Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The beautiful stillness of the Dutch winter

 (si prefieres leer este post en español, por favor sigue este enlace)

Once again I spent the Christmas holiday in the Netherlands, far from Argentina, summer heatwaves, and (sadly) from my family. But it was not as bad as it probably sounds - spending Christmas in the Netherlands always gives me the chance to pay more attention to the surroundings and to enjoy the beautiful winter landscapes in and around Zwolle.

In the winter the stillness in the air is overwhelming - even the birds are silenced, except for the geese when they fly off at sunset. The crisp cold air makes your cheeks glow and the bones of your face hurt until your eyes well up with tears. Still, once you manage to open your eyes wide enough, winter in the Netherlands rewards you with fairytale pictures like these I captured on the Zalkerdijk on Christmas Day and in the Milligerplas in Zwolle on Sunday.

A view of the Elektrakabel and ABN-AMRO buildings on the right from the Zalkerdijk and across the frozen waters of the river IJssel.


A solitary sheep grazing in the frozen pastures of a farm, near Zalk, outside Zwolle.



The sun is almost ready to set on Christmas Day.

Geese flying over the Milligerplas in Zwolle.

Feathery reeds waving in the icy cold breeze over the Milligerplas.

The sun gives a timid silvery light to the water and the snow in the Milligerplas.

The stillness is broken, though, when you get close to one of the many frozen canals in the neighbourhood and find children having lots of fun skating or sledding on the ice.

video

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas - Córdoba style...

At home, we keep Christmas traditions from both sides of the Atlantic.

During my recent stay in my home town in Argentina I had the opportunity to attend a concert given by a singer who is originally from Córdoba: Jairo. Born as Mario González in the north of my province (Córdoba, same name as my city), he became known in the 70s but his career started actually in Spain, not Argentina. His fame increased on both sides of the Atlantic and became quite popular, composing and interpreting songs about everyday life and things. Along his career he has sung, among others, to Argentinean foremost writer, Jorge Luis Borges and to the maximum tango legend, Carlos Gardel. He also performed in some of the most famous theatres around the world, including the Olympia in Paris. 

As a sample of the recital we attended that evening and to warm up our souls for Christmas, I am posting here two songs by Jairo: Carpintería José (it means, "Joseph's Carpentry Shop" and tells the story of the Nativity with Joseph being a regular man who is about to become a father) and the Ave Maria, which he sang in French and in Spanish - the last part without using a mike, so that the audience could appreciate the great  accoustics of the Liberador Theatre of Córdoba. Enjoy!!


Source: YouTube

video
Made with my smartphone @ Teatro del Libertador, Córdoba.

Have a beautiful Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas Day, everyone!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Santa Claus is coming to town

 (Si prefieres leer esta entrada en español, por favor sigue este enlace)

Today I want to share with you a video I received as Christmas greetings from my friend Nicolás. Besides admiring his ability on the rollers and his excellent physical condition, in it you also get to see different sights of his city: Rosario. Here is the video:


Rosario is the third most important city in Argentina, after Buenos Aires and Córdoba -my city- which is the second largest. I couldn't resist mentioning this piece of information, since it has been a long standing tradition for residents of Rosario and Córdoba to argue which of the two cities is the second largest in the country... 

At some point during the video, you get to see big silos or grain containers painted in diffferent colours. These old silos have been restored and today they house the MACRO - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art) of Rosario. I visited the MACRO in 2008 during my holidays in Argentina and here is the photo I took of the curious building: 

The old grain silos house today the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rosario.

In future posts I will be showing you more places in Rosario, a city I like a lot despite not being as beautiful as my home town, Córdoba (ehem!).

Monday, 20 December 2010

Every silence comes to an end ...

(si prefieres leer este post en español, sigue este enlace).


Maybe you have been lately throwing little stones at my window, trying to draw my attention, wondering where I was?

Little Stones at my Window

Once in a while
joy throws little stones at my window
it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me
but today I'm calm
I'd almost say even-tempered
I'm going to keep anxiety locked up
and then lie flat on my back
which is an elegant and comfortable position
for receiving and believing news

who knows where I'll be next
or when my story will be taken into account
who knows what advice I still might come up with
and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it

don't worry, I won't gamble with an eviction
I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting
there are many things left to say and suppress
and many grapes left to fill our mouths

don't worry, I'm convinced
joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones
I'm coming
I'm coming.

Mario Benedetti

Well, little stones or not, I have been away from The Netherlands and away from my blog for two long months, and to go on quoting Latin American poets, "every silence comes to an end"*, so here I am!

These are some of the places where I have been and the things and people I have seen:
 


Hopefully, I will be telling you about these places, things and people in future posts. Now you can stop throwing little stones at my window - I am back!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Spotted in the Netherlands: It's that time of the year...

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Autumn has set in - oh, yes! It is *that* time of the year, again. Days have shortened considerably, the skies do not always look bright and woolly but mostly grey and dull,  though there have been exceptionally pretty skies like these captured by blogger Alison in Utrecht.

Sunday walks in the nearby forest of Westerveldsebos have a particular charm during this season and, together with my husband, we have already been on our first mushroom hunt of the year. Look at the size of this one!
 
My husband put a coin (a big 25c. one  from Argentina he carries always with him) on top of it, to give an idea of the size of this big fellow.

This other one, somehow reminds me of the hats Princess Máxima sometimes wears to events like the opening of Parliament for Prinsjesdag


There is something else that always tells me that we have passed the autumn equinox once again. On Saturdays, as we ride to and from the shooting club where my husband usually goes to practice, we often spot roadside stalls selling farm produce:


Farmers usually put up these stalls along the road where people can stop and take their pick of the recently harvested produce and -get this- leave the payment in a tin or box. Sometimes there is a fixed price, like in the next photo; but sometimes, you can leave whatever amount you think is appropriate.


Back home in Argentina, I used to spend a lot of time in my grandparents' farm, but I never saw this kind of produce sale over there.
I can't help thinking if people actually do leave money behind or they forget to perform that part of the transaction; and if so, does it actually make it to the farmer's pocket or do some people take the coins as souvenirs as well as pumpkin and a couple of courgettes for their soup or Sunday pie?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Guest blogger: Patricia and her special place in the world

 Para leer esta entrada en español, hacer clic aquí.

view of the lakes and mountains from the top of Mt. Campanario, Bariloche.

Since many of those reading this blog have asked me in the past to post about Patagonia, I thought that there was no one better qualified to tell you about this distant and beautiful region of my country than my friend, Patricia Sgrignuoli.
Patricia, author of  Notas y relatos de viajes - viajando por Patagonia (in Spanish with English translation tool), lived all her life in the city of Buenos Aires, but ever since she was a little girl she had a dream: to live in PATAGONIA one day.
Currently, Patricia and her husband are preparing to move to their new home in one of the most beautiful corners of Patagonia, the  place that has always been *her* place in the whole wide world.
Here is the story of how she fell in love with this region of Argentina, and how her dream of one day living there, is now coming true.

Patagonia - My place in the world... 
by Patricia Sgrignuoli

Snow-shoeing in the forest in Tierra del Fuego.

I was very pleased when my friend Aledys invited me to write a post in her blog about one of the most beautiful,  magical and far-off parts of my country - Argentinean Patagonia  -  and the story of why I believe it is "my place in the world". It is not easy to express in words the emotions that this place always inspires in me, but I think that after reading these lines and looking at the photos you will understand how I feel.

This is my story:

I was twelve years old when my parents took me for the first time to Bariloche, a city at the foot of the Andes, during the summer holidays. I can still remember the view we had from our cottage window: the intense blue colour of the Nahuel Huapi lake, the mountains in the distance ... While trying to take in that breathtaking view of the surroundings, I remember thinking to myself how nice it would be one day to live in that place.

Riding on a sled pulled by huskies in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
A few years later we came back, but this time during the winter. I had my first experience in the cold weather of the south and it was also the first time I got in contact with snow. I liked it so much that, right there and then, I decided that I wanted to live in Patagonia when I was older! Along the years I kept going back to the south again and again; and each time I would grow fonder of its landscapes, its wildlife, its people... and that is how my long-standing romance with Patagonia started.
Lago Caviahue, province of Neuquén.
Many years went by while I was studying and working, until finally, I managed to save enough money to make a dream of mine come true: going on a ski holiday to La Hoya, a resort near Esquel, in the northwest of the province of Chubut.
To get there I had to travel for 24 hours on a bus, making a total of 2,000 kilometres, which is the distance between the city of Buenos Aires and Esquel.
I went on practising ski for a number of years, and that is how I got to see places of the Patagonia like Chapelco (near San Martín de los Andes in the province of Neuquén) with its beautiful beech forests. I also visited the Atlantic coast of Patagonia: Puerto Madryn, a place with stunning beaches and skies so clear  that you can see the stars and spot satellites as well. There, the Valdés Península, is a natural marvel with an amazingly rich wildlife like there is not anywhere else on the planet. The highlight of my trip to this beautiful place was the sighting of whales out in the sea, who just a few metres from the shore, seemed to be following our walk along the beach with curiousity.

Images of Caviahue in the province of Neuquén.
A few years later, together with a friend, I decided to do something a bit more adventurous and we set out to travel across the vast Patagonian steppelike plains. After an entire day on a bus traversing the rough and desertic landscape of  Patagonia, we finally reahed our destination - the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier, situated in the province of Santa Cruz. This was an unforgettable experience!

After I got married, my husband and I travelled to a place that we had never heard of before - Villa Pehuenia, a small village on the shores of Aluminé lake and at the foot of an extinct volcano. Mt. Batea Mahuida has been inactive for millions of years and a deep blue lake with volcanic sandy beaches was formed in the dormant crater of the volcano. Also, a very peculiar tree, the araucaria or pehuén (as the original inhabitants of the region, the mapuches, call it) grows in this remote place of the northern Patagonia.

Mascardi lake near the city of Bariloche, Rio Negro.

We both fell in love with this place and as of that moment we started seriously considering the possibility of moving there in the near future. This was a big step and we had to think carefully if we really wanted to leave behind the big city and start a new and completely different life in Patagonia. There were too many aspects to take into account, since in Patagonia life is not altogether easy: in the winter there are constant power cuts and fuel shortage; and sometimes the heavy snowstorms leave whole towns completely cut off from civilization... Despite all these problems that are logical in such a remote place, we finally made up our minds and decided that we wanted to make a home in Patagonia.

images from Bariloche, in the province of Rio Negro.
We made one more trip after we decided to change our lifestyle and move away from the big city: we travelled to the end of the world, to the city of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the whole hemisphere. Ushuaia is ....

beautiful and majestic; mystical and unique; mysterious and magnificent; colourful and magical ... So many words can be used to describe this place, but to me it is simply where nature, adventure and legend come together at the end of the world...

When I wrote these words I had Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) in mind, but the description suits the whole region of Patagonia perfectly. In this remote part of the country, there are no (or very few) shopping centres, no huge lights or big cities; but also, there is neither violence nor pollution... just endless plains, green valleys, mountains and lakes; clear skies and pure deep blue waters; above all, there is silence and peace.

After so many years travelling across the Patagonia, the little girl who fell in love with those beautiful landscapes so long ago, will be hopefully celebrating her 50th birthday next year in her new home in Patagonia, just as she dreamed so long ago. Very soon, my husband and I will be starting our new life in a small town in the northwest of the province of Chubut: Lago Puelo - a place where Mother Nature is mistress of all and which , for my husband and me, will become our place in the world....

Monday, 13 September 2010

Visiting Zeeland:Middelburg


City Hall or Stadhuis of Middelburg, built 1452-1520.

In our tour of the southern province of Zeeland, we used the capital, Middelburg, as our base to explore the region. This relatively small city (approximately 48.000 in.) was for us a pleasant surprise and we dedicated our first day in Zeeland to explore its historic city centre.

The Water Management building in Middelburg.

While walking along the the back streets and along the still existing medieval moats, the visitor can certainly breathe in the history of this city. Middelburg probably originated in the 9th century, when a number of fortified towns were built along the coast of the (then) island of Walcheren to defend Zeeland from Viking attacks. Later in the Middle Ages, it became an important trading post thanks to its strategic location between England and the cities of Flanders.Then during the era of the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) it became an important centre for the Dutch East India Company and Middelburg flourished like never before.


Thanks to this rich past, the visitor can now admire the wonderful architecture of the stately merchant houses and storehouses built along the canal. Despite the destruction and devastation that the Second World War caused in the 1940s, a thourough restoration process was carried out, which gave the city much of its old glory back.



A good way to get a impression of the city is to take one of the boat tours, or rondvaart in Dutch. The company Rondvaart Middelburg offers trips in an open boat with a guide, every day between April and October. Check their website (click on the link above) for details and prices.

One of the most lively parts of the historic centre is undoubtedly the square around the City Hall or Stadhuis. The imposing building stands out with its beautiful late-gothic façade with little turrets, red and white shutters, and none less that twenty-five statues of nobles of Zeeland. During the summer it is possible to visit the gothic part of the building, which is totally worth doing. The Toursit Shop (the tourist information office of Middelburg) organises the visits to this monumental building. Visit their site if you want to know more about their products, such as city tours, visits to museums, etc.

Detail of the façade of the Town Hall in Middelburg.
But probably the symbol of the city is another historic monument: the Lange Jan or Long Jan, the tower of the abbey complex of Middelburg, which with its 92 meters, it is impossible to miss. The tower suffered destruction by fire during the bombardment of Zeeland in 1940 but it was almost immediately restored. The tower is open daily for a visit and if you are feeling able and willing, after a climb of 201 steps, you will surely be rewarded with a breath-taking view of the city and beyond. Here you can find information about Lange Jan, including practical information to plan your visit. (Dutch and German).

A view of the Lange Jan tower from a side street in Middelburg.
The Abbey complex to which the tower of the Lange Jan belongs, houses now government offices and the Zeeuwsmuseum, the largest museum in the province with, among other works, the impressive Zeeland tapestries and the historical collection of the Royal Zeeland Scientific Society. On the website of the Zeeuwsmuseum you will find practical and background information about the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions at the museum.

The Abbey complex in Middelburg where the Zeeuwsmuseum is located.




Zeeland claims to have the most hours of sun per year in the Netherlands, and during the spring and summer, when the sun shines through the clouds, the city bustles with activity. Restaurants and cafés put out their tables and locals as well as tourists fill their terraces. Most of the catering establishments can be found in the area around the market square or Markt, the Vlasmarkt, the Dam and Plein 1940.

Market Square near the Town Hall, in Middelburg.
Middelburg also offers a variety of events all throughout the year, especially during the summer season. Some of these include the International Jazz Festival held during Whitsun weekend (website in Dutch), the Taste of Zeeland in June, the Mussels and Seafood Fair in July, and the Kermesse in August. A number of markets and fleemarkets are held across the city all the year round.

The Kloveniersdoelen built in Flemish Renaissance style in 1607, now housing a music centre.
Whether you enjoy exploring the cultural heritage or you want to  indulge yourself with a bit of shopping or entertainment, Middelburg will certainly not disappoint you. It is the ideal place to begin your exploration of this beautiful province by the Northern Sea.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Spotted in the Netherlands:


It's a small world,  isn't it?

Just about a month ago I spent a day in Almere with Blogger pal Sandra, author of Presépio com Vista para o Canal. We had a fantastic time visiting a special photo exhibition and enjoying lunch together in the city centre which served to prove once more that Sandra is a fantastic host. I will soon post about this particular day in Almere more in detail, but today I wanted to share something that happened to me on my way back home.

After parting with Sandra I had just about enough time to catch my train to Amersfoort where I would take my second train back to my city - Zwolle. I took a bus in one of the new neighbourhoods just outside the Almere centrum hoping that I would make it in time to Almere Centrum, the train station.

Unfortunately, my haste made me get off one stop too soon and I had to run the remainder of the way to the train station. Totally out of breath, I climbed down the stairs to the platforms, looked for the right one, saw the train, double-checked that it was going in the right direction and happy but exhausted from the run, I jumped onto it - and just barely seconds before the conductor whistled and the train started to move.

The car I chose was almost empty so I began to relish the moment I would be able to sit down, cool down a bit and finally take out my book to read and enjoy the rest of the ride to my next destination. I chose a seat on the right-hand side but then I decided that the sun would be bothering me and I changed to the other side. Finally! I was sitting, I was opening my bag, I was taking out my book .... when something that was written on the window caught my eye. My hand froze halfway into my bag, still holding the book and my heart almost skipped a beat when I read the word: ARGENTINA!



All I could think right then was: "what are the odds?!" I took out the book, yes, but not so much to read it anymore as to create the perfect scenario for a photo - I had to share this moment! I took my camera too,  and started clicking away while the train was leaving Almere behind and traversing the polder. I took a few shots of the highway we were just passing, the fields.... until I finally saw the right kind of landscape approaching fast: Argentina (the grafitti) and the Netherlands (the mill in the distance) in one single shot.

 
After the photo session was over, I kept thinking about this other Argentinean person: what had brought him/her here to the Netherlands: love, a holiday, a business trip? I somehow could not picture a serious businessman writing a grafitti on a train window ... so he or she had probably been a student at one of the Dutch universities...? How long ago had this person sat on this very same spot, on this same train?

Anyway, even if I don't condone this kind of creative writing on public transport, finding this grafitti served to keep me musing about being far from home, about being an expat in the Netherlands. When you are living the life of an expat you adapt, you change, you become one of them in many ways, without noticing it.You go through the motions of your new life day in, day out, until things like this silly grafitti makes you stop for a moment and ask yourself, "How did I end up here?", and also realise all of a sudden, "boy, am I far from home!"

If you are an expat too, have you ever had such moments? Or if you have moved from your original city to a new one in your country: do you ever stop to think how you never imagined you would be living in a totally different place at some point in your life? How does it feel for you?

Monday, 30 August 2010

Our own Elfstedentocht: Stop # 3


The beautiful gardens of Ijlst



The third stop in our attempt to follow the route of the Elfstedentocht -the ice skating race traditionally taking place in the northern province of Friesland- brought us to the quite small but picturesque town of Ijlst.

Ijslt or Ddryts in the Fries language, is one of the oldest cities in the province, having obtained its city rights in the year 1268. In the old days, the city was known for its shipbuilding industry and for its importance as commercial centre.



The city originated on the margins of the Old IJ river, from which it received its name. The only part now remaining of that river is the canal that runs through the very centre of Ijlst. The town has many historic buildings that can be visited, such as the beautiful tower mill de Rat (the Rat), built in 1828. This sawmill is still in use and run by volunteers. Have you ever wanted to try your hand at sawing? You might get a chance at de Rat!


 Another interesting monument is the Town Hall or Stadhuis built in 1859 in the place where the old council house from the 14th century used to stand.


 There are many more monuments worth visiting in Ijlst, a city that lists an impressive total of 43 monuments in the Royal Register, like this typical step-gable house dating from 1669.


But the characteristic feature for which Ijlst is most widely known is for its overtuinen - a line of mostly private little gardens that decorate the margins of what used to be old river IJ. These gardens were formerly known as bleken (bleachers) Can you guess why?



These little gardens used to be frequented by the housewives living on this street, who on washing days would come down to the river, wash their clothes and bleach them -bleken in Dutch- right there on the banks of the Old IJ.

In this photo you can see me standing by one of these bleken with a rather alarmed look on my face: my husband had somewhat tresspassed private property and stepped into one of the gardens to take the shot and I was not very comfortable with him doing that! Fortunately, he did not get caught ...


During the last couple of years, Ijlst has become an ideal location to spend the night in with water sports enthusiasts. An interesting number of cafés and restaurants offer a variety of possibilities for lunch or dinner, such as the Stadsherberg Het Wapen Van Ijlst, which has recently opened its guesthouse where you can take up a room to spend the night during your visit to this area of the country.

Our next stop in the Elfstedentocht will be the city of Franeker. As they say in Friesland: Oant sjens! See you in Franeker!

Stop #1 of the Elfstedentocht was Leeuwarden and you can find the post covering this city here.

Stop # 2 of the Elfstedentocht was Harlingen and you can find the post here.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Summer festivals in the Netherlands

A beautiful summer day at the beach in Urk, province of Flevoland.

Summer in the Netherlands is the best season of the year to travel around and get to see and experience all the cultural aspects of this incredible country. From north to south, west to east, the whole country seems to come out of its cocoon and burst into fun activities which are mostly carried out in the open, to celebrate the sun and compensate for the long months of winter inertia.

A full coffee terrace in the city centre of Zwolle, Overijssel.

If you are thinking of visiting the Netherlands this summer and music and/or dancing is your thing, there are options aplenty to choose from. One of the festivals that take place around the months of July/August each year is Dance Valley, which is held every year in the Spaarnewoude, a town located about 5 km from the beautiful city of Haarlem in North Holland.

Dance Valley is known as "the Woodstock of Dance", and started as a tribute to electronic dance music back in 1995 when approximately 8.000 people gathered to dance and listen to the music played by popular DJs. Today, Dance Valley has grown to one of the bigggest events in the country, with the 2009 edition attracting around 60.000 visitors.

Dance Valley Festival in Spaarnewoude. Photo from Wikipedia
This year the festival will take place on Saturday 7th August at Velsen Valley in Spaarnewoude, which is located at about 5 km from the beautiful city of Haarlem, in North Holland.
The festival will spread its wide array of events over four "grounds": "The Holy Ground", or the heart of the festival, which is where the main stage will be located, featuring house and progressive DJs; "The Solid Ground", where you will find the diehard dance fans and in 14 different areas music will be played non-stop, including the newest craves in electronic music; "The High Ground", where hard dance style will be the main theme; and the "Secret Ground", the place for trance music with the presence this year of star DJ Armin van Buuren.
Here you will find a detail of all the different areas of the festival and if you click on each of them, you will be taken to the list of artists that will be performing during the event.
Beware though, that entrance to the festival grounds is not free. Here you can find information about the cost of tickets and options to buy them online depending on where you are located.

Another important music festival is Camping Flight to Lowland Paradise, or simply known as Lowland, which attracts fans of pop music and, together with Pink Pop (celebrated every year in May), is the largest pop music festival in the Netherlands. The event is held each year in August in Walibi World amusement park located in Biddinghuizen, in the province of Flevoland (approx. 70 km from Amsterdam).
The festival does not offer just music, but also indoor and outdoor activities which include stand-up comedy acts, street theatre, literature, films and more.
This year Lowland will be held on 20-21-22 August and the tickets can only be bought online or by telephone. The programme is truly varied and amazing, including around a hundred different music groups, fifteen theatre and dance performances, seventeen stand-up comedians, etc.
You can find all the necessary information to attend the festival, including the programme and online ticket sale, clicking on this link.

If you are coming to the Netherlands this week or planning to visit next summer at around this time (early August) there is a very important event that is absolutely worth seeing at least once in your lifetime - the annual Gay Pride Parade in Amsterdam, the absolute highlight of Gay Pride Week which usually takes place in the first week of August each year.

Hundreds of converted barges parade along the Amsterdam canals while thousands of people watch the fun and join the party. Here on the official website of Gay Pride Amsterdam you will find all you need to know about this event - from tickets for the different events taking place during the weekend to programme of activities, photos and much more.Also, if you need to book a place to stay during your visit, take a look at http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/ who are currently offering an exclusive 10% discount on hotel bookings at Hotels.com http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/hotels.com

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Light Breeze of Zeeland

The beautiful and ever changing skies of Zeeland (click on photo to see large)
One of the things that has always fascinated me about the Netherlands is its historic love/hate relationship with water. Life would be completely different without the ever present allure and threat that water represents for the people of this country.

the beach in Vlissingen (click on photo to see large)

The province of Zeeland is one of the places where this love/hate relationship is most evident.
Zeeland is an spectacular region in the south of the Netherlands formed by the delta of the three major rivers the Rhine, the Meuse and the Waal. This province offers an incomparable atmosphere that brings echoes of past maritime glory together with an instant holiday feeling when you come in contact with its salty air,unspoiled beaches, beautiful meadow polders and enchanting dorpen or villages where time seems to stand still...

In future posts I will be taking you to see things like ...

the incredible Oosterschelde Storm Surge Barrier, that protects the country from floods...

the barrier built to stop the sea from flooding the Netherlands (click on photo see large)

we will have a close encounter with history, visiting important sites like the Zeeuwsmuseum in the Abbey of Middelburg ...

The Abbey of Middelburg (click on photo to see large)
 ... the oldest sea fort in west Europe - Fort Rammekens (near Vlissingen)

Fort Rammekens played a very important role in the maritime history of Zeeland (click on photo to see large)

or the town of Westkapelle, where the fight against natural and human enemies made its inhabitants strong...

A Sherman tank left as reminder of WWII (click on photo to see large)

we will explore the capital city of Zeeland - beautiful Middelburg...

The amazing building of the Town Hall in Middelburg (click on photo to see large)

... picturesque cities and towns like Goes, Vlissingen, and Veere...

Veere, the most enchanting village I visited in Zeeland (click on photo to see large)
and finally, we will take a ride in a beautifully restored steam train across the beautiful polder meadows ...

A ride back in time aboard this steam locomotive (click on photo to see large)

Do you want to come with me to feel and breathe the Light Breeze of Zeeland?