Thursday 25 February 2010

Winterscapes and snow sculptures from Finland...

Today I would like to share some beautiful winter landscapes from North Karelia, Finland. Sun and snow can make lovely combination. Human hand also-those two pictures are from the yearly snow sculptures festival which takes place in Ilomantsi.
SnowSculptures festival Ilomantsi

Thursday 18 February 2010

Some more skating on frozen Dutch lakes:-)

Skating frozen lake Reeuwijk Holland
Exactly when everyone was praying that the spring should come quicker, the winter decided to surprise and proof us wrong....and the canals/lakes in the Netherlands got frozen again. Which means nothing else than SPORT on ICE.
Skating frozen lake Reeuwijk Holland
Skating frozen lake Reeuwijk Holland
The Dutch are very creative so the frozen lake in Reeuwijk is not used only for ice-skating but also for biking, sleighing, even for have a walk with the babies while skating, of course:-)

Monday 15 February 2010

Carnival (Traunsteiner Faschingszug) in Garmisch

Traunsteiner Faschingszug Garmisch

Traunsteiner Faschingszug Garmisch

Every Sunday before Mardi Gras/ Shrove Tuesday the so called "Traunsteiner Faschingszug" (a carnival parade) takes place in Garmisch, Bayern. The creativity and fantasy of the dressed up inhabitants is really impressive...

Traunsteiner Faschingszug Garmisch

One can meet from Pirates of the Caribbean to weird creatures of the Middle Age up to some jumping pigs (dont miss the video, at the end of this entry:)

Traunsteiner Faschingszug Garmisch
"Fasching" is the word used for carnival in parts of East and South Germany and Austria. The etymologists are not sure about the origin of the name "carnival". Most explanations are derived from the Italian and Latin expressions "carne levare" or "carne vale", indicating the last days when one could eat meat before the fasting. While the starting day of Carnival varies, the festival usually builds up in the week before lent, ending on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In (Eastern Orthodox) areas Carnival ends on the Sunday seven weeks before Easter.

Monday 8 February 2010

About Dutch clogs "Klompen"....

Klompen ZaanseSchans

Did you know that the (probably) most famous Dutch souvenir: the wooden clogs (Klompen) have been officially "accredited as safety shoes and can withstand almost any penetration including sharp objects and/or concentrated acids". The all-wooden footwear is nowadays mostly used by Dutchmen for working in the garden or in farms.

Special Klompen ZaanseSchans

The Kooijman in Zaanse Schans (north from Amsterdam) still shows the old-fashion way of making the clogs, with 2 machines for having the shoe cut out of one piece of wood! A small walk through the history of clogs welcomes the visitos there. During the week the Dutch were wearing the non-painted clogs, but on Sunday was time for the nice shoes: black clogs for the guys and vanished with flower motives for the women. Some special models like the "Klompenschaats" (the iceskate-clog) or inline-skates-clogs are on display too. Today the choice in the Dutch shops is enormous, the once with windmills are the touristic ones, the typical ones are the yellow-painted clogs.


The collection of creative clogs in Zaanse Schans Klompenmakerij is indeed impressive, here between a clog-boat and the typical wedding Klompen from Marken.

Marken wedding clogs Klompen

Some tests in Delft this weekend even confirmed that if the clog is big enough, one may enter up to 5 inside (as a proof check the last picture:-)

Delft big clog

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Dogsledding in Finland...

Dogsledding karelia
A funny thing to do in winter (and of course somewhere with a lot, lot of snow) is dogsledding! I had the pleasure to experience a tour, my dear Finnish friends Henna and Lauri organised in the region Karelia, some kilometers away from the Russian border.
Dogsledding Karelia
The small, family-run husky farm Bearhillhusky is hidden from the outside world, in the middle of the wilderness. Barking of 40 Alaskan huskys greeted us. The first picture shows how excited the dogs were, when being prepared for the sleigh. The 1-hour-tour in the middle of snow-covered lake-forest-landscape was an amazing, but also pretty freezing experience. One person was steering the sled (pulled by 6 dogs) and 1 person was lying covered in warm fur....

 And the blue-eye-beauty, a bit tired after the tour:-))