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National Geographic photograph on my ASN Bank calender today:

photograph by Chris Johns, Ndumu Game Reserve 2001, taken for National Geographic

Giraffe in the Ndumu Game Reserve. Picture by Chris Johns, South Africa 2001.


As as giraffe lover (don’t know why, just a fan of their elegant legs, long necks and fluffy giraffe horns called ossicones) I found this a nice treat, only one day short of my birthday.

To my very surprise, there are spots in the Netherlands where wild camping is allowed. The Dutch Forestry offers several terrains where you can pitch your tent for free. A pump supplies water for washing or cooking (boil before drinking) and the sites are big enough for three tents. Stay for a maximum of 3 days.

Pictpaalkampeerterrein

The sign at the poles explains the wild camping rules.

We enjoyed this luxury for an overnight stay during our practice hike for the upcoming Fjällräven Classic. Luckily our neighbour warned us about the mice jumping up and down all over the camp. So our breakfast was saved, hanging in the trees, but some of our empty backpacks were gnawed on.

National Geographic photograph on my ASN Bank calender today:

photograph by Joel Sartore, Nebraska 1995 for National Geographic.

Dusting the sheep diorama in sporting goods shop Cabela’s. Picture by Joel Sartore, Nebraska 1995.

This accommodation in the series on outstanding places to sleep was not spotted by me, but by a user of the website Map Your Mind. The tree house in Groenekan, The Netherlands:

Picture taken from website Tussen Hemel en Aarde.

Tree house at camp site Tussen Hemel en Aarde.

This accommodation can be rented at camp site Tussen Hemel en Aarde.

Discover special places in Utrecht on http://www.mapyourmind.nl/. Or create a map to share your own.

Screenshot from Map Your Mind website.

Users post their personal collage maps of Utrecht.

This personal mapping was popular by the Situationist International in the 1960’s.

Initiator of the website Sanne Kwak, however, has been inspired by urban planner Kevin Lynch‘s ‘mental maps’. His book “The image of the city” (1960) inspired people to regard cities in a more personal way.

The visual inspiration, she writes, comes from the drawings of Dutch artist Jan Rothuizen:

Drawing by Jan Rothuizen.

Leaf through the drawings of "The soft atlas" on Jan Rothuizen's homepage.

Schiphol is the first airport to have a banner machine. So no stress if you have forgotten to something special to welcome your beloved ones: a personalised banner can be made in an instant. Choose the appropriate size, typefont, background, add a text and the vending machine will print it on canvas.

picture from Schiphol.nl

Mommy=sweet.


The machine was designed by BannerXpress. It can be found in Arrivals hall 2.

My eyes grew wide when I was confronted with Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Survival New Zealand – Southern Island episode. My partner who called me to the television had a questioning look on his face:

“Don’t you think this looks, uh, special?”

– “Well yes it does, we’ve been there!”

And have the footage to prove it. Watch this abstract of the show in which Bear follows a canyon to find civilisation:

Or skip immediately to 8.35 to compare with:

Big Nige drop.

And jump to 10:35 to compare with:

Big Nige abseil.

The New Zealand episode is from 8 July, 2011 and we visited in December 2010, so there’s no reasoning that Grylls was the first to discover the canyon at Lake Wanaka. Instead the tour organisation that facilitated our trip has probably helped him a little, removing the ropes for example.

Now skip back to the beginning of the clip and pause. The disclaimer reads:

“On some occasions, situations are presented to Bear so he can demonstrate survival techniques.”

We can be pretty sure he knew he was not risking his life when jumping down.

The Danish shop Tiger came to the Netherlands! It sells a lot of stuff you (don’t) need with clever and colourful designs for round prices. In Danish “tiger” is the name of a ten crowns coin.

Picture taken by Arjan van Hooff

Tiger.dk at Oudegracht Utrecht

Driving from Arthur River to Corinna was a day of surprises: the slippery sand roads, my sighting of a wild Tasmanian devil, and finding a hand written sign as evening dawned.

It was written by Irene, a German lady I had met on the way, who was convincing me creatively to turn right to Corinna instead of taking a left to Savage River. And I would not have wanted to miss this historical village at the ferry crossing.

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The element of surprise was even bigger because it was not the first time during my travels someone was contacting me this style.

Another in the series on outstanding places to sleep. My bed in my car at Bay of Fires, Tasmania, Australia:

Picture taken by myself.

Camping matress and warm duna in my friend's car.

Tweets (Dutch and English)