Ankor på vift

A freedom-oriented lifestyle blog

Author: Ulrika (page 2 of 25)

Libertarians in Prague and the Kokořín Castle

We get to meet Czech libertarians every time we come here, we have even started our own chat group with Libertarian parents in Prague, so that our children can meet and play with each other. The group is still small, but we hope that it will grow slowly.
The beginning of October means that our favorite conference of the year is coming up and this also means that a bunch of our friends shows up and we get to hang out with them. This year we took them to the Kokořín Castle, a castle totally surrounded by forest, and it is a nice day trip from Prague.

Vi får träffa tjeckiska libertarianer varje gång vi kommer hit, vi har till och med startat vår egen chatgrupp med libertarianska föräldrar i Prag, så att våra barn kan träffas och leka med varandra. Gruppen är fortfarande liten, men vi hoppas på att den kommer att växa långsamt.
Början av oktober betyder att vår favoritkonferens går av stapeln och det betyder också att ett gäng av våra vänner dyker upp och vi får umgås med dem. I år tog vi dem till slottet Kokořín, ett slott som är helt omgivet av skog och som är en trevlig dagstur från Prag.

The weather got a bit colder in the beginning of October, so we needed to dress up a bit to meet other children in our Libertarian parents group.
Our first meeting was at a playground in a park in the South of Prague. They also have a man-made cave system for older kids to play in.
It doesn’t even look like we are in Prague anymore,
Prague has so many playgrounds and we love that with Prague, so child friendly.
Our first Libertarian parent/child meet up was with the first lady of Liberland (Jana) and a thought-criminal mother (Caroline) according to the Swedish state media. If you don’t know what I mean about thought-criminal, you should watch the YouTube video linked at the end of the blog post. It is hilarious!
Some early morning pictures taken by Pontus on his walks.
It is so nice to see a city slowly waking up to a new morning.
The weather turned into summer again and we got invited to our unschooling friends Martin and Zdenka. Zdenka is involved in the Czech un-/home-/worldschooling community, but we have a lot more common interests than that subject. They are also interested in biohacking and longevity so we had so much to talk about.
Their newest family member Astrid is so adorable. We have met a few babies named Astrid and even a Margit here in the Czech Republic. It is interesting to hear such Swedish names pronounced with a Czech or English twist on it.
This is the conference that keeps us coming back to Prague each autumn. It is always the first weekend in October, so this means that a lot of our friends tend to show up here in Prague in the beginning October.
We can even have a Swedish Libertarian meet up here in Prague.
The first weekend in October means that we are inside a building most of the day so we decided to go on an adventure out in the nature to counteract being indoors all day.
Carvings in the stone – date unknown.
our adventure took us to the Kokořín Castle. An old castle up on a rock in the middle of the forest.
You park at the river and then climb the stairs all the way up to the castle.
Kokořín Castle was built in the end of the 14th century.
It was heavily damaged in the Hussite wars (1419-1434) and stood as ruins until 1911 when a 7-year restoration took place.
The Kokořín Castle is open for visitors and we were able to climb up one of the towers.
The view is fantastic and a day out in the nature was just what we needed.

SVT (Swedish state propaganda channel, yes it is founded with taxes) found out that Swedish families are thinking and caring for their children’s future and calling us criminals for giving the advice to move abroad to be able to homeschool (it is still not criminal SVT to move from Sweden!). Our friend Caroline was “exposed”, because she is an administrator of a Facebook page about unschooling. It is hilarious to watch. Link to youtube (with English subtitles):

Prague botanical gardens and Philosophy Europe Convention 2019

Prague has a botanical garden, and and we went there with our friends, the King family, and people from the worldschooling community. The botanical garden is up on a hill in Northern Prague, so when you reach the bottom half of the garden, the view is lovely – especially over Troja castle. Time-wise, we are still in September when we did all these things. I know I promised you October in our last post, but we’re not quite done with September yet 🙂

We also went to the Philosophy Europe Convention that focus on philosophy, Libertarianism and Austrian economics. It was the second time we attended this conference and we like how it is put together, both with workshops and lectures mixed with excursions in and around Prague with the group of participants that we now consider our friends.

Prag har en botanisk trädgård och vi åkte dit med våra vänner familjen King och människor från “Worldschooling”-gruppen. Den botaniska trädgården ligger uppe på en kulle i norra Prag, så utsikten är vacker när man når den nedre halvan av trädgården – särskilt den över slottet Troja. Tidsmässigt är vi fortfarande i september när vi gjorde det här. Jag vet att jag lovade er oktober i vårt förra inlägg, men vi är inte riktigt klara med september ännu 🙂

Vi deltog också i “Philosophy Europe Convention” som fokuserar på filosofi, Libertarianism och österrikisk ekonomi. Det var andra gången som vi deltog på denna konferens och vi gillar hur den är sammansatt, med både workshops och föreläsningar blandade med utflykter i och runt Prag med den grupp deltagare som vi nu betraktar som våra vänner.

Othilia in the botanical gardens! This is a good place to explore for small children.
Othilia and Edward have become friends!
The pond in the botanical garden with turtles and fishes swimming around.
They get along most of the time and she is following him around regardless if he wants it or not.
The botanical garden was ready for the autumn.
Othilia is our golden baby!
There are different areas in the botanical garden and a lot is created with the little people in mind.
The botanical garden ends with their own wine yard, where you can sit and have some wine and a lovely view.
Next door is the Troja castle and this is not a bad view to have while ending a day at the botanical garden.
Mornings in Prague, the sun goes up and Pontus is there to catch it.
Pontus always finds interesting things to take pictures of. This is a canoe slalom track in the river, this is not the only track in Prague we have seen so it seems that it is a more common sport to engage in here.
We had several meetings with friends from the Philosophy Europe Convention in the end of September and that brought us into the woods around the Karlstejn castle.
Othilia got to try riding daddy’s back when she wasn’t up for walking on her own.
We got to see the Karlstejn castle from the outside. The discussions we had in the forrest were so interesting and Othilia’s pace was not the fastest so we ended up getting to the castle outside of the regular visiting hours.
We also went exploring the city of Prague with our friends from the convention in between the workshops.
Part of the time were spent at playgrounds so Othilia would have something to do while the adults were talking.
We discovered a new part of Prague that we absolutely love – Vyšehrad.
The view is fantastic from the hill.
Prague from Vyšehrad
Ulrika looks skeptical, but it was because her attention got caught by passing people. The sunset is beautiful and Othilia is always lovely!
Basilica Lawrence is standing on top of Vyšehrad and the cellar of the church is more than 1000 years old. You can feel the wings of history up on this hill!

Next we will enter the month of October in our blog updates.

Back in our gem Praha

We are in Praha (Prague in Czech) and the fall is always busy for us here in Praha, the capital of the Czech Republic. I want to show you pictures from where we first arrived to Prague in September, the weather was beautiful and it is always nice to prolong the summer, which is quite short in Northern Europe.

Prague or Praha is the closest thing we have to a base and we realized that we have spent seven out of Othilia’s 13 first months here. Enjoy the birth city of our daughter!

Vi är i Praha (Prag på tjeckiska) och hösten är alltid uppbokad för oss här i Praha, Tjeckiens huvudstad. Jag vill visa er bilder från vad vi gjorde då vi först kom till Prag i september. Vädret var vackert och det är alltid trevligt att förlänga sommaren som är ganska kort om man befinner sig i nordeuropa.

Prag eller Praha är det närmaste vi har en bas och vi insåg att vi har tillbringat sju av Othilias 13 första månader här. Njut av vår dotters födelsestad!

The first thing we did was to meet up with friends and have a barbecue on a roof top. Stunning sunset that welcomed us to Prague!
Othilia loves her new play room and is is a fine climber of stairs. Our daughter is so brave and unafraid of things, but still so careful and asks to hold our hand patiently if she judges that she needs our assistance over some obstacle.
Pontus continues to wake up early in the morning and take a walk. He always takes pictures that we want to share with you. Here is Prague while waking up to a new day!
Malostranská in the morning
Pivovar Marina in the morning
Some mornings are more cloudy than others.
The Vltava river
Church of St. Anthony of Padua in the background
We are hanging out with the King family and the Vietnamese market had a food festival in September. We love Vietnamese food so we had to visit the festival and let Othilia try it out. She liked it as well!
We visited Othilia’s pediatrician and our daughter was 75 cm and weighed 9950 grams. We have a nice pediatrician that is in full sync with how we view the world and our lifestyle! We like that.
There is so much things to do her in Prague for kids, we have mentioned that before. Here is an exhibition out in the open at the Stromovka park about the the moon landings and the race to space.
And signs both in Czech and English. That is something you don’t see everywhere here in the Czech Republic.
End of September and we enjoyed the summer.
This was a short recap of the last days in September for us here in Prague. October was much more busy for us! And Othilia’s development accelerated to a pace none of us were prepared for. It is an exciting ride to be fortunate enough to follow a child grow up.

Othilia one year and one month in Sweden

We had an intense one month in Sweden after departing from Netherlands. Othilia was about to turn one year and we wanted to celebrate this with our families. We also had other birthdays to celebrate, new babies to greet and a great-grand mother to visit, so August was a family-intense month for us and we wanted to enjoy that to the fullest.

Othilia has developed so fast and is now a little person. She is so determined and curious, so us parents we just follow her and see what she does. She is adventurous, but careful and she is talking a lot (by our standards), but she doesn’t yet speak our language. However, she does say a few words in Swedish and show us that she understands way more words than she can say right now. Ulrika also swears that she hears Othilia use a few English words (like daddy), but time will tell if she starts speaking English at a young age. The King children do shower her with English so we will see what happens to her language development.

We celebrated Othilia’s birthday during several days and we are so glad that she is so loved by our families and that we had the opportunity to celebrate her first birthday in Sweden. We will insert a lot of pictures from Othilia’s month in Sweden and her birthday below.

Vi hade en intensiv månad i Sverige efter avresan från Nederländerna. Othilia skulle fylla ett år och vi ville fira detta med våra familjer. Vi hade också andra födelsedagar att fira, nya barn att hälsa på och en gammelmormor att besöka så augusti var en familjeintensiv månad för oss och vi ville njuta av det till fullo.

Othilia har utvecklats så snabbt och är nu verkligen en liten person. Hon är så beslutsam och nyfiken, så vi föräldrar bara följer efter henne och ser vad hon gör. Hon är äventyrlig, men försiktig och hon pratar mycket (enligt vår familjs standard), men hon talar inte vårt språk än. Hon säger dock några ord på svenska och visar oss att hon förstår fler ord än hon kan uttala just nu. Ulrika svär också på att hon har hört Othilia använda sig av några engelska ord (såsom “daddy”), men tiden kommer att visa om hon börjar prata engelska i så här ung ålder. King-barnen överröser henne med engelska så vi får se vad som händer med hennes språkutveckling.

Vi firade Othilias födelsedag under flera dagar och vi är så glada över att hon är så älskad av våra familjer och att vi hade möjlighet att fira hennes första födelsedag i Sverige. Vi kommer att publicera en hel del bilder från Othilias månad i Sverige och hennes födelsedag nedan.

Gothenburg seen from Ramberget.
Here we have family so Gothenburg is a place that we visit when we come to Sweden.
Saying hello to Othilia’s great grandmother!
We soon went North meeting up with old friends in Linköping and celebrated Othilia’s cousin Noa’s second birthday in Stockholm.
We where soon with grandparents in Långshyttan and Stjärnsund trying out one of her birthday presents that Othilia got early.
Othilia was so fascinated by being on the lake.
Trying different vehicles, even a bicycle!
Inspecting grandmother’s garden!
Othilia got to her favorite thing at Stugan – playing with water and playing with grandmother (not in the picture)!
We investigated different places to have Othilia’s birthday party and we found the right spot at Svartviksstugan near Sandviken in Gästrikland.
In just a few weeks we would celebrate Othilia at this spot, but first we had a few days in Gävle and Norrsundet to spend.
We got to spend some time with aunt Jonna at Högbo before she left for her own adventures. We also gave Othilia a birthday present early – a stroller!
We visited Norrsundet a sleeping fishing village and a “bruksort”. Othilia is jumping on rocks now!
Spending time with a grandparent in Norrsundet, trying out the playground!
We even had our first date in a year while Othilia got to spend some time with a grandmother. Thank you mormor and Mats!
We met up with people in Hedesunda and Ulrika showed where she has been playing in the water when she was young.
Be a tourist in your own home town. Ulrika has never gone out to Limön, an island in the Gävle bay area, so we decided to take the last boat on the summer schedule out to that island.
We were the only people on the boat which was strange, but we would find out later on why we probably were the only passengers that day.
Limön! An old fishing island which is know mainly occupied by summer houses and a café.
We had the island almost to ourselves, except for a few summer guests in their cabins. We tried the water, which was really cold, but that didn’t stop Othilia. You see the factory Korsnäs in the background.
We found swings so Othilia wanted fully enjoy them. She can now swing like the older kids do it.
Just an hour before our boat was departing we saw this and we realized that we had skipped to check the weather forecast for this day. No wonder we were the only people on board that day. But the intense rain passed quickly and we could safely go back to the mainland.
Then Otihlia’s days of celebration came and she was dressed for the occasion by a dress she got from Othilia’s cousins (and their parents).
We had a bit of bad weather, but that didn’t stop the celebration. We lit a fire in the fire place.
And Othilia was excited over the birthday cakes. One bought (but carefully selected by mom) and one home made (by dad, his favorite cake). The buns was also home made by grand mother!
We want to thank our families for all the great gifts Othilia got from you. We are so grateful that you were able to come and celebrate that Othilia now has been on the planet for a full year. Happy birthday our beloved and most precious daughter! We love you!
We had a second birthday celebration with Ulrika’s side of the family and we want to thank them for coming and celebrating our daughter as well. Thank you! Othilia’s birthday parties also were our good bye to our families for this time. A few days later we left Sweden from Trelleborg (picture from the coast of Trelleborg) and headed South.

Texel island and preparing to leave Netherlands

Netherlands do have a few islands outside of their mainland and the biggest island is called Texel. The rumor was that Texel (pronounced Tessel in Dutch) would have nice places to take a bath, so we packed our swimwear. Just a few days from our planned date to travel to Texel, a friend contacted us and let us know that she and a friend where in Amsterdam for a holiday so we invited them to come with us to Texel.

Nederländerna har några öar utanför kusten och den största kallas Texel. Ryktet var att Texel (uttalat Tessel på holländska) skulle ha fina badmöjligheter så vi packade med oss badkläderna. Bara några dagar från det planerade datumet för att resa till Texel kontaktade en vän oss och meddelade att hon och en vän var i Amsterdam för en semester så vi bjöd in dem att komma med oss till Texel.

We bought our ferry ticket online, which made the check-in smooth and simple,  and we drove on to the ferry after we had picked up our friend Lynn and her friend Lina at the train station in Den Helder.

Ferries to Texel depart from Den Helder and they depart frequently all year (one every 30 minutes during high season). It is quite cheap if you can avoid the weekends and Mondays, meaning taking your trip out to Texel Tuesday to Thursday is cheapest. You buy a two way ticket and you either walk, bicycle or take a car on board. We took a car and the ticket is valid for the car, meaning that you can go up to 9 persons in one car on one car ticket. The price was 25 Euro for a car if you travel Tuesday to Thursday (it is 37 Euro the other days).

Hi Texel! Othilia is here!

One of the things you can do on the island is to visit the Eierland lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1863 and it was built on top of a 20-metre high sand dune.

During an uprising in April 1945 the lighthouse suffered a lot of damage. The lighthouse was then repaired by constructing a new wall around the original wall, but you can still see the original wall with its bullet holes when you go up the tower.

We got a nice overview over the sea and beach from the top of the lighthouse. Othilia loves to climb!

This was our main objective today. It was a really warm day, so being in the water was a necessity for Othilia.

The girls on their way to the beach!

Othilia was happy!

Pontus was running around and took pictures on animals he found in the water.

A few crabs! There were also animals in the water that we couldn’t see, but we could feel them – water fleas!

We ate dinner on Texel before we took the ferry back to the mainland and said good bye to Lynn and Lina. Our days in Netherlands were about to end, so we want to end our Netherlands 2019 trip with photos from our time here that didn’t fit the previous blog posts.

The days we didn’t have an adventure planned we stayed in or close to our magical village. We had Harlingen near us, where we went for shopping etc, but we also had close to Bolsward, where we found our favorite ice cream flavor – duindoorn in Dutch or havtorn in Swedish (sea buckthorn in English).  
Pontus started with a new habit to wake up and go watch the sunrise, so I want to show you a few of the sunrises Pontus captured during our month in Netherlands. So here is a mix of pictures from our month in the Netherlands.

Vi åt middag på Texel innan vi tog färjan tillbaka till fastlandet och sa hejdå till Lynn och Lina. Våra dagar i Nederländerna var på väg att ta slut, så vi vill avsluta vårt Nederländerna 2019 med bilder från vår tid här som inte passade de tidigare blogginläggen.

De dagar vi inte hade ett planerat äventyr stannade vi i eller nära vår magiska by. Vi hade Harlingen nära oss, dit vi åkte för att shoppa osv, men vi hade också nära Bolsward, där vi hittade vår favoritglassmak – duindoorn på holländska eller havtorn på svenska.
Pontus började med en ny vana att gå upp på morgonen och titta på soluppgången, så jag vill visa er några av de solupppgångar Pontus fångade under vår månad i Nederländerna. Så nedanför denna text är en blandning av bilder från vår månad i Nederländerna.

Stunning picture of a sunrise over the avenue leading to our village.

Othilia eating berries in our backyard.


Othilia playing in the village playground.

The heat was unbearable so we had to buy a fan to our rented house. It saved our days and nights for a couple of days.

Our nearest beach in Makkum. Nice to have when the temperature was peaking.

Another stunning sunrise that Pontus captured. This is not a bicycle road – it is actually a normal car road with a maximum speed limit of 60 km/h.

We took a walk in a small park in Bolsward one evening.

And this is here main objective when when she sees water. You can imagine what her reaction is when we deny her a bath.

The city had placed out animals carved out of wood in the park.

Othilia gets to hang out with dad in the morning if she decides to make morning way before I do. Here in her pajamas watching the sun go up.

Wherever we go we get stuck for a while if Othilia see a ball. Here, we had stopped at a McDonald’s to eat and Othilia was in heaven, the playground had balls hanging from ropes.

An evening shoot capturing the full moon. Pontus’s mobile camera is so good at taking pictures in poor light.

Then it was time for us to leave Netherlands, but it will not be our last time here. We love the Netherlands, especially the Northern parts. More pictures from our time here can be seen in the slider below.

De Haar Castle and Utrecht with

De Haar Castle was another recommendation we got and our contacts brought us to Utrecht in the Netherlands so we decided to pay this castle a visit. It was on one of the hottest days here in the Netherlands so being inside a cold castle was perfect for us.
De Haar Castle had gradually turned into ruins since 1641 when the heir of the castle ruins, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, in 1887 married Hélène de Rothschild, of the Rothschild family.  Hélène’s family, the Rothschilds, decided to rebuild the castle from its ruins. They hired the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and he would work on the project for 20 years. De Haar Castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms, and a few rooms on the ground floor have been opened to be viewed by the public, so we went in and took a look at them.

Slottet De Haar var en annan rekommendation vi fått och våra kontakter förde oss till Utrecht i Nederländerna så vi beslutade att besöka platsen. Det var en av de hetaste dagarna här i Nederländerna så att vara inne i ett stort, kallt slott var perfekt för oss.
De Haar-slottet hade gradvis förvandlats till ruiner sedan 1641 när arvingen till slottets ruiner, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, 1887 gifte sig med Hélène de Rothschild. Hélènes familj, Rothschildsfamiljen, beslutade att återuppbygga slottet från dess ruiner. De anlitade den berömda holländska arkitekten Pierre Cuypers och han skulle arbeta med detta projekt i 20 år. De Haar-slottet har 200 rum och 30 badrum, och några få rum på bottenvåningen har öppnats för att beskådas av allmänheten, så vi gick in och tittade på dem.

Welcome to De Haar Castle!

Better be in the shadows while walking around the castle!

Walking inside the castle over the draw bridge

First thing you see when you walk in to the main hall!

The main hall felt like it was taken from the land of the Maharajahs (Rajasthan in India) and sure thing, the newlywed couple loved travel and they even invited Maharaja friends to the castle.

The family tree of the van Zuylen/Rothschild family can be found here.

A few things from the Etienne/Helene van Zuylen era are on display in the different rooms.

Like their hygiene/make up boxes they couldn’t travel without.

A few of the suitcases that the family used during their travels.

The dining hall. A lot of prominent people have been dining around this table.

Collections of different things bought during their travels far away.

A few bedrooms are open for display. This room was Baronnesse Gabrielle van Zuylen during a few decades when she was married to Thierry van Zuylen van Nyevelt.

The library/cigar room!

The kitchen in the cellar. Highly modern for its time. Even though the castle has been built to resemble the old castle, the family was keen to modernize the castle so they would have proper bathrooms and kitchen, electrical sockets, heat and ventilation.

We couldn’t resist to buy a bunny to Othilia when we walked out through the museum shop. She was so happy to see it and she wouldn’t let go of the bunny.
More pictures from the castle will be displayed in the slider below.

We took a short walk in the park as well before we left for Utrecht.

We found deers in the park and Othilia got excited.

They were also staying in the shadows.

We found a swan family as well. We couldn’t stay longer, the heat was getting to us even though we were staying in the shadows most of the time.

Our original plan was to take a walk around Utrecht after our visit to De Haar Castle, but the heat forced us to find a place for us and Othilia to swim. The Evening came and we had arranged a meet up in Utrecht so we had to leave the lake and head into the city – our only request was to sit indoors with an air-condition on full speed.

Vår ursprungliga plan var att ta en promenad genom Utrecht efter vårt besök i De Haar-slottet, men värmen tvingade oss att hitta en plats för oss och Othilia att simma. Kvällen kom och vi hade ordnat ett möte i Utrecht så vi var tvungna att lämna sjön och åka in till staden – vår enda begäran var att sitta inomhus med luftkonditionering på full hastighet.

We found a lake near the De Haar castle so we went there to spend our afternoon waiting for our member meet up.

Othilia and dad in the water.

We were not the only ones escaping the city during the heat wave.

Early evening and we were in the city of Utrecht.

We ate dinner here and then took an evening walk in the city center of Utrecht.

The city once had a much higher water level, that is why you find a lower ground level next to the canal today and both restaurants and tenants take advantage of that.

The canals are also used for kayaking and swimming in.

The sun was going down and we had to say good bye to our new friends. We didn’t have so many days left here in the Netherlands and we wanted to go on one more adventure before leaving the Netherlands. More about that in our next blog post.

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

We visited Zaanse Schans after this village was decided to be the place for a small meet up with a Swedish/Japanese family that we wanted to meet. We always try to meet up with like-minded people when we travel around in the world and here in the Netherlands a few fellow members currently live.

Zaanse Schans is a village with historic wooden buildings set up with the intention of preserving the historical heritage of the Netherlands. Many of the buildings here were relocated to the Zaanse Schans expansion plan between 1961 and 1974, and restored to their former glory. Only a few of the windmills are still on their original property. It feels like an amusement park, because of the many tourists coming here (2.2 million visited in 2017).  We bought the Zaanse Schans Card 15 Euros (10 Euros for children between 4- 17 and below 4 for free). With the card you can visit several museums free of charge for an entire day. However, the windmills you still have to pay for to enter (5 Euros to enter each windmill).

Vi åkte till Zaanse Schans efter att denna by bestämdes att vara platsen för en litenäff med en svensk/japansk familj som vi ville träffa. Vi försöker alltid träffa likasinnade människor när vi reser runt i världen och här i Nederländerna bor för närvarande några medlemmar.

Zaanse Schans är en by med historiska träbyggnader inrättade med avsikt att bevara det historiska kulturarvet i Nederländerna. Många av byggnaderna här flyttades till Zaanse Schans expansionsplan mellan 1961 och 1974 och återställdes till sitt tidigare skick. Endast ett fåtal av väderkvarnarna står på sin ursprungliga plats, resten är flyttade hit. Det känns som en nöjespark på grund av de många turister som kommer hit (2,2 miljoner besökte stället år 2017). Vi köpte Zaanse Schans-kortet för 15 Euro (10 Euro för barn mellan 4- 17 och under 4 gratis). Med kortet kan du besöka flera museer gratis en hel dag. Väderkvarnar måste man fortfarande  betala för att gå in i (5 Euro för att besöka varje väderkvarn).

Some of the windmills of Zaanse Schans on this side of the river: De Huisman (Spices), De Gekroonde Poelenburg (Wood saw), De Kat (Paint), The Seeker (Oil), Bovenkruier (Wood saw), De Os (oil), Het Klaverblad (Wood saw), De Bonte Hen (Oil).

We came to Zaanse Schans in the morning when the weather was a bit colder, but the prognosis was promising sun, so me and Othilia had dressed for that.

We were waiting for our company of today a fellow member that we have wanted to meet as soon as we knew we were going to the Netherlands.

Stefan, Aki and their daughter came with the train meeting us and it was so fun to spend a day with this family, we would love to do it again someday.

Zaanse Schans is a created windmill park with old windsmills transported from the whole country to be in the same place. It feels more like an amusement park for tourists, than a genuine village, but the windmills are still running and you can walk into them if you pay 5€ at each entrance. The other houses are museums, some are free and some you need to pay an entrance fee to get in, and others are restaurants, cafes and shops.

The Netherlands are known for clogs (Klomp in Dutch) and we have actually seen normal people walking in those in supermarkets. There is actually a clog making man in Zaanse Schans and a clog museum is a part of his working place.

Clogs in all forms can be found here.

There were a lot of clogs for purchase as well, not just for show!

Putting Othilia in place for the photoshoot I had planned with her dress from Bali, bought by mormor (grandmother) approximately half a year before Othilia was created. The problem was that Othilia only wanted to walk into the water so we had to act fast.

The hat were on her head for approximately 20 seconds before it ended up in the water. The hat was rescued by Stefan, but most of all quick thinking by Aki.

Next to the mills you have other historical buildings that have been transported here.

We decided to walk around in this part to take photos. We had so much to talk about with Stefan and Aki so we didn’t want to end the day to early. Othilia got the other hat, while the yellow hat was drying.

Zaanse Schans!

A garden in Zaanse Schans!

It looked like at least some of the houses here had people living in them!

We visited the museum of Dutch clocks and we could appreciate the craftmanship and work dedicated to these clocks. The boats and whale in the lower part of the clock was actually moving.

The first store opened by Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in Netherlands, has also been moved to Zaanse Schans. The store orginally opened in 1887 in the town of Oostzaan. We said goodbye to Aki and Stefan for this time around, but we would meet Stefan again a few days later.

Bumper boats in Giethoorn

Giethoorn is truly an interesting place. Founded by Flagellants, has no roads, and the number of Chinese people travelling to this village in the Netherlands is so high that the village was voted in as one of the places that you could buy on the international Monopoly edition released in 2015, after the contest on which places should be on this special monopoly edition went viral in China.

So we had to go there and experience the madness. No roads mean that you travel on waterways by rented boats and there are plenty of boats to rent due to the many Chinese tourists visiting this place. Between 150 000 and 200 000 Chinese tourists per year visit this village that only has around  2500 inhabitants. So it really felt like we were in an amusement park riding those bumper cars, but at the same time we were actually sitting in the love tunnel boats looking at the surrealistic scenery around us. Be prepared to be bumping around with other, mainly Chinese, tourists.

The history of Giethoorn starts with the Flagellants, a Catholic sect where worshipers likes to whip their own bodies with different instruments, who settled here in the 13th century. After them came the farmers and their farmland activities created the big lake Boppenwide next to Giethoorn, a lake which is no more than a meter deep at its places. The water is quite shallow in most areas here, so that is why we lack life-jackets in all pictures below.

Giethoorn is best pictured by actual footage, not text, so there will be plenty of pictures of the village below. Othilia started walking here in the Netherlands so we will insert a video of her record walking in the end and a few photos from Ulrika’s birthday. Pictures coming up!

Giethoorn är en verkligt intressant plats. Grundades av Flagellanter, har inga bilvägar och antalet kineser som reser till denna by i Nederländerna är så hög att byn röstades in som en av de platser som du kan köpa i den internationella versionen av monopol som utgavs 2015 efter att tävlingen om vilka platser som borde vara med på denna speciella monopolutgåva blev viral i Kina.

Så vi var tvungna att åka dit och uppleva galenskapen. Inga vägar betyder att du reser på vattenvägar med båtar du kan hyra och det finns många båtar att hyra på grund av det stora antalet kinesiska besökare. Mellan 150 000 och 200 000 kinesiska turister per år besöker denna by som bara har cirka 2500 invånare. Det kändes verkligen som om vi var på ett tivoli åkandes i radiobilar medan vi samtidigt faktiskt sitter i kärlekstunnel-båtar och tittar på det surrealistiska landskapet omkring oss. Var beredd och stöta runt med andra, främst kinesiska, turister.

Giethoorns historia börjar med Flagellanterna, en katolsk sekt där medlemmarna piskar deras kroppar med olika instrument, som bosatte sig här på 1200-talet. Efter dem kom bönderna och deras jordbruksverksamhet skapade den stora sjön Boppenwide som ligger bredvid Giethoorn. Denna sjö är inte mer än en meter djup på sina platser. Vattnet är väldigt grunt i de flesta områden här, så det är därför vi saknar flytvästar i alla bilder nedan.

Giethoorn är bäst avbildad av faktiska bilder, inte text, så det kommer att finnas gott om bilder på byn nedan. Othilia började gå här i Nederländerna så vi kommer också att publicera en video av hennes rekordpromenad, samt några foton från Ulrikas födelsedag. Nu kommer bilderna!

Be prepared for a lot of pictures on lovely houses and canals!

We needed to eat lunch before we were heading out on the boats and the parking place we choose had a deal that you could park for free if you ate at their restaurant, so we did. One thing Netherlands is good at is to clearly put up signs where you can find a place to park your car. It is easy to find a parking place in both smaller villages and bigger cities.

The food was amazing so we did not regret it.

We rented a boat at the same place we parked our car and you can choose a number of different options. 25Euro/boat if you only want to see Giethoorn (an 1 hour trip), 50 Euro for the 2-hour trip which includes part of the national park as well and then more Euros for the longer trips, which we weren’t interested in.

We soon entered the national park and it was so quiet, even though a lot of boats were driving through. The boats are electrical so the usual noise from a motor is absent.

We stopped at an outlook tower to get a good overview over the nature park.

We suddenly got a vague feeling of being in the old movie “Waterworld”

There were plenty of birds that kept Othilia amazed for part of the journey.

The journey through the park wasn’t so pleasant as it looks like. We temporarily forgot that we have a daughter who loves water so when the initial curiosity over the boat was over, she was all about wanting to climb over the railing and go in the water. She was loud when she was denied going over the railing so Ulrika had to breastfeed Othiliato calm her, so our boat wouldn’t destroy the moment for others .

We where approaching the village Giethoorn again after approximately 1h and 20 minutes going over the lake and exploring the nature park. The last 40 minutes would be going on the main waterway through the village.

Hello Giethoorn! The village with around 150 bridges.

Strong feeling of being in bumper boats in an amusement park.

Othilia in Giethoorn! I think she is a direct image of her father in this picture.

A selfie in Giethoorn.


We left our boat where we had rented it and went back to the village walking on the pedestrian/bicycle road. The only roads in this part of the village.Nowadays Giethoorn is much bigger than just this old part of the village.

And we got to see the houses with their gardens better.

Giethoorn by foot!

Apparently tourists mistake the mail boxes to be trash bins. How strange and sad for the people living here.

Giethoorn by foot!

Giethoorn by foot! Then it was time for us going back home.


We stopped in Lemmer on our way home so that Othilia finally was able to bath. We had denied her that the whole day, so we wanted to make it up to her! The weather forecast had warned us about coming days with bad weather so we had to rearrange our plans for Ulrika’s birthday that was coming up.

We usually take a few days of between our adventures so we barbecued in our little Japanese garden in our own backyard for dinner the day before Ulrika’s birthday.

And Ulrika was surprised with gifts by the family in the morning. We had a calm birthday waiting for the rain. We went to a small art museum and took it easy. We knew that we had a busy week ahead, but more of that in the upcoming blog posts.

And lastly, our daughter walking by herself exactly 10 months after we welcomed her into this world. The time goes so fast!

18th century planetarium and Museum Martena in Franeker

We would never had gone to Franeker , or Frjentsjer in West Frisian,  if it weren’t for Ulrika and that she regularly looks at Atlas Obscura to see if there are some interesting places to discover.

The world’s oldest still working orrery can be found here. The orrery was built from 1774 to 1781 by Eise Eisinga, an amateur astronomer, in his house to help the people in Netherlands understand Astronomy. In 1774 an alignment of several planets happened and this induced mass panic among the Dutch people,  who thought that a planetary collision was imminent, and Eise Eisinga wanted to show that their fears were unfounded.
Eise Eisinga had not been allowed to go to school, but he was gifted and through self-education he mastered mathematics and astronomy and published a book about the principles of astronomy when he was only 17 years old. Eisie Eisinga became a wool carderer,  but would later be recognized as a scholar and become a professor at the Franeker Academy.

Vi hade aldrig åkt till Franeker, eller Frjentsjer på västfrisiska, om det inte var för att Ulrika regelbundet tittar på Atlas Obscura för att se om det finns några intressanta platser att upptäcka.

Världens äldsta fortfarande fungerande planetarium finns här. Solsystemsmodellen byggdes mellan 1774 och 1781 av Eise Eisinga, en amatörastronom, i sitt hus för att hjälpa folket i Nederländerna att förstå astronomi. 1774 inträffade att flera planeter hamnade i linje och detta orsakade massapanik bland holländarna. De trodde att en planetkollision var nära förestående och Eise Eisinga ville visa med sin modell att deras rädsla var ogrundad.
Eise Eisinga fick inte gå i skolan, men han var begåvad och genom självstudier lärde han sig att bemästra både matematik och astronomi.  Eise publicerade en bok om astronomins principer när han bara var 17 år gammal. Eisie Eisinga blev en ullkardare, men skulle senare erkännas som lärd och bli professor vid Franeker Academy.

The house with the orrery. Usually in Netherlands the entrance to the museums are the house next to the house that contains the museum. So here the entrance is the house to the left of the planetarium.

Eise Eisinga loved astronomy so that was his focus when he was building his orrery, and he also collected them. The museum also contains astronomy instruments from more modern times.

The orrery was constructed to a scale of 1:1,000,000,000,000 (1 millimeter equals 1 million kilometers). Each planet continues to orbit the sun at an appropriate speed (i.e., earth, once a year; Saturn, every 29 years).

People from the Franeker academy went to see his planetarium and they all could confirm that his calculations were correct. They have a guided tour in the room every 10-15 minutes and they do the tour in dutch, but you can request English and then it becomes a bilingual session.

We could walk up to the second floor to see the mechanics behind the orrery. Othilia like to walk by herself up and down stairs.

This is the work of only one man and the orrery contains over 10,000 hand-forged nails.

We walked around in the museum looking at old books and manuscripts, some of them written by Eise Eisinga himself.

a much smaller orrery.

The earth with slices showing different continents. Othilia got tired so we had to leave the planetarium before we had the chance to look at everything, so we plan to come back here when she is older.

Franeker can be traced back to the 800’s and the name probably derives from Froon-acker, meaning “country of the king”, so it is an old town with lots of history. The city is small, but we came later during the day, so we went to the planetarium, ate at a restaurant and then had to go home to come back the day after.  When we went to the planetarium we got offered to buy a combination ticket for Museum Martena (8.5 Euro/person)  and we accepted that offer, but wouldn’t be able to visit the Museum Martena the same day. The combination ticket is valid for one year, so that is good if you run out of time as we did. Both the planetarium and Museum Martena are quite small so we would have made it to both on the same day if we hade arrived earlier to Franeker the first day.

Franeker kan spåras tillbaka till 800-talet och namnet härstammar förmodligen från Froon-acker, vilket betyder “kungens land”, så det är en gammal stad med mycket historia. Staden är liten, men vi kom sent på dagen så vi gick på planetariet, åt på en restaurang och sedan var vi tvungna att åka hem för att komma tillbaka dagen efter. När vi kom till planetariet så fick vi erbjudande om att köpa en kombinationsbiljett för Museum Martena (8,5 Euro / person) också och vi accepterade det erbjudandet, men kunde inte kunna besöka Museum Martena samma dag. Kombinationsbiljetten är giltig i ett år, så det är bra om du har tidsbrist som vi hade. Både planetariet och Museum Martena är ganska små så vi skulle ha hunnit med båda på samma dag om vi hade anlänt tidigare till Franeker den första dagen.

We took a walk in the city center our second day in Franeker.

The small square and the church in Franeker.

Othilia got to explore som parts of Franeker by herself. More pictures from Franeker in the slider below.

Museum Martena is a fortified stone house built around 1500 by a nobleman called Hessel van Martena. He was constantly at war with other noblemen in Friesland so he needed strong security. Inside is a collection of art and furniture from different eras, ranging from the van Martena family, but also from other noble families that has lived in this house. The van Martena family owned the house until 1694 when Suffidus Westerhuis bought the house. He was keen on bringing the house to the 18th century so much of the wall decorations comes from his era.  It is a lovely place to walk around in with exhibitions on all floors, with belongings from the different families who once lived here.

Museum Martena är ett befäst stenhus byggd omkring 1500 av en adelsman vid namn Hessel van Martena. Han var ständigt i krig med andra adelsmän i Friesland så han behövde stark säkerhet där han bodde. Inuti finns en samling av konst och möbler från olika tidpsepoker, från van Martena-familjen men även andra adelsfamiljer som har bott i det här huset. Familjen van Martena ägde huset fram till 1694 när Suffidus Westerhuis köpte huset. Han var angelägen om att föra huset till 1700-talet så mycket av väggdekorationerna kommer från hans era. Det är en härlig plats att gå runt med utställningar på alla våningar, med ägodelar från de olika familjerna som en gång bodde här.

Museum Martena. The entrance is through the house next to it.

A room with Arcadian wall paintings, put there during the renovations by Westerhuis in 1694.

There are a many portraits of former inhabitants of house Martena.

The Mulder family that lived in the Martena house in the 1800’s. Mr Mulder was a doctor and professor at Franeker university and used his daughter (in the lap) as guinea-pig for the cowpox virus vaccine. Mr Mulder died after he used himself to demonstrate how to drain an inflammation on one of his sinuses during a class that he taught at the university. He developed fever and died a few days later.

The top floor is dedicated to two interesting residents of Franeker. One room is dedicated to Anna Maria van Schurman, a female scholar from the golden age of the Netherlands (17th century). She knew 14 languages and she promised her father never to marry so she could dedicate her life to study.

The second room on the top floor is dedicated to Jacob Kooistra, a lorry driver who built his own fun fair in 1940. All the components of the fair are made of throwaway materials. The whole town helped Jacob Kooistra by collecting old bicycle lamps, christmas tree lamps and old cigar boxes to give to him.
Below is a short video from the fun fair. For 0.5 Euro we could see the show for ourselves!


More pictures from Franeker, house Martena and Planetarium:



A walk through the city of Amsterdam

The name of the city Amsterdam comes from that the city’s origin starts with a dam in the river Amstel in the 12th century. Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world in the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Today, many of the world’s largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as Uber, Netflix and Tesla.

We went to Amsterdam with no goal in mind except for just walking around in the city centre and get a feeling of the atmosphere of the city. We found a city filled with tourists and not so much local people. We could barely hear any people speaking Dutch, just a variety of other languages.
We also encountered a lot of coffee shops and here Marijuana is legal so the number of people on this drug is quite high here. They are friendly though so we don’t mind them and they are much less obnoxious and aggressive as a lot of drunk people. It can feel quite funny though when your waiter starts to giggle while taking your order and the cashier at the supermarket returns the money you just gave him for payment as the exchange (could have gotten it for free!) . This happened to us during our day in Amsterdam.

For Othilia’s part, her first tooth has now appeared and she also runs so our bet on which one will come first seems to end in a draw.

Stadens namn kommer från att Amsterdams ursprung börjar med en dam i floden Amstel på 1100-talet. Amsterdam blev en av de viktigaste hamnarna i världen under den nederländska guldåldern på 1600-talet. Idag är många av världens största företag baserade i Amsterdam eller har sitt europeiska huvudkontor i staden, till exempel Uber, Netflix och Tesla.

Vi åkte till Amsterdam utan något speciellt mål i åtanke förutom att bara vandra runt i stadens centrum och få en känsla av stämningen i staden. Vi hittade en stad fylld med turister och inte så mycket lokalbefolkning. Vi kunde knappt höra några människor som talade holländska, bara en mängd andra språk.
Vi stötte också på många “coffee shops” och här är Marijuana lagligt så antalet människor på denna drog är ganska hög här. De är dock vänliga så vi bryr oss inte om dem och de är mycket mindre motbjudande och aggressiva än vad många berusade människor kan vara. Det kan vara ganska lustigt när din servitör börjar fnissa när han tar din beställning och kassören i snabbköpet returnerar pengarna du just gav honom för betalning som växel (kunde ha fått det gratis!). Detta hände oss ​​under vår dag i Amsterdam.

För Othilias del så har nu hennes första tand dykt upp och hon springer även, så vårt vad om vilket som kommer först verkar sluta i oavgjort.

Just walking around in Amsterdam was enough for us. It is beautiful here with all the canals.

The day before our visit to Amsterdam, we finally felt a tooth (lower right) in Othilia’s mouth. Later we realized that it was actually two teeth coming out so now both lower front teethes are showing.

We found a windmill on our way into the city center. We had parked 2 kilometers outside of the city center to get a cheap parking (0.5 Euro/hour) while we were exploring Amsterdam.

We had nice weather in the morning, but darker clouds would soon arrive. The weather has been quite cold for being in July and it is not until this week it has become warmer.

Picture of a bicycle shop in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam cars isn’t a problem, we had to pay a lot more attention to people on bicycles. They were quite reckless.

We found a lot of small house boats on the canals. We wouldn’t mind having a place like this!

Another house boat!

House boat!


The number of canals intensifies when you reach the city center, as do the number of tourists.

The royal palace of Amsterdam. The palace was originally built for the purpose of being a city hall in the 17th century.

Othilia was more interested in chasing the doves at Dam square.

She barely needs our support any longer. She often runs while only holding one finger or we holding her hand. So we would say it is a tie between Othilia starting to run and getting her first tooth.

More buildings in Amsterdam. We like to just walk around and look at the architecture in a city.

We don’t think we have seen more leaning houses anywhere else we have been. Houses on the same street can lean in different directions.

Westerkerk is the biggest church in Amsterdam and it was built between 1620 and 1631.

The house where Anne Frank and her family was in hiding from the Nazis.

While we parents stood and watched Anne Franks house, Othilia went in full mode of trying to jump into the canal.

Really upset after we denied her the chance of taking a bath.

More boats on canals. This is what we did all day, walking around looking at houses, canals and boats.

And flowers!

House decorated with flowers. We were about to go back to the car and drive back home when we entered one of the more famous districts in Amsterdam.

We accidentally ended up in the red light district. Due to the respect of the sex workers we didn’t want to take any pictures of them. They were selling their services at the front window so we took a picture on the museum that we found there. We did not go in there though.

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