Hops and Beer

Last year's hops are being enjoyed now as a glass of beer, as this year's hops begin to fruit.


Beet crop

This year's beet crop was quite varied, with golden, cylindrical, and striped varieties all growing nicely.

Their tastes and textures are all completely different.

Bridge Counterweight, Leiden

The counterweight for the lift bridge Haagsche Schouwbrug outside of Leiden is striking here at dusk.

Every piece of infrastructure in the country seems optimized for travel by water or by bicycle.

Dutch Agriculture

Much of the horticulture in Holland revolves around flowers: tulips, gladiolus, roses. This is the grounds of an agricultural college where there are rows and rows of test beds of baby's breath (Gypsophila).  I never knew you could have them in pink, or with such a variety of flower types.


The Maeslantkering is a movable barrier built to protect Dutch ports and waterways from occasional storm surges. Due to the extreme lack of elevation in Holland, the only better view of it would be from the air.


This is where the bubbles are born! Outside Ă‰pernay, the hillock of Mutigny is striped with vines owned by the champagne houses of Moet, Bollinger, Laurent-Perrier, and other less recognizable names.

Reims Cathedral

The front of the cathedral in Reims is ridiculously ornate, but the inside is lovely too. It was fully reconstructed following substantial damage in WWI.

Brasserie des Fagnes

The Brasserie des Fagnes is a wonderful roadside brewery and restaurant in southern Belgium. The beer was tasty, the food was delicious, and our hosts were welcoming. I inquired about the interesting porcelain beer mug, and was presented with one to take home!

Geants of Charleroi

The Geants of Charleroi in Belgium have been making annual parades through town for many years. Each has a profession and life story. They are made of wicker, are perhaps 4 meters high, and weigh about 50 pounds each.

Vimy Craters

Most of the hundred hectares of land around Vimy that France granted "freely and for all time" for recognition of the Canadian war effort remains pocked with mine craters.  Many groves of pine trees have been planted, but the intent was to leave the contour of the land as it was in 1917.

It must be an exhausting chore keeping the grass trim with that sort of topograpy.

Vimy Ridge Monument

Vimy Ridge hosts a spectacular WWI monument dedicated to the Canadian dead of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. It is sited prominently on a ridge of strategic importance; before the Canadians arrived, perhaps 150,000 French soldiers died in the area.

Arras Townhouses

The two central squares in Arras are lined with gorgeous townhouses having consistent Flemish baroque facades. They were wrecked along with much of the rest of France in WWI, and rebuilt nicely in the same style.

Richard Serra's Tilted Spheres

Richard Serra's Tilted Spheres is a spectacular and well-built piece of art in YYZ's Terminal 1. The acoustic properties of the interior are quite odd, as sound is focused from unexpected sources. Serra's other works of this sort include Wake in Seattle, and Band in Los Angeles.