Deep south of Holland

Alright, so far the stories of our stay in Holland had focused on the northern part of the country. However maps suggests that the country extends deeply to the south, right to the borders where Belgium and Germany meet.

Did you know the distance from Amsterdam to Maastrict (~212km) is almost the same as Amsterdam to Dusseldorf in Germany (~226km)?

While this distance may not seem to be much, the difference in both the landscape and local culture (even language some say) can be quite stark. The deep south that is Limburg had been historically influenced more by the French and Germans depending on who you ask. And be careful asking because you could get into a long conversation…

This is also the “higher” ground of Holland, being such a low lying nation (physically that is). Yeah we know they are generally quite tall…in so many ways, not just height. And because the land is hilly, it has been mined/quarried. One of the highlights is that of cave advertisements. Read the page link above for more.

Easily crossed between the three countries as you road trip along the Maas river. Good thing there are no customs or border controls!

The power of the smartphone

modern cell phone

Ever wished you were an entrepreneur without all the overheads? How many times have you read about folks who left the corporate grind for a stress free life and started their own businesses?

Technology has been touted as a threat to the jobs of millions of folks. Smart technology will replace humans in manufacturing, driving (truck drivers beware) and even in areas that are deemed to be not replicable – for example creative jobs…So it is with some solace that we find that technology in the form of smartphones can create opportunities for the willing – as this article suggests.

In Singapore, owning a car seems as important as an institution. Your success in life appears to be linked to whether you owned a car or what model you drive. So materialistic huh? But what if your expensive piece of asset is merely swapping the showroom for the parking lot?

Rent it out? For Singaporeans reading this, wouldn’t this not be one way to defray the cost of buying a car and not using it all the time? Would you let a stranger pay and drive your car?

We like this empowerment. Will you?

Oooo…Translyvania

Castle of the CountSome castles you are stunned by, others you sit in awe. But there is one that should strike fear – the Count’s castle…

No, not Math school. The one that lives on blood.

After reading this a few weeks back, we felt we had to post the link to this story. Well fear not, this is not only far removed from the Count, it’s also in the land of fairies. Yeah, they are sort of transforming Transylvania into a land of friendly mythical creatures instead of the blood thirsty kind.

All part of a market re-imaging programme. You get a limited audience seeking teethmarks on your neck. But with fairies, no. A lot more people are likely to be happy seeing a pixie fly up to them. Huh?, I hear you thinking. This was really to add up to the word count of this post.

We have also read of bloggers who are now journeying across Romania. We’ll be stealing with pride to present this link to Ramona’s blog. Not only is she fashionable (Suan says so) but she’s also traversed this one part of Europe that our handprint has not touched. So motivated to add this to the bucket list…perhaps you will too?

Marken and Volendam, Zuidersee towns

Before the Zuidersee was closed from the north sea, the shores of the inland sea were already bustling with towns and fishing villages. Unfortunately the fishery industry has mostly moved away, though tourism has came in its wake. Which is probably all good.

Volendam and Marken are two such towns that have capitalized on this industry catering to the hordes of people eager to know what a Zuidersee town looks like. Unbelievable right?

Eventhough we lived in Holland, we are back in this town ever so often. Mostly to visit our favorite fish shop and fill up with ‘haring’ – fresh herring served raw or perhaps lightly smoked (rare). Served with pickle, it is simply heavenly…especially the new catch in the summer! We think this is an easily acquired taste. If we can, so can you!

Who says only the Japanese eat raw fish?

And watching the throngs of tourists come by is yet another activity we enjoy while strolling along the small harbour front. See them awkwardly try on traditional Dutch dress or bargain noisily with the shopkeepers over some souvenir purchase.

It’s all so funny to watch.

Train to Busan

We figured that if I used a title that is similar to that of a zombie movie, it might attract more readers. Alright for those not in the know, it is a Korean zombie flick. Look our for it on youtube!

After a hiatus of 4 years, Suan is finally making a ‘return’ journey to Korea, the land of the morning calm. Yeah right. Suan’s anything but calm…the comeback kid had been pacing the living room all evening in anticipation. You see, she has expended a lot of effort into planning and booking the trip. Think of it this way, she had put in more effort planning this trip than all the preparations for exams in school in her whole life! The fruits of this hard work is about to be realized and she is once again having butterflies in the stomach!

So, the usual call by Mel is : “Get over it, let’s go to the airport early”.

So we did, again, as usual, as always…in about 10 hours we will be in Seoul where she will be busy pounding the streets of the city procuring stuff while Mel pounds the office floor. Well from Monday anyway…for the weekend Mel will be the wondering bag holder. The rewards will be just and soon we’ll be in Busan (in a few days), placing our travel handprint on yet another corner of Korea.

Journalog will follow soon!

The High life

Ok if you were looking for something sensational like the kind of Kim K life, well oops!

The inspiration for today came from this post by Martin Kelly featuring the basilica of St Francis of Assisi (breathe) captured by drone photography. We were walking along the cobbled stone streets of this hilltop monastery back in the summer of 2001 (not 69 hee…Springsteen fans would appreciate).

In some weeks’ time you will probably chance upon our story about the wanderings we did here in Umbria (when our Italian stories begin), and today we are really focusing on travel from the air.

What’s that?

Today’s drones with mounted cameras capture so much more than they ever did in the past. It has evolved from an almost exclusive club of early adopters to an everyday use item for filming, racing, war, surveying (or surveillance) etc and many more. Today you can buy one off the rack and start flying, unless your government places severe restrictions on where you can set the baby on fire – I mean in the air.

We have something else in mind.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Surf’s up

The high life for us referred to flightseeing experiences either with a fixed wing aircraft (clinical huh) or helicopters. And we have done this in a couple of locations. In Mauritius, we flew over the surf and beautifully manicured sugar plantations.

12 Apostles Flight scenes101
How many left?

We have planted our boots on Mt Tasman and almost frozed in place. And we counted how many apostles are still standing along the great ocean road. Certainly you cannot believe that the canyons of the US southwest were obstacles for us.

Perhaps such flightseeing experiences can be threatened with extinction. It is so much more economical to get your photo fix from a drone. And for as long as you can keep the twirly in the air, you’d likely capture wonderful photography and video. Why fly when you can “pilot” a drone for the same images?

One thing is for sure, you can’t do this with a drone! Ok, Suan was flying to flash the V sign…and believed wholeheartedly she was co-piloting the chopper.

12 Apostles Flight scenes9
Talk about sitting next to the Captain…