Rheims – the Champagne area

Reims also spelt Rheims. The most obvious attraction is of course Champagne. One of the most important attractions is the Cathedral of Rheims(Notre-Dame de Reims). This Cathedral played a very important role in connection with the French Monarchy as it was the crowning site of the Kings of France. The Palace of Tau , next to the Basilica served as the residence of the kings of France on the occasion of their coronations. Other attractions is the Basillica of Saint-Remi , Mars gate.

All the well known Champagne houses are in Rheims. If you want to visit make a reservation. I have visited these three G.H Mumm , Taittinger , Veuve Clicquot , and each one of them is a bit different than the other. To visit the Champagne winelands you can travel by car to Épernay , south of Rheims.

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Visit to Maastricht – The Netherlands

In South Africa we used to say when you visit the Karoo , that is so flat you can see black and white stripes in the sky. Meaning it is so flat that you can see nights and days on it’s way… In the Netherlands it is so flat , I jokingly refer to the Country as “the flat earth society” When we need hills we go to the Eastern parts of the country , here is no mountains. Maastricht lies in this hilly area of the Netherlands. It is one of my favorite city’s in the Netherlands. Maastricht has no less than 1677 National heritage sites , the only city which have more is Amsterdam. The Maastricht Treaty (formally, the Treaty on European Union or TEU) undertaken to start the E.U (European Union) was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht , and led to the creation of the euro currency.

Although there are a lot , here is a few attractions to mention. Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek , it is said that there were a church here from the 5 th Century , and it could be the oldest Christian church in the Netherlands. De Markt (Market) , The St Janskerk , the Bisschopsmolen and old City walls is also worth a visit. The Vrijthof which is very close to a big square , where there is a lot of Restaurants is also good to see. The Dominican Church that was converted to a bookstore. Dating back to the 13th century, the structure was a Dominican church until Maastricht was invaded by Napoleon in 1794 and the group was forced out of the country. Since that point it has been briefly used as a parish, then a warehouse, then an archive, then a giant parking lot for bicycles (not such a terrible idea) and finally made over into a bookstore. All in all well worth the visit.

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Visit to Gent – Belgium

A few months ago we decided to visit Gent for the day. The city has amazing architecture and beautiful churches. Saint Nicholas’ Church is one of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in Ghent. There is also a castle from the middle ages close to the city center. It is called Gravensteen Castle which means “castle of the counts”. The food is very good , and the beer even better. We had such a good time. I would love to do some night photography there. Maybe this year….

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1 year old birthday party

Clients asked me to take photos of their sons 1 st birthday party. They invited some family and close friends for the event. luckily the weather played along with some nice sunshine. I took some great photos outside. I even had time for a piece of cake. All in all a good day. The results were good , with lasting memories for the parents.

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Zoetermeer Family Photoshoot

Friends of mine wanted a family shoot as a surprise gift for a parent. The Rottweiler needed to be in the photo’s , sadly we could not take the photos in my studio at home. Our cat would have been really angry. So for “keeping the peace”we went to a park nearby. The day was a bit cloudy and rainy – luckily we finished before it really started do rain heavily. At the end the photos came out pretty good , and the customers were very happy.

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Venice – Italy “a bridge too far”

Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture, and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site. Make yourself ready for crowded streets and even more crowded water buses. The city has stunning Architecture. Visit the Grand Canal to see boats of all shapes and sizes. See the many Gondoliers and their Gondolas. Visit famous attractions like Rialto bridge , Bridge of sighs , The Piazzo San Marco. Amazing to visit , but not in summer it can be very hot. You don’t need to pay extravagant prices to eat in Venice , use your head and it can be quite affordable. Visit the Island of Murano for Murano Glass….

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Verona – Italy “Birthplace of Romeo and Juliet”

Situated in the Northern parts of Italy , the City received World Heritage status because of it’s urban structure and architecture. Also seen as the Romantic City , birthplace of lover’s Romeo and Juliet. There is a beautiful Panoramic view of the city from Castel San Pietro(the Castle). Go see a Opera in the Roman Amphitheater , please no cameras… Visit Juliet’s house in Italian called “Casa di Giulietta”. At the entrance is Juliets wall where tourist write love letters on the wall. There is also a bronze statue of Juliet , the metal of its (her) breast worn bare due to a legend that if a person strokes the right breast of the statue, that person will have good fortune and luck in love. There is a small courtyard and Juliet’s Balcony….it can be very crowded. Go eat at the “Ristorante Arche” , a good family Restaurant , a bit expensive with great food “one of my best Resataurants”.

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Bologna and Maranello , Italy.

Our visit kicked off in Bologna – Italy situated in the center Northern parts of Italy.  The city has portico-ed sidewalks , great cuisine and and some amazing Architecture. At the Piazza Maggiore you can see the “unfinished facade”of the Basilica of San Petronio. If you feel very energetic you can climb the stairs of the Portico of San Luca which has more than 600 arches and is 3.8 km long.  It ends at the top at the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca.

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Then there is also Maranello , home of Ferrari. It was always a great dream for me to visit , because I am an avid Formula 1 supporter. And I collect model cars from Ferrari. It is a bit touristic , but if you want you can drive some of the newest sport super-cars , or visit the Ferrari museum and a tour to the Ferrari test tract and factory.  Sadly you are not allowed to take photos at the factory and you drive in a bus , so you never get out…..

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Zaanse Schans visit , The Netherlands

A while back me and my wife visited this beautiful little historic town.  There are is a few working Windmills to see. For me one of the most impressive to see was the wood-sawing  mill.  There is also a couple of Museums including the Verkade Centre. Here they show you how their biscuits and chocolates are made. And till this they you can buy their products in shops and Supermarkets. Here is also the first Albert Hein Shop , which is one of the biggest Supermarket Chains in the Netherlands. You will need  half a day for a visit…

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Memories that last a lifetime

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