About ms6282

I'm a consultant and trainer specialising in the recognition, evaluation and control of health hazards in the workplace. I'm based in the North West of England, but am willing to travel (almost) anywhere

North Wales Adventure – Day 1

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Way back in February, I got the idea that I’d like to try sea kayaking. I’d had a taster quite a few years ago on holiday in south west France, but never got round to following up on it. Well time is moving on and I decided if I didn’t do something soon I’d never have the chance so I booked on a 2 day small group introductory course in Anglesey. After I’d committed myself I had another thought – I might as well extend the break and do some walking in the mountains of Snowdonia, so that’s what I did – I sorted out accommodation for three nights in advance of the course so I had 4 days to explore.

I packed up the boot of my car last Tuesday morning and set off for Capel Curig where I had booked a couple of nights in the Bryn Tyrch Inn. Arriving around midday I parked up and set out on a relatively easy walk I’d based on a route found on the Snowdonia National Park website which would take me up to the modest hill of Crimpiau. I started from the hotel rather than the car park near the chapel but returned to there and extended the route, looping back to the hotel through the Coed Bryn-engan forest.

We’d had several weeks of hot sunny weather with blue skies, but there was a change in the air in Snowdonia and although it was warm, cloud had moved in and visibility wasn’t brilliant. But that didn’t spoil the walk.

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Initially the route followed well defined paths. After the prolonged dry spell the going underfoot was good, but it would normally be boggy in places. But the OS maps for Wales don’t show all the paths through the hills and mountains, even though they may we well worn and quite obvious in places. This makes planning a route tricky, but I was following one from the National Park and had printed out a copy of the route with a map and photographs. The second half of the walk moved into uncharted territory, but there were clear paths most of the way even though they weren’t marked on the OS map.

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Crimpiau is a small hill, but there was a short, sharp climb to the top which required use of my hands in a few places. The main attraction is the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains of the Snowdon horseshoe, Moel Siabod, the Ogwen valley (the Glyderau, and Trefan)the Carneddau and Llyn Crafnant. On reaching the summit I could see all of these and more, albeit the visibility wasn’t brilliant. It would have been outstanding only the day before!

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Return was along the ridge, passing Llyn y Coryn. It was wet underfoot in places and I reckon it would be quite boggy during much of the year with normal rainfall.

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Looking down towards Capel Curig and the Snowdon horseshoe

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Reaching the “centre” of Capel Curig there wasn’t much to see. A couple of walking equipment shops, a convenience style store (the café mentioned on various web sites appears to have shut), the Chapel and St Julitta’s church. I headed west on the road towards the Plas y Brenin Mountain Activity Centre, stopping off to take a look at the small church of St Julitta’s.

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This old building was the original chapel after which the village was named. Originally named for Saint Curig, it’s dedication was changed when a larger chapel was built a short distance away at the junction with the A5 in 1883.

Reaching Plas y Bryn I crossed over the river bridge at the top of Llynau Mymbyr

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and followed a path through the forest

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that took me back to the A5 opposite the Moel Siabod café, a few hundred yards east of my hotel. I stopped for a brew before heading back to my car and checking in.

Eduardo Chillida in the Rijksmuseum Gardens

This year, the sculpture exhibition in the Rijksmuseum gardens features the work of the Spanish Basque artist Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002). He was originally a footballer, playing in goal for Real Sociedad, San Sebastián’s La Liga football team, but serious injury cut his career short.

He studied architecture before becoming a sculptor, and some of his works certainly have an architectural quality.

His work combines modern abstraction with traditional artisanal techniques for working materials, in particular forging iron. He frequently made his numerous and celebrated public works from large-format steel, using the material in a bold and spectacular fashion, with utter disregard for its innate constraints. Chillida believed that ‘To construct is to build in space.’ (Exhibition website)

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Studio Drift – Coded Nature at the Stedelijk

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One of the temporary exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum was dedicated to the work of Studio Drift, Netherlands-born artist Lonneke Gordijn and her British/Dutch partner Ralph Nauta, who use modern technology to produce some imaginative installations and videos.

The first work we saw was Drifter, a massive ‘concrete’ block that  floated mid-air, tilting and moving around the room as if of its own accord.

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In the next room, Ghost Collection consisted of a number of transparent plastic chairs with ghostly forms created by air bubbles trapped inside the Perspex and illuminated by light.

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This sculpture, Fragile Drift, was created by three-dimensional bronze electrical circuits connected to light emitting dandelions. It contains real dandelion seeds, that were picked by hand, and glued seed by seed to LED lights.

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In Flylight , lights suspended from the ceiling responded to the movement of visitors to the gallery creating changing patterns of light, inspired by the movement of flocks of birds.

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Other works on display included an interactive 3D installation, video works and videos of installations they’d created.

The final work, Tree of Ténéré was a large-scale LED artwork in the shape of a tree that was originally installed at the  Burning Man festival in Nevada in 2017. It was created in conjunction with American artist artist Zachary Smith.

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The project is named after an acacia tree that once grew 400 kilometres from any other tree in the Sahara Desert, which was used as a marker on caravan routes but allegedly mowed down by a drunk driver in 1973.

It was an excellent exhibition and worth the the entrance fee to the Museum on it’s own.

A visit to the Stedelijk

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The final day of our short break in Amsterdam and our flight didn’t leave until just before 10 p.m. Son and daughter wanted to visit the Van Gogh Museum and had bought tickets online. We’d been before and decided to let them explore without us and, instead, we went to have a look around the Stedelijk Modern Art Museum, next door. We’d been before, in February, but they were between exhibitions, so thought it was worth another look round. They’d also redesigned the exhibition space for the permanent collection since our previous visit.

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There was a lot to see and in this post I’ll concentrate on some of the works from the permanent collection that caught my eye (excluding those from my post from the February visit).

Kitchen Gardens on Montmartre by Van Gogh

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Double Portrait of the Artist and his Wife by Max Becker

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La Montserrat by Julio Gonzalez, a sculpture that represents the fighting spirit of the Catalan people during the Spanish Civil War

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Apartheid by Keith Haring

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Radioactive Waste by Sigmar Polke

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Some posters from the Museum’s collection of Soviet art works

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There were also quite a number of Modernist photographs, many taken by photographers I hadn’t come across before, so I’ll have to follow up with some research when I have the time (so much to see, find out and do – so little time!!!). The photos don’t come out too well in my snapshots due to reflective glass, unfortunately.

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A day in Delft

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The third day of our recent trip to Amsterdam we took the train to the old city of Delft, the home of Vermeer, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Delft Blue pottery, which is just outside Den Haag. On the fast train the journey took less than an hour.

We made our way to the old Market square, which is dominated by the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church – well it was new in 1381!),

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and old Town Hall. It was market day so the square was full with market stalls and shoppers.

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After a look round the market we headed over to the Vermeer Centre, which is in a rebuilt version of the old local Guild of Saint Luke (during the Golden Age this was the Guild that artists were required to join if they wanted to sell their work). The Centre doesn’t own any works by the Vermeer but has life sized e copies of all his known paintings with information about them, as well as multi-media exhibition displays about the life of Johannes Vermeer. It was well worth the visit.

Afterwards we went for a wander around the city, taking in some of the sights on the “Vermeer Trail” map we’d purchased for a few Euros.

It’s a small, picturesque city centre and looked particularly beautiful on a hot, sunny day.

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This is the Oostpoort (Eastern gate), built around 1400. It was from near here where Vermeer painted his View of Delft

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and this is allegedly the location of his painting, the Little Street

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The original buildings are long gone, however.

The day was soon over and we didn’t have time to visit the two old churches. And we didn’t bump into Colin Firth or Scarlett Johansson!

A picinic in the Amstelpark

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After our visit to NDSM we caught the tram back to base to freshen up then picked up some supplies. On a hot sunny summer evening when it would be light until late, what would be better than a picnic in the park?

The Vondel Park in the centre of Amsterdam is well known and frequented by tourists. However, we hopped on a tram headed for the Amstelpark in the south of the city. As the name implies, it’s located by the Amstel river and was originally created for the 1972 Floriade gardening exhibition.

After enjoying our meal, we went for a wander around the park in the evening sunshine.

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This is a rather moving Monument Rozenoord, commemorating an atrocity committed towards the end of WW2 when one hundred and forty men were executed by the German occupying forces at Rozenoord on the Amsteldijk in Amsterdam. Many of the victims were involved in the resistance .

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a large installation consisting of a hundred chairs. The chairs seem to have spread randomly across the field, as if they were still in use a few minutes ago. The chairs are arranged according to the eight dates on which the victims were executed. There is a plaque for the unknown suspects.

Each chair is mounted on an elegant concrete base in which the name and date of birth and death date of each victim is recorded. The Rozenoord monument aims to bring us back to a one-to-one relationship. Each of the hundred chairs represents an individual with their own personality and their own story.

Walking through the park on a warm, sunny evening reminded me of our evening walks through the park in Melbourne last December. The nature of the two parks was very similar as was the weather. But I didn’t expect to see this!

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(There’s a small petting zoo in the park).

We left the park for a short while to walk along the banks of the Amstel

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Rembrandt used to walk along here out of Amsterdam and used to sketch the landscape. Some of his prints included views of Amstel river he based on these drawings.

Just by the south entrance to the park, there’s the Riekermolen windmill. It’s a 1961 reconstruction of an older windmill that stood here from 1636 to 1956 and was active until 1932.

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We went back into the park and almost got locked in when we popped back to have a look at this reconstruction of a DeStil type house

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NDSM

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The second day of our recent trip to Amsterdam we decided to do something different and cross the Ij to the north side of the city. We took of the free ferries from Centraal Station across the water over to NDSM ( Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij – the Dutch Shipbuilding and Dry dock Company), a former ship yard that is now being redeveloped as a “cultural area”. I’d seen a post by Anabel, the Glasgow Gallivanter who’d visited it with her husband earlier this year, so we thought we’d follow their example. We were lucky and despite a cloudy morning during our visit after midday we were blessed with a hot, sunny day with bright blue skies.

In 1937, the NDSM was the largest ship-building company in the world, but like many European shipyards facing competition from the Far East it declined after the Second World War and went bankrupt and closed in 1984.  Initially it lay derelict but in the 90’s artistic and creative types moved in, squatting and taking advantage of the space offered by the massive buildings.  As is often the case, developers have now started to move in and we’ve seen the construction of hotels, restaurants, offices and housing. One of the cranes has even been converted into an expensive hotel.

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Arriving at the ferry terminal we passed an old submarine moored in the Ij

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and a ship hotel

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Despite this, there’s still a large creative community occupying the old shipbuilding facilities. And like in many such places, the buildings and anything else that isn’t moving is covered with street art.

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We even saw some of the artists at work.

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The main former shipyard building is still used by creatives who’ve built themselves a complex of workshops and studios in part of the massive space. We had a mooch around inside.

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Afterwards feeling hot and thirsty, we wandered over to the “funky” Nooderlicht cafe built to serve the artistic community

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Refreshed, we made our way back to the ferry terminal to take the boat back to Centraal Station. We had plans for the evening.