A city like Leeuwarden is very interesting on the historical point of view. However, when you go somewhere, you want to see more of the country than a few old buildings in a single city.

Kite surferKite surfer

So we went out of the city, different places, different things to see… You don’t want to miss the sea if you’re going to Holland, right?

The sea was rough. That was easy to see. What is less easy to see is the flying salt water in the air. My camera needed to be cleaned with a little warm water and a soft cloth. I never thought that it would take so much. Next time I’ll be using a raincoat, that’s for sure. I even had them in my bag, but never thought of using one.

View over the dunesView over the dunes

The beach still gave a lot of nice photo opportunities, even if the weather seemed to be non cooperative. The above picture shows what we have as the most precious along the sea: dunes. They are heavily protected against everyone. Not that there are landmines in them, I wouldn’t go that far. Wandering through the dunes in places where there is no path may cost you a heavy fine though.

SluicesSluices

On a different day, different place and a different sea I found a completely different landscape, or seascape if you like. The north of Holland is bordered by the Waddenzee, a sheltered inland sea. This sea is the home of many different species of birds, seals and other sea creatures. It is also a protected area, there is no way you can go wherever you like in this sea.

Cleaning or fishing?Cleaning or fishing?

On clear days you can see the islands across the Waddenzee. When I took this picture there was a lot of wind, although not as much as on the North Sea beach. The little white speck above the ship is a seagull, I noticed that one when I looked at the pictures on my computer. The island in the background is Schiermonnikoog, just try to pronounce it Winking smile.

Old fenceOld fence

In Holland you can change environments from one minute to another. We tried to put at least a night in between these changes, no need to overdo it…

In Drenthe, one of the northern three provinces of Holland you can find the above orchards. I don’t believe they still give a lot of fruits but they are certainly photogenic.

Thatched roofThatched roof

Some places still use the old fashioned thatched roofs. Nowadays they have to be insured and nearly overprotected against fire. They still offer a nice view, I wish there were more of those. A hundred years ago, this was the cheapest way to cover a big roof, today is will cost a fortune and a lot of paperwork to get a roof like this.

Idyllic and muddyIdyllic and muddy

Drenthe is a great place to go to if you love nature. Of course there are also the cities and the busy places, but the province has succeeded in keeping its original atmosphere. It is a very attractive place for holidays.

ChurnerChurner

The above is another butter churner in the old cheese factory in Orvelte. I guess this one is a bit younger than the others in the museum, it looks painted.

Dangerous beautyDangerous beauty

Then, suddenly you find the most dangerous mushroom there is in Holland. It is pictured in nearly every fairy story for kids, all dwarfs live in this mushroom, even the Smurfs live in them. However, little children that put their fingers in their mouth after touching it may have lethal consequences. The fly agaric is not for consumption, it is best left where it grows and beautiful as it is.

Little goatsLittle goats

Back in Leeuwarden (yep, that’s where we were staying) some parks have animals. These little goats were such animals. They seemed very friendly and looking for caresses. Ok, a little grass and a pat on the nose and they were happy.

In the same park there were also the most enormous garden spiders I have seen in my life.

Common garden spiderCommon garden spider

The above spider was at least 4cm big, including the legs. Beautiful to see, except if you’re a fly I guess, these spiders are not dangerous and rarely go inside houses. Nothing to worry about.

Back home I couldn’t resist this little picture of my parents’ cat.

A little lazy catA little lazy cat

The little cat has no bad moods whatsoever and is always ready to lick your hand, nose or face. In my case I also got a good wash of the top of my head…

Then it was already time to go back to Ukraine and prepare our bags to get back to Canada.

A little opportunity in a high placed apartment in Konotop gave the following picture.

Huge trains in UkraineHuge trains in Ukraine

The trains in Ukraine and Russia are huge. High and powerful. To have an idea of what they look, hear and feel like, you can watch this film.

And that was already our last evening in Konotop, Ukraine. The next day we were on our way back to Canada.

The first stop was the airport in Kiev, called Kiev Borispol. They built a whole new hall for passengers, the original airport was becoming too small.

Kiev BorispilKiev Borispil

The new terminal is clear and very open. Transport to the planes is mostly done by bus.

 Paris Airport Charles de GaulleParis Airport Charles de Gaulle

Then Paris Charles de Gaulle. One of the biggest airports in the world. Although here we only got to see a very small part of it, we could admire it for about 4 hours. After 4 hours our plane to Montreal left, with us aboard.

But even after having waited for such a long time, that plane managed to arrived too late in Montreal to assure us our connecting flight to Winnipeg. So, dinner, hotel and breakfast were on Air France.

From Montreal to Winnipeg was a smooth flight. I will give you the most photographed object of an airplane…

Airplane wingAirplane wing

The above picture is taken over Manitoba. Quebec and Ontario were mostly covered with clouds. Once back in Winnipeg we haven’t seen any clouds yet, so now it’s time for nice Fall pictures from our beautiful province of Manitoba.

For the moment my camera is in repair, it refuses to fire the internal flash. Normally I wouldn’t bother since I have an external flash as well, but the internal flash is supposed to trigger my SB600, so that’s now a no-go. No pictures with my D90 for at least a few weeks. All depends on Nikon for now. Let’s hope they’re fast.