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Tag: animals

Leeuwarden – Leaning tower and an aqua zoo

Leeuwarden, or Ljouwert in West Frisian, is a town we have visited three times. First time we went to the aqua zoo which is located east of Leeuwarden. The second time, we went to Decathlon to update our wardrobe and on our way back home we decided to drive through Leeuwarden. We saw a beautiful town, but it was when we drove past The Oldehove we knew that we had to come back and explore the tower and the city.

The Oldehove is an unfinished church, where its tower started to lean more and more during construction. The construction began in 1529, but it soon started tilting, so after several attempts to rescue the tower the construction was stopped in 1532-33. For 3.5 Euro you can go up in the tower and see the church bells (from 1633 and 1637), which is still working and rings,  and look at the view over Leeuwarden.  The height of the tower is 39 meters (128 feet) and has 183 steps. There is an elevator up to the first floor, but you still have to take the remaining stairs to the top. The top of the tower is displaced horizontally 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) from the center and we definitely felt the displacement going up the stairs on the side of the tower.

Leeuwarden, eller Ljouwert på västfrisiska, är en stad vi har besökt tre gånger hittills. Första gången besökte vi aqua zoo som ligger strax öster om Leeuwarden. Andra gången åkte vi till Decathlon för att uppdatera vår garderob och på vägen hem beslöt vi oss för att köra genom de centrala delarna av Leeuwarden. Vi såg en vacker stad och när vi körde förbi Oldehove visste vi att vi var tvungna att komma tillbaka och utforska tornet och staden.

Oldehove är en oavslutad kyrka, där tornet på kyrkan började luta mer och mer under byggandet. Byggandet började år 1529, men snart började tornet luta, så efter flera försök att rädda tornet upphörde konstruktionen år 1532-33. För 3,5 Euro kan du gå upp i tornet och se kyrkoklockorna (från 1633 och 1637), som fortfarande ringer, och titta på utsikten över Leeuwarden. Tornets höjd är 39 meter och har 183 trappsteg. Det finns en hiss upp till första våningen, men man måste ändå ta de återstående trapporna upp. Tornets topp är förskjuten horisontellt ca 2 meter från mittpunkten och vi kände definitivt av förskjutningen när vi gick uppför trappan på sidan av tornet.

Leeuwarden, we can’t get enough of the canal-filled towns we visit here in Netherlands.

The leaning unfinished tower.

The entrance. They are usually open everyday during summer form 1 pm to 5 pm.

The way up was narrow and the stairs were leaning so much that we felt like being on a boat while walking up the stairs. Not so bad walking down though.

In the windows going up, they have also put in pictures of how Leeuwarden looked like from the tower during older days. We could have seen a big windmill from this window, but we are a few years to late.

Finally up and Othilia could run around while we parents tried to enjoy the view.

The view is amazing from up here.

Not so many tall buildings in this town.

We also had time to explore the city center.

Othilia got to taste her first ice-cream and she loved it.

Othilia got distracted by some nice boys borrowing their ball to Othilia. She was happy and content and didn’t want to jump into the canal in this moment.

And we bought some Dutch cheese, we found really good aged Gouda cheese that we bought.

Cheese, clogs, bicycles are a few things Netherlands is known for.

A few houses that were built in 1609. it is another thing we notice here in Netherlands. A lot of the houses leans in different direction.

We also walked through a park full of noise from these old music machines. They were scattered around the park for some kind of show day for these kind of old playing instruments.

We will show more pictures from Leeuwarden in a slider below. We will also show some pictures from the Aqua zoo, located in the eastern part of Leeuwarden. It is a lovely little zoo with mainly marine animals, from penguins to seals, crocodiles and birds and monkeys. They have a small playground and we estimated that 2 hours would be enough time spent there if you have children as young as Othilia. The entrance fee is 17 Euro/person (15 if you buy the ticket online) and a 4 Euro parking fee.

Vi kommer visa fler bilder från Leeuwarden i ett bildspel nedan. Vi kommer också att visa några bilder från Aqua zoo, som ligger i den östra delen av Leeuwarden. Det är en härlig liten djurpark med främst marina djur, från pingviner till sälar, krokodiler och fåglar och apor. De har en liten lekplats och vi uppskattar att 2 timmar skulle vara tillräckligt med tid där om du har barn så unga som Othilia. Entréavgiften är 17 Euro / person (15 Euro om du köper biljetten online) och 4 Euro i parkeringsavgift.

Othilia and the penguins. They are almost as tall (or short) as Othilia.

The park is so green! Here does the pelicans live.

They have both smaller monkeys and gorillas here.

Raccoons  and skunks begging for food. For 0.5 Euro you could buy some snacks to feed them.

Othilia patting a fake crocodile. The real ones were behind glass.

There was also a children’s zoo where goats and hens were living and could be patted.

We ended our visit at the playground and Othilia did enjoy the zoo! Below is a slider with more pictures from Leeuwarden and the zoo.



Pingjum – our magical village in the Netherlands

We decided to go to Netherlands, and we knew that we wanted to stay out of the bigger cities, so we ended up in Pingjum in Friesland, not knowing much about either Pingjum or Friesland.

Friesland is one of twelve provinces in the Netherlands and it is the only province that has their own language – West Frisian. Many of the cities have two names, a dutch and a West Frisian name, and I will try to write out both names when I write about the different places we visit.

Vi bestämde oss för att åka till Nederländerna och vi visste att vi ville undvika de större städerna, så det slutade med att vi hamnade i Pingjum i Friesland, utan att veta mycket om vare sig Pingjum eller Friesland.

Friesland är en av tolv provinser i Nederländerna och det är den enda provinsen som har sitt eget språk – västfrisiska. Många av städerna har två namn, ett holländskt och ett västfrisiskt namn och jag kommer att försöka skriva ut båda namnen när jag skriver om de olika platserna vi besöker.

Welcome to Pingjum! This small village of 600 inhabitants contains so much magic translated to scenery, kindness and openness from the locals. We feel right at home at our temporary home for the month. Notice the speed limit sign.

This is where we came from to get to Pingjum and on these kind of roads it is said that you are allowed to travel up to 60 km/h and it is wide enough for one car, we thought we had accidentally got on a road for bicycles.

The house we rent is a small one room with a fully equipped kitchen and it suits us perfectly. We have a lovely garden to our disposal and we are allowed to eat anything from the garden.

Huset vi hyr är ett litet ett rum med fullt utrustat kök och det passar oss perfekt. Vi har en härlig trädgård till vårt förfogande och vi får äta allt från trädgården.

This armchair and the stairs is Othilia’s favorite things in our rented house.

And lamps! Othilia can say a few words and lampa (lamp) is one of them. Other words are mamma (mom) och pappa (dad).

Our garden where we can go out at eat plums, apples, pears, red and black currants, gooseberries, almonds and walnuts. We also have a small herb garden that we are allowed to use.

Pingjum has only a few roads, a pizza place (which is open a few nights of the week), a distillery, a school and a communal garden. The streets generally are quite narrow in the Netherlands and sometimes we think that we are driving on bicycle lanes rather than a two-lane car road.

Pingjum har bara några vägar, en pizzeria (som är öppen några kvällar i veckan), ett destilleri, en skola och en gemensam trädgård. Gatorna är i allmänhet ganska smala i Nederländerna och ibland tror vi att vi kör på cykelbanor istället för en tvåvägs bilväg.

Our main road early in the morning.

This is the house style in all parts of Netherlands we have visited so far – brick houses. They are beautiful and we suspect that the houses are made out of bricks, and not wood, because of the climate here, windy and humid.

A bus that sells clothes stopped here one day. Their customers are likely older people who are not able to go to the cities to buy things to wear.

We have a small playground in the middle of the village where we go and meet locals and their kids.

Othilia looks so grown up in this picture.

There are a lot of animals in our village and cats is a also a favorite.

Agricultural landscape surrounding our village. Animals get grass fed here without any fences, only ditches keeping the animals away from the roads.

The communal garden is lovely and the locals takes care of this place together. The fruits of their labor are sold to the public using only a moneybox. We go here to buy our eggs and we can also visit the hens that lay our eggs.

Den gemensamma trädgården är underbar och lokalbefolkningen tar hand om denna plats tillsammans. Frukten av deras arbete säljs till allmänheten med endast en sparbössa. Vi går hit för att köpa våra ägg och vi kan också besöka de höns som lägger våra ägg.

Here is our only local shop where we can buy eggs and vegetables grown by the locals in the communal garden. It is a popular shop.

they also have a few animals.

Othilia and the communal animals. Say hello to Torsten, the goat. Pontus has named most of the bigger animals. The pigs are called Boris and Doris (not in picture).

And the rabbit is called Alice. Othilia knows how to properly give Alice dandelion leaves and she usually tries to take a bite out of the leaf before handing it to Alice.

Our pizza place is another place in the village where we meet the locals. They are so friendly here and always greets us strangers with a smile and an “oi”.  We have even spoken to some of them and dutch people in general are very good at English. West Frisian/Dutch is not so hard to understand if you know German, English and Swedish.

Vårt pizzaställe är en annan plats där vi träffar lokalbefolkningen. De är så vänliga här och hälsar oss främlingar alltid med ett leende och ett “oi”. Vi har även talat med några av dem och nederländare i allmänhet är mycket bra på engelska. Västfrisiska /nederländska är heller inte så svårt att förstå om du redan kan tyska, engelska och svenska.

We have a pizza place in Pingjum, which is run by a lovely Italian family.

The food and drinks are amazing. This beer is a new favorite.

The pizzas were good, but the most surprising dish (in a positive way) was the razor shells, which we ordered as a starter. Even Othilia liked eating them!

Pontus has started the habit of getting up early in the morning and borrow our host family’s bike to cycle around in the surroundings. Around us there are farmland and other small villages. Just a few kilometers from us lies the coastline and the sea, so we can smell the sea when the wind is right.

Pontus har tagit för vana att gå upp tidigt och låna vår värdfamiljs cykel för att cykla runt i omgivningarna. Runt omkring oss finns jordbruksland och andra små byar. Bara några kilometrar från oss ligger kustlinjen och havet, så vi kan känna havslukten vid rätt vindförhållanden.

The sun is about to rise, 5.30 am.

A walking bridge over the motorway.

The Netherlands i so flat, one can see several kilometers into the country from the coast. The only altitude in our vicinity is this levee that gives protection from the sea.

The coast in Friesland, just a few kilometers from our village. 

It is a good thing for us to be close to water with Othilia’s love for it. We have two sand beaches nearby, one at the coast near Harlingen. Othilia was amazed by the sandy beach, but we couldn’t jump into the water this time.

Unfortunately for Othilia, the water was far out so no bathing for her. Wattenmeer is saltwater ocean which is affected by the tide so we had to go to another place.

We went to our second option instead, a beach in Makkum and here we can swim in a fresh water lake (IJsselmeer). Othilia was happy to finally be allowed to sit in the water.

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