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Monthly Archives: April 2008

2008 Koninginnedag – 2008 Queen's Day in Makkum and Franeker

Queen Betarix in Makkum dancing the Salsa.jpg
The Dutch Do Dance! Even their Queen!

Happy Queen’s Day!
On January 30, 2008 our Queen Beatrix reached the venerable age of 70. The Dutch Queen´s birthday is celebrated officially on April 30th, since Queen Beatrix ascended the Throne. It is a public holiday and everybody goes out partying. In Amsterdam you can walk over the heads of the visitors. Many cruise the Amsterdam canals in little boats totally clad in Orange. Other people use Queen´s Day as their annual garage sale day, because everybody is allowed to sell everything freely all over the cities. So did my family.

Under Queen Juliana´s (Beatrix´mom’s) reign there was an official defile at her palace which went on for hours and hours. Beatrix changed tis rather boring tradition satisfactorily and decided to pay two Dutch cities a visit in celebration each year. Today the Frisian cities Makkum, world famous because of their polychrome “Delf” blue ware, and Franeker had their turn.

She does that with the whole Royal Family. This often leads to humorous situations as the young Dutch princes are always in for a little playful game. Today you could see some princes trying to collect rings from poles while riding on a small tricycle.

The Queen herself made a few dancing steps with a Frisian Salsa dancer in Makkum. I was glad I found this nice photo to prove my right in my previous post.

The Salsa dancer was clad in a dancing dress made of the pattern and colors of the Frisian Flag over an orange dress. The Frisians have their own flag and own language and are very proud of it.

I found this excellent photo on Flickr where it appeared to have been uploaded by Ethiopian Eyasus Solomon. Thanks Eyasus.

The Dutch can now put their orange clothes in the cupboard until the European Football Championships.

2008 Haagsche Koninginnenach – 2008 The Hague Queensnite: The Dutch Do Dance

The Dutch Don't Dance
The Dutch Don’t Dance, Photo © by Wouter Hogendorp and Canon

Recently I found this apt picture with apt title and color.

  1. The picture is apt because the wooden shoes or clogs stand as a sort of fake national symbol for The Netherlands, whereas hardly any Dutchman (or Cloggy as I am actually teasingly call my fellow countrymen) actually wears wooden shoes.
  2. The Title is as aptly untrue as the clog as national symbol as the Dutch do Dance, even on wooden shoes (later more on the subject of wooden shoe dancing).
  3. Actually the color is the only really apt element of this picture for today as orange is the Dutch national proud, not the national color because that is red white and blue, because it is the color of the House of Orange. Our Queen is a descendant from William of Orange who led the Dutch in their 80 years war against the Spanish. Tomorrow , 30th April is the official celebration of her 70th birthday this year and we will celebrate and dance!
Koninginnenach 2008 screensaver poster
The official 2008 Haagsche Koninginnenach Poster

But before the Dutch celebrate Koninginnedag or Queens day several cities celebrate the night before the day. In The Hague we celebrate Koninginnenach. It is a free pop festifal throughout the city. There are several Pop- and Jazz podia. In several theaters and bars there is life music and all is one big party.

On the 2008 Haagsche Koninginnenach you can actually hear the music of several groups performing tonight.

I will not get permission from my dear wife to enter the festivities with my cameras because I am just recovering from a flu alas. It is her good excuse to keep me from partying:-)

I had some luck that I found some photos on Flickr © by Fiona Bradley that give a view of the preparations for Koninginnenach. Thank you Fiona for being so quick.

Koninginnenach 2008 01
one of the pop podia
Koninginnenach 2008 02
Part of the The Hague Queens Day Fair

If you want to have a nice overview of Konininnenach pictures do a Koninginnenach search on any photo site.

Update:

And you should read the post about Dutch Orange Day in New Holland from antipode (from Down Under) James Clarke from the Australian I Travelnet Blog. Then you will understand why I am proud to be a Dutchman. And I am curious whether Nomadic Matt will report about his Amsterdam Queensday experience.

Update May 1, 2008: Nomadic Matt did indeed post about Koninginnedag, But the post has disappeared since….

Last edited by GJE on December 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Travelrants wins Travolution Consumer Travel Blog Award

Travelrants

Travel Blog author Darren Cronian has won the Travolution Award for best consumer travel blog with his Blog Travel Rants.

He was chosen from the following shortlist:

I believe winning from these great blogs will add extra to this award for Darren.

The Laudatio says:

Darren Cronian has single-handedly set the benchmark to which other consumer-focussed blogs should aspire. Controversial, relevant, thorough and, perhaps most tellingly, much better than something mainstream media organisations are trying to achieve.

In the week before the award Darren was very nervous and even in bed with the flu.

I wasn’t aware how nervous he was until, only after I had heard of his success on Twitter, I red his post Travel Awards and Blogging:

I’m not sure why but I’m nervous about the awards; I’m not too great around people I don’t know, and what about if I do win, the thought of getting up and collecting my award – nervous.

I still remember fondly that Darren once kicked my *ss to go on with blogging and he became a real virtual friend in the meantime: Never hesitating to share his experiences with anyone.

Keep on the good work Darren !

Piclens 1.6.3 update: A Brilliant Must Have Plug In for Photo and Video Browsing

Piclens Screen 1 From ITB2008 Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460 pix.jpg
The opening Screen

Some time ago I came across Piclens from the company Cool Iris via a recommendation from Internet Guru Doc Searls. Doc has no search function on his Blog. A severe neglect! At first I couldn’t find his post back.

As an aside: He also recommended Flickrfan in a post Less T, More V , but that is for the Mac aficionados. I have no Mac.

Eventually my persistence did find me Doc’s: Nice Plugin.

Another aside is that a commenter to that post advised to have a look at Photo Synth. I didn’t (yet).
What is Piclens?
Piclens is available as a plug in for Firefox and some other browser flavors to view large numbers of pictures on sites like Flickr. It is an amazing quick way of browsing around a lot of photos. Much quicker than Flickr’s slideshow and also much quicker than Adobe Bridge or Adobe Lightroom of Adobe for those who work with it. Brilliant!

Piclens Screen 3 From ITB Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460 Pix.jpg
The Full Screen

My first impression:
Wow! Cool! but you can’t link to the photo you like. This has been fixed with version 1.6.3 and hence I believe it is ready to become a mainstream plug in.

Piclens Screen 4 From ITB Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460pix.jpg
The Full Screen with one photo in the centre zoomed in
and following you each time you move your mouse
Piclens Screen 5 from itb2008-berlin-travel-bloggers-summit-460-pix
A video wall alike browsing screen

For these examples I used the ITB2008 Berlin Travel Blogger Summit Flickr Pool.

Piclens Screen 2 From ITB Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460 PIX.jpg
A Screen with one photo zoomed in maximally

Be aware!
Today the plug in page of Firefox only offers version 1.6.2 without the tagging and linking possibilities and not yet version 1.6.3 with the tagging and linking! That you should obtain from the Piclens site.

Piclens now for Youtube!

It took me some time to find out how Piclens would work with Youtube. It is only a small indication somewhat forlorn on the site of Piclens:

Piclens screen for YouTube searching
The only way to open a Youtube video search

You always should launch Piclens first from your tool bar where it installs itself. In the Piclens screen you then open the Youtube search tool of Piclens which you find at the top of the Piclens screen.

But then you have something!

Piclens Screen with YouTube Piclens Search

The result of a Piclens search on Youtube. The video starts playing immediately!

I like this instruction video and its song best

Here is the video itself:


The song is “Technologic” by Daft Punk, also a must have:-)

Further goodies

You can download a tool to make your own site Piclens compatible.

There is a WordPress plug in: A must investigate.

Disadvantage
I see one big disadvantage of Piclens. Flickr Photos are uploaded under various licenses and cannot be copied easily. With Piclens you can make a screen dump and avoid the license protection of Flickr easily.

Rest assured: I am not trespassing copy rights here, because most photo’s I showed you are my own.

Post Alia
Today again Philippe Wolff was talking about the perfect storm he sees in the online travel world. See Kevin’s post at Travolution’s Blog. Well I would say this small plugin will definitely add to that storm!

What is a Director of Sleep of a Hotel Chain?

Director of Sleep
Director of Sleep

In my prior post I asked: “What is a Director of Sleep?”

I probed a bit further.

Usually a Director of Sleep is someone in a Hospital, a Mental or a Geriatric Institution who has specialized in sleep deprivation.

Thanks to the Learning Journey Blog and Cater Research I now know a bit more about the Director of Sleep of Travelodge.

As first Director of Sleep at a hefty UK pnd 60,000 Travelodge appointed Wayne Munnelly in January 2006: “To ensure that guests get a good night’s sleep in the hotel group’s 25,000 UK beds.” Apparently he was succeeded by Leigh McCarron.

He does not “sit on” the Board of Travelodge and he is not “married with children”. Puns intended, because although English is not my mother tongue I doubt Travelodge is using proper English on their site.

So where other hotels only have a Pillow Menu, Travelodge has real pro and he shows it:

According to an April 7th, 2008 Press Release Research by OnePoll in March 2008 carried out among 2248 Britons showed that the top 5 artists getting Britons sound asleep are:

1. Coldplay
2. James Blunt
3. Snow Patrol
4. Take That, and
5. Norah Jones

I kind of like it. I may even continue with a separate category: “The Director of Sleep Sez”