van Leur posted new statistics proving that climate change will get us even more rain in the years to come.

The Rhoonse Grienden have several hikes mapped out; the longest will take approx. 2 hours. They are very easy to follow, simply walk from number to number and follow the red arrows. We did a 1 hour one.

Mind you, when you are allergic to the color green, give this one a miss!

Will you just look at this willow (and me)! Isn't it smashing? Who needs Greek olive trees? We've got beautiful characters right on our doorstep.

Right, the nitty-gritty:
Rhoon is to the South of Rotterdam, signposted, and to find the Grienden simply follow the signs saying Oude Maas. You can park your car right at the entrance (opposite a great restaurant/golf club called Abel).
We walked 8.012 steps which comes down to approx. 12 very wet km.
It rained, 19 degrees C, wind sw 32 km/h.
When you want a more classy expensive meal, Rhoon boasts a restaurant in a stately home called Het Kasteel van Rhoon.

Next post will be about my 6 days hike in the Peak District, so keep your eyes peeled!
Join me next time?

Monday, 1 August 2016

How Come Scandinavians Are Such Good Songwriters? (Ane Brun)

Forever a poor sleeper, I use music to help me drop off. My headphones are essentials in our house - not only do they keep me from disturbing my housemates, but they keep said living companions from disturbing me taking into account our thin wooden walls...
Searching for relaxing music has taken me to obscure places on the www I can tell you!
A couple of years ago I stumbled across a performance on Pinkpop by a Norwegian singer called Ane Brun. It intrigued me, and I looked her up on YouTube.

There's plenty material there, in all manner of forms, from official Vevo to short three-song concerts to fan-video stuff. And what struck me was that Ane is somewhat of a chameleon. Different hairstyles, different clothing style (although always eccentric - so that's a constant I suppose) but consistently good music. Not all quite to my taste, but most of it is. And she happens to attract damn good other singers/musicians.
Her full name is Ane Brunvoll and she's born in 1976 in Norway, but residing in Sweden these days. According to my trusted source Wikipedia she's brought out 11 albums to date.

Ane's English is quite good, albeit sometimes quaintly grammatically weird, but that only adds to her performance. She has the Scandinavian s and a, but not so that it becomes annoying. And she has the voice of an angel. Mind you, the songs in Norwegian ring out to me, they are wonderful, even though I do not understand a word of it.
And she does a good cover as well. Use the link: Ane Brun with Halo

For my Dutch readers: Ane comes to TivoliVredenburg Utrecht on Sept. 4th.

Now, since almost all entries to the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 were written by Scandinavians, I would like to pose the following question to you:
How come Scandinavians are such good songwriters?
Could it be the isolation? The climate? The huge quantities of fish they consume? The disposition? The fact that booze is so expensive? The growing up in an IKEA room?
Help me out here!
Daring to Love (her original song)