Someone asked me if I wanted to go to the exhibition of Hockney in the Van Gogh museum. I like the work of Hockney so it was not difficult to say YES! I met Hockney in 2013 on my visit to Bilbao when I visited the Guggenheim museum there. On this play was then his work of the nature of Yorkshire which he painted and filmed with 9 cameras in all the 4 seasons of the year. I was impressed.
Van Gogh museum
I had been to the Van Gogh museum on museum night sometime in the past and last year I went to Neunen. Neunen is one of the places where Van Gogh was very productive in producing paintings. Most of the paintings of Van Gogh in Neunen were about farmlive.
Are Hockney and Van Gogh comparable?
Hockney and Van Gogh both love nature. They even look at nature the same way: They look at details and see something special in ordinary landscape. They both say that nature changes every day. They both liked to see the effect of the season on the landscape.
Hockney painted the same place in Yorkshire again and again in each season. Van Gogh did this in Arle. Both use a technique in their paintings which makes nature move on the paintings. There are a lot of similarities between how the two painters paint, but Hockney uses a lot of new techniques like filming the seasons and painting on an Ipad.
I wanted to see some touristy things in the Netherlands. I have seen some in my youth but I don’t remember much about them. So Good Friday I traveled to Alkmaar to see the Cheese Market. I wanted to go early to be ahead of the tourists, but NS put a stop to that and I stranded in Zaandam. For a moment I thought about doing the Zaansche schans instead of the Cheese Market, but did not want to go there unprepared and was still looking forward to cheese.
Cheese market Alkmaar
Fortunately I ended up in Alkmaar with a three-quarter of an hour delay. The Cheesemarkt is a 20-minute walk from the station right in the center of Alkmaar. Follow the mass of tourists and you will be there 😊. In the meantime there were more tourists on the way to the Cheese Market than I thought, but it wasn’t too bad on the big square. In the first instance, I was unable to access the weighing system, so I skipped it and moved on to the square, where I got a spot at the front and therefore had a good overview of the square and its action.
Walking with the cheeses what a chore! I would want to do it. Of course it is now touristy and no longer has a function, but you do get an impression of how the cheese market functioned in history.
The Cheese Museum
Don’t forget to walk into the Cheese Museum. Entrance fee includes a block of cheese. You get a picture of how cheese is made by a movie, posters and interactive screens. On the second floor there is a nice view over the square with the action. Don’t forget to just stand there and watch.
Back outside the scale area was practically empty and I could see how people were weighed instead of cheese these days. They shout your weight very loud and you get a certificate with your weight. No, I did not feel the need to weigh myself there and get a certificate. So I looked at it and walked on.
You can also make a trip on the canals, but that is only possible with cash, pin is not accepted. And the nearest ATM was through the busy crowd to the other side and back. So I skipped it this time and walked smoothly through the streets of Alkmaar with a detour back to the station.
As an entrepreneur with no office, I am always on the look for working spaces. In the Netherlands I found three main places which I can make my office for a day or part of a day. All these places have free wifi.
Even if you are not a student (anymore) you can work in the university library. There are tables and chairs. There are 11 universities in the Netherlands I know of in which you can use the library as a non-student. The plus of the university library is their opening hours. On weekdays they open at 8 and closes at 22 hours. In the weekend they open at 10 and closes at 18 o’clock. So great hours for early and late starters. Toilets are free to use.
Another library you can use is the public library. The hours are less then the university library, but still good. The opening hours differ in each city. On Monday and Sunday most of them open late, 12 or 13 o’clock. It depends on the city if the toilet is free. Otherwise you pay 50 ct to go to the toilet. There is enough space and there are free newspapers to read.
The last one I use is Seats2Meet you pay here with Social Capital. Basically this means someone else working in Seats2Meet can ask you questions about your area of knowledge. When you reserve a space you have to fill in your expertise. Seat2Meet is an open space with tables you can use. There is free coffee and tea and toilet. It is a great way to get to know more entrepreneurs or other workers working there.
So next time instead of working at home try one of these options.
In Ecuador, a lot of years ago, I had the opportunity to make my own chocolate on a cacao farm. We harvest a cacao fruit and peeled the cacao. The cacao we had we pulverized. To get some sugar we had to walk the sugar cane mill. The cacao, the sugar and some milk made a delicious chocolate milk. Better then you can get in stores. I can still taste it in my mind…
So when I saw that there was a chocolate festival in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, I had to go. Nothing better then source chocolate. So Saturday 23 February I went to the festival and tasted chocolate till I was nauseous.
The difference is that the chocolate in Ecuador and at the festival was pure no artificial ingredients added. You can still taste a bit of the bitterness. I had a lot of chocolate bars, hot chocolate, beer with chocolate, sausage with cacao and cheese with cacao. Also I had for the first time cacao juice from the fruit. I already had tasted how good the cacao fruit is in Ecuador and Cuba and now the juice. It is a pitty you can’t get the juice in shops yet.
Good & Bad in Chocolate industry
There were a lot of chocolate with a statement. Rokbar chocolate 100% made and owned by women, empowering of women. Tony’s Choconally with their 100% slave free chocolate.
There was also an environment organization Mighty, which makes sure we know that not all chocolate are produced environment friendly. A lot of bush has disappeared for cacao plantations. This are mono plantations destroying the habitat in which monkeys and other animals live.
More and more chocolate producers and supermarket chains in the world are committing to selling chocolate that tackle issues as deforestation, sustainability and human right issues. In the Netherlands these chocolates are not common yet, but will be in a few years as the chocolate market is changing.
With the fasting period coming up I am making a resolution to myself to only buy chocolate that tackles issues from now on. Are you going to do that to? They cost a bit more, but they taste better and are friendly to humans, animals and our environment.
Mimi’s Ecofarm is one of the many small private initiatives on Curaçao and can be found near Fuik, Curacao. It is a Mondi (local forest) turned into a natural farm. This Ecofarm works as naturally as possible. For example, they use fish to prevent mosquitoes. And nets over the baths to protect the fish from birds of prey. They also use water plants instead of filters to keep the water clean.
The chickens and peacocks walk freely around the yard. So organic eggs are a fact and for sale. The geese and the duck have their own garden with a pond.
As a visitor you get a tour of the site along the animals and plants with explanations. It is also possible to fish for a fee, take a foot bath with Tilapia fish or organize a children’s party.
It is a great initiative and a good idea to develop this land ecologically and also to provide nature education for children in combination with fun. There is a true running track with obstacles for children.
So if you are looking for organic eggs, some fishing, water plants or garden plants visit them or just visit them and let them show you around. You can find them on Facebook.
Curaçao has a lot of unknown museums which are still under construction. One of them I learned about because my mother and father had worked at ALM, the old National airplane company of Curaçao. This museum can only be visited by appointment and is called museo aeronautiko curaçao.
So we made an appointment and went to Terra Cora on Saturday. What a surprise a starting museum in the backyard of a collector. Before retiring, he collected everything about aviation and, after his retirement, decided to specialize in the aviation of Curaçao.
The owner Cedric Bronswinkel leads you around with a story for each displayed attribute. There has been thought thoroughly about the design. You start with a picture of the first balloon flight on Curaçao in 1912, then some small aviations in the port to the first klm flight to Curacao that took 7 days. Nowadays, a flight takes around 9 hours.
A bit further on you will find the program booklet of the show of transfer of ALM shares from KLM to the local government of Curaçao. Also all scaled planes of ALM are displayed and all kinds of merchendaise of ALM.
After that comes the worldly aviation circus. This collection will gradually make way for expansion of the local collection. The plans are ambitious, but realistic. Each attribute is numbered and provided with a story behind the scenes. They would like to make audio tours of these stories. There are also plans for screens that show films and photos of the aviation history of Curaçao, and especially the ALM time. There is also a foundation in formation and they would like to receive shelter at the airport of Curaçao, Hato.
This project certainly deserves support, because the owner leads you around with a lot of passion and there is still much to tell about the Curaçao aviation. Not to mention the history of Curaçao aviation is one to be proud of and should not be lost for future generations.
So if you still have attibutes about the Curaçao aviation do not hesitate to contact the museum. Donations are also more than welcome.
You can find the museum on Facebook or contact them through email.
In almost any city you can find Graffiti. Sometimes this street art, when it is painted with permission. Another difference is that Street art is most of the time more than only words, imaged based.
Famous street art
On my travel I have seen some beautiful street art. In Melbourne there was street art of Banksy. In Berlin you have el Bocho who drew Little Lucy killing her cat in different manners. In Eindhoven you have Lempke, the smiling bulb.
Street art Festival
On Curacao there is some street art. Mostly in Punda and Otrobanda made by artist. But this time young talents got to show their work in the Streets of Punda with the street art festival held for the first time. The youngsters showed their talents painting the Streets in Punda and some were even aloud to paint murals. It was nice to see. A pity the festival wasn’t visited by a lot of people. There was one painting which stood out, a drawing of a shoe. If you stood in certain angel, you could see the shoe in 3D.
I hope these youngsters get to show their talents in an annually street art festival in Punda and maybe some murals. I will follow how the street art in Curacao will develop, but in the mean while I will look for street art on my travels.
Willemstad is the capital of Curaçao, the Island I was borne on. It is the only city on the Island. The other places on the Island are called villages or neighborhoods. Willemstad lies in the center of the Island at a natural harbor of the St. Anna bay. This harbor is big enough that some cruise ships can enter. It is a beautiful sight to see ships enter and leave the harbor. You can stand really near and watch the ships enter and leave.
The harbor St. Anna bay divides Willemstad in two parts Punda (Point) and Otrobanda (The other side). There are two bridges which connects the two parts. A unique ponton bridge, Emma bridge and a really high bridge which ships as big as cruise ships can go underneath, the Juliana bridge. The Ponton bridge sails open when ships need to pass. It’s a nice sight to see. It is also called The swinging old lady.
Of the two parts of Willemstad Punda is the most visited one. Punda is known for its authentic buildings full of color. You can shop in Punda, admire the old buildings and visit one of the many museums. The buildings are on the UNESCO list. Don’t forget to visit the floating market and Marche Bieu and Marche Nobo.
The floating market is a market on the water side. Market stalls has been made with behind the stall a boat. These boat are from Venezuela and come to Curacao to sell fruits and vegetables. It’s a unique market, that looks very colorful. It’s worth a visit. It’s open during the day.
Marche bieu & Nobo
Marche bieu means old market and Nobo means new. These are two markets near each other, both covered. In the Marche Nobo you can get local products, handcraft, snacks, veggies and fruits. In the Marche bieu local food is sold and served till 2 O’clock in the afternoon. It’s the place to taste local food and eat with locals.
Otrobanda has been renewed the last few years and are on the UNESCO list. Also, the mega cruise ships that cannot enter the harbor dock at the new mega pier in Otrobanda. This has brought more tourist to this part of town. You can walk through the authentic neighborhood and admire some street art. Don’t forget to stop at the museum Kura Hulanda and learn about the slave history of Curaçao. There are also some shops in the nearby streets. Between the mega pier and the harbor there is also Riffort. The fort was redeveloped and has a hotel and restaurants. You can still admire the cannons and with a bit of imagination how it protected the bay in the old days.
There is a big difference between hiking competitions and running competitions. With running it goes on time, best time. With Hiking is about getting to the finish before a set time, normally. But not at the KLM marathon walking & Hiking 5k.
The KLM Marathon is an event organized each year on Curaçao. You can participate in five distances, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, Trail and 5K. It started as a running event, but this year you could also hike the 10K and the 5K. So, when my aunt asked if I wanted to participate, I said yes. Knowing the Dutch combination run/Hike Dam to Dam I thought the KLM marathon would be the same, an event in an event. But no, it wasn’t. Runners and hikers start at the same time, at the same starting point and same parcour. So, it was a nice chaos at the start with runners and hikers all mixed.
For me this was a totally new experience. I was hiking the 5K, because of a mixed up instead of the 10K. So at 7:30 AM I set of to hike with the others. Even the hikers were hiking fast to get a better time than others. The hike was a competition against time!
7:30 AM is early, but the marathon runners were even earlier 3:30 AM. Yes, in the tropics you must start early if you want to survive the sun. The first part of the parcour is climbing a hill, then you go downhill and at the end of the road you turn to nice walking area called Corridor (Runner). Here you walk back along the sea to the hotel were the finish is.
It was pretty straight forward the parcour and not difficult. The only thing you are battling is the sun, which is getting higher and higher at that time. If possible I walked in the shades, because it was hot, but doable. I loved the experience. It was my first competition walked on Curacao. It was well organized and not too crowded. I hope for Curacao that KLM keeps on organizing this event in the future.
Ps: If you want to know I hiked the 5 km in 00:52:18 about 5,7k/h. This is way faster than when I hike trails. And I got a nice medal.